By Moneca Jantzen

The most popular and commercialized toys are not always the “best” toys. Kids that have been exposed to an onslaught of advertising and peer pressure may have a wish list that is actually devoid of quality playthings. We asked our local toy guru, Vanessa Gammel from Tumbleweed Toys to share some tips with us for buying toys for our little ones (and bigger ones) this holiday season.

Vanessa advises that the best toys “are meaningful toys that engage, educate and provide a real benefit to children. We are seeing a lot of science related toys like robots and coding games…and a rise in popularity of family board games and puzzles.”

Scanning the well-stocked shelves at Tumbleweed, one can see that there are no Hatchimals or Fingerlings.

“We like to recommend toys that have longevity and great play value like great construction toys, pretend play items like play kitchen toys and dolls, crafting sets and science kits,” said Gammel.

Grandparents and extended family members are in a unique position to override the wish list to Santa.

“We love to help grandparents choose gifts! We carry simple and nostalgic toys that an older generation can relate to. Our advice to grandparents is often to not use the wish list of the “hot toys” that children saw on TV. Our staff are trained to assist customers and we’ll try to curate the perfect gift based on what customers tell us about the children. The old classic toys have stuck around because they are good toys and we love to see them in the hands of today’s generation of kids,” said Gammel.

Tumbleweed Toys also carries a wide variety of products that will appeal to adults and teens.

“Our Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty was designed by an American fellow in his office as a desk toy for his colleagues. It is fantastic for kids and adults alike for therapeutic, relaxing play. Adults also love our selection of games and puzzles. We don’t just have kids products. The largest puzzle we’ve carried was 9000 pieces! We do have a large assortment of family and party games too.”