Early Education     Family Fun    

9 Holiday Toy Suggestions from Hudson Valley Toy Experts

Local toy shops give their holiday suggestions

holiday toy suggestions, holiday fun
We’ve all been there: Between the endless school concerts and bake sale parties, there’s never enough time to get your gift shopping done. To help you out, we called a few of our independent Hudson Valley toy stores to get their recommendations for all of the kids on your list. Want more ideas? Make time to visit the stories listed. As we found out, there’s nothing toy store owners love to do more than talk about toys.


Janod Scooter Balance Bike ($125)

Balance bikes - a two wheeled bike with no pedals - are a great transitional toy for kids who have mastered their Big Wheels and tricycles but need to improve their balance before graduating to traditional two wheelers. Linda Cox from Tinker Toys in Woodstock is particularly enamored with this wooden scooter made by Janod. “It’s very stylish,” she said. “I love how it looks like your child is driving their own little moped.”


Hape Beauty Belongings Playset ($25)

beauty case for kids This beauty case has got everything a little girl would need for going out, with one important qualifier: “None of it works!” says Rebecca Rothstein from Little Pickles in Red Hook. “It’s all pretend, so they can get all dressed up without the mess. And at this age, using your imagination to create your own world is a very important skill to develop.”


Magna-Tiles ($120)

These magnetic building tiles have magnetic tilesbuilt up quite a legion of fans,

including Elena Rose from Land of Oz in Rhinebeck. “Magna-Tiles are the BEST,” she exclaims. “My girls are 4 and 7 and our whole family loves playing with them.  We play with Magna-Tiles in my home every single day, and that’s not an exaggeration.” Rose notes that the 100 piece clear colors set is a perennial best seller at her store.



FOR KIDS 6 - 11

dollhousePlan Toys Creative Dollhouses ($140 - $210)

If the plastic doll house you played with as a kid didn’t quite make it to hand-me-down status, invest in one that your kids will be able to pass on to their kids one day. That’s why Dave Tate of Enchanted Toys in New Paltz recommends the ones made by the Thai company Plan Toys. “They’re expensive,” he admits, “but of all the wooden dollhouses out there, these are the highest quality ones.” They’re also made out of sustainably-grown rubberwood, water based inks, and formaldehyde free glue, which makes it one of the eco-friendliest dollhouses around.


Ridley’s Magic 15 Amazing Tricks Magic Set ($35)

Give your kids this on Christmas morning, and before bedtime rolls around they’ll be astonishing you with these mind-blowing magical tricks. “It creates its own special event, perfect for the holidays or any cold wintry day when the whole family is stuck inside together,” says Rothstein. “The kids get to put on a magic show, and the parents get to be amazed. Plus, the parents always enjoy learning how to do the tricks as much as the kids do.”


Comic Book Kit by Kid Made Modern ($15)

DIY comic bookAfter our story last month on graphic novels, you might have a few new comic books fans around your household. So why not get them started on learning how to make their own? This kit comes with 2 blank comic books and enough stencils, templates, and stamps to keep your budding Jack Kirbys busy for hours. “It gives you everything you need to make your own comic book,” says Cox. “It encourages you to be artistic.”




Board Games ($26 - $42)

“Ages 12 and up can be tricky,” admits Land of Oz’s Rose. That’s why she recommends board games that are intricate and engaging enough to hold the attention of both parents and teenagers for hours at a time. Let that old Monopoly set keep collecting dust in the attic and get something the whole family can learn together. Rose particularly loves the fantasy game Munchkin and Settlers of Catan, in which players discover and then settle an ever-changing island.


DrawLamp by Doiy ($42)

What kids wants a lamp as a gift? Well, if it’s a DrawLamp, drawlampprobably more of them than you think. “It’s not just a lamp,” says Tinker Toy’s Cox. “You can draw anything you want on the shade, so it makes the lamp look like anything you want it to.” And what teenager doesn’t like to have that kind of power?


Awesome Animation by Kiwi Crate ($33)

awesome animationIn the early days of movie making, animators used a device called a zoetrope to turn drawings into movie pictures. Now, with Awesome Animation, your kids can create their own animated cartoons using the same techniques. “You get to be creative and artistic, but it also teaches you about science,” says Little Pickles’ Rothstein.


Land of Oz

41 E Market St, Rhinebeck

(845) 876-1918


Tinker Toys

5 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock

(845) 679-8870


Enchanted Toys

15 N Front St, New Paltz

(845) 255-1429


Little Pickles

7505 N Broadway, Red Hook

(845) 835-8086