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Best Toys For the Holidays Part 4 - Cars, Trucks and Planes

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:36pm

This is part 4 in my series about great toys to buy for kids this holiday season.

Originally I thought I’d focus on great, natural, open ended toys. Now, I’ve had to add, SAFE toys, preferably not made in China.

Here are my earlier posts:

Best Toys For The Holidays - Part I – Blocks

Best Toys For The Holidays -Part II- Dolls

Best Toys for The Holidays- Part III – Books

I suppose I could, and maybe will, go on and on forever but, this week I thought I‘d focus on the ultimate toy for boys.

I was totally unprepared for the fervor with which my son greeted each anything with wheels that enters out humble abode. Growing up in a family of girls, this type of reaction wasn’t an everyday occurrence. Now, some 5 years later, I can consider myself, in my own small way, an expert. And so, wheeled vehicles figure largely on my holiday shopping list.

When selecting any toy vehicle my top priority is finding one that doesn’t require batteries and makes no noises. This of course, is easier on my tender ears but also provides better play value. Any toy, it is said, should be 10% toy and 90% child. In other words, the more open- ended the toy, the more it requires the child to use his or her imagination, decision making skills and of course the physical talents required to move it around the floor and go, “rrrooom, rrroom”.

Plan Toys – This is my top choice because these all natural toys are made from wood from sustainable forests, natural dyes and recyclable packaging. They also are not all that difficult to find online and at independent toys stores and they have a wide variety of toys.

1. Any of their small wooden cars are a fine substitute for small metal cars.

2. Plan City Play Sets – There are a variety of play sets that can be interchanged for a variety of play – airport, construction site, railway set, parking garage.

3. Plain painted wooden cars and trucks or other vehicles

4. Natural wood cars and trucks with clear finish – these actually ARE made in China, though.

5. If you want to go organic – try these wooden cars and trucks or these

6. Wooden boats

7. Accessories for vehicle play – traffic signs

8.Activity mats- airport, city mat or a plusher, more hip version

9. And don’t forget wooden railway sets – Brio or Maxim are lead free


For the very youngest wheel aficionados


10. Baby stroller, wooden trolley or wooden shopping cart – Yup, for boys or girls – these items are an almost guaranteed hit with 1-2 year olds – watch though, as some are made in China. For the very young look for Push toys

11. Little red wagon – the original Radio Flyer- made in America!


For those a little older...

12. Remote control cars – skip the characters…buy one that they will still want to play with when their media choices change

13. Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars. These are made in China but, if you have an older child, you may want to consider the less commercial and more realistic ones. I prefer to purchase individual cars that a child can recognize – bloodmobile, ambulance or sets that feature cars and trucks you might actually see on the road as opposed to tricked out fantasy vehicles. Bonus - these cars will work on any wooden railway set too!


Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list (exhausting to put together but, not exhaustive.)
So, what did I miss? What wheels do you recommend?



More Thursday Thirteen



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