Parents@Play 2017 Holiday Gift Guide #2: Creature Comforts

With so many fascinating, amazing, gorgeous, and marvelous creatures as there already are in the world, one might reasonably wonder why anyone could want even more. The answer is simple: Because it’s fun! Here are some of our current favorite Holiday creature comforts.

Beat Bugs Singing Jay (Blip Toys)

beat bugsJay and the other Beat Bugs sing along with songs from season one of their hit Netflix streaming show. If you’re a Beatles purist, you may have some trouble with the Fab Four’s music being sung by adorable insects, but if you want to introduce your little ones to some of the best rock music ever created—including “Help,” “Blackbird,” Good Day Sunshine,” “Penny Land,” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” you can’t go wrong here. Picture books and activity books (with stickers and word searches) sold separately. Figures come with batteries. For ages 3+

Beasts of Balance (Beasts of Balance)

beasts of balanceA beautifully conceived game that combines physical challenges and digital delights. Working by yourself or with a partner (or several), stack the 24 colorful and whimsical pieces to build a tower. Each piece is a beast, an element, an action, or a miracle. At the same time, using the free app on your connected device, watch as the world you’re creating—complete with magical beasts—appears. Because there are so many pieces and so many combinations, no game is ever the same. But be careful: if you knock down your tower, a volcano erupts, engulfing your world in fire and lava. Encourages collaboration, imagination, creativity, and more. For 1-5 players, ages 7+. Under $100.

Grossery Gang Action Figures (Grossery Gang)

grossery gangIt’s a struggle as old as time, one that plays out in billions of homes around the world every single day: dirty vs. clean, new vs. goo. On one side is the heroic Grossery Gang, including Grub Sub. Gooey Chewie, and Putrid Pizza; on the other, Vac Attack and his band of evildoers, whose mission is to wipe out all grossness, ickiness, and stickiness. It’s a battle of septic proportions that only one side can win. Today, anyway. Tomorrow we begin again…. For ages 4+. About $40 for three figures.

Oonies Starter Pack (Moose Toys)

ooniesOonies are inflatable pellets—not quite balloons, not quite bubbles—that stick together (without glue or mess) and can be decorated and arranged into just about anything (including creatures, of course) you can imagine. The starter pack comes with an inflator, 36 pellets, connectors, decorations, which is enough to create three separate designs. You can also use Oonies to create your own games. Under $15. Additional pellets and accessories sold separately. For ages 5+.

Scary Bingo (Laurence King)

scary bingoJust like regular Bingo, except that instead of putting your tokens on something boring like B-15, you put your googly eyed counters on menacing mummies, hat-wearing yetis, multi-eyed monsters, and a few dozen other engaging monsters. Five in a row wins. Although the game is called Scary Bingo and the characters are called monsters, there’s something very sweet about this game, and little kids will spend most of their time giggling. For 3-7 players, ages 3+.

Shnooks (Zuru)

shnooksPop their bubble (hey, that’s how Shnooks are born), shake them to life, and they grow to eight times their original size (most of which is hair). Then comb, style, braid, and accessorize to your heart’s content. There are currently six collectible characters (Shnuggles, Shazam, Shine, Shay, Shweetly, and Shmiley), but more are sure to come. Each one comes with a stylin’ styling comb and mystery hair bands. For ages 3+. About $20.