Kids love Christmas and the holiday season, and a big part of that is unwrapping incredible presents. Sure, we all like to fulfill our children’s wish lists, but it’s also nice to surprise them with a gift they didn’t even know they wanted. Shop locally to find these special goodies and you’ll be sure to bring back the excitement of the unexpected on Christmas morning.
Ranked as the top party game of 2015 in Sweden and Norway, this Danish mix of foosball and air hockey is making waves in the United States, for those in the know. Klask is made in an attractive wood design and set on tables for two or four players. Competitors control “strikers” with magnetic steering handles beneath the board as they attempt to hit the plastic ball into their opponent’s goal while also defending their own goal. Players can also score if an opponent’s striker is toppled over and they can’t stand it back up using only the steering magnet, or if two of the small magnets, called biscuits, attach to a striker, which forces everyone to move more carefully and not just spaz out at the table. Finally, an opponent will score if you accidentally drop your striker into the coin-sized goal. The whole thing is brilliantly and beautifully designed and takes about 10 minutes per fast and frantic game. It’s great for kids, but just as thrilling for adults who enjoy playing with them or simply love a good bar game. Available at Stevenson’s Toys. 69 Jobs Lane, Southampton. 631-283-2111, stevensonstoys.com
Baghera Metal Ride-On Cars
Petit Blue, “The Hamptons Children’s Store,” offers a full range of gorgeous retro-styled metal push or pedal ride-on cars by world-renowned producer Baghera. Led by Emmanuel Nouveau and located near Paris, France, Baghera’s talented and enthusiastic designers focus on creating vintage-inspired cars that will provide hours of fun as well as motor skill development for kids aged 1–6. And because they’re basically works of art, adults won’t hate looking at them around the house. They even make officially licensed Mercedes, Bentley and Peugeot cars, and an antique-style gas pump for kids who want to stop and pretend to fill their tank. Stock is going faster than a vintage race car, so don’t wait to buy. 86 Park Place, East Hampton. 631-658-9222, petitblue.com
Marvel Legends Action Figures
Started by Toy Biz in 2002 and picked up by Hasbro in 2012, the Marvel Legends action figure line has been going strong for nearly 20 years — and they keep getting better. This range of hyper-articulated 6-inch figures has grown so vast that it’d be tough to not find representations of all your child’s (or, let’s face it, nerdy adult’s) favorite characters from Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Pick up multiple versions of Spider-Man from his new No Way Home movie (hitting theaters this Friday, December 17) or grab stylized, alternate universe heroes from the hit Disney+ animated series What If… ?, including Captain Carter and the Hydra Stomper (sold separately), the Black Panther T’Challa as Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, Nebula, Dr. Strange and more. Also check out Hasbro’s equally cool Star Wars the Black Series 6-inch action figure line if your kids prefer playing in a galaxy far, far away. It’s hard to say which characters will be available where, but Marvel Legends can be found in most toy stores or big box retailers, such as Target, K-Mart, Walmart and Best Buy. We suggest shopping local at Sugar Daddy’s Toy Store. 103 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-3537
Montauk Mike’s Very First Christmas
With all the video games and shiny objects attracting kids today, there’s something special about a good book, especially when it’s from a local business and it’s about local things! Published by East End Press, Montauk Mike’s Very First Christmas, written and illustrated by Nina Ross, brings back everyone’s favorite eponymous shark as he celebrates his first Christmas. Whether parents read it to them, or they read themselves, children aged 2–6 can follow along with this festive tale about the meaning of friendship and giving. Ross was inspired to create Montauk Mike after a shark sighting while on vacation. This is the fourth book in the Montauk Mike series. Find in stock at your favorite local bookstore or order from eastendpress.co.
Hape Domino Sets
Who doesn’t love the domino effect? Most folks have had the pleasure of creating a domino rally at some point, usually during childhood, and watching them fall, one after another in long lines or interesting shapes. Hape’s colorful wooden Domino sets take this activity to the next level with Rube Goldberg-like additions, such as a see-through tunnel, swinging robot hammer, bridge, bell, momentum wheel, finish line flag and more physics-based devices that also activate STEAM learning. Visit the Wharf Shop in Sag Harbor to pick up Hape’s Dynamo and/or Mighty Hammer sets to experience the rally today’s adults only dreamed of as kids. 69 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-0420, wharfshop.com
Harry Potter Scrabble
Combining the Wizarding World and a timeless board game classic, Harry Potter Scrabble offers a lovely thematic design that would look right at home in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This game can be played like standard Scrabble, or true Potter fans can enjoy infusing vocabulary from the books and films to earn the most points! Each game can be customized with Harry Potter cards and Magical Bonus cards to score even more points. Includes 100 wooden letter tiles, 4 wooden tile racks, 26 Harry Potter cards and 4 Magical Word Bonus cards based on the Wizarding World. Also look for Harry Potter Jenga and Clue, as well as other licensed versions of classic games. Available at Double Rainbow Toy Store. 140 Jessup Avenue, Quogue. 631-653-6005
OWI Robot Kits
Parents love when fun and learning collide, especially when the kids have no idea they’re getting an education while they play. OWI makes a variety of award-winning do-it-yourself robotics kits for kids of all ages that do exactly that. Kites of the Harbor in Sag Harbor has numerous examples, including the Smart Core 6 remote controlled toy kit featuring six different builds — three land vehicles (Tank, Gyrobot, Trike) and three for the sky (Turboprop, Drone, Hovercraft). With 44 easy-to-snap-together parts, tomorrow’s innovators will learn the STEAM principals associated with physics, aerodynamics and electronics as they build and remix these functional RC robots using SmartCore technology. When connected to one of the six vehicles, OWI’s SmartCore acts as a digital brain using a patented algorithm that evaluates the best way to control each vehicle. And the included built-in, quick-charging battery and USB charging cable make recharging the vehicles effortless. 75 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-9063