Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

My friend Kimberly, at Raising Olives ,did a post today on some products she recommends. It gave me the idea to do something similar. I thought some of my friends with younger children might benefit from my many years of collecting toys and books. I am going to share some of our family's favorite toys, games and books with you.

I don't like toys that make lots of noise and whose sole purpose is to entertain. I like toys that require my children to be creative, use thinking skills or help them interact with another sibling. You will probably recognize many of my favorites and some may even be toys you played with as a child

Infant Toys (ages 12mo and under)
I don't think infants need a lot of toys, especially not the ones with flashing lights and lots of sounds. Discovery Toys offers several things that have been favorites here including the super yummy teether and stacking cups among others. Throw in a few multi-sensory toys, something to cuddle and a push toy to encourage walking and you really don't need much more.

(Oops. The shape sorter should be in the next group)

Toddler/Preschool Toys
Some of my favorites at this age are shape sorters, peg puzzles (love Melissa & Doug products), Duplos, building blocks, beads to string, Lauri products (wonderful crepe puzzles and an incredible stacking peg set) and Fisher Price Little People sets. We have added to our Little People collection over the years and now have enough to create a small city.

These Lauri items have kept my preschoolers engaged for hours. If you loose a piece, Lauri will replace it for fifty cents.

One of the many Melissa and Doug peg puzzles we own.

Will made this creation today before I even decided to do this post. I would get rid of almost all of our toys before I would get rid of the blocks. We have a wooden set and a foam set. Many of our wooden blocks have faces drawn on them because the children would pretend they were people and then build a house for them. My 10 year old currently has a 3 story house built with the wooden blocks for her Playmobil family.

This is the first Little People set we purchased. Ashley received it for Christmas when she was two, so this set is 12 years old. We've added the garage, airport, city, castle, fire station and pirate ship.

Our Duplo bricks are also a favorite (Legos for preschoolers). The children enjoy the basic brick but seem to enjoy them more in combination with the animal, farm and people sets we've added. Emily received the people set when she was three. (4 ethnic groups each with a dad, mom, grandparents and 2 children) She lined them all up in rows, set one gentlemen in front and proceeded to have "church."

We also have a Duplo dollhouse which I like a lot. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the money. I plan to hang onto it for my grandchildren. When Kathryn first received it she was too young to construct the house, but her older sisters could build it and then she could play with it. The walls and floor of this house come apart and can built in many different ways. You can build a ranch or a 3-story townhouse.

So, what are your favorites?

Coming Next: Elementary suggestions


Kimberly @ Raising Olives said...

Where did you get the foam block set. I may have to add that to my Christmas idea list.

The only thing that I would add is a wooden train track (Brio compatible. We purchased ours when Matthew (11) was little and have added to it over time. All of our children have enjoyed building tracks and running the trains around on them, but Colby (4) will quietly play with it for hours and hours, day after day and you know Colby, so that really is saying something!!

Michelle said...

I have a lot of the same favorites. I LOVE Discovery Toys but discovered them much too late and have a bunch of JUNK, JUNK, JUNK.

JJ's favorite is the stacking cups and I'm really hoping the new baby likes that crazy rainfall rattle they sale. I bought it for him b/c he always played with it at a friend's house...and he never touched it!

I have the Melissa and Doug big chunky animal puzzle and Lily got a lot of play out of it.

We have too many baby dolls. That is her favorite thing to do is be a mommy.

Can you come to my house and help me get rid of some toys? ;)....no, I'm serious.

Jama said...

Kimberly, I think I got our foam blocks from Lillian Vernon.