10 Toys that Our Kids Have Played with for Years and Years
With our four kids, toys get used and abused. Like many siblings, our kids each have different personalities, and they interact with toys differently. Even the twins, who are at the same stage in terms of age, have vastly different ways of engaging with toys.
Jack is a creator. He doesn't want a toy for what it is; it has the potential to be eight million other things, and he is going to alter that toy to become one of those variations. Rosie is a more straightforward creator — she loves to build and create, but her ideas are more rooted in reality. Clara is a nurturer, and her toys take the form of caring and loving other things. Sadie is playful and seeks the joy of her toys (she's the only one who pulls out a toy camera and says "cheese!" while smiling!). It is fascinating to me to see which toys interest whom.
When we had only one child, the toys in our house were treated well and kept clean — part Jack's personality, part our ability to pay more attention. Now, with four kids, we are putting our toys to the test.
Of the many, many toys that have come in and out of the house, these 10 have become the gold standard — they didn't break apart, they are entertaining for our 7 1/2 year-old, 3-year-old twins AND our 20-month-old, and they don't make me crazy (key, right?).
Our toy kitchen gets a lot of use, and many of the toy foods and accessories that we have stored in it come and go, but the pots and pans are consistently used by all four kids. They house science experiments, cook kid-made pasta, and transform into hats. This Melissa and Doug set is great, and we also love our Ikea set.
This is one of those toys that I would never have believed would be a keeper. We bought this monster puppet for Jack on a whim several years ago, and it has stood the test of time. The combination of the bright colors (less scary) and googly eyes, make this silly puppet so much fun. It's the best when the kids pretend to be the monster to scare me!
We have tried several different toy tool sets (including that time when we went down a rabbit hole to find a pretend motorized drill that didn't break in the first day of use), and most sets failed to compare to real tools (they always want the real tools, right?). Except for this Green Toys tool set. I wish I could tell you what it is about it that gets all of our kids using it, but I am not entirely sure. Perhaps it's the simplicity? Maybe it's the super durable plastic that Green Toys uses? Maybe it's because each tool is very easy to use? Whatever it is, they keep coming back to it. It's currently sitting in our bath tub as their favorite bath toy.
Most days, I am wondering if I am raising a bunch of pack rats who will be featured on some future version of Hoarders. One of their very favorite activities, from youngest to oldest, is to pack up a bag with their favorite of-the-moment toys, trinkets, and what-nots. They love their backpacks (I think "backpack" was one of Sadie's first words...) and fill them and tote them around just about every day. The key, I think, is to have small toddler-size backpacks that are easy to fill and carry. Even Jack enjoys the smaller toddler backpack over his full-size schoolbag.
We're fans of all of the Bruder toys over here at Casa Shannon, but this Roadmax version is the most durable of the bunch. It is made for younger kids, but still has the fun fill and dump activities that you'd get with more sophisticated garbage trucks, and it can withstand energy of a much bigger kid.
Dolls are an obvious choice, sure. We have tested a couple different brands and keep coming back to Corolle. I had the same brand as a child, and I am happy to report that they are as nice as I remember. Our dolls may be loved, but they suffer a tough life — tossed, thrown, dragged, you name it. The Corolle dolls have held up. And don't discount it for the boys! Jack named his "Maxwell," and he holds a special place in Jack's heart.
This Picnic game was gifted to us several years ago, and it is hands-down, my favorite board game for toddlers. It comes with an adorable checkered cloth to lay down, cardboard plates, silverware, fruits, veggies, sandwiches, etc. While the true object of the game may still be lost on a couple of my kids, they all have fun setting up a picnic, and choosing their picnic foods. It's cute, durable and fun for all of them.
Like the tool kit above, we have sought out and tested a few different variations on the doctor kit, and this Learning Resources kit is the one that is still played with on a daily basis. It has been combined with our favorite science kit for the ultimate basket of medical equipment.
I couldn't possibly mention this list without bringing up two other favorites (and classics) in our house: Magnatiles (we have found Playmags to be equally awesome and half the price) and Lego Duplos. They are kept in baskets in our family room and are pulled out on a daily basis by all four kids.
What are the most loved toys in your house?