REI often gets described as a toy store for outdoor-loving adults. It's so true. But what about kids? Like me, you might be amazed to see how many toys for kids REI carries.
Realizing that some people are still scrambling to fill all the checkboxes on their gift lists, here's a little sampler of fun things for kids available at REI:
LEGO flashlights: The LEGO Torch Flashlight series offers LEGO figures with an LED light in each leg. LEDs put out no heat, so parents need not worry about hot spots. I'm told these LEGO lights are so popular, REI has trouble keeping them in stock. Also available in alternate characters, such as the City Lights version.
Headlamps: Naturally, a LEGO headlamp is also available. Or you could choose a froggie headlamp. By the way, for growing kids eager to mimic their parents and their outdoor gear, consider the Black Diamond Wiz, a neat little stepping-stone headlamp for future adventurers on the rise.
Sleds: The steerable Eurosled Snow Flipper is the Ferrari of sleds, suitable for kids 4 to 12. Other worthwhile choices: the Rock 'n' Rip and Snow Spider from Eurosled, and the snow-skimming Lucky Burns Foam Saucer Sled.
A fling thing: Maybe you've heard of Djubi (pronounced joo-bee). It's a launch-and-catch game that can really get young people animated. If you haven't heard of it, catch the video available on the product page. It's fun.
Flying discs: Fun for kids and adults, the glow-in-the-dark Nite Ize Flashlight Disc, the multicolor Nite Ize Flashlight Disc-O and the far-flying Life Is Good Ultimate Disc are just 3 of many good choices offered at REI. You can also find golf discs, such as the Innova Disc Golf DX 3-disc set. Prefer a ball? Get a grip on the glowing Nite Ize Meteorlight LED Ball.
Kites: Kids and parents both get into high-tech kites. Consider the packable Prism Designs Stowaway Diamond Kite or the other-worldly, 3-D look of the Prism Designs EO6 Box Kite.
Brainy stuff: How quickly can you create your own crossword out of 144 lettered tiles? That's the challenge posed by the Bananagrams Anagram Game; 13 ounces of above-average entertainment. Made for age 7 and higher.
GeoPalz: Interesting concept: The GeoPalz Activity Tracker is a kid-targeted pedometer. Kids log their daily step totals at GeoPalz.com and receive points for their steps. Those points ultimately can be redeemed for prizes as fancy as a skateboard or a bike. That's decent motivation for staying active.
Fun with dogs: Kids (recommended for ages 10 and up) love running Fido ragged with Chuckit. The ball goes farther, the arm stays fresher and hands stay cleaner. Another option: the dog-delighting Chuckit! Flying Squirrel.
What else is out there? Monopoly in 3 different editions: National Parks, Night Sky Solar System and Planet Earth. There's even a National Parks version of Yahtzee, and a portion of each sale is donated to the National Park Foundation. Want to see more? Drop "toys" into the REI.com search box and marvel at all the options that appear.