Friday, January 17, 2014

Our Current Favorite Toys!

     What are your kiddos current favorite toys? Something they got for Christmas, maybe? An old beloved doll? Something colorful and plastic or handmade and wooden?

     I have to say, one of our favorites is the entirety of the local park playground! We don't have a yard. There's some grassy area around our home but there's nothing keeping the kids from the street. It's not very safe and our neighbors aren't always the most charming lot either. When we get a chance to go, it seems my kids are their happiest after playing at the park.

     It's been a long winter so far without it. All the nasty weather and our sweet new one has been keeping us mostly inside with the exception of errands and a few minutes here and there to see the sun or enjoy some snow. One day I hope we have a big yard with a climbing dome, tire swings, slides, sand boxes and zip lines galore. That said, this post will be focused on the sorts of toys we have inside.

     I try to keep things in rotation. I will admit . . . the musical instruments have been in the back of the closet toy box (it's just a big, transparent, sterilite box that the littles don't have access to) for quite a while. Although I do think the set we have (the B. Parum Pum Pum Drum) is adorable. We have many, many more toys and things than these I'll talk about.

     Right right now these are the ones that have kept the intrigue of Bitty Bug (3.5) and Sweet Pea (2). I think all of these toys are fantastic for their age group!

#1 - Fisher Price Little People
     These little people toy sets have taken over. We have several of the bigger sets now! They had some before Christmas but it's also the bulk of what they got this year (or .  . . last year, I guess). With a portion of their Christmas money we ordered the dollhouse and got the Disney princess castle. Personally, I don't put the batteries in the ones that make noise. The girls do all of the noise-making on their own. These make a perfect starter dollhouse set and they are awesome for pretending! I do like the old version of the people better than the new but they are all adorable. There are tons of options to match each kid's interest: the princesses, airplanes, a dump truck, zoo and farm animals, and a little family. My personal favorite is our nativity. There is also a Noah's Ark set we don't have yet that I think is too cute! The bigger things like the castle can be a pain to get together because they are essentially a plastic 3d puzzle with screws. They seem to be pretty sturdy in the end though. Did I mention they are cute??

#2 - Duplo Legos, Wooden Blocks, and Mega Blocks
     No doubt, the hubby is an avid Lego fan. He'd probably live at Legoland if I let him. I love them too but I don't discriminate on building blocks of any kind around here. The girls can't get enough. We have a huge box of the mega blocks and a great variation of wooden ones. We just started our collection of duplos though. I think Bitty Bug builds more robots than planet earth could handle. They make cities and bridges and houses. I love it!

#3 - Magnets
   Zoo animals, dinosaurs, letters, and numbers! We have quite an assortment of fridge magnets now. I found the Melissa & Doug animal magnets on the cheap at Ross one day. You can always find bags of the colorful letters and numbers for a buck or two! Sometimes they play with them on the fridge while I cook. Other times they each get a cookie sheet to put them on. I've found them to be a super tool for learning the alphabet and counting.

#4 - Play-Doh
 Store-bought or homemade. It's cheap and fun. You can anything with it. You can smash it to create something new or bake it and keep it forever and ever. This stuff with some simple plastic tools and cookie cutters keeps them occupied for a good, solid 30 minutes if not an entire hour. It's also a fantastic sensory activity.

#5 - Puzzles and Busy Gears
 Oh, we only have over 20 kid puzzles. Cheap and not as cheap. Mostly wooden. A few plastic. Even some made of foam. NONE that make noise for heaven's sake! (I can think of some scenarios where noise-making puzzles could be great but NOT in my house!) Pro tip: put the pieces to the left so they put them on left to right! It's a reading tool! I also lucked out and found the "vintage" Playskool Busy Gears set at the thrift store for a few dollars. It's going for $30-50 on eBay and amazon which is nuts! I do like the old one much better than the new version. One of the neatest toys we own is a hand-carved, alphabet, snake puzzle that we bought at a local market.

     So, there you have it. These are our current favorites. They are pretty basic and maybe that's what is so great about them. Maybe I'll write about the toy rotation system I've got going soon. It needs some organizational work but it's much easier all ready than having all the toys out at once.

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