I miss my dream kitchen in Ohio, but what my kids miss are the two Ezy Rollers they got for Christmas last year. These ride-on toys are ingenious in their simplicity – four wheels, one seat, a couple of bars of sturdy metal and an effective hand break – and powered by an intuitive back-and-forth foot/leg motion. Without instruction, even preschoolers start zipping around in no time, while their parents watch with envy and wonder whether adults can fit.
Hats off to the very clever kiwis who invented this marvel in their garage in New Zealand – it’s a Ferrari compared to those plastic plasma cars. The recommended age is three to 14, and the Ezy Roller comes with two expansion bars to increase the length for taller kids and adults. In the picture above, my 5’9″ niece squeezed on an Ezy Roller with a short expansion bar, but she would have fit more comfortably with the long one.
You have to see the Ezy Roller in action to appreciate how remarkably speedy and maneuverable it is. You can even climb hills with this thing. And the very low center of gravity (the rider is practically sitting on the ground) gives it great stability.
This video shows my three-year-old riding the Ezy Roller last spring. Reload the page on your browser if it’s not showing up – I didn’t want to put the video on YouTube, but this Flickr method has some issues.
With moving on the brain, I’m loath to accumulate more stuff this Christmas (but you can check out my gift ideas from previous years). In their stockings this year, my kids will get a traditional Christmas orange and some sweets, along with a very silly 5″ ball-shaped stuffed animal ($5). The giraffe is my favorite – so goofy.
Flashlights are always in with my kids – we love headlamps – but I’ve been eyeing these mini LED keychain flashlights ($6) for stockings this year. I may regret it – they are super small (1.5″) and use button batteries (which I will be buying for cheap in bulk on Amazon come January) – but the flashlights are darn cute. They come in black, blue, red and pink.
I buy fun trinkets in bulk help my mother-in-law fill stockings at her house for 13 grandkids. Usually I’ll mix drawing items (pens or notebooks) with something to wear (bracelets, goofy glasses, fake moustaches) with something to play with (balls, small toys). This year I took care of everything through Oriental Trading, with magic 8 ball pens, camouflage dog tag necklaces, clapping hands and wooden jacob’s ladders. I know most of you don’t need trinkets by the dozen, but they also make fun party favors or class gifts. Check for coupon codes before you order (there is a free shipping offer on all orders, but it ends today!!).
And a quick update on my favorite indoor toy ever, Magna-Tiles: Since production was wiped out during the flooding in Thailand in 2011, supply has been short and prices have been high. I’m disappointed that the situation is only somewhat improved this year, and prices are still significantly higher than when I bought mine in 2010. The 32-piece set is around $50 on Amazon.com, and the 100-piece set, MSRP $120, is all but impossible to find (this place says they’ll have it in stock December 15, but I’d recommend calling them to double check).
There is an imitation version that is much cheaper, but reviews say the magnets are not in the right place, so building is frustrating. So I wouldn’t recommend them – the magic of Magna-Tiles is in the amazing creations they can support.
Past gift idea posts