2014 Last Minute Toy Gift Guide

last minute gift guide headerAre you still struggling to find last minute gifts for kids on your list? Fret no more, I am here to help you find some great toys and games without breaking the bank!

Arts and Crafts

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Creativity Can– The Creativity Can contains pipe cleaners, googly eyes, foam, or other materials to create fun little projects. Use your imagination to create a spectacular creation! Find them at your local craft store like Michael’s and Jo Ann Fabric

Faber-Castell Crayons and Art Supplies- Quality Art supplies for your budding artist! Can be found at Michael’s and Jo Ann Fabric.

Crayola Products- Crayola has everything from markers and crayons to watercolors and crayon makers. Find them at your local Walmart or pretty much any local store.

Sands Alive– Sands Alive is moldable sand that you can play with indoors and doesn’t make a mess. Find it at Toys R Us, Amazon, and Walmart.

Beados- Beados are magical beads that bond with water. You can create all sorts of things with them. Get an activity pack, some refills and the Drying station and you are set for hours of fun! Find them at Toys R Us, K-Mart, and Target.

Doh Vinci– Doh Vinci from Hasbro is a line of fun DIY projects for kids like the Style and Store Vanity kit shown above. You can find them at Target and Toys R Us.

Melissa and Doug Arts and Crafts– Melissa and Doug has a whole line of great arts and crafts projects, including the Paint With Water projects as shown above. You can find them at my store: http://www.bearhavenboutique.com

Educational

educationalc

Tiggly- Tiggly makes educational toys for pre-schoolers and toddlers, as well as learning apps. You can find their products on Amazon.

Thames and Kosmos Dinosaur Skeleton Dig– Learn how paleontologists find, dig, and assemble dinosaur skeletons with this great set! Find them at Toys R Us or online at Amazon.

IQ Twist-  IQ Twist from Smart Games is a single person game for ages 6 and up that makes you use your brain to solve the challenge. Great for on-the-go. You can buy them from Fat Brain Toys online, Barnes and Noble, and Toys R Us.

Goldie Blox- Goldie Blox are designed to get girls interested in engineering and building while helping to build confidence as well. You can find their sets at Toys R Us and online at Fat Brain Toys.

Leap Band- Leap Bands let your kids track their activity and fitness levels while providing incentive with interactive games. Find them at Toys R us, Amazon, Walmart, and K-Mart.

Fashion

fashionCharmsies- Charmsies are iron-in hair charms. They are a great fashion accessory. Find them at Nordstrom.

Fashion Angels Mini Mani- These kits are great for your tween who loves to be fashionable and do her nails. They are easy to use. Check out the full line of Fashion Angels products online at Amazon.

Games

gamescBananagrams WildTiles– It’s a fun spin on Bananagrams for up to 8 players! You can find it at Target or online at Amazon.

Reverse Charades and Telestrations- Reverse Charades is a fun new spin on Charades, and Telestrations is a fun game involving sketches. Both are great for the whole family and can be found at Barnes and Noble or online at Amazon.

Birds, Bugs, and Beans- This is a fun card game for the whole family. You have to think quick in order to win. You can find this game on Amazon.

Suspend- Suspend is a fun hanging balance game for the whole family. You can find it online at www.bearhavenboutique.com

Must Have Toys

musthavec1All of my “Must Haves” in this section can be found at Toys R Us and most of them will fit in a stocking, which is great if you are stumped for stocking stuffers.

Rabbids are based on the fun video game and tv series.They now have a line of plushies that are adorable and look just as crazy as their animated characters.

Palace Pets are cute pets that belong to your child’s favorite Disney Princesses.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back and have a line of fun action figures and accessories. The figures like the one shown above fit great in a stocking!

Hex Bugs are cool little creatures that crawl around.My son is obsessed with these. He even has a track they run around on!

Care Bears are just as soft as they were when we were kids! Needless to say, the one shown above…well, he’s mine!

Skylanders figures go great with the Skylanders Video game. Use them with the game or play with them as figures!

Crashlings are collectible toys from outer space! They have fun little playsets too!

Hello Kitty mini-dolls are adorable and offer hours of play time. My daughter pointed out that they fit great in her doll house! They also fit easily into a stocking.

