Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the greatest trial of toy knowledge Vancouver has ever seen! In this corner, wearing tentacle fingers and Shwings, are the Kazoodlers of Kazoodles (ooooo ahhhh applause!). In the other corner, represented by a veritable mountain of toys, is the frustration of not knowing what to buy for the kids in your life (boooo hisssssss). The contest is simple: The Kazoodlers will be given a hypothetical child to shop for and will then pick out a selection of toys they think works best. Ready? Let’s go!
Round 1: A 7-year-old Boy; Likes Science and Building; On a Budget
Let’s start things off with a good challenge! This 7-year-old loves science, but also likes to be hands-on. That seems easy enough, but we’re also shopping on budget. For the sake of the challenge, we’ll say that means everything must be less than $20.
- Plus Plus (100 pieces): $10.99
Any creative builder would love the simplicity of Plus Plus, sturdy little plus-shaped blocks that snap together to create anything, from a skyscraper to a campfire.
- Geode: $3.99
Science is all about mystery and discovery, so he’ll love cracking open a classic geode; rock on the outside, mysterious crystals within.
- Jaw Bones: $17.99
These unique parts will let him build a vehicle or a work of art. The emphasis is on creativity and experimentation.
- Chem 100 Test Lab: $14.99
This beginner’s chemistry set will let your budding scientist discover the chemical makeup of various household substances. It’s never too early to inspect your surroundings.
- Grow Your Own Crystals: $9.99
Crystals are always mysterious, and growing them is a great opportunity to inspect and learn about the odd formations.
- Science Experiment Pack: $6.95
He won’t run out of science experiments any time soon with this pack of 52 experiment cards. Each experiment is a learning opportunity.
- Crime Solver Scope: $17.99
He can even start his own crime lab with the Crime Solver Scope. More than just a microscope, the kit comes with experiments in fingerprinting and counterfeit detection.
- Bug Box: $12.99
There’s no better way to learn than direct observation. When it comes to bugs, you can’t beat a well-made bug box, designed to keep insects alive inside their new home.
- Grow Your Own Venus Fly Trap: $3.99
If it’s plant life he’s interested in, the Venus Fly Trap kit is a cheap and easy way to grow and observe one of the most fascinating plants on earth.
- Plastic Bugs: $.89
Real bugs are neat, but when he wants something that can roam freely in the house (and maybe even scare the siblings), these small plastic bugs are a good get.
Round 2: A 9-year-old Girl; Artistic; Loves to Play Games
There are arts & crafts and fun & games, but where do those worlds intersect? For the 9-year-old who likes to be creative and have a good time doing it, there are plenty of good options.
- Obstacles: $17.99
Obstacles is the game of creative problem solving. It requires her creative mind along with her adventurous spirit to navigate tough trials.
- Homemade Arts and Crafts: $6.99
This tin includes plenty of homemade arts and crafts projects that will keep her mind and hands busy for the foreseeable future.
- Goldie Blox: $29.99
She can be creative and hands on while learning about engineering with this brilliant new toy aimed at girls interested in mechanics.
- Eye Can Art: $28.99
This series of unique art projects introduces her to the world of printmaking, ink painting and sun photos, among others.
- Waste-Not Animals: $14.99
With these kits, she can turn recycled bottles and yogurt cups into animal friends. Advanced crafting skills, like sewing, are honed alongside the lesson of reusing trash items.
- Morphology Junior: $29.99
This multi-player guessing game challenges her and her friends to create words and animate figures, focusing on creative thinking.
- Magnet Color Cubes: $15.99
Simple, colorful magnetic cubes are fun for hours, allowing endless combinations, from two-dimensional designs to 3-D creations.
- Knitting Beginnings: $21.99
She can learn to cast on and stitch away with the beginning knitter’s kit. It comes with all the tools and instructions she needs to make hats, scarves and other fun creations. Just in time for winter!
- Origami Kit: $4.99
Go beyond the crane with these unique origami kits that can give her a great introduction into the fascinating world of foldable paper crafts.
Round 3: An 18-month-old Toddler; Very Active; Loves to Push Buttons
It can be hard to keep an active toddler in one place, but the right toy can keep your active little one busy for hours. “Pushing buttons” can mean a couple different things, but we’re going with actual buttons here.
- Pop-Up Dinosaurs: $38.99
Consider that button-pushing desire satisfied. Each different-shaped button pops a dinosaur out of the corresponding egg, helping teach shapes and colors along with the dinosaur-popping fun.
- Wood Blocks (100 pack): $21.99
It’s hard to beat the classic wooden block. These blocks are safe and sturdy enough to withstand throwing, chewing and actual building.
- Little Chubbies: $2.49 and up
Small, durable plastic vehicles are a great way to hone fine motor skills. Little Chubbies come in construction, emergency and passenger vehicles.
- Porcupine Ball: $2.99
Prickly, colorful balls are great for sensory play and are safe to practice those all-important tossing skills.
- Lawnmower Push Toy: $39.99
Perfect for motor skill development, the classic push-mower toy is built out of quality wood to withstand generations of active kiddos.
- Flash Beat Drum: $29.99
Your little one can learn about rhythm and music while banging on the colorful light-up drum. Next stop: bongos.
- Oball: $12.99
The versatile Oball can be rolled and tossed like any other ball, but you kiddo can also push and pull items in and out of it, expanding the motor skill development even further.
- Baby Camera: $17.99
It won’t take real photos, but with a pop-up “flash,” viewfinder and shutter button, there’s plenty of activity to be had with this camera.
Round 4: A 13-year-old Girl; Wants to be an Individual; Not a Girly Girl
Teens can be tough to shop for. It can make things harder when they strive to be unique and shun stereotypes (although those are fantastic qualities to have). For this one we went with chic and unique.
- Killer Bunnies: $29.99
It’s all about saving your bunnies with this game, deflecting your opponents’ attacks and keeping your herd alive. Can you use your Magical Spatula to defend against the Whimsical Whisk?
- Earth Ball: $15.99
Get worldly with this inflatable globe. She can hang it up or toss it around, getting to know our planet in the process.
- Bear Hat: $22.99
This fuzzy head covering wraps a layer of fur around her head and snaps together like a bear hug under the chin. This is probably a preferable sort of “wild child.”
- Stache Tats: $7.99
Take temporary tattoos to the next level — the upper lip. Stache tats come in all kinds of styles, from hairy to psychedelic, and allow for plenty of silly fun.
- Ha! Ha! Moustache: $6.99
This simple card game tests historical moustache trivia, challenging players to match well-known figures (alive, dead and fictional) to their famous ‘staches.
- Shwings: $6.99
Shwings, a portmanteau of shoes and wings, are a fun way to style her kicks. The wings come in different styles and lace right onto the sides of her shoes.
- The Yodeling Pickle: $12.99
No explanation is needed for the yodeling pickle.
- Piggy Paint: $8.99
This all-natural, non-toxic fingernail polish comes in an array of fun colors, keeping her safe, stylish and environmentally sound.
- Tentacle Fingers: $1.99
A new Kazoodles favorite, tentacle fingers slip onto human digits, transforming them into terrifying sea monsters. Release the Kraken (onto your fingers)!
Do you have a challenge for Stump the Kazoodlers? Let us know in the comments!