Hello, I'm in the middle of setting up my little one's play space. I was just wandering what are the most popular toys/ un-toys in your household? My baby is 11 months old. I have read Simplicity parenting (loved it!!!) so we are going for the "less is more" approach, just trying to get it striaght in my head what the key items to go for are! Thanks! :)
Grimms Spiel & Holz's big stacking ring is played with everyday, no matter what. It's played with in a bunch of different ways, and my 1 yo loves when we spin the rings on the floor. Also, the large wooden train set, which we set up in different ways all the time. Both of my boys love trains. Acorns are a huge deal, too. Last year we gathered a large bucket of them, and they have been used in everything. My older boy, who is 4.5, loves them. We cannot walk near an oak tree without him gathering them! Seashells, smooth rocks, our sand box with construction trucks has also been greatly loved over the years. Our play kitchen with routinely stocked dry goods and leaves and flowers from outside is a fun activity. And then there's art supplies, those never get boring. Outside is where they'd rather be 90% of the time- anything involving water, gardening, the football, soccer ball, baseball stuff, and basketball all equal fun. Good old sticks. That pretty much sums up my home, as far as play goes.
These get daily play: playsilks, wool balls, SMALL baskets of smooth rocks, leaves, acorns, dried beans (once a bit older), small enamel pots from Nova, handfuls of wool batting, child's broom and dustpan. Every single day!
When dd was little (like 1-2): tea set, balls, wooden blocks, stacking ring, play fabrics and silks, nature baskets with rocks, shells, and sticks, play kitchen (although in retrospect I would not buy a full kitchen but have baskets with food and a bench with a tabletop kitchen sink/stove), and Schleich animals (at our house the animals must be plastic so she can wash them--she still loves them now). She also loved spooning beans, fingerpainting, mixing old spices in a bowl of water to make soup, scribbling on easel paper.
My all-time favorite toys have been blocks (wooden AND plastic--the plastic, inter-linking ones get the most use because they don't fall apart), large play fabrics and small silks, Scheich animals, play kitchen, and stuffed animals, and Selecta cash register (this one has cool spring buttons--we've used it for elevator buttons, cash register, a telephone, etc.), and a wooden bench for being a boat, a carriage, a car, a house, a tabletop etc.
The absolute BEST thing we ever bought dd was a chin-up bar for her to swing on. We've also built her a balance beam and allow her to climb/jump on all our furniture. We've built some amazing castles and houses with couch cushions.
My kids are not toy kids. The only things they play with consistenely are silks and a couple of soft animals and "jewels". Hats and bags and a tutu for dress up once they were a little older. Dirt, mud, water, buckets, chalk go along way outside and it's their preference. And craft materials indoors. We also have an indoor swing that is much used and a small indoor trampomine. DDs are 5 yo twin girls, but it hasn't been much different since they were toddlers. We do get to try a lot of toys due to relative gifts, but they almost always end up in the Good Will bin. Things we've kept even though they rarely touch them -- play kitchen and food, wooden train, beautfiul doll house that their grandparents gave them (the've literally touched it 3x in 2 years), couple of nice trucks, dolls that I made for them.
I have a 14 month old. His favorite things are a wooden shape sorter (he just puts the blocks in the top, not in the right shapes), a tin oatmeal can I put rice in for a shaker/drum, any balls, and a box he likes to push around.
My DS is 2.5...here is what we use every day:
-Learning tower: mostly used for play in the sink w/ some bowls of water, and sometimes a handful of frozen peas to keep things interesting
-Pushcart: we have the Plan toys walker version w/ blocks, but it is kind of small, we are getting a bigger one w/ more carrying capacity for Christmas from Community Playthings--he loves to load the cart up and push it around and pretend it is a vacuum, shopping cart, stroller, lawn mower, etc.
-Riding toy: we have a plastic one "4 wheeler" that was a gift and it is used in a very open-ended fashion--as a car, ride-on lawnmower, motorcycle,etc, but I wish we had bought one of the small riding toys from community playthings as they look well-made, very low to the ground and easy to steer
-Blocks and stacking toys in different colors and shapes: these do not get used for stacking or building yet, but they are used as bread, firewood, candles, bottles of water, doughnuts, bagels, cake, vegetables and all manner of gauges and dials :)
-Set of real keys (my DS loves keys)
-Tiny canvas shopping bag (about 10x10in)--to carry around all his stuff, go "grocery shopping", etc.
