Winter Break’s not just for kids. It’s supposed to be a chance for parents to get some well-deserved R&R too. So this year, forget running around trying to chase down the latest hot new trend toy and get your son a gift you’ll both appreciate: one he won’t get bored of by Boxing Day. And since there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all present, here are our picks for gifts that are sure to put a smile on both your faces this holiday season.
Admit it. You’ve seen those Switch ads about how Nintendo’s latest system can go from console to handheld to table top multiplayer and immediately started trying to doing the math to figure out if you’re too old to play Super Mario. Solution: buy one for your son and play together, and earn some major dad points in the process.
$399.96, Buy Now
That’s right. Teddy Ruxpin is back. The classic ‘80s kids’ toy has gotten a reboot for 2017, which means his signature tape recorder has been replaced by a downloadable app, and his eyes light up with LCD animations, making for a more expressive (and hopefully less nightmare-inducing) version of the iconic talking teddy.
$139.85, Buy Now
LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox
Kids’ toys have come a long way, but some things never change, like the fact that LEGOs always make for a crowd-pleasing gift. The Boost Creative Toolbox isn’t like any LEGO set you ever grew up playing with though – this one can be built into five different interactive models, from a talking robot to a purring cat or working guitar.
$199, Buy Now
Taschen’s The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Step up your bedtime reading game with this handsome children’s book from Taschen. Featuring 27 of the most beloved Grimm fairy tales from Snow White to Hansel and Gretel, this beautifully illustrated collection is a keepsake he’ll want to hang onto and read to his own kids someday.
$40.98, Buy Now
Don’t just buy your son a talking robot; help him learn how to put one together (so he can teach you how to take them apart once Skynet takes over). Once assembled, the 12-inch-tall M.A.X. is fully customizable and programmable, makes conversation, tell jokes, and learns with every interaction, so yeah, you might want to keep an eye on him just in case.
$193.75, Buy Now
If your son’s more hyped for The Last Jedi’s opening night than he is for Christmas morning, this is definitely the droid you’ve been looking for. Get him this charming, pint-sized, remote-controlled BB-8 and a pair of Jedi tickets and transport him to a galaxy far, far away straight through New Year’s.
$89.89, Buy Now
View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
Those original View-Masters have been given a serious upgrade, transforming from a low-tech handheld slideshow into an immersive kid-friendly VR viewer. Compatible with iOS and Android, just download the free app and slide in your device to enter any number of 360-degree interactive environments.
$27.49, Buy Now
LilGadgets Connect+ Premium Volume-Limiting Headphones
Earn yourself some peace and quiet on that holiday car ride home with these headphones designed just for kids. Padded and easily portable, the built-in volume limiter protects your son’s ear drums, and the SharePort protects yours, allowing your kids to plug in another set of headphones and share the audio, cutting down on backseat car fights and, more importantly, ensuring you don’t have to listen to Cars 3 for the billionth time.
$25.95, Buy Now
Franklin 3-In-1 Indoor Sports Set
Looking for a toy that will get your son exercising more than just his thumbs? This 3-in-1 set comes with a mini soccer ball, adjustable hockey sticks and a pair of nets that are easy to set up, so his winter break can include a much-needed screen break.
$45.96, Buy Now
In a year where two of the biggest kids’ games essentially involve playing Russian roulette with a shaving cream pie or “toilet” water, somehow, the one called Exploding Kittens is the least disturbing of the bunch. The turn-based card game was the most-backed project in Kickstarter history, featuring illustrations by The Oatmeal, and is totally family-friendly, despite the name.
$24.95, Buy Now
Diamondback Octane Mountain Bike
If your son’s ready to ditch his training wheels for his first real bike, this six-speed from Diamondback will have him itching to hit the trails (or the sidewalk) as soon as the snow clears. And best of all? There’s no app to download or batteries to install.
$226.58, Buy Now
Martin Smith 3/4 Size Classical Guitar
Its kid-friendly size and soft nylon strings makes it the perfect starter guitar for your son, plus it comes with two months of free online lessons to help get his music education off on the right fret. (Feel free to steal that dad joke, BTW.)
$67.71, Buy Now