July is a big birthday month in our house, so toys are definitely on our mind. While I always recommend the gift of an experience, I also recognize the importance of toys as well. It seems the perfect time to share some of our favorite children’s toys. For a toy to make my favorites list my kids have to play with it repeatedly, use their imagination and play for long periods of time.
You never get too old for some good ‘ol toys in your life. This year Amelia got mostly toys, and Cassidy got books and clothes. As she informed me afterward, she was very happy with what she received, but sometimes it’s just nice to get some toys to play with.
My children discovered these at the Children’s Museum in Madison, WI. They are little tiles that are magnetic around the perimeter so children of all ages can easily build with them. They are great for young kids because they can easily stay together and they are great for older kids to use their imagination. Technically, very small children should not play with them because if they break and a magnet gets loose, a child could swallow it. I have never had one break or even come close to break, but toys have to have ages and warnings just in case.
Amelia got them as a gift, but both girls love them. They are not cheap, and you don’t get a huge amount of them in a package, but they are worth the cost. My girls have played so many hours with them, and I have been impressed with their creativity. The entire family has been known to sit down and build items. Amelia likes when we build houses and cubes or “cubees” as she calls them.
You can always put multiple sets of these on a birthday or Christmas list because having more is better.
After Christmas we immediately got rid of the box they came in and found a more suitable storage solution. Magna-Tiles are one of the few toys that are allowed to stay in the living room to be played with often.
Kitchen and food
Most kids, mine included, love to play pretend. They love to make dinner, go grocery shopping, basically anything that mimics the behavior of grown-ups. We have a toy kitchen and lots of food that the girls get to play with.
The best part is that they will play together nicely. Another bonus, is that this is also a gift that is easy to add to. Cassidy got the kitchen set for Christmas one year, and someone else bought more food. We bought her a cash register, and one of them received a grocery cart. Over time their kitchen has turned into quite the place to be. As I decluttered our kitchen, I also gave them one of my extra spatulas, hand towels, and potholders. I no longer needed them and they both think it’s great to have “real” things. (or as Cassidy calls them “pretend real things).
We did receive a kitchen set as a gift, but if you want to make your own, you can certainly do so with an old entertainment stand. I’ve seen some great ideas on Pinterest. (link)
When they are young, it’s Duplos, and when they are older, it’s Legos. These are a toy that will never go out of style and always seem to maintain their value. We have several containers of just free Legos that the girls can use to create masterpieces. They are limited only by their imagination.
There are also specific Lego creations, which we have many of as well. Cassidy loves Lego Friends and spends hours building them when she receives them. She likes to put them together and then play with them as a toy. It’s great to see her meticulously put them together and follow every instruction carefully. Rarely, does she need help.
Dress-up Clothes and accessories
Kids love to play pretend and dress-up. Any dress up clothes and accessories are a great toy that will provide hours of entertainment for every age group. We have two large storage containers full of dress up clothes and accessories.
There are three great ways to create a large selection of dress up and accessories without spending much money. We include some of our old, but in good condition, items for the kids. This includes old ties, purses, shirts, hats, etc. and Halloween costumes on discount. I have gone to Target and Wal-Mart several times after Halloween and bought some great costumes at steep discounts. If you aren’t picky about what your costumes are you can wait until they go to 90% off at Target. The final way we stock our dress up bins is by shopping at garage sales. Old clothes and Halloween costumes are often for sale at garage sales at a great price.
Our dress up includes dress-up shoes, which are a favorite for both of our girls.
These are just a few of our favorite toys in our house. They all provide hours of entertainment for both our three and eight-year-olds, and they make them use their imaginations. All of the above are even fun for me to play with them.
What other items would you include in your list of favorite kids toys?
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