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Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys

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Looking for a gift idea for a boy in your life that won’t just be tossed to the side after his birthday or the holidays? These are toys and books that have stood the test of time in our house!

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My boys have a lot of toys! Too many toys, really! But there are some toys that were really worth it! This is a list of toys, books, games and arts and crafts supplies that my boys have played with consistently over time. Yes, girls can play with and use these things, too, but I have two boys, three nephews and just one niece, so my adult life has pretty much been spent thinking about what gifts I should buy for boys! 😉

My experience in this area has thus far been limited to boys who are 8 and under and I want to make sure I give you an accurate idea of the ages for which these gifts are most appropriate. I hope this list of gift ideas for young boys gives you some ideas of presents that will stand the test of time!

Toy Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Bruder Toys CAT Excavator

These trucks have not only kept my boys attention for years, they are sturdy and built to last for years, too! My boys have loved the construction vehicles in particular and the take them inside and outside to dig, whether it be dirt, sand or picking up LEGO Bricks! You can see a whole list of Bruder Trucks here! Also popular with my boys are the trash truck and fire truck!

2. LEGO Building Set

 

My boys are obsessed with LEGO® bricks! In particular, they love the LEGO CITY line: police, fire, construction, etc. The Mobile Command Center pictured above has been particularly popular with my boys!

The great thing about LEGOs is that they can be used over and over again in millions of different combinations. Some kids like to build sets and keep them together and other kids love to take them apart and build their own creations. Whatever your gift-recipient’s personality it’s hard to go wrong with LEGO bricks! Another great thing about LEGO toys is that there is something for every price range!

4. Magna-Tiles

 

Magna-Tiles are another toy that my boys can play with for long spans of time. These toys are an investment, but they continue to be popular at home and at local play cafes and indoor play areas! We have a slightly cheaper version called Dreambuilder Toy Magnetic Tiles that work pretty well but are a little bit smaller.

5. Playmobil

My boys have been fans of Playmobil across all ages. This is another toy that has spanned several years of playing! Again, my boys are particularly drawn to the Fire and Police lines of this toy, but they pretty much enjoy any vehicle or building. The Playmobile Fire Station was a hit a few years ago for Christmas and it continues to be played with on a regular basis! My boys love the police car and fire trucks.

6. Road Rug

Do boys come out of the womb obsessed with Matchbox cars? I think mine did! One of the best places to drive your toy cars is on a “road rug”! A rug like this one and a pack of Matchbox cars will provide hours of entertainment! My boys have used their road rugs as an action scene for LEGO vehicles, dinosaurs, Playmobil cities and more! These rugs provide the setting for imaginations to run wild!

7. Matchbox or Hotwheels Cars and Transporter

As mentioned in #6, Matchbox or Hotwheels cars are super popular with all ages of boys! My kids started playing with them at age 2 and they’re still playing with them! It’s easy to collect these cars in mass numbers and one of the things we have used to store them is this Toy Truck Transport Car Carrier

8. Wooden Train Tracks

Wooden train tracks have been played with at my house in some form for many years! Both of my boys have gone through their train phases and these tracks stand the test of time! There are a lot of related brands of train products that fit together. The Thomas the Train line is probably the most popular train toy, but my boys have played with all kinds of trains! And no matter how many tracks you have you can always add more to make your scene bigger!

Check here for the wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train.

9. Kid Galaxy White House

This gift is a surprising one on the list, but recently my boys got really into learning about the US Presidents! When I shared about this in my Instagram stories, I got a lot of interest in this toy that friends of ours found for my boys, so I figured my boys are not the only ones into US history!

This set comes with a plastic White House that opens up and has 4 play rooms. There is a figurine for each president of the US and a set of cards with info about each president. It was amazing how much my boys played with this one!

Book Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. My Truck is Stuck

This is a funny, rhyming book my boys have read over and over! A great picture book for young boys!

2. Alphabet Trucks


 

If your boys love trucks, they will love learning the alphabet with this book that features a truck that starts with every letter of the alphabet!

3. Cars Galore

Cars, cars and still more cars! This is another great car book for vehicle lovers!

4. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

A classic by Richard Scarry here! This book has scenes from all over featuring, you guessed it: vehicles!

5. Sticker Books

 

Books like these sticker books have kept my boys busy for hours! They love these books that have stickers to put on all the pages in the book. They especially love the Trucks and Cars themed sticker books! Friends of our family have given my boys these books as gifts and they even regularly look at them even though all the stickers are in place! 


Board Game Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. UNO Attack

My kids love playing UNO Attack – even if they’re making up their own rules most of the time! 😉 UNO is a great game for kids because it involves matching colors and recognizing numbers and it’s pretty easy to learn at a young age! Adding in the Attack feature is extra fun for kids! They love the suspense of wondering if and how many cards are going to come flying out!

