In a year where our kids have likely had to spend more time than usual online with screens, it’s the perfect time to bring back some favourite toys and introduce some fun new ones that will help develop other skills, while providing some fantastic play time.

As a first time Grandma, and a veteran mom of four, I’ve seen the toys that my kids loved when they were small, and which ones they returned to time and time again. In a year when budgets are tight and space is at a minimum in our homes that have everyone in the house, in on-line school or working remotely, we want to make the most of our money and space. Additionally, finding toys that take kids into creative play, improve tactile skills and ones that encourage independent play will continue to have value to mom and dad well past the holidays.

Here are the toys I’m recommending:

1) Care Bears: The iconic 1980’s brand and an original toy collectible, each bear is still as lovable and huggable as ever. Each plush bear comes with its special Care Coin for collecting and sharing. Perfect for kids to give to those friends they haven’t been able to spend as much time with as they’d have liked. There are six Care Bears available – Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear and Share Bear.

But Care Bears are both old and new again as the line expands into Care Bears Interactive Figures. Kids can unlock 50+ reactions and surprises with a simple touch of their paws, nose or belly. They sing, tell jokes, share feelings, move, dance, and light up their signature belly. They interact with each other as well.

2) Lite Brite: The original screen. This creative classic is back with a larger screen, brighter pegs and more templates, which of course include the six retro patterns. Freestyle thinking and creative play, plus the thrill of watching your art come to light in a dark room is made easier with an updated stand. Kids will love to show off their masterpieces.

3) Tonka: Who doesn’t remember Tonka Tough? They’re still tough and the Tonka Mighty Dump Truck epitomizes the iconic yellow big wheeled vehicle made of real steel. Kids will have hours of fun loading and unloading. The Mighty Metal Fleet are just as Tonka Tough, but are only 8” to allow for play in smaller areas. As a stocking stuffer, the Tonka Mud Rescue series is perfect for the construction fan in your family. Each pack contains a diecast vehicle, play accessories and Tonka Mud, which is a no-mess compound.

4) Pound Puppies: They’re back with new authentic reproductions that look and feel just the same as you remember. They are ready to be adopted and loved, and come in a pet-carrier shaped package with a care sheet and adoption papers. Perfect for snuggling up to on a cold winter night, there is a variety of puppies to choose from, with different facial and eye expressions, ear lengths and fur colours in an updated soft material.

5) Cutetitos Pizzaitos: A relatively new kid on the market, the Cutetitos line has grown due to its huge popularity in the collectables market. Pizzaitos are super soft stuffed animals wrapped and hidden in a pizza blanket ready to be unrolled and discovered. Cheese, pepperoni, spicy and Hawaiian pizzas are available, with 12 new animalitos to be found inside. They come in various levels of cheese, so cheesy, extra cheesy or super cheesy, indicating their rarity. Kids can also practice their pizza tossing skills and share them on social media.

6) CurliGirls: Growing up I always wanted to be a hair stylist (true story) probably partially due to my poker straight hair. This toy would have been a favourite for me. By simply using the curling tool or just your fingers, you simply pull the straight hair strand to create curls. The longer you pull, the tighter you curl. Hair clips and beads make up the final hairstyle. Want to do it again? Simply dip the hair in warm water and it magically straightens (like mine). Endless styling possibilities and creative fun. There are three CurliGirls, each with their own interest. Bayli the Birthday Girl, Charli the Pop Star and Hayli the Ballerina.

Find the above toys at Toys R Us, Canadian Tire, and Walmart.

This post is sponsored by Basic Fun Toys, but as usual, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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