Any normal Mom can be driven quickly insane by the annual Christmas toy craze. If I hear my 5 year old exclaim, "I want that!" during another toy commercial, well, it just might throw me over the edge. I came across an article on Facebook titled: "The 5 Best Toys of All Time" and noticed it had been shared by a number of my friends, including some of our top Kindermusik educators. I figured this article must include some great toys that are educational, musical, imaginative and would help me finish my Christmas shopping. What I found was even better…
What’s brown and sticky? A Stick.
This versatile toy is a real classic — chances are your great-great-grandparents played with one, and your kids have probably discovered it for themselves as well. It’s a required ingredient for Stickball, of course, but it’s so much more. Stick works really well as a poker, digger and reach-extender. It can also be combined with many other toys (both from this list and otherwise) to perform even more functions.
Stick comes in an almost bewildering variety of sizes and shapes, but you can amass a whole collection without too much of an investment. You may want to avoid the smallest sizes — I’ve found that they break easily and are impossible to repair. Talk about planned obsolescence. But at least the classic wooden version is biodegradable so you don’t have to feel so bad about pitching them into your yard waste or just using them for kindling. Larger, multi-tipped Sticks are particularly useful as snowman arms. (Note: requires Snow, which is not included and may not be available in Florida.)
As with most things these
days, there are higher-end models of Sticks if you’re a big spender, from the smoothly-sanded wooden models (which are more uniformly straight than the classic model) to more durable materials such as plastic or even metal. But for most kids the classic model should do fine. My own kids have several Sticks (but are always eager to pick up a couple more when we find them).
One warning: the Stick can also be used as a sword or club, so parents who avoid toy weapons might want to steer clear of the larger models. (On the other hand, many experts agree that creative children will just find something else to substitute for Stick, so this may be somewhat unavoidable.)
Although she is not generally known as a toy expert, Antoinette Portis has written this helpful user manual for those needing some assistance in using their Stick.
Wired: Finally, something that does grow on trees.
Tired: You could put someone’s eye out.
Find out what numbers 2 to 5 are by reading the rest of the article and consider sharing some of those Christmas wrapping paper cardboard tubes and Amazon boxes with your little one. These will most likely be the best toys he or she plays with all Christmas! If you need some other tips or thoughts for a stress-free holiday, we’re here to help!