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Lists for shoppers without lists

November 18, 2018

Some years I’m on top of things, buying Christmas gifts in June and July and smugly tucking them away in a closet.

And then there’s this year.

Let’s just say that I could use a few more months of prep time. But that’s not going to happen.

I don’t even have a list of things I WANT to buy, much less a stash of items already purchased.

Some retailers are ready to lend a helping hand to folks like me by publishing gift guides and lists of the year’s hottest toys. I’m paying special attention to the toy lists this year because we’re not sure what to get my 6-year-old granddaughter.

Amazon, Meijer and Parents magazine are among those that distributed toy suggestions.

Meijer featured 30 of what it expects to be the most in-demand items this year -- triple last year’s list curated by the Michigan-based superstore. Parents’ list includes 70, and Amazon chose 100 top toys.

A few that caught my eye include:

LEGO Creator Pirate Roller Coaster, which lets kids create “the ultimate ride with shark carriages, ticket booth, water drop and decorative pirate-themed props.” Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash, which has “three high-action crash zones and three high-speed boosters.” Monopoly Cheaters Edition, which “encourages players to cheat during the game.” Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby, which “responds to a child’s voice and touch with 80 lifelike movements, expressions and real baby sounds.” Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg, with “so many toys to open ... it kept kids really occupied.”

Purdue University released a list of 140 games, toys and books designed to inspire children with an affinity for science, technology, engineering and math.

These might not be the “hottest” choices, but they might make parents and grandparents feel a little better about the quality of experience their child will have in exchange for the 75 or $100 price tag.

The Purdue list includes:

Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, which helps kids learn basics of computer programming. Grand City Station, which helps children overcome challenges, one step at a time, a pint-sized version of troubleshooting. “Audrey the Amazing Inventor,” written by Rachel Valentine and illustrated by Katie Weymouth, which looks at the engineering design process.

These and other lists are available online. Keep in mind, of course, your child’s age and interests.

As for my granddaughter, the “hot toy” that was a hit with her last year came from another grandparent. But I got to experience the Pie Face Game up close and personally when she visited on Dec. 26. I’ve included photographic evidence in case you’re curious.

Oh, the things we do to amuse our grandchildren! 

sslater@jg.net

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