So with Christmas coming in, and having just received a list from my partner's sister in law our thoughts turn to what to get our 2 1/2 year old nephew.
Apparently he's really into space stuff, and particularly Buzz Lightyear. Also vacuum cleaners.
So here's the plan - Buzz Lightyear pajamas
have been suggested as a present, so we're looking at getting some 'accessories' for that whilst also including the alternative suggestion of a play-hoover so he stops wanting to play with the real one whilst mum is hoovering. The obvious solution - the Buzz Lightyear pajamas with wings, and a handmade sling/backpack that can hold a cheap Argos dustbuster equivalent (weighs 690g) that can function as a jetpack, or alternatively an actual vacuum cleaner (with batteries, so no strangulating or tripping power cords, messing around with electrical sockets and a relatively small bag to sort through should someone go up that shouldn't and pathetically low suction).
Question 1 - Is this incredibly irresponsible and can a two year old support a weight of over half a kilo (about 1 1/2 pounds) on their back, using back pack style straps? We're probably have the back part of the backpack/sling having a large foam layer in case he fell backwards.
To go with this, we were also thinking of building a space module (cardboard boxes and maybe MDF) that could hold the dustbuster to form the engine and possibly have this
as it's command console.
Thinking basically three modules (boxes) attached by a tunnels (small boxes or those concertina'd play tubes) - command module/cockpit with the steering wheel, joystick and maybe the little computer. This might also have an MDF base on casters so it can detach and be a small trolley like thing he could be pushed around on for away missions.
Engine module (his father's a car mechanic, and we might make him an adult version of the Pajama top with 'Chief Engineer' rather than 'Space ranger' or 'Lightyear' on it) which will hold his current toy toolsets and ideally might even have some compatible nuts and bolts if we can find them holding parts of an engine together (probabaly either a box containing some blue painted tumble dryer hosing, or maybe a lava lamp/ some glowing thing)
Science module - we're also getting some edible clay (really bright colours, they make a monster then get mum to bake it and its a cookie) with which we plan to make monsters. Basically just a bunch of shelves and plastic containers to hold the various artifacts and monsters he finds on his missions, plus maybe some fake buttons to push for no reason.
Future birthday's and Christmases could then add more modules and missions (more complicated monster quests, a co-pilot modules for the sibling that's currently just mummy's Bump, a Mako). We've already got him a lunar module bouncy castle, but he was too young for it then (we now hope to turn the grandparents house into an alien world complete with bouncy command HQ in the garden)
Question(s) 2 - Is this going to be completely lost on a 2 1/2 year old and should I just stick with the 'technically unrelated' uncle classic of a drum kit? We're going to vet the various elements of the idea through Grandma to ensure they are child friendly but any tips? Should we start saving designs but wait a few years until he's four or so?
Question 3 - Should we stick religiously to the Buzz Lightyear theme (colours, creatures etc) or doesn't this really mean much to such a young child? I can remember always being a bit disappointed when getting wrong dinosaurs that had just been made cheaply by someone who wanted to make them look more monsterish and forgetting that triceratops didn't have shark teeth. Would have probably been about 4-5ish to remember this though.