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Is this a suitable present for a 2 1/2 year old?

TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
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.

Tastyfish on


  • TopiaTopia Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    #2: something like you're planning, while much of how you view it will be lost on the kids, it will still engage his creativity heavily. And at that age he is developing so quickly that this is not only good for his brain, but I'm sure he'll have plenty of fun with it.

    Topia on
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I wouldn't go overboard with the vacuum cleaner. Honestly a simple pair of battery-powered handheld fans would probably work better as the batteries are easier to change and charge, it's much much lighter, is easier to repair and will blow - not suck. It'll also be much better on the poor pregnant mother's ears and you can build as complicated a fake contraption to house them as you want.

    Colours wise, I'd try and co-ordinate it, because why not? Your instincts about the dinosaurs seem spot-on.

    Willeth on
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  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Th vacuum cleaner is only £10 ($15-20?), and the boy really loves vacuum cleaners. Last time we were down he was being potty trained and would throw an absolute fit when asked to do the business until I pointed out that perhaps his Grandma might let him do the hoovering if he used his potty.

    Basically it's cheap enough that it's really there as a joke present for the grown ups (pretty sure most of his other presents from the family won't be from Argos' budget household appliance range), made more so by a jetpack sling. Good point about the noise though, I'll check with Grandma about that. Reckon it might be easier than toddler-proofing a fan though.

    Tastyfish on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I think a 2.5 year old would love the space station/fort thing (if he already likes to play on playgrounds/playsets that is). My 1st is 2 months shy of that age and he'd love it. Not sure how long they'd like it, but I'd think a couple years especially if his younger sibling gets involved. Crawling around in boxes and tubes, pushing buttons, turning wheels, and playing with doohickeys seems normal for that age. One consideration is how much space the playset will take up and how easy it is to put away for the parents/grandparents. Also be aware that he'll likely climb all over it without any concern about its structural integrity.

    A half kilo is no problem for a toddler to shlep around in a backpack; it might take a couple minutes for him to find his balance, but he can likely do at least 3-4 lbs.

    Not sure regarding sticking to Buzz Lightyear or not, my guy is quite aware of certain characters and is not particularly interested in imitators.

    Djeet on
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Good to hear, he and his father and already been out to fix part of the playground outside their house after part of the 'helicopter' got broken.

    Being a wargamer for far too long, I know the requirements of being able to hide away my toys, this thread will probably morph into a how do a design this for a 2 1/2 year old thread once I can steal enough tools, tin foil and boxes. Folding flat looks like it will be a priority since we're in the UK and our houses are tiny.

    Tastyfish on
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