2. Payday

Payday is a classic game that is pretty easy for young kids to pick up! My kids have loved this game and love learning about the concept of money! There is a surprising amount of life lessons to be learned when playing this game! 😉 Introducing the concept of bills, insurance, jobs and the responsibilities of adulthood is never a bad idea!

3. Connect 4

This is a really simple game for young kids to play! Even a 3 year old can play Connect Four! My youngest son recently made up his own version of Connect 4 where we took turns making a pattern. Maybe it’s not in the rule book, but I thought it was a great learning exercise that was fun for him at the same time! (As a side note, check out this awesome life sized, yard games version of Connect 4!)

4. Sorry

Sorry is another great game for younger kids! I am not a fan of this game because it always made me cry as a kid! LOL! But my kids love it so I will swallow my pride and play it with them. It’s a great way to learn counting!


Arts and Crafts Gift Ideas for Boys:

1. Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad: Vehicles

My kids have this sticker pad and love using the stickers over and over again to make different scenes! The price on this pad is very reasonable (usually less than $5) which is pretty good considering that the stickers are reusable!  There are several themes available for these pads including My Town and Adventure!

2. Water Wow! Reusable Coloring Books

We recently discovered these books as they were gifted to my kids by one of their grandparents! This is another mess free coloring option that’s great for travel or keeping kids busy in restaurants or doctor’s offices and the like! You fill the pen with water and then you can paint the scenes and they turn colors! The great thing about this pad is that as it dries, the picture turns white again and it is reusable!

3. Imagine Ink Magic Ink Picture Books


These mess free coloring books are great for car rides and pretty much any time you need to keep a kid busy! My kids have had tons of these books and they love them! This is a great idea for when you’re traveling with kids or want them to be able to color without worrying about making a mess. The ink is clear unless used on the special paper within the book!

4. Crayola Washable Water Paints

 

You can’t go wrong with these classic water paints! Kids love to play and paint with water. We have huge rolls of paper that we just roll out on the table and let the kids paint on!  Don’t forget paint brushes!


If you’re looking for a great gift idea for young boys, I hope this list gives you a starting point! These gifts are classic and have stood the test of time in my house! If you’re looking for a gift for a boy that won’t get tossed to the side the day after opening it, pick one of these gifts that can be used again and again, even in different ways, as kids grow and change!

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Tried and True Gift Ideas for Young Boys


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What Should We Do This Weekend? September 9-11, 2016

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1. Marion Popcorn Festival

When: Thursday – Saturday, September 8 – 10, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Location: Downtown Marion
Phone: 740-387-3378

Did you know Marion, Ohio is one of the top popcorn producers in the country? If you’re up for a road trip this weekend, you can celebrate popcorn with live musical acts like Kellie Pickler, rides, a parade, contests, a 5K, talent show and more!

2. Pearl Market

When: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: Pearl Alley, between Gay and Broad Streets
Phone: 614-591-4559

Visit Columbus’ downtown Farmer’s and Merchant’s Market for lots of fall goodies! The market runs through October 14, so you only have a few more weeks to do so!

3. Shekinah Festival and Auction at Shekinah Christian School

When: Friday & Saturday, September 9 & 10, 2016
Time: Friday: 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Saturday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 10040 Lafayette-Plain City Rd, OH 43064
Phone: 614-504-3066

The “Biggest Little Festival in Ohio” includes BBQ, homemade ice cream, hot air balloons (including rides), live entertainment, crafts and baked goods for sale and a silent auction! Admission is free! If you attend, check out more things to do in Plain City!

4. The Main Event in Bexley

When: Friday, September 9, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Location: Capital University Lawn, 2242 E Main St., Columbus, OH 43209
Phone: 614-559-4200

Check out the Bexley’s Got Talent Show, play games and do crafts!  The movie Inside Out will be shown at 8:00 PM! Food options include Hot Chicken Takeover and Johnson’s Real Ice Cream!

5. Grand Reopening at Driving Park Community Center

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 1100 Rhoads Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Celebrate the Grand Reopening with a ribbon cutting ceremony, food, and activities like a bounce house, climbing wall, live entertainment and a showing of the OSU game! See more information here.

6. Old Hilliardfest

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Location: Main St., downtown Hilliard

This street fair is full of fun including live music, food, carnival rides, games and activities for kids, a sunflower show, a Kids Fair and a car show, just to name a few!

7. Touch at Truck at the Columbus Zoo

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Jungle Jack’s Landing, 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

See emergency vehicles, utility trucks, safari vehicles and more up close while visiting the zoo!

