My top 10 Christmas gifts for boys (and a couple gifts to avoid)

December 11, 2013 | 24 comments

I don’t know about you, but I really wish my boys didn’t want anything for Christmas (insert lyric “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch”).  In my ideal world they’d ask to buy goats for a family in Africa instead of begging me for another Lego set.

But alas, my boys are human. And they are expecting toys this Christmas. Since we already have been blessed with an abundance of things, we’ve simplified what they’ll be getting from us:

  • something they want (probably Legos)
  • something they need (most likely shoes)
  • something I make (hoping to build a Lego work shelf…kinda like this one)
  • something to read (bought some books at our Classical school book fair).

And simplified the extended family gift exchange…they receive gifts from each set of grandparents and secret santa gifts from a couple cousins. Thats 4 more gifts…for each of the 4 boys, which is 16 gifts total! Wowzers.

It sounds like I’m complaining. Really, I just don’t want more things in our home (especially more Legos…can I get an “amen”?). Honestly we are having a hard time coming up with a Christmas list. So, I could use some help. I don’t know if you are struggling to think of presents for your kiddos, but maybe we can help each other out?

I’ll share some toys my boys have liked (ones they were just given at our “Christmas at Thanksgiving” or toys they already have). Would you share some good ideas in the comments? By commenting you will be entered to win a fun giveaway…make sure you check the end of the post to find out what it is!

Favorite Riding toys:

1. Plasma car (all boys)–Shared this one many times before…but it’s truly that awesome. But more of a ride up-and-down the driveway (& in the house) kind of toy. Not so much a “go on a long walk” toy.  Click here for price: PlasmaCar


2. A good bike (elementary boys)– nothing beats a new bike for Christmas. We like buy from our local bike shop to get a quality bike that can be passed down to younger brothers. Our favorite brand is Trek. 

3. Rody Inflatable Hopping horse(toddler to elementary)-Our boys discovered these in the back of Toys’R Us and started racing down the aisles…laughing, falling over, smiling big. So both Knox & Watts got one for Christmas. I think my two oldest boys ride them more than the younger two! Click here for price-Rody Inflatable Hopping Horse

4. Mini kick scooter (preschool boys)-Apparently these scooters are popular in England. We liked the stability of the three wheels. And how it is light enough for me to carry when my little guy gets tired of “scootering” on a walk. Click here to see price-mini kick Scooter – Blue

Favorite play toys:

5. Learning Tower (toddler to elementary)I’ve mentioned this one before as well, but if you don’t have one I would say it’s been the thing my boys have played with the most. Whether they are standing on it to help me cook or using it for a puppet show or outside selling lemonade. Top “toy” for sure! Click here for price-Little Partners Learning Tower  here’s a pic from this past week using the additional “play kit” (click here for the Playhouse Kit ).


6. Fisher Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Batman cave (toddler to Kindergarten): All my boys love to play with this toy. Lots of secret doors and entrances. I’m actually surprised it’s such a hit. Click here for price-Fisher-Price Imaginext Batcave

7. Classic Tonka Garbage truck/Fire truck/Helicopter (toddler to Kindergarten)-These have proven to be go-to toys for my boys. If you don’t own any then they would be great for Christmas. (This is one version I found-Tonka Lights & Sound Fire Engine

*Don’t buy>>If I could do it over, I would not buy any car race tracks or micro-charger tracks-like this one. This toy just doesn’t hold their attention long enough. Really how fun is it to just watch a car go around a track? Nascar fans don’t answer that question.

BUT if your boys do like to play with hot wheels, here is a fun stocking stuffer idea: Civil Engineer Tape.

Favorite games:

8. Plexus Rookie (preschool to adult)-I’ve had to remove this ball from their room at night because they will stay up taking turns trying to “win” and complete the maze. Once I take it from their room, I play it! A one person game but highly engaging and good for eye-hand coordination and problem solving skills. Click here for price-Perplexus Rookie

9. Rush Hour, Jr (ages 6-8…& brilliant 4 year olds

)-There are several versions of this game, but all the same premise. The card tells you how to arrange little plastic cars, which are blocking in an ice cream truck. The goal is to slide cars out of the way to remove the truck from the jam. Great game for spatial awareness, patient problem solving and sequential logic. Click here for price-ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr.

