haley's picks: gifts for pre-school boys

Another stellar list of gift ideas (all but one under $30!) from Haley:

"In a house full of girls, I am always completely stumped when an invitation for a little boy's birthday party arrives in our mailbox. My mind immediately floods with the dread of the impending gift. Luckily, while doing my month-long search for my picks for preschool boys, I was graced with the knowledge of several mom friends who tackle the especially challenging task of raising these little balls of energy day in and day out. So thanks, ladies! Oh, and thanks to my husband, who came through at the last minute with some incredible finds on his geeky websites. Since I am totally unfamiliar with this territory, I relied heavily on these resources, and those of professional toy reviewers. So rest assured...all of these items are SURE to be a total hit with your preschool boy or one you know!!!!

1. Branch Building Blocks ($30)... These are by far the most incredible building blocks I have ever seen. What a great alternative to lincoln logs or legos! Each 21 piece set is made from salvaged wood and comes in a handmade drawstring bag. Swoon.
...via oh dee doh

2. Cat in the Hat "I can do that" game ($20)... Start by flipping over three cards to discover your new challenge. What will it be? Can you jump up and down...while holding the fish...under your chin? Can you limbo under the trick-a-ma-stick…while balancing the boat...on your stomach? If you think you can, shout, "I Can Do That!" There are hundreds of hilarious possibilities. The player who earns the most stars wins!

3. Zubbles ($15 for a 2-pack) This is the most exciting thing I have seen in awhile...COLORED BUBBLES!!! Zubbles are the world's first disappearing color, non-staining, non-toxic bubbles. The possiblities are endless. They are available in pink and blue, and there is a manual that comes with them to tell you ways to make every color of the rainbow! The website is great. You can watch a streaming video of the bubbles in action. I ordered them immediately and am anxiously awaiting their arrival!

4. Backyard Safari Time Capsule ($25) While most time capsules require a level of patience that's not entirely suited for a child's attention span, the Backyard Safari Time Capsule can be both buried and continually stocked with new items. It's really a neat idea. You bury the capsule, then an artificial rock hides a tube that reaches the surface. Whenever a child wishes to add more objects (baseball cards, LEGO minifigs, dead pets) they simply drop them down a hole.

5. Spy Glove ($20) Here's every essential your little spy needs, on a super-cool, wearable Spy Glove: wrist watch to synchronize the time, digital recorder to record secret conversations, mini-telescope for surveillance, flashlight for night missions, and magnifying glass for examining evidence. What more could a little spy ask for? Even if they don't understand any of the functions, the mere sight of this toy marveled a prestigious panel of preschool toy reviewers.

6. Sky blasters ($13 for two): Like a bow and arrow and stomp rocket all rolled in to one. Reviewers all over the internet raved about this toy and its ability to entertain kids for hours on end. They launch the rocket by pulling back on a string and then release! Each rocket soars up to 120 feet and its tails can be manipulated for either straight flight or twists!!! The best part is, they have to run and go get the rocket once its been launched...which should hopefully lead to a nice long nap that afternoon. Moms everywhere will thank you.

7. I spy stick ($7) My friend Julie swears by these. She loves to use them in the car to keep her little boy (4 years old) busy on road trips. Kids twist and turn the stick to reveal up to 42 items hiding inside it! Parents can read the included card and prompt their kids to find the "soccer ball" or the "pirate hat." Too cute. And at $7, you could stock up for every little boy you know! Also comes in holiday versions, so the fun never ends!

8. Super hero cape ($42) This cape is a bit pricier than the other picks, but I thought I would include it in case you were looking for a gift for your OWN little superhero. These capes are by far the best quality and best looking around. They will fit for years on end. There are so many different options. A total must for any preschool boy.

9. Gallop! Scanimation book ($11) I am one of those geeky moms who likes to give books for birthdays...which I guess can be a tad boring. Not so with this INCREDIBLE scanimation book! It features three animals and their gaits, and is a fascinating way to explain to your preschooler a little more about animation and how it works. I am just as obsessed with this book as my four year old is. Truly, truly amazing.

10. Pluto Plasma ($4) Pluto Plasma is stretchable, bounceable and it looks super futuristic with its marbled, frosty appearance. It appears liquid in the container, but reviewers say, upon removing it, it’s more solid than it appears to be. It also apparently makes some really funny noises when your little one is returning it to its container, which delighted little boys who tested the product. At $3.99, this would make a GREAT party favor!!!

Once again- I am floored by Haley's ability to pull together a list of great gifts! Whenever anyone asks me what my son wants for his birthday, I'm going to direct them right here. Thanks, Haley!