Mine are 15, 6, 5 and 5. As well I have daycare kids, 3, 2, 2 and 2.
This is what I've discovered
Things we didn't like, didn't use, or absolutely hated : )
Any plastic toy with a predetermined outcome. Fisher Price makes lots of these, I've only ever bought one thing (the Dance Dance Monkey thing) it was a dust collector. But we've recieved tons of it as gifts or hand me downs. The FP garage became a step stool, the farm a storage box for the billion plastic animals and people, you get the idea...
Talking dolls. To me, there's something wierd about a company programming a doll to say the phrases that were most likely the most suggested in a focus group. It's unimaginative and unoriginal. What's wrong with the child making up his/her own sayings and voices?
Train table. Once the pieces were glued down, it was a bit better, but overall, it was just a surface to put junk.
Noisy toys. Like singing Leapfrog toys. (shudder)
Plastic play kitchen and plastic play food. They never even touched it.
Same goes for the plastic workbench.
Learning games (like the smarttouch, or leapster...) it held their interest for a very brief moment, but were mainly a source of frusteration and quickly went away.
Stuff we loved....And still do!
Wooden blocks (alphabet blocks, homemade 2x4 ends, any kind of wooden block!)
Wooden animals and shoeboxes.
Fisher Price Happy Apple (Old) as well as the xylophone, castle, telephone and school bus (old ones, 70's era again)
Simple ride on toys.
Gears, Waffle blocks, K'nex, Tinkertoys, and dinky cars.
Books, art supplies, modeling clay, dollar store learning and activity books and stickers.
Wooden doll furniture and basic baby dolls , Waldorf dolls, and tons of old doll clothes.
Dress up trunk.
Castles and knightes.
Tree fort and swings (hung from trees) Fishing rods, kites, scooters, bikes, old surfboard, boogie boards, balls, skateboards, rowboats and dinghies. Sticks, rocks, pinecones, sand, stream, woods....
Knitting and sewing.
Old maps, old cameras, old cell phones, old winches and block and tackles, rope...
My daycare kids are really into filling plastic yogurt containers with anything they can find (gravel, sticks, dry macaroni, etc.) and dumping it out. Over and over : )