10. Ticket to Ride-Great board game for ages 8 to adult. Have spent many hours playing this game. We prefer the European edition. Click here for the price-Ticket To Ride – Europe

**Don’t Buy>>The boys REALLY wanted this Hot Wheels car maker set (which I realize is not a game, more like a craft…). In theory this is a super cool toy, turning wax sticks into cars! But it takes a good 20 minutes to make one car. And you have to sit next to (or at least within earshot of) the machine the entire 20 minutes (a hard thing for boys to do). It actually requires adult supervision for my boys’ ages (4-8 yr olds)…something we discovered when one boy put the wax stick in the wrong way. Which meant removing 10 different tiny screws and opening up the machine to fix the problem. Needless to say…I wouldn’t recommend this one.

A Bonus gift>>New Favorite thing to wear:

Baby Bow-ties (newborn to toddler)-I first saw these adorable bow ties at a MOPS meeting. Aren’t they adorable? The company actually gave a couple to Knox for his “something he needs” presents (thank you Baby Bow-ties!). Check out all the cute patterns she has available (Click here for the site Don’t you love the tins they come in? (Knox does!).

Okay your turn! Help a girl out. What are you getting your kids?

Leave a comment to be entered to WIN a Baby Bow-tie!!

Giveaway ends December 15th. Once notified winner will choose the pattern of bowtie to receive.

**If you are looking for God-centered gifts check out this post from a couple years ago and for book ideas check my “What we’re reading” posts

**Most links are Amazon Affiliate Links…because Amazon Prime is my best friend.



  1. Kathryn Morris

    Great post! As you know, my little man and my daughter are still young (2 and 4) so I don’t have much to add. I did want to comment on your simplifying your kids Christmas by only doing 4 gifts (want, need, etc). Great idea! We do something similar: three gifts per kid (tie it in with the three gifts Jesus received from the wise men), plus in our home we do a gift from Santa in addition to the three gifts. It just isn’t their BIG present. I will say, your top three are perfect gifts. Everyone in our house enjoys their plasma car, scooter (coming this Christmas), and bike. In addition, Alex Craft Kits (specifically My Busy Box) are fabulous gifts if you and your kid(s) like crafts. The link is below..hope it works. Also, if you have a little girl, The Little Mermaid Under the Sea Treasure Game is fun and easy to play. My daughter is four and we play this game almost every day. Hope this helps, at least my first suggestion.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      I like your three ideas kathryn!! I may steal it and have the Lego sets be from Santa (he can give the “want” item). Thank you for helping simplify further!!! Going to go check out the Alex craft kits.

  2. Krystal

    This is the second year doing the four gift ideas for my boys (something they want, need, wear and read.) It was worked so well and takes a lot of stress out of shopping.
    My boy’s favorite toy is the car mat. It gets rolled out and played with everyday. My oldest is five and still plays along side his three year old brother racing cars all along the roadways.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      A car mat!! brilliant idea! thanks krystal!

  3. Erin

    I always suggest books and games. Our favorite games come from Blue Orange. We really love Spot It.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh spot it! yes. we got a sample of that game from a fast food restaurant once and the boys thought it was great. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Hayley

    I like the idea of doing a few gifts that represent a ‘want’ and a ‘need.’ My son can be entertained forever with the Thomas the Train table at Toys R Us. But the Thomas table is pricey and doesn’t come with tracks or trains. I found this Toys R Us brand table that comes with tracks AND trains for a lot cheaper and it is compatible with Thomas stuff if your kid really loves Thomas. So that is what Santa will bring.
    I would LOVE to not have anyone give us more toys this year, but I know that will not happen. Our house/storage is not very big, so we may be donating some toys to make room for these new ones.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thomas, yes!! definitely a big hit in our house. And I was very, very blessed to have a former speech therapy client gift me with their used Thomas table and trains/tracks. Big deal! And yes, great opportunity to donate toys and bless someone else (like my client did for us!).

