Our family is still in search of ways to occupy four energetic children without summer camp or much funds for day trips. Our next step was to get away from the video games for a while and go old school, checking out some toys that were available back when the husband and I were growing up.
We ordered the Movie Time Air Popcorn Popper, the Base Station with Walkie Talkies, and a Special Edition Erector Set, which comes six hundred forty-three metal parts, one 6V motor, tools and instructions.
These are all available at Back to Basics Toys.
Surprisingly, the big hit was the popcorn popper, even though I’d hardly classify it as a toy. It’s a basic hot air popper all dressed up to look cool.
But it’s incredibly easy to operate, it produces very uniform popcorn that tastes good and is healthy for kids, and, best of all, it’s entertainment. Though I doubt this was a specific part of the design, my kids love it when some of the kernels pop in the bowl, sending a little shower of popcorn at them. And the design is important, I don’t think they’d be as thrilled if this happened with a plain white hot air popper.
The walkie-talkies were put to immediate use outside in the yard, to send signals back and forth from the woods to the house to the playset. They were also quite useful for hide and seek.
The erector set was truly impressive. So intricate, it almost seems more for a grown-up than a kid. The metal parts feel quite substantial, the screws are well-labeled and the instructions are clear. However, the set is requires much patience and there are lots of small screws and tiny pieces that little ones may find difficult to put together. Heck, the husband said he was finding it time-consuming to assemble.
I’d suggest this erector set for a good intermediate bridge between plastic toys and the real thing but I wouldn’t recommend it unless kids are already interested in your toolbox.
And the last basic toy we tried was one already sitting in our garage: the wading pool that the younger ones had outgrown a few years ago. But we filled it up anyway, the kids put on bathing suits, splashed each other, filled up their Super Soakers with it, ran around, and basically just had a good time.