In our house there are certain toys that have had more mileage than all the others combined. Being the natural purger that I am, those toys that get little play time are outta here fast! When you step back and really look around at the toys your kids play with most, you will find that most of them are open-ended. The kids with limited battery needs or noise makers. Toys that can be played with in an unlimited way are the best! Here are the toys that have lasted the test of time in our family. These toys that can be used across the ages and for a limitless imaginary play.
This tent and tunnel have been a favorite around here since my 9 year old was a newborn! We originally bought this as a play space for him while on a family vacation in Hawaii. We wanted to be able to put him somewhere that wasn’t in the sun or sand! Since those days, these have been forts, part of an obstacle course, a secret club, a quiet reading spot in the yard, used for backyard camp outs, doll houses, and more.
Our play cash register has been around for at least 5 years now maybe more. It has been used for playing store, restaurant, or cafe and has been used during kid run garage sales, lemonade stands, comics sales + bake sales. They put it in their ‘club house’ and take it with them in their forts.
Each of my 3 kids has had lots of practice cutting veggies with this set. In fact, all the Melissa and Doug wooden play food have been huge hits. This set comes in fruit too and can be added to with their cookie set, cupcake set, even a sushi set.
Magna Tiles might be my all-time favorite toy in our home ever. Wow! That’s quite a recommendation. Let me tell you why this toy is so perfect for kids of all ages (at least for those under 12). First of all, these blocks click together with magnets so building is easy for younger kids. Toddlers can successfully build simple 2-D shapes with confidence. As children progress in their building skills, 3-D shapes can be built in an unlimited amount of variations. And aren’t those colors fantastic! Once children get the hang of building with Magna Tiles, they end up using them for making houses, castles, farms, barns, rockets, lego space stations, buses, trucks, you. name. it! Splurge on the complete set with wheels and windows. It’s pricey, but worth every cent. Convinced yet?
Musical instruments are a must have in my opinion. I’m not even that musical, but wouldn’t think about not having a big box of instruments in our house. We started our with some small egg shakers when my 9 year was an infant. This has turned into quite a collection over the years. The kids come up with the wildest ideas with their instruments. From small performances to New Years Eve parades down our street. To seeing how many they can make work ALL at once! When my big guys were little we also liked to take them on car rides to play along with their favorite music together.
I bought this one when my 9 year old just started walking! It’s had so many baby dolls in it over the years and is still going strong! Each of my big kids has put a younger sibling in it to push all around the house and it folds up so compactly that we’ve even brought it in a suitcase and on a plane before!
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with a toddler/pre-schooler let them play with water. This tea set and all the others we’ve acquired over the years are used almost every day for one reason or another. Many many tea parties of course, but also just good old water play. Think Montessori here. Filling, setting, pouring, measuring, it’s all good learning happening here. My 6 year old has started in the last year or so to actually make real food to plate instead of just the play food. Which has her extending her learning to cutting, arranging, cleaning, not to mention extending the life of these cute little tea sets by Alex Toys.
3 Favorites for building
Finally LEGO came out with a girls set after years of nothing girl oriented. Girls love to build too and need that time exploring and developing the brain with LEGOs as much as boys do.
**side note, after working on this post on Friday, I was watching my kids play with our magna tiles ALL weekend!