Fash’Ems are squishy little figures. They have everything from Hello Kitty to My Little Pony, and even Disney’s Frozen!

Finally, to round out the list, you can’t go wrong with Kidz Bop albums, which are versions of today’s popular songs sung by kids for kids!

Even More Must Haves!

musthavec2Minecraft- If your child is addicted to Minecraft, you can delight them by choosing from a variety of Minecraft figures, cardboard creations, and plush. My daughter is shown above modeling a Creeper Head. You can find them at Toys R Us, FYE, and Hot Topic.

Lum Lums– are light up figures that will light up when they connect with each other. You can find them at Toys R Us!

Itty Bittys from Hallmark– These are exclusive Hallmark plushies. They come in everything from Superheroes to Star Wars and even Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, just in time for the holidays!

Wubble Bubble Ball- The Wubble Bubble Ball looks like a bubble and plays like a ball. It is 3 feet in diameter and can be used in the house or for some outdoor fun. You can find them at Target.

Play Food from Melissa and Doug- Melissa and Doug’s play food is meant to last and encourages imaginative play. You can find lots to choose from at www.bearhavenboutique.com.

Bear Haven Boutique Stuffable Dolls- Bear Haven Boutique stuffable dolls are dolls you stuff yourself and play with. Just in time for winter, they even have a Snow Queen Doll! Shop stuffable dolls and animals at www.bearhavenboutique.com

Pre-School Toys

toddler toysPaw Patrol Toys- If your child is a big fan of Paw Patrol, you are in luck! They have a whole line of toys based on the series! These toys are available at Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us.

Etch a Sketch Doodle Sketch- I included this one because it was one of my son’s favorite toys when he was little. It fits in your purse and is great to give to your child when you are in the car or at the doctor’s office. Find them at Walmart and Toys R Us.

Mega Bloks First Builders Mega Bloks First Builders provide endless building fun to your toddler and pre-schooler. They are made with sturdy plastic and inspire creativity. Find them at Toys R Us.

I hope this list helps provide you with some last minute gift ideas. What other toys do you recommend? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

*Disclosure: I have received many of these items as part of my SweetSuite Blogger Bash box. However, all opinions are my own.

How not to end up paying too much on toys this holiday season

shop1If you have been out and about, you may have noticed that the Christmas decorations are already out at most stores. It’s not even Halloween, but businesses already have the holiday season on their minds! Every year, there is a rush to shop from towards the end of November through December, but if you want the “IT” items for someone on your list, you may not want to wait until then to get your shopping started.

Typically, the hot toys for the holiday season come out before November, and there are those who pounce on the opportunity to make a buck and buy them up now so they can sell them for high prices on Ebay later. When my 8-year-old was a baby, I remember there was a Tickle Me Elmo doll that came out that year. It came out in the fall and pretty much sold out all over the country by the end of the day. By that evening, several listings went up on Ebay selling for much more than what they were selling for in the stores.

If you are consistently buying hot items for the holidays, you might want to scope the scene early, as in Google hot item projections in the summer. If your child has a favorite show or brand, and you are planning on buying the hot item for that brand, check out the items now. Many toy stores, including a big mega toy store that shall remain nameless, raise the prices on the hot items come November, so if you are able to get the item, you may be paying much more than you would be paying now. Many of these stores offer layaway options, so if you want to shop early, you can do so and pay a little bit at a time.

The other thing to keep in mind is that while some new toy may come out, and your child has his sights on it for the holidays, it may be short-lived. There are sellers on Ebay and Amazon that buy the hot toys and then gouge people on them during the holiday season because the items were in short supply. I know as parents we want the holiday season to seem magical and there is that pressure to make sure that our children get everything on their lists. However, remember how I mentioned that Tickle Me Elmo earlier? I know many people who bought them for their children, and six months later that doll was at the bottom of their toy bins. I say this because sometimes these items seem really cool at the time, but the cool factor is short-lived. Please keep this in mind when shopping for toys this holiday season and don’t fall prey to those gouging you on the prices because all the toy stores are sold out.

