When I first became a parent a little over six years ago, I had no idea the mass toy accumulation that was coming my way. It is staggering how much stuff one can acquire for such a small human (or humans in our case). We found ourselves weeding out toys into a giveaway pile about every six months and constantly planning out what creative methods we were going to use to organize and store what was leftover!
Well, after six years, we have discovered that there are about five basic types of toys that get played with the most. If you have a little one, make sure to stock up on the following.
1. Wooden Blocks: These get played with over and over and over again. The girls love to build castles, a zoo, and most recently a Wipeout obstacle course (Ya know, after the show Wipeout? They love that show.). And Lucas enjoys building a block tower and then knocking it over, again and again and again....
2. Books: I'm not sure these count as a "toy", but having a stocked library of children's books at home is a wonderful thing. Not only do we read books throughout the day and especially at bedtime, but the girls will play school and read their books to their "students" (aka stuffed animals). You just can't go wrong here!
3. Dress-Up Clothes: We have a big plastic tub stuffed full of various costumes and dress-up clothes. The girls still love to pretend to be princesses, fairies, ballet dancers, etc. They like making up their own costumes too. My tips for a good dress-up box: 1.) Go to the store the day after Halloween to stock up on various costumes usually marked down 50% or 75%. 2.) Check out your local thrift store or Goodwill for old prom dresses, funny old coats, and sparkly tops (for girls especially!), 3.) Go into your own closet and look around. My girls love to put on my scarves and high heels. Throw on some sunglasses and they feel like movie stars! Hours of entertainment, I tell you!4. Stuffed Animals: For some children, dolls might be a better option, but my girls have never gravitated toward dolls. Barbies, yes, but baby dolls, no. Instead they LOVE stuffed animals. They play school with the animals, take them to the animal doctor, sort them out into families, replay favorite books, etc. Each and every one has a specific name and personality too!
5.) Food: We have a large box full of both wooden and plastic food and dishes that the girls still play with quite frequently. The photo above is of a picnic spread just waiting for some stuffed animal visitors. A good kitchen set is a bonus (we used to have one until we literally wore it out), but it is not absolutely necessary if space/money is an issue. My girls happily play without one now, but did enjoy "cooking" on their old kitchen stove.
In addition my girls are crazy about horses, Barbies, and dinosaurs, but they go through phases with those things. For a few weeks they will be engrossed with a dino drama, but then as soon as it started, the dinos will go back into the box for awhile. And of course I would recommend always having plenty of paper, crayons, markers, watercolors, play dough, etc. on hand for drawing and creating. But I consider those things in the "art supply" category instead of "toys".
What were your favorite toys as a child? What about for your child/children now?
**Parts of this list might be different for boys, but I am basing this off of my experience with little girls!