VancouverMom.ca asked a few of our favourite local merchants to put together their list of top gifts for this holiday season. Leanne Kripp and Anne Leishman over at North Vancouver’s Jack and Lola told us what their top picks were for kids under five. They’ve also generously offered VancouverMom.ca readers a discount of 15% (some restrictions apply – see in store for details). Just mention that you’ve heard about the offer at the time of purchase.
1. Gourmet Chef’s Kitchen by Educo, Ages: 3+, Price: $139.99
Terrific alternative to the typical huge plastic version, this kitchen features a oven window so young chefs can peek through and pretend that a cake is baking. A hutch and cupboard (which can also be imagined as a fridge) is perfect for storing dinnerware, pots and pans – great for easy clean up. Peek into the oven through the window to check on dinner or the pretend cake that’s baking. Big orange knobs can turn the burners “on” or “off” and the sink is ready for washing dishes.
What Jack and Lola says: “This is the perfect toy for little chefs who want to practice their culinary skills. We love the attention to detail here, including the slots for hanging wooden knives and a window that offers a clear peek into the oven.”
2. Switchback Racetrack by Educo, Ages: 18m+, Price: $79.99
If your kid has a need for speed, the Educo Switchback Racetrack Toy is perfect for driving the day away! Colourful design and checkered flag graphics, allowing one or two cars to go racing to the finish line. Includes four wooden vehicles with a colourful spiral spinning graphic on the wheels.
What Jack and Lola says: “Compete with friends to see who can get a racecar down the wooden ramp first. Or you can race by yourself. Designed for small hands, the racetrack is easy for a toddler or preschooler to use without needing parental support, though we often find adults racing cars without a child in sight.”
3. Welcome Home Dollhouse by Educo, Ages: 3+, Price: $134.99
Dollhouses aren’t the same from when you were a kid! A modern and sleek design, Educo’s Welcome Home Dollhouse comes complete with furniture and a miniature family. This two-story wood house features a traditional design with an open floor plan, with a balcony on one side. Trim colours are popular with both boys and girls. Furniture and appliances have incredible detail with doors that open and close.
What Jack and Lola says: “Just move in! A fantastic wooden two-story, open-floor plan allows for hours of imaginative play as children push furniture and dolls around the space. Furniture quality and imaginative details, such as the hanging towel in the bathroom, make this house a favourite with our staff and young customers.”
4. Automoblox Mini’s 3 pack, Ages: 3+, Price: $37.99
A scaled-down version of the traditional Automoblox car, the Automoblox Mini’s 3-pack features “future-retro” styling, fits in the palm of your hand and has a universal connector system that enables a quick interchange of parts – allowing for multiple combinations and styles.
What Jack and Lola says: “The number one toy line from last year remains at the top of our list for its ability to keep children’s hands and minds engaged. We love the new mini 3 pack because it offers all the options of the original line but in an easily portable size for use in restaurants, aboard planes or in the backseat of the car. Children can design their own vehicle from the components of different cars with no need for an additional purchase.”
5. Zany World Love and Respect Board Game, Ages: 5+ (but also younger kids with help), Price $29.99
West Vancouver-based Zany World Games won the prestigious 2009 Game of the Year Award from Child Play Magazine. Kids can act and share their emotions and feelings about love and respect.
What Jack and Lola says: “A game that teaches love and respect while encouraging friends or family members to share dreams and feelings. Listed for 5+, this game could easily be played with younger children if they get teamed with older players.”
6. Quadrilla Melody Set Basic by Hape, Ages: 4+, Price: $79.99
Just head over to YouTube and check out some of the awesome creations people have made with this toy. Children can build, play and learn simple mechanics at the same time. The Quadrilla Melody Set Basic also features musical tones.
What Jack and Lola says: “The Quadrilla marble run in our toy section is often the first and only destination of our young customers. Children are fascinated to predict the route their marble will take. Now these little engineers can also become symphony conductors with the addition of musical tones to the run.”
7. Truffle Wooly Mammoth by JellyCat, Ages: 0+, Price: $79.99
Cuddly, cue and measuring 30 inches, each Truffles can sit upright or be folded out into a pillow or mat.
What Jack and Lola says: “The heart-melting qualities of this loveable Wooly Mammoth from England’s JellyCat would put an end to any ice age. He and his many friends are often found accepting cuddles from staff and customers of all ages.”
8. First Doll by Dandelion, Ages: 0+, Price: $15.99
Perfect first doll for any baby girl, the First Doll by Dandelion is lightly stuffed for the smallest child to hug and carry, with ponytails for tugging and teething. A portion of the proceeds of this item go to breast cancer research.
What Jack and Lola says: “Although Baby’s First Doll is designed for our tiniest customers, we think it deserves to be on our big kid’s list too! A perfect size for nighttime cuddles at only eight inches tall, she could easily be happy snuggled up in a big girl bed.”
9. Nuchi Figure 8 Train Set $46.99
Open ended and endlessly expandable, the Nuchi Figure 8 Train Set is a wooden railway made of European beechwood and finished with safe, durable paint. An excellent introduction that’s a perfect first train, the set includes 15 tracks, train with engine, 2 container cars and 1 oil tanker with removable loads, 2 trees, and a working tower crane with magnet. Also compatible with Brio, Thomas the Tank Engine, and other wooden railway systems.
What Jack and Lola says: “Your child will enjoy many hours with this simple, yet highly engaging, wooden train set. A working Tower Crane with magnets to load and unload freight makes this set a great one for any new train enthusiast.”
10. Frog and Prince Puppet by Folkmanis, Ages: 4+, Price: $48.99
Two puppets in one! One one side, a frog prince that on the other side transforms into a prince when flipped inside out. Perfect for storytelling or as two stand-alone puppets.
