I am not a big fan of toys. I don’t think I ever have been. Even as a kid, I preferred outdoor play to toys. I distinctly remember wondering why my sisters liked to play with dolls. They were boring. I didn’t get it.
When I started having kids, I thought maybe they would actually play with toys. And, they did…kind of. They had their favorites that got pulled out again and again, while the rest collected dust on the shelf.
Jordan loved his musical toys.
Andrew was obsessed with cars of all varieties.
Elise carried baby dolls everywhere.
Kate played princesses like there was no tomorrow.
Carson loved balls and building things.
But, every birthday and Christmas, more toys piled on their shelves…toys that were neglected a week later..toys that were really just clutter and not much else. Maybe you can relate.
In my efforts to simplify, I have been brutal with the toys, getting rid of everything that never gets played with, even if it was a birthday or Christmas gift in the not-so-distant past. I have put together a list of things made the cut. They are open-ended and can be used in a hundred different ways, which keeps them interesting. They are toys that the kids’ friends also enjoy pulling out when they come to visit. Even the big kids will sit down and play with them from time to time. Most are more expensive than their cheap counterparts, but well worth the investment for their play value.
Christmas is coming…think of these:
These things are AWESOME!!! Seriously, I can’t say enough good about them. They are, by far, my favorite on the list. Kids (and adults) of all ages sit and play with them for hours. They don’t fall over as easily as simple blocks, so they are not as frustrating for little kids. The possibilities are endless with what kinds of things you can build. LOVE them!!! They are expensive, but probably the best toy purchase I have ever made. We bought two sets of 100, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. These will definitely be saved for the grandkids.
2. Keva Planks
At first I wondered how little wooden planks could be that exciting. But, there was a Keva Planks exhibit at our local Science Museum a couple of years ago, and that was, by far, my kids’ favorite exhibit. They LOVED it. Once again, the possibilities are endless.
This is a great outdoor game. It is a hand trampoline for balls, or even water balloons. Throw, catch, bounce. Use it as a frisbee, as well. Loads of fun!
Construct your own marble run…thousands of possibilities. Carson never tires of watching those marbles twist, turn, and go down the tracks. I love that this one fits together in many ways, and is wooden instead of plastic. I’m all about toys that stimulate the imagination, and this one definitely fits the bill.
5. Plasma Car
No gears, batteries, or pedals. Just wiggle your way around. My kids love these! It gets them outside playing. Fun for old and young alike.
Build interesting structures that won’t fall over easily. These are unique and lots of fun.
It’s a scarf today, a cape tomorrow, and a baby blanket the day after that. This simple piece of silk has a myriad of uses, and they all involve imagination. A winner in my book.
8. Dress-up Clothes
For years Kate was the dress up queen. I’m kind of sad that she is moving out of that stage. It was always fun to see her doing her homework in her ballerina costume, or insisting on wearing her Cinderella dress and shoes to the store. Having a few different things on hand for her to use for dressing up kept her busy for hours at a time.
Plus, Carson got some good use out of them as well.
These adorable wooden dominoes with animal faces are good for hours of fun. Watch them climb up steps and ring the bell on their way down. These may be a little frustrating for little hands, but I would recommend them for kids ages five and up. Definitely worth the money.
I put this on the list, not because my girls are huge fans, but because I know that there are many others who are. They are great quality, and will last forever if you take care of them. My girls both have one, and although they don’t play with them much right now, they are definitely toys that we will keep to pass down.
That is my list of kid tested and mom approved toys that will be sticking around our house for a while. What toys have passed the test of time in your house?