So if you want to avoid paying a lot during this holiday season, shop early and if you can’t find the hot items, don’t sweat about it. Sometimes you might luck out by doing things like finding out when the merchandise trucks come in. You can also re-think it and maybe buy it after the holidays when there is more of a supply and less of a demand. This way you don’t end up with something that cost six times more than it should have and ended up in the bottom of the toy chest in less than six months. I am not saying you should never buy the hot toy items. There are a lot of really cool things coming out this year. However, I know we all get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday shopping, so if you are looking for the hot items and can’t find them or see them somewhere where they are completely overpriced, don’t stress about it. You may even be able to find something else that may not have been on your child’s list that your child will like even more!

What are your tips for saving money while shopping during the holidays? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Easy Homemade Sugar Scrub!

I have been under the weather for the past few days, so I am just feeling kind of blah. Because I have been abusing the hand sanitizer to keep from spreading germs, my hands are really dry, so I thought it might be a good time to make this really easy homemade sugar scrub!

Here is what you need:

1/4 cup Olive Oil. I used extra virgin so my scrub is a little on the green side

1/2 cup sugar

4-5 drops essential oil (optional). I used Eucalyptus oil because it was handy, and I have a cold.

Pour the sugar into a bowl, add the Olive Oil and mix. Then add the essential oil. It feels so good. Your hands and other dry parts will thank you!

Here is what mine looks like, it is not pretty, but it works. It also makes a great gift. All you need is some ribbon and empty baby food jars!

easy homemade sugar scrub

Have a Blast with Pinypon!

Recently I was selected to host a party by Mommy Parties for Pinypon. If you haven’t heard of Pinypon, let me tell you all about them! Pinypon dolls are awesome interchangeable dolls created by the European toy company Famosa which has been manufacturing toys for over 50 years. Every part about the doll is interchangeable with the other dolls. You can swap heads, facial expressions, hair, bodies, clothing, and accessories. They are very affordable, and the girls at our party had lots of fun with them!

Here is what our party kit contained:

Our kit included 6 Pinypon dolls for my daughter and 6 to give to her friends. It also included a caravan for her and one to share!

We also received this really cute doll from Nenuco to play with at the party and one to send home with one of Sissy Girl’s friends!

The baby from Nenuco is well-made and came with a pacifier, bottle, and potty

Once our guests arrived, the girls went straight for the toys and began creating their own Pinypon dolls. Here is one of the creations:

The boy Pinypon was quite popular that day!

Since Pinypons can change their fashions, we thought it was only appropriate to have a fashion show for the girls too!

“Tutu” Fabulous!

While some of the girls participated in the fashion show and playing with the Pinypon dolls, some of the other girls enjoyed the Nenuco Doll.

However, we couldn’t have a party without food, so we decorated some cupcakes, had some Pinypon Punch (made with Ginger Ale and Sherbet),  and some fun snack mix!

The girls had the most fun though playing with the Pinypon Dolls!

The verdict on the dolls: The girls loved them! Not only did they love them, but their parents liked them as well. Even my husband, who is very picky about toys, thought they were well-made and gave the girls a chance to show off their creativity.

Since the party, I found out that a few of the girls, including my Sissy Girl, put these dolls and their accessories on their Christmas lists. In fact, I helped a friend today by locating the hotel and shopping center for her daughter. These dolls were certainly a big hit! My daughter has been playing with her Pinypon Dolls constantly, and I sometimes sit with her and create my own dolls. We currently have one that she says is “The Mommy Doll.” It has glasses and blonde hair like me. She also loves her Nenuco Makes Bubbles Doll. This doll is great for anyone who is potty training their child and would like to use a doll as an aid. However, the size and the fact that the doll is so well-made also makes it a great doll to use to teach children about caring for babies. Since I am pregnant, it has been a great tool for me and my daughter. She is so proud that she can take care of her own baby.

The Pinypon dolls are meant for ages 4-7. However, we did have two girls at the party who were 9, and they absolutely loved them. From some of the reviews I read about them on shopping sites, many other older girls love them as well. They are well-made, come with lots of accessories, and really do inspire children to be imaginative. With just a couple dolls, your child can create many different looks!

I hope you enjoyed my review of Pinypon Dolls and the Nenuco Makes Bubbles Doll. For more information, as well as coupons and special offers, please check out Pinypon and Nenuco on Facebook!

*Disclosure: By publishing this post, I did receive free products as part of a promotion from MomSelect. All opinions though are entirely my own.