8. Community Rock Climbing Festival at Scioto Audubon

When: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Climbing Wall, 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43206

The events for the day include yoga, a climbing competition, visits from local mascots, volleyball, music, sumo wrestling and climbing clinics! This festival is open to families and all ages can climb! The day will end with a showing of the movie Everest! While you’re there, check out what else there is to do with kids at Scioto Audubon!

9. Columbus Toy and Collectable Show at Ohio Expo Center

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Laushe Building, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

This family-friendly toy show may very well be a walk down memory lane for us parents! Click here for information on how to dress up to be entered into a drawing for door prizes! Kids under 12 are free!

10. Daniel Tiger Brunch at Skate Zone 71

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 4900 Evanswood Dr, Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-846-5626

Meet Daniel Tiger at this brunch buffet with roller skating afterwards! Tickets are $15 per adult and $10 per child over 2. You MUST have reservations for this event – call the number above for tickets!

11. Cops and Kids Day at Westerville Sports Complex

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 325 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-901-6893

This special day aims to allow children to learn about the vehicles, equipment, and technology used by law enforcement officers as well as meet officers in person! There will also be crafts, inflatables, and a “dunk-a-cop” tank! The 1st 1,000 children in attendance receive a free bag and water bottle. Admission and refreshments are free! Cops and Kids Day is part of Community Day, which also includes The Great Westerville Food Truck Fest and the 9/11 Memorial Observation. Here are some more ideas for things to do in Uptown Westerville.

12. Young Chef’s Academy Open House

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 425 Beecher Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230
Phone: 614-933-9700

Check out Young Chef’s Academy for cooking demonstrations, sample recipes, door prizes and special deals! Register online!

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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Saturday Morning in the Short North

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We {heart} the Short North!  When we moved to Columbus, it’s where we wanted to be. My husband and I lived here for three and a half years before we had our first child. We took full advantage of walking out our front door and straight to some of the best dining, arts and shopping in the city!

We love having kids in the Short North, the proximity to so many fun places, parks and museums is awesome!  We love being in a walkable neighborhood that’s full of life and energy!  But, let’s be honest, our excursions to High Street have decreased in frequency since the bambinos came along.  Gallery Hop comes to life mostly after bed time and strollers don’t always fit inside tiny, hip restaurants or crowded art galleries.  But over the past few years we’ve noticed more and more strollers popping up on the sidewalks around us and with the creation of the group Short North Parents, there’s been a movement for families with children to stay in the area as their kids grow.

Just this past year we’ve seen the opening of the first retail shop in the Short North that is 100% for kids (correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t think of another!).  That is certainly a sign that the times are changing and that the Short North CAN be kid-friendly!

Even if (and especially if) you don’t live here, you should know that you CAN bring your kids to the Short North and have a really fun time!  Today I’m going to share with you a recent outing I had with my family – all four of us.

First Stop:  Laughlin’s Bakery

This quaint little bakery sits on 2nd Ave. just east of High St.

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The cookies, cakes and pastries are beautiful and it was tough to choose!

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My oldest went straight for the pink one (technically the Lemon and Pomegranate Haley Cake) because he’s into icing!  Eric and I shared a Laminated Sugar Brioche which was awesome!

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The selection is amazing and I could try one of each – so could my kids, for sure!  There are 3 or 4 tables for sitting.  The atmosphere is bright and I bet every day feels like Saturday in here! See also: 5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries!

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Laughlin’s Bakery
Location: 15 East 2nd Ave, Columbus Ohio, 43201
Phone: 614-914-8858
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Closed Monday

Second Stop: Italian Village Park

If you’re exploring the Short North and your kids need somewhere to get out excess energy or a place to take a break and have a snack, veer east on Buttles Ave., over to Italian Village Park, which is about a block and a half from high street.  This is a pretty large green space for the area and a great meeting place for the neighborhood.  There is a lot of seating here, room to run and a small playground.  We’ve stopped off here a number of times to eat ice cream from UDF or let the kids out of the stroller to run after walking up and down High Street.

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Italian Village Park
Location: 55 E. Hubbard Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Third Stop: Cub Shrub

Cub Shrub grew from one shelf in Tiger Tree to it’s very own storefront!  Since its opening in November, 2015, this was our first visit to the store!

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My kids enjoyed the workbench set up for play and they especially loved pushing the little shopping carts around the store.

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shoppingcarts

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Cub Shrub carries toys and clothing for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a kind birthday or shower gift, look no further!  The clothing is hip and adorable and the toys are eye catching and high quality.  There is also a fun selection of books, decor and children’s accessories.

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Cub Shrub
Location: 749 N. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-947-1193
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Free and metered street parking can be found on the side streets around the Short North. There are also several parking garages available.  Check out this link for more detailed parking options in the area.  If you’re looking for more in the Short North, check out our trip to North Market and keep an eye on the blog as we will continue to share more Short North fun with kids!

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