I get really tired of walking around my house picking up toys. I have become vigilant about keeping the number of toys in my home to a minimum. I want LESS STUFF! With this in mind, I’ve started paying attention to which toys my kids actually play with and go back to over and over. They’ve had many toys that entertain them for about 45 seconds, but then they drop it and never pick it up again. Here is a list of toys my kids enjoy for more than 5 minutes:
1. Baby dolls– My little girl loves baby dolls. I realize not every little girl does. She tucks them into bed, feeds them, wraps them up in blankets and carries them around the house. It’s imaginative play and it doesn’t get old.
2. Art Supplies– Elle seems to be an artistic kid. She loves drawing, coloring and painting. For Christmas, I got her a cheap art set with crayons, markers, watercolors and oil pastels. She was thrilled with it and uses it very often. It’s a perfect rainy day activity or quiet activity during her brother’s nap time. I feel like money spent encouraging children to be creative is never wasted.
3. Kitchen set– I made Elle a kitchen set out of two nightstands I found at Goodwill for $5 each. She and Hunter both love it. They have play food and play dishes and they make little meals and feed each other and the baby dolls and stuffed animals.
4. Blocks– Hunter got wooden blocks for Christmas and he and Elle both play with them. They make towers and walls and their favorite part is knocking them all down. Because there are so many variations on what they can do with them, they never get bored. I remember when I was a kid, my brother had Lego’s and Lincoln Logs. We both played with them for years. I remember being 12 or 13 and building stuff with Lincoln Logs. My brother would have been about 7 or 8, and he was still entertained by them and loved when I would play too.
5. Books– Both my kids like books and I visit the library at least once a week to bring home new things to read. I think books are an excellent investment and I don’t mind if I have an overflowing bookshelf. I have found tons of children’s books in great condition at the thrift store. In my opinion, books are the very best toys!
6. Gardening tools– Buckets, shovels, and anything you can dig around in the dirt with make great toys. My kids are fascinated by dirt, worms, dead leaves, roots, etc… We have gardening tools that are kept outside under the back porch and they get played with frequently. Anything that encourages kids to play oustide gets an A+ in my book!
7. Musical instruments or music makers– One of my daughter’s favorite Christmas presents was a toy flute that cost $2 at Target. I’m all for encouraging musical ability in my kids. We also have a toy by V-Tech that is like a mini music studio. It’s called the KidiJamz Studio and I think it’s quite expensive (like $100), but my kids do really like it. You can choose a style (hip hop, reggae, techno, etc…) and then pick a song from a list of popular kids’ songs. There’s a microphone to sing along and a turn-table for sound effects. It’s like a mini DJ station. My kids put on a song and then have a dance party.
It’s amazing how the simplest toys are usually the ones that get played with the most often. The toys that require imagination are the most fun. The cheap, plastic, noise-making, complicated toys are the ones that get thrown aside!