Best Classic Toys: Holiday & Birthday Gifts for Kids

by Bernadette Verzosa

In celebration of Neighborhood Toy Store Day, we bring you this list of fun toys guaranteed to stay in style for years to come! How can we make such a guarantee? Because Deborah Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys on Rice Boulevard, has seen these toys stand the test of time. They are what she calls “perennial best-sellers.”

Scholl’s store has served the Houston community for 18 years. She started her business when her daughter, Madeline, was a toddler. Madeline is now a college student but Scholl continues to share her expertise with Houston parents, and non-parents, who need gift ideas.

Scholl selects toys that enrich children’s development. The classic toys below were on Fundamentally Toys’ shelves when its doors opened in 1995, and they continue to sell out year after year for one simple reason: both parents and kids love them!

Ages 3 and Up
This is a simple, fun and easy air-powered rocket. Kids or adults stomp on the bulb, pushing the air through the hose and propelling the rocket more than 100 feet in the air. For extra fun, blast off at night – the rockets glow in the dark. Children ages 8 and up may prefer the STOMP ROCKET ULTRA which launches more than 200 feet in the air. Price: $ 17.95

Ages 6 – 11
This is an award-winning, entertaining, sandwich themed sequence game. Cards are slices of bread with cheese, meats, vegetables, even fish and birthday cake. Players must be observant. When they notice a sequence, they can yell “Slamwich” and collect all the cards. The deck comes in a collectible tin. Families can still play the game even when they lose some cards. Price: $ 14.95

Ages 8 and Up
This mind-challenging, single-player strategy game has won many awards including a national award from Mensa. Parents and kids can choose between four levels of difficulty from Beginner to Expert. The object is always to clear the way so the red car gets out. Cards show how to set up the cars for rush hour gridlock. Price: $ 22.95

Ages 12 months and Up
This is a little box of six eggs with different personalities. Toddlers can press down to make them squeak. They can lift off the top and match the expressions of the eyes. They can lift from the bottom and replace by matching the shapes. The pieces are big enough for tiny hands. The toy grows with children. They play with it differently at 12 months, 16 months and 20 months. Price: $ 12.95

Ages 3 months-2 years
This colorful toy with flexible corners is a source of endless wonder for babies and toddlers. It’s easy to handle and can fall from hand to hand. Because it’s made of wood and elastic, it collapses without hurting babies when they press their faces and bodies against it. Price: $ 17.95

Ages 8 – 108 (yes – 108)
Children end up loving to learn about circuitry and electronics with this award-winning toy. Instead of handling wires, they can use conductor parts that snap together easily to create projects like flying saucers and doorbells. It comes with instructions for more than 100 projects which translates to hours of educational engagement. Price: $ 39.95

Ages 6 and up
The cards feature four characteristics: color, shape, shading and quantity. The brain has to think differently when taking each characteristic into account to create a “SET.” Children of many ages find this game entertaining. Families can still play the game even if they lose some cards. The deck is easy to pack for travel.
Price: $ 12.95

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