-Various boxes and baskets
-Playdoh (recent development)
-Indoor swing made with a woven wrap style baby carrier and two hooks in the ceiling
-Child sized wooden table/chairs (big enough for mama to sit at)
-Tons of books
-Blanket to make a fort w/ dining chairs
Used daily but less than the above
-Ostheimer figures and playmobil 123--some pretend play every day, but I think he's still a bit young
-Play kitchen (he uses the pots/teaset/wooden knife and cutting board a lot but we could have gotten away w/out buying the actual kitchen)
We have a six year old girl, almost five year old boy, 20 month old boy, and 3 month old girl. They all (well, not the baby) play with the camden rose kitchen, plan toy/haba/palumba play food, green toys dishes, plan toy tea set, wooden thomas train set, m&d wooden blocks (a GREAT set, one of the only m&d toys we like), duplo legos, bristle blocks, dolls, gs&h nesting house, camden rose and holziger wooden cars, puzzles (wooden and cardboard), paper & stockmor crayons, keyboard, playcloths and silks, small play animals. All of these are played with on a daily or several times weekly basis.
I know you already said you were going for the less is more approach but I wanted to say to watch out for buying lots of any one thing, even if it's a favorite. We have done this a few times and the kids always lose interest. For example, they played with their wooden train set constantly until we bought a bunch more track, bridges, trains, etc. for it, then they stopped playing with it until we boxed up half the pieces and started rotating them out. The same thing happened with the play food. I don't think that more or another of a beloved toy can recreate the magic of the original. I'm constantly having to remind myself of this as I'm looking at ordering more nesting toys, play food, animals, or whatever.
I have an eight-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. The non-toy toys that have seen the most play are playsilks (every day since we got them, when DD was 18 months old), a couple of old purses that have been packed up with all manner of things, and a set of gift boxes that are different solid colors and nest inside each other. Also popular have been a dish of polished river rocks, and flashlights.
We have a lot of play food, and dishes, and they get a lot of play. However, if I had to do it over, I wouldn't bother with the toy kitchen, but would just get the child-sized table and chairs and a couple of wooden crates for the kitchen. The same thing has been true of dollhouses--we have great miniatures, dolls and little furniture, but the houses themselves limit play more than they facilitate it. My kids either spread out their miniatures on the floor, or arrange them in a couple of plywood boxes.
Haha, I think this is pretty funny actually but what they play with most, for the past year or so, are the small wooden traffic signs that go to their trains set. These traffic signs are "kids" who have names, and my 5 and 3 yr old know who each kid is (ie the yield sign is a certain kid, the stoplight is a certain kid...).
I've been pretty careful with toys, and things go in and out of favor sometimes. But at our house:
Dolls aren't really played with much.
Stuffed animals are enjoyed but wouldn't be missed. I keep their number to a minimum so they don't get out of control.
Dollhouse: pretty much ignored.
Castle: sometimes played with but he'd be content without it. (Dollhouse and castle were really for me anyway!)
Play kitchen is played with regularly. He cooks in it, he empties it out and hides things in it, and who knows what else!
Playstands define his area. It's like a little clubhouse in the living room...we even hung old curtains on the front so it can be closed off. Used every day! We keep the shelves pretty empty so they're easier to jump into any game.
The couple of wooden vehicles get played with regularly.
Blocks are good for lots of things...rarely building towers, but they build fences and cities, and are pretend food, etc...
Playsilks are mostly used for superhero or knight capes - sometimes princess dresses.
We're also entering the age of dress-ups. A few simple accessories on on the agenda for Christmas. He doesn't need much to go all-in with a game he's playing!!
But the most played with items in the whole house, are the wooden animals, horses, knights, etc. There is a small boy figure with the same color hair as my son and his name is Little W. He has lots of adventures that Big W would like to have. We have a basket full of different animals and figures and he plays with them ALL THE TIME. Everything else is just an accessory to the games those animals are playing. They are by far the best investment in time and money that I've made. :) (I should add that he also has a small collection of Schleich horses that are played with just as extensively. They are the exception to our no-plastic rule. He visits them at the store every time we go grocery shopping and now and then convinces his dad to buy a new one.)
0-2 has been the wonderworld posting house shape sorter (really well designed), ball track, gs&h four elements/stacking tower, finger puppets, people mover bus from A Toy Garden, puzzles, blocks (plain and fancy from haba), felt balls, simple baby doll from A Toy Garden (DD only).
From 2-3+ has been schielch animals, gs&h four elements, the small people from Plan Toys who are all named and have origin stories, train set in 1000 congfigurations, and road track, puzzles, duplo blocks, good art supplies, occasional use of play kitchen/food and no interest in dress up or play silks. And BOOOKS. Most play though involves animals or people having adventure which may involve blocks or tracks of some sort. Hours every day.
play kitchen & play food - used daily. I didn't get a flashy kitchen but a small, simple wooden one and some felted foods. For other "food" I have beads, acorns, glitter (for spices) and things like that
Beanie Babies - my Dad got DD like 20 of them, and they have tea parties/get put to bed in her wooden doll pet/get pushed around. I wouldn't actively buy these, but I think they are pretty cute and since they are smaller/soft she loves them
Tree house - we have some fairies and furniture and it gets played with all the time
Tree house blocks
For Xmas we got a castle, so excited!