Shopping for toys is hard, isn’t it? When you shop with your kids, they want the biggest, flashiest, nosiest thing they can find in the toy isle. I’ve made the mistake so many times of getting that thing and then guess what? It gets played with for about 3 days and then it breaks or it runs out of batteries, or they just lose their interest because it’s not as awesome as they thought it would be. What happens then? They go back to the old tried and true toys.
I am a mom of two boys, ages 8 and 4, but they’re actually 3 years and 3 months apart. Here is a list of some of the best toys that my kids have had for years and they still continue to play with. With Christmas coming up, I thought it might help anyone who shops for a kiddo and not sure what to get them.
Step 2 Extreme Coaster – I found this thing for $25 at a yard sale, but knowing what I know now, I would gladly pay full price for it. But definitely try to find it on sale because it is a pricey one. I believe my youngest was almost 3 when we got this roller coaster toy and he was able to push the car up the ramp, but I needed to hold the car in place while he got in. I also had to help with a gentle push. My boys play on this thing for hours upon hours and they have so much fun. The cousins are in their early teens and they ride it. When friends come over (remember when we used to have friends come over?), it’s the biggest attraction. When my 8-year-old needs to take a moment for himself, he goes out to the roller coaster and sits on top of for reflection time. Like I mentioned, we bought it at a yard sale and I remember the lady telling me that they inherited it from a friend, so who knows how old this thing is and it is still in great shape despite the AZ sun.
LEGO – Did you know that the proper pluralization of those little bricks is LEGO, no S? LEGO, Duplo, & Megablocks, depending on the age of the child, are nonstop awesomeness for toys. They cover all kinds of sensory processing, fine motor skills, strengthens the hand muscles, develops hand/eye coordination, stimulates critical thinking, introduces concepts like recognizing colors, shapes, counting, engineering, imagination, and more. Kids love LEGO. This mom loves her kids playing with LEGO. I love seeing their little brains at work. It’s absolutely fascinating. The creations they come up with is so cool. Boys and girls alike love LEGO. My boys like the kits, but usually end up losing interest in following the directions, or I build it for them and they destroy it within an hour or so. They much more prefer just a massive assortment of bricks to come up with their own creations. Some kids are bonkers for the kits. Good luck deciding.
Magnatiles – This toy was introduced to my oldest when he was in preschool. We were gifted a few sets over the years and he still plays with them, along with his little brother. Magnatiles are great because, like LEGO, they foster a curiosity for STEM. They build anything from a princess’s castle to a car garage to Godzilla. They last forever and provide countless of hours of open-ended play. Magnatiles are a win for my kids and a win for mom.
Wooden Thomas & Friends trains and tracks – We started collecting the wooden trains and tracks since my 8-year-old was 18 months old. We still have many of those same trains and tracks and they’re still in great condition. We’ve added on to our collection over the years. Sitting on the floor, playing trains is one of my family’s favorite pastimes.
Costumes – My boys are always playing dress-up. They are usually riding the roller coaster or building something while wearing a costume. My older son is pretty linear with his dress up outfits. He doesn’t like to mix things up. Whatever character he is portraying, he is totally committed as that character. My youngest son is more creative in putting his character outfits together. For example, he was recently a Power Ranger dressed up as the Hulk. Or he’s a fireman/chef/football player guy. They like to dress in costumes when we go to the store or for a bike ride. They wear costumes to the park. My complaint is that outside of Halloween season, it is extremely difficult to find boys’ dress-up options.
Bikes, Scooters, Skateboards, etc. – Anything that you can ride is tons of fun and a big hit. Of course, you don’t want to forget safety. Helmets, elbow, knee and wrist pads are perfect accessories to go with a new set of wheels.
Dome Climber – Truth be told, we do not actually have one of these, but it is definitely on the wish list. Every single family that we know that has a dome climber swears by it being such a fun thing to have. Kids can climb up, over through, under and around the dome building strength, balance and agility, and confidence. I’ve seen a lot of creative play taking place like throwing a blanket over it and using it as a fort, or an alien spaceship that has landed.
What are some cherished toys that have been so well loved in your home?