Friday, October 14, 2011

Christmas Shopping for the Kids: Tegu Blocks

Call me a Grinch, but I don't buy many toys for my kids, at Christmas, or otherwise.  We much prefer to spend our money on experiences than material goods.  Our toy strategy has been to invest in a few quality pieces with longevity and open-ended creative play potential (like a play kitchen, musical instruments, blocks, dolls, magnatiles), and avoid the temptation to buy the latest trendy plastic-electronic contraptions from Target.

This (relative) toy minimalism is helped by the fact that my kids have never once set foot in Toys R Us or seen any television commercials advertising toys.  If they don't know that it exists, they don't miss it.  And truly, they have very happy, fun, playful lives.  We value the purity of a childhood that isn't overly tainted by commercialization (hypocrisy disclaimer: unless that commercialization comes from Apple, in which case we embrace i-Everything).

Santa does bring one or two special gifts each year, however, which are complemented by a few smaller gifts (clothes, books, art supplies) from Mom & Dad.  In the past, Santa has brought an art easel, a play tent, a fabulous red play kitchen, and magnatiles.  This year, after consultation with me, Santa bought the girls Tegu blocks (Santa's an advance planner and does his shopping early!).  In my work life, I teach business ethics, and Tegu's story is compelling:

The Tegu Story from Tegu on Vimeo.

They are expensive, but the purchase price not only buys quality magnetic blocks made from sustainable wood, but also allows you to contribute to re-forestation and education causes in Honduras.  Beyond the social responsibility element, Tegu blocks are appealing because they encourage imaginative play.

The customer reviews thus far are very positive, and Santa's hardest decision was which set to buy.  I'm excited to see what the girls create.  Santa made a good choice, I think.

Have you started holiday shopping?  What are your favorite finds this year?


  1. I <3 you. You are a special type of library of inspiration for me. These will be on our list this year.

    My Toy Truth? With my first child I bought every Fisher Price house, train, plane, garage, circus etc. with all those cute F-P people that I could find - and they lasted for all three of my kids. But now we only have bins of Legos (lost the instruction manuals long ago)and my daughter just wants school supplies (she would rather shop at Staples than Target). I agree with you completely - they can be happy, have fun and play without being instructed in how to do it. I will be linking to your fab post in November.

    xoxo michele

  2. I'm not surprised we agree, Michele! :) And there's nothin' wrong with F-P -- we certainly have our share; my girls love all of it; and I love listening to the creative stories they tell while playing with those toys. And we *really* love Legos. But, selfishly, I am happy that I don't have to stand in long lines to buy whatever this year's equivalent of Tickle Me Elmo is! And my bank account definitely appreciates that my kids don't feel entitled to 100s of toys at the holidays. My kids' toy ignorance = my bliss. ;-)

    And thanks for the link. :)