Babies are pretty easy to buy for when it comes to Christmas shopping, but it gets more difficult to find the perfect present to put under the tree as kids grow older. We talked to two toy experts to find the top toys of the season, including a few unique items to add to the list.
Jenae Halstead with Brilliant Sky Toys and Books in Urbandale says, "This is one of our top toys. This one is called the living sand." The moldable clay comes with toys and is safe for those three and up, but Halstead says it's a great gift for any age. She says, "Honestly, we sell this to more adults than anything."
For those four and up, she says, "We have a ton of different science kits." She goes on to say, "This is one of those learning things and kids have fun with it. It uses their time and skills and is educational."
Halstead also recommends a child's safe. She says, "A lot of kids always like to lock up their stuff and keep it away from their brother and sister. These are usually five and up."
We also talked to Tim Beckman at the Toys ‘R Us in Clive. He says the Big Elmo Hugs is a top toy this year. Elmo will actually hug you back, and the box says it’s good for kids 18 months to 4 years old. Beckman says, "Once you interact with him, he also has some soothing where he can sing you to sleep at night."
Beckman says toys involving this year's popular characters are also a hit, including talking minions from the movie Despicable Me II. He says, "A lot of kids really resonate with the minions, and they love the way they make them laugh."
Anything with Skylanders or Disney characters is also popular. Beckman says, "One of our top items last year, and continues to do well for those who are really watching your Disney cartoons is the Doc McStuffins."
As for finding the right gift, Halstead says look for something fun and different, not necessarily the most expensive. She says, "Making somebody happy, even by buying them something small. You know, a $5 gift that just makes them smile I think is fun."
Another hot item this year is a kit to make bracelets. It's called Cra-Z-Loom at Toys 'R Us. Brilliant Sky Toys and Gifts sells the Rainbow Loom, which is good for kids eight and up.