When I was a small child, my parents didn't believe in Christmas Wish Lists. In retrospect I can see their point, that handing a shopping list to those who might be considering getting one a gift may not be in the best of taste. At the time I thought it was particularly cruel that anything I actually listed on paper as being of especial interest was, as a direct result, less likely to appear under the tree on Christmas morning. (But there is always the time-honored Hint, which is more acceptable, so all was not lost.)
When the Mad Scientist and I started our own family, we (read: I) had very distinct ideas about the sorts of toys we wanted our children playing with. These included things like all-natural materials, no batteries, creativity-inspiring, and (on the part of the Mad Scientist) nothing with numerous small pieces.
Meanwhile back on earth, those things aren't in a grad-student's budget, and I ran up against early childhood training when it came to handing out a list of requirements to those who might purchase gifts for our children. I read a blog of one mom who did this, but I really couldn't wrap my mind around it. So our children ended up with lots of plastic toys, small pieces, and things that need batteries. Also because that's the sort of thing you find at Goodwill, which is where mothers whose husbands are in grad school do their Christmas shopping. My children seem to have survived this, so far, and I hurry to add that, as our families became more aware of our preferences, they did their best to respect them.
However, I still retain a deep-seated desire for simple, classic toys for my children, which is why I was so delighted to find this list of the 5 best toys of all time. Interestingly enough, my children adore every item on this list and (not to spoil the surprise) nary a one of them will break the budget. Good to stop and rethink that Christmas shopping list! (I'm indebted to Ann Voskamp for the link I originally followed.)