  5. ohAmanda

    Hmm. Asa loves Playmobils. I love the little $15 ones b/c they come in a little suitcase. He can carry it anywhere, open it up and then put it away quickly.

    But he has like a billion of those. I’m still undecided as to what to get him.



    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh yes! Playmobil sets. We have bought a few (Egyptian pyramid, pirate ship, ferry boat) but maybe we should try the castle? And yes. We do have a puppet stage. If y’all don’t have a learning tower (and you have the space in your kitchen)…best toy ever!!

  6. Pamela

    I am seconding the rody, bought two today for the 3 and 1 yr olds.
    I have heard great things about the kits that make electrical engineering things, but for 5-8 yr olds? They sell at target etc. you link up connections and connect circuits. Sorry, my brain is only partially functional. Also those electric bug things. If I come up with the names I will repost

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh so glad you got Rodys! hope they love them and get their energy out. We don’t have the electrical circuits or bugs…gonna go check them out!

  7. Pamela

    Elenco snap circuits!

  8. Reagan

    Zoob blocks, Bruder trucks, dress up clothes and The Action Bible have all been very popular in our house!

  9. Jamie

    Great list Heather! Just bought Ticket to Ride Europe for my boys. And Ticket to Ride N American for my nephews:) We love magna tiles…all ages love them!

  10. Sarah (Nederveld) Giere

    Hi! I’m not sure if you remember me from TU…I’m still really good friends with Marceline and she gave me your blog address a few years ago and I’ve been reading ever since! 🙂 I have 5 kids (2 girls and 3 boys), so we have wide variety of toys over here. A couple that my boys love (ages 5 & twin 2 yr. olds): Fast Track (a BlueOrange game), Animal Planet’s Big Tub of Dinosaurs, and other animal figures (we have farm animals, ocean animals, etc).
    God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  11. Jacki Rucksdashel

    Wow! These are all awesome ideas!! I am not the best with toy ideas, but we like to give “experiences” as gifts. We also encourage the grandparents to do that too. For example–memberships to museums, tickets to “a day out with Thomas,” Disney on ice, waterpark passes. Those are all pretty pricey but we’ve also given gift cards to places to do something…like paint pottery, makeover, legoland, etc…

  12. christie elkins

    My boys are totally into anything superhero. They also love the great outdoors and I heavily considered getting them little wooden slingshots. But then I watched one bite his sister yesterday and thought slingshots may wait until next year 😉

    Also. Our pediatrician wears a bow tie. And my boys need one to match that class. The end.

  13. Karri

    I have 3 boys. My oldest 6 and 4 1/2 still love to build with old fashioned Tinker Toys and like the K’Nex (
    building toys also.

  14. Julie W

    I love your list Heather! I also love the list that everyone else made. We got a skooter for our 3 year old and a Nerf Gun thingy for our 5 year old (a lot of pieces with the disk bullet things-so I may regret it but at least he will have fun-he is fairly responsible and will probably shoot one and then go find it right away). We also like to give experiences (and encourage grandparents to do the same), so I think we might give gymnastic lessons to them too. Last year, we gave our oldest a child in Zambia that we will sponsor for him through Compassion International. This little boy has the same birthday/same birth year as my son. He has really enjoyed writing to him, praying for him, and hoping to meet him some day. Thanks!

  15. embraced by grace

    My boys are all about Lego’s. It’s about the only toy they consistently play with.


  16. Janna

    Heather I am soooo with you on the goats in Africa gift! I tried to float the idea of that with no presents under the tree, and didn’t get a favorable response. My boys are older. Gifts get harder, and unfortunately pricier, with age. That means fewer packages under the tree. My parents always tried to spend an equal amount of money on each of us, so I try to go with that, but it didn’t happen this year. The birthday presents were unequal, so Christmas kind of evened it out. I am starting my goat campaign early this year. Maybe mosquito nets too! We live in the forest, so the boys will appreciate the value of protection from those critters!

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