Comments: Normally I don’t approve of toys with batteries, but this one is both fun for babies and has long lasting educational value for older kids as well as being a key fantasy play element. When my kids were very young, they really just love pushing the buttons and doing very simple pretend play with it. However, now that my son is almost 4 and his pretend play is getting more complicated, this toy becomes more and more useful for all sorts of scenarios (restaurant, grocery store, movie theater, post office, hotel, etc.). It’s pretty rare to find a toy that gets regular use for years, but at least in our house, this one does. We haven’t even really explored the functional value of a working calculator.
Update: I have mixed feelings about leaving this on the best gifts for kids list, since we don’t really use it to “learn” the way it’s intended. I almost feel like my kids would be just as happy with a shoe box that we labeled cash register in our pretend play. However, it has been a staple play element in our home for 5 years now, so I still legitimately think it was a great investment (especially because we got it at a garage sale.) I can’t see us hanging on this forever, but it’s definitely done it’s job for the years it’s been in our home.
Included on Lists: