I love a good toy, a toy you really want to play with. I've got a few of the offerings for 2008 reviewed below for you. With only a few days left until Christmas, let me help narrow your choices down.
I loved my Tonka trucks when I was a kid and I love them even more now that I have kids. Tonka is one of the few brands that I can say is JUST as good as when I was a kid. Redesigned for 2008, The Toughest Mighty Dump Truck now has even bigger wheels and a steel front grill. This is one solid toy. Chip and Lulu both love it--including riding in it! They take turns pushing each other around the living room. Sometimes Lulu just gets in and hangs out in it. Chip has a pile of plastic "boulders" that he puts in the steel dump bed and lifts the handle and they all dump out. This truck is a huge hit with all the kids at the park, they all want to play with it. It's oversized, yet compact. It's easy to carry, put in the car and have as a park toy. It's really indestructible and guaranteed for life. We've even left it outside in the rain, hosed it off and it's brand new again. I highly recommend this dump truck. A durable toy that won't crap out on you. I put a link in above to one of the few places I could find that still has them in stock, so if you want one for this holiday season, hurry!
Chip is always fascinated when I pump gas for my minivan, so I thought this would be a good toy for him. the pump and hose are easily unhooked and you can "fill up" all your vehicles very easily. You press the green buttons to select the "fuel" type and when the tank is full you use the Tonka "charge card" to pay. Lulu actually seems to play with the gas pump more than Chip. She likes the shapes sorter and push buttons on the top, you put the shapes in and push the buttons and they fall to the bottom of the pump. She also really likes the "credit card" and keeps taking off with it. I'm wondering if I have a future shop-a-holic on my hands! Although we don't have this, the Tonka Scoot n Scoop 3-in-1 Ride On truck matches up directly with the Lil' Gas Pump. I definitely recommend this toy for all your kid's refueling needs.
This is another toy that brings back memories. I'm a jock with my varsity letter jacket to prove it. Back in elementary school, we were ONLY allowed to bring Nerf balls onto the playground. I remember my mother wrote my name in sharpie on the ball and I dutifully carried it to school and back everyday. So I was excited to get this 21st century version, that lights up. The nose of the football lights up when a tight spiral is thrown, it is supposed to also help the receiver make the catch. Well, back in the OLD DAYS we didn't need lights to catch our balls and we walked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. Anyway, this newfangled Nerf football is definitely cool and a fun addition to our sporting goods collection. Truth be told, Chip is still a little young at age 2 to play with it to it's fullest potential. However, I've taught him to "go deep" for the reception and sent him around the coffee table (tackler) and behind the loveseat to the end zone. I'm confident he will actually catch it sometime in the new year. Maybe it will even be a Hail Mary catch as he runs away from Lulu? My only comment is perhaps based in nostalgia. While the ball is "soft", it's definitely not as soft as the Nerfs of my youth. I don't think you'd get hurt if this hit you, but it's not as spongy as mine were as a kid. I definitely recommend this Nerf football.
This is a truly interactive toy. It allows the child (or mom) to pretend that they are racing to the rescue. The helmet and motorcycle handlebars act together sending the user on over 30 different missions. All the missions have "theme music" that adds to the drama. There is a siren, horns, and motorcycle revving among other sounds. I must say, it's not the least bit annoying for a toy that makes sounds. The mission phrases include: "search and rescue in progress", "hot pursuit", and "set up roadblock!" It includes a microphone so you can hear yourself broadcasting your adventure. I was a bit confused trying to get it to work at first. The directions that come with it are VERY basic--too basic. I ended up calling Playskool customer service for help. They were extremely helpful and straightened me out. I actually like this toy and the fact that it has lights and sounds and a flip up visor. I have "taken it for a spin" and gotten a kick out of it. Definitely something I would have wanted when I was a kid. We had a 4 year old friend over last week and he really liked it and played with it quite a bit. I would definitely recommend it for 4 years and up.