But with a few exceptions, these are NOT the toys my children adore, which is such an interesting disconnect. I, too, puzzle over why what appeals to me as an adult is not what appeals most to my children. But I've also matured in my parenting enough to recognize that it's really not about me, lol, so I no longer keep out toys, even gorgeous, handcrafted toys, that my kids never touch.
Another dynamic which comes into play in our household that affects toy play is the wide range of ages (11 yrs. to 4 mos.) As my kids have gotten older and we've added new little ones to our brood, I've gradually come to detest any toy with smallish (or numerous) parts, because while it may happily occupy an older child, the littles only use it for throwing/scattering/losing/ingesting. Legos fall into this category, as does any building with furniture or accessories, although we've tried to solve this by relegating these kinds of toys to the kids' bedrooms instead of leaving them out in the communal playroom. Still, doors get left open, and chaos invariably ensues.
Finally, one of our children has SN, and that has been such a learning experience wrt toy play, as well. Prior to her birth, we owned very few, if any, electronic toys, super-noisy toys, etc. But Sophie is drawn to and engages with bright lights, sounds, buttons, and electronic "bling" SO much more than any other kind of toy. So now we own a whole forest of these things, much to my bemusement. And she's beyond thrilled! She really represents her very own category in our family in terms of toys.
Oh, I also wanted to mention that I'm sure if we owned a video game system of any kind, it would be constantly played with by my older kiddos. Their grandparents own a Wii, and when we visit them, it's all they want to do. Which actually is why we don't have one ourselves, b/c I know I would be hard-pressed to enforce strict limits with it in the craziness of our everyday life and therefore we couldn't use it in a balanced way.
So anyway, here's my short list, based on what ALL my kids (with the possible exception of Sophie) have played with, boy or girl, at most all ages:
Books, books, more books
Legos or Duplos
Mini trampoline, tumbling mat, hammock swing, couch cushions and blankets to make forts, balls of all sorts
Play kitchen and food
The boys also love(d) wooden swords, bows/arrows, stick horses, and Nerf guns.
The girls also love(d) dolls, doll clothes and diapers, and baby carriage.
After age 5, they all love board games of all types -- Haba and Ravensburger are some of our fav brands.
Sophie (3 1/2 yrs.) also loves her chewelry, electronic phones, VTech toys that count or do colors or sing, and above all, her Signing Times videos.