We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Do the young'uns these days live on their ipads and junk like that? It's a damn shame.
If you have kids, or grandkids, let's get back to good toys and things which add real life, vs virtual life, to real living.
I am thinking of blocks, pick-up-sticks, wooden train sets, Legos, Chess (can be learned at 5), board games, card games, etc. Poker should be learned as young as possible, because it's part of life. Books at their levels, of course. Real books. Older kids, BB guns, bows and arrows, etc. By age 10-13, fishing rods, 28 ga shotguns, .22s, and big boy and girl toys like that.
Everything imaginable is on Amazon.
What ideas do our readers have for kids, for Christmas things?
There are some really cool rubber band guns out there. Check out rubberbandguns.com and elasticprecision.com. It's a high tech method of shooting rubber bands at your loved ones, but a very basic and low tech wooden toy. Who could ask for more?
I used to buy our boys Capsela stem toys where you had to put pieces with gears together correctly if you wanted to build a working car, airplane, etc. I don't think they sell them today buy there is a product out that is similar but a different name. One such toy is called I Q -Key. We usually tried to give our kids fun but educational toys.
Some of the electronic stores sell kits. Start with the really simple ones and work your way up to a working computer. I bribed my kids to finish them; made sure they had the time set aside to work on it and when they successfully completed the kit I bought them the thing they wanted. In one case that was a bicycle and another time it was a Fire Tablet. The bribe itself can be educational or exercise oriented.
For my pre-school grandkids. Wire, switches,buzzers,lights, battery holder. Teach them how to build circuits. Mix up some dilute HCl 10% (start with muriatic acid). Use an eye dropper to drop a few drops on a piece of limestone and watch it fizz--kids love this experiment. Needs adult supervision tho. Otherwise it w ok 'll get spilled on their clothes and although not a parent right away,after the Mom washes their clothes they will be full of holes.
I like that 8 for a BB gun and 12 for a 22, and I think 8 is about right for a pocket knife.
For young child:
Two impermeable, covered sandboxes. One filled with sand; Jurassic sand is a superb choice. The other to be filled and refilled with water, especially in the summer. The special two year old in our life loves to use a hose to fill the box himself and that is part of the creative play. We turn the spigot to a slow pace of water flow. A small variety of light pails, scoopers and sifters do double duty for either sand or water play.
Blank drawing paper and sturdy crayons. The young child enjoys the movement on paper. Sometimes there's big circular impressions, sometimes it rains color by pounding the paper. Advice to adult: Don't try to guess what the drawing is. Instead ask the child to tell you about it.
My uncle worked in the printing trades so when we visited we had thick pads of blank paper which I assume were cutoffs from printing jobs. And plastic tubs full of crayons. (because that generation "recycled" jars and containers without being self-congratulatory) No coloring books!!
We also enjoyed lanyard work, also known as scoubidou. USA-made Rexlace is available on Amazon. My sister also did bead work - which is huge on the internet.
There are lots of nice table-top looms that would be suitable for young people. Easiest to start with rigid-heddle looms.
I also remember making enameled copper pendants and (gasp!) ashtrays. little table-top kiln thingy and enamel powder. Pre-cut copper blanks, or you can cut your own. You can get the same effect with modern acrylic paints that stick to everything, including glass - there are even markers.
Similarly, we had markers and crayons with (relatively) permanent fabric dye. Draw on your t-shirt, then iron to set.
Don't forget paper mache - newspapers, bucket, drill with paint mixer, bottle of glue.
Also plaster casting. Tons of cheap molds in the craft stores, and lots of decoration options.
For children old enough not to eat it, FIMO and other polymer clays are excellent. My kids made my wife a beaded necklace that she still wears. You may want to buy a small toaster oven to bake it, or bake it in disposable aluminum pans to avoid chemicals in your oven.