Top Five Timeless Toys for the Holidays


The world’s best children’s toys are remarkably cheap, resourceful, easy to maintain, and easy to find.

Jonathan Liu, one of the writers for Wired magazine’s super cool dad-blog, Geek Dad, compiled this list of classic toys after last year’s holiday madness. We have permission to post the first of five great gift ideas here, but I think you will recognize its value and head over to the Geek Dad page. Either way, Happy Black (Plague) Friday.

“So to help you out, I’ve worked really hard to narrow down this list to five items that no kid should be without. All five should fit easily within any budget, and are appropriate for a wide age range so you get the most play out of each one. These are time-tested and kid-approved! And as a bonus, these five can be combined for extra-super-happy-fun-time.

1. Stick

What’s brown and sticky? A Stick.

This versatile toy is a real classic — chances are your great-great-grandparents played with one, and your kids have probably discovered it for themselves as well. It’s a required ingredient for Stickball, of course, but it’s so much more. Stick works really well as a poker, digger and reach-extender. It can also be combined with many other toys (both from this list and otherwise) to perform even more functions.”

Click here for the rest of the article.

If you enjoy it, check out the companion piece, 6th Best Toy.

I’d like to add another new classic:

7. Empty Bottle

Costing nothing and momentarily saving landfills, the water bottle is as versatile as the stick. It’s a virtuoso’s instrument: bang on it as a drum, or use it as a drumstick and drum in one, or blow into it as a plasticwind, or use it even as a voice distorter. It can be spun in a game for less wholesome though altogether essential purposes, and it can bounce, it can be caught, it can be thrown, and, if you held onto the cap, it can act as a rocket launcher. Just loosely set the cap on, place the bottle on its side on the ground, have your toddler jump on the bottle, and boom goes the cap.

Thanks to Jonathan Liu and the guys at Geek-Dad for permission to use the piece and for helping to raise Geek Generation 2.0.

—Photo by jenni from the block/flickr

About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer ( is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.


  1. BOX! Box rules!!!!

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