While there are an amazing number of benefits to having 3 children of the same-sex that are also very close in age–playing on the same sports teams, watching the same movies and TV shows, getting the absolute most wear out of every piece of clothing they own–there are a few drawbacks. Because their interests are so similar, by the time their birthdays roll around it is a challenge to come up with new toys as gifts for them. This is especially true for my youngest son, who just celebrated his fifth birthday last week.
It has become a strange source of dread for me, that inevitable question from friends and family, “Well, what should I get him?” I always stammer and say generic things like, “Uh, well, he likes cars, Legos, those little Imaginext guys…” until I trail off, all the while thinking of the tons of Legos, cars, and Imaginext figures we already have at home. After snapping out of my mental home-toy inventory, I inevitably say, “Let me check and see what I can come up with and I’ll let you know.” Then I begin my hunt for an affordable gift that will suit his personality and see lots of play time, while not being obnoxiously loud and driving me insane. It is a grueling process sometimes, which I know sounds ridiculously silly.
So, after scouring the internet for a good couple of hours, I was super excited when I found a toy that I thought would fit the bill: The Spooner. This simple-looking piece of plastic is touted as “The ultimate fun board for any surface and any space.” I was a little skeptical it could be a big, dull, dud since it is such a simple concept, but after reading the glowing reviews and awards it received (2011 Product of the Year by Creative Child Magazine, 2011 Best Toys for Kids Winner by ASTRA) and watching a few videos, I decided to pass the recommendation along to my mom.
Although my son was a little confused as to what the heck the thing was when he first opened the package, once he was able to try it out he loved it. All three of my boys (ages 8, 6, 5) love it, actually, and have fought over the board multiple times. It comes with a handy sheet of stunts to try depending on the child’s age and skill level. My 8-year-old read the instructions and attempted a few of the stunts while all three of them had a blast spinning on it and “penguin walking,” as they called it. They have used it inside (on carpet and tile) and outside (on grass and concrete) and were able to maneuver it on any surface, though they prefer the tile since it allows for the fastest spinning action.
This little toy keeps my boys busy, happy, and giggling while expending some of their abundant energy. It also helps to work their balance and coordination, and is great indoor activity on a rainy day. The only thing I suggest is having someone supervise while a child is playing with it on a hard surface. Sometimes my boys get it spinning so fast while they are standing up I am afraid they are going to lose their balance, fall and hit their heads on something. The only negative comment I have is that it can be quite loud when it is spinning on a tile floor. A couple of times I have had to threaten to confiscate it if my boys didn’t move it to the carpet. Now, if that’s not a sign of a good toy, I don’t know what is.
- Focus on Buying Open-Ended Toys (69/365) (thesimpledollar.com)