What Jack and Lola says: “What happens when you kiss the frog? Does he turn into a prince? Well, the rest of the story can be up to you and your child. The Folkmanis dual-puppet design allows the frog to be flipped inside out to become a prince. Children can retell this classic tale or create their own.”
11. Wishbone Runner Bike, Ages: 1+, Price: $299.99
This pedal free balance bike (also called “run bike”) is three bikes in one! Even the earliest walkers are ready for phase one of the Wishbone Bike, which first acts like a three-wheel trike. As the child gains confidence, you can remove a wheel to transform the bike into a balance bike. As your child grows, you can flip the frame for added height. Made from 60 percent post-consumer recycled plastic wheels and sustainably managed woods.
What Jack and Lola says: It’s a tricycle! No, it’s a pedal-less runner bike! No, it’s a large size runner bike! Actually, It’s all three. Our staff knows that parents are thrilled by any product that grows with their child and Wishbone three-in-one runner bikes do exactly that.
12. Tyke Light Jr. by Mobi, Ages: 2+, Price: $15.99
The TykeLight Jr. is the perfect nightlight for kids who need a little company at bedtie. Smooth, durable and easy to clean, this light can help your child as they fall asleep, as well as be something to reach for in the middle of the night.
What Jack and Lola says: “The Tyke Light is a perfect stocking stuffer for any little girl or boy who likes to sleep with the light on. We at jack and lola have tested this on many of our own children and are particularly impressed by the time option that turns the light off automatically after 15 minutes. That’s just about the right time for your little one to drift off to sleep.”
13. P’kolino Easel 3+$119.99
A traditional easel, chalkboard, whiteboard or puppet theater, this easel holds rolls up to 18″ and sheets of all sizes. Includes two “colouring book” scenes to use as backdrops during puppet theatre mode. Folds flat for easy storage.
What Jack and Lola says: “This is an easel any parent would be happy to have in the living room. Stylish and well-designed, it can be set up four different ways — as a chalkboard/wipe board, traditional easel, or puppet theatre – and still fold flat for easy storage. Not that you would want to put it away.”
14. Feel Better Frog by Manhattan Toy, Ages: 3+, Price: $44.99
An interactive electronic plush frog that says things like “Tissue please!” when hugged, or sneezes when a tissue is held near its mouth. Fourteen phrases in all. Includes batteries.
What Jack and Lola says: “Your child can help nurse Froggy back to health with a little hug, some warm soup and a tissue. We’re impressed that this little frog not only interacts with your child but also can be held and cuddled like any other stuffed animal.”
15. Droidimals Hand Puppet by Manhattan Toy, Ages 3+, Price: $22.99
Huge and playfully ugly super fuzzy puppet with lots of cool fabric details.
What Jack and Lola says: “So eager are children to play with these crazy but completely loveable puppets, we find we often have to cut the price tags off while they’re still in their new owners’ hands. Easy to operate, with only a movable mouth, these droids are perfect for small fingers and big imaginations.”
16. Trike ‘n’ Trailer by ELC, Ages: 1+, Price: $94.99
A sturdy and stable wooden trike that can be used both indoors and out. The trailer is perfect for loading up toys.
What Jack and Lola says: “Who needs Santa’s sleigh when you have your own Trike ‘n’ Trailer to stuff with goodies! This toy is a jack & lola favourite because it works on a toddler’s gross and fine motor skills. It also can be used both inside and outside.”
17. My Royal Castle by Educo 3+$149.99
This awesome 26-piece wood castle set includes three nights, a horse, catapult, rope ladders and its own king and queen. Terrific detailing like a working drawbridge, both boys and girls will be busy for hours in imaginative play.
What Jack and Lola says: “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, jack & lola has declared the Royal Castle a winner and placed it on our top 20 list! Your knight or princess will be thrilled by all the detail found in this 26-piece wood castle set, including a rope ladder, catapult and working draw bridge. Hours of imaginative and co-operative role-play await.”
18. Believe Organic Small Polar Bear 0+ $29.99
Touchable and teethable and great for any age. Machine washable.
What Jack and Lola says: “At jack & lola, our motto is “growing children, naturally” so the Believe Organic line of stuffed animals had to be on our top 20 list. This darling Polar Bear and his buddies are made from organic terry cloth and canvas and stuffed with natural corn fiber filling.”
19. Bobs & Lolo Action Packed CD 0+ $18.00
With 12 original songs, Bobs and Lolo’s album Action Packed is dedicated to keeping kids fit and healthy using kid-friendly analogies like trains and superheros.
What Jack and Lola says: “Tired of telling your kids to eat their veggies? Simply put the song “Snappy Snacks” on in the car and your children will be begging for healthy treats to eat. Winner of the 2009 Parent’s Choice Gold Award, Bobs & Lola’s latest release, “Action Packed,” is filled with upbeat songs about friendship, fun, and healthy living.”
20. E-Racer by Hape 2+ $19.99
Eco-friendly with a sporty design evocative of both yesterday and tomorrow, the E-Racer features bamboo and water-based paint.
What Jack and Lola says: “Finally, a completely eco-friendly car! Too bad it is only seven inches long. Made from bamboo and brightly coloured with water-based paints, it will make you feel secure in the knowledge that your child is playing with a toy that is safe for them and is also good for the environment.”
Remember to take advantage of Jack and Lola’s special offer to VancouverMom.ca readers a discount of 15% (some restrictions apply – see in store for details)! Just mention that you’ve heard about the offer at the time of purchase.
Jack and Lola
125 W 1st St., North Vancouver, BC | 778-340-JACK (5225)