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#1 of 24 Old 10-11-2011, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you have a minimal collection of toys for your little one, what's in it?   I like to think we have a fairly small toy stash compared to most families I know, and I'm careful to declutter the unused ones and follow the one in/ one out rule.  We're at the perfect point now where every toy they have is played with daily, and they would definately notice and be devastated if any were removed.  The issue is that the holidays are coming, and I've already been given $200 by a family member to buy toys on their behalf for Christmas.  Incredibly generous and appreciated of course, but man that is a lot of toys to come into our house, even if I'm choosing it.  The relative is also making a donation to their education accounts, so this other money has to be strictly toys.

It's a great opportunity to refine our fairly minimalist stash, so I'm looking for ideas for toys that will stand the test of time and grow with my kids for a while, but also don't take up space or come with tons of pieces.  My boys are 4 and 18 months (the babe's still mouthing toys)  So it's tough to find baby-safe toys that are still captivating to an older preschooler. Our current toy stash includes:

wooden train table

books

puzzles

wooden barn with animals

little people house

blocks, of varying types

toolbox

play market

handful of small things: binoculars, kaleidescope, balance board, shape sorter


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#2 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 01:07 AM
 
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Maybe I'm just contrary, but I don't really feel that someone has a right to force you to bring toys into your home by giving you money that's "strictly toys". If you, say, use that money to take the kids to movies, or to pay for pony rides, or for a membership at the zoo, is he going to haul you into small claims court? :)

 

 

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#3 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 02:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

Maybe I'm just contrary, but I don't really feel that someone has a right to force you to bring toys into your home by giving you money that's "strictly toys". If you, say, use that money to take the kids to movies, or to pay for pony rides, or for a membership at the zoo, is he going to haul you into small claims court? :)

 

 

 

I agree.
 

Another idea for using the money would be to put it towards one more expensive item, such as a bicycle which would be a great gift for a 4 year old, and eventually can be passed down to the younger one.

 


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#4 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 06:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's a very emotionally sensitive great grandma we're dealing with, so there could be repercussions.  If she gets stressed it causes her to get sick, whether or not it's just in her head, and then well it just causes headaches for many people. I might try to see if some of it could be put toward experience gifts.

Like the idea of one expensive item. A bike is out though since we have no storage for outdoor toys besides our car trunk, which currently holds their wagon.

I was also thinking of something open-ended that could compliment some of their current toys like a nice wooden treehouse playset which is otherwise out of my budget (takes up only one or two square feet) where the animals, little people, trains, and blocks can play, and I could likely get rid of the barn and house then.


Katie,  sahm to two wild and crazy guys banana.gif (8/07) and  bouncy.gif (3/10) and their sweet new baby sister baby.gif (4-1-13) 

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#5 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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How about a family membership to a children's museum or some such thing, and ask the giver to go with you for the first visit on the membership so she can really feel appreciated...

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#6 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I'd do a membership, to the pool or a museum or zoo. But, if it had to be an actual "toy", I'd totally go for the tree house. :)

 

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#7 of 24 Old 10-12-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post

It's a very emotionally sensitive great grandma we're dealing with, so there could be repercussions.  If she gets stressed it causes her to get sick, whether or not it's just in her head, and then well it just causes headaches for many people. I might try to see if some of it could be put toward experience gifts.

Like the idea of one expensive item. A bike is out though since we have no storage for outdoor toys besides our car trunk, which currently holds their wagon.

I was also thinking of something open-ended that could compliment some of their current toys like a nice wooden treehouse playset which is otherwise out of my budget (takes up only one or two square feet) where the animals, little people, trains, and blocks can play, and I could likely get rid of the barn and house then.



 Oh I understand your need to avoid repurcussions.

 

Yes one nice item like a lovely wooden treehouse playset would be ideal...a great toy for your kids and sure to please great grandma. winky.gif


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#8 of 24 Old 10-15-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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My son is  5. He has Legos, books, art supplies, a Star Wars light sabre, his bike, some outside toys like balls and a gifted to us basketball hoop, a Leapfrog (mostly used for long trips), a pillow pet that he loves to play with along with 2 other stuffed animals and lots of running around at the playground. :)

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#9 of 24 Old 10-15-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View PostIt's a very emotionally sensitive great grandma we're dealing with, so there could be repercussions.  If she gets stressed it causes her to get sick, whether or not it's just in her head, and then well it just causes headaches for many people.

My contrariness continues - my first thought is "emotional blackmail - don't give in to it."

 

That aside, my first actual toy thought was, dress-up clothes? Some quite good ones might eat up a good bit of money without eating up too much space.

 

 

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#10 of 24 Old 10-15-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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I also think you should suggest a membership to a local children's museum or zoo.  It wouldn't even take up all of the money, so you could still get more toys. 

 

Are there any neat train table additions?  There are pieces I'd love to add to our track, but won't because they are too expensive.

 

Do art supplies count?  I'd definitely pick out some nice art supplies.

 

The tree house playset sounds awesome though.  And I also like PPs idea of dress up clothing.


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#11 of 24 Old 10-15-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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Kapla blocks. 

 

books for older kids: The New Way Things Work, an animal encyclopedia, geography books (Hungry Planet, child's atlas, Children Like Me), The Way We Work, Joy Hakim's history of science books, Red Sings From Treetops, beautiful picture books to bring out at holidays [we are huge, huge library users, but it is sweet to have a few favorites to return to every year]. 

 

Subscription to Click and Babybug.

 

If you don't have one, toward a great camera?

 

art materials--watercolor pastels, metallic sharpies, sunprint paper. 

 

music gear--recorders, drums, harmonica, shaky eggs

 

The great thing about elderly relatives is that they don't always have a good sense of what is age-appropriate, so you can buy for later :)

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#12 of 24 Old 10-16-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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What about some nice wooden rocking horses?  There's a cool one that Rosie Hippo sells called Palomino.  They're very simple, but yet still look really fun!


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#13 of 24 Old 10-16-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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My daughter plays with her Magna Tiles all of the time.  We actually have two sets and she's constantly creating things with them. 

 

We're also huge fans of playmobil and our playmobil people get played with a lot.  You could also buy some cool outside toys with the money. 


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#14 of 24 Old 10-16-2011, 06:21 PM
 
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Another good, but simple toy is Wedgits.  My kids can play with them for HOURS.


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#15 of 24 Old 10-16-2011, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter plays with her Magna Tiles all of the time.  We actually have two sets and she's constantly creating things with them. 

 I like this! We were at a restaurant today that had them in a play corner and it was a bit hit, and they seem to store compactly.  I checked online and they're crazy expensive- something I would never buy, so I think this will be a good opportunity to get some.

Good news- the idea of a membership has been accepted! (Science museum), as long as there are still some  toys. Great-grandma may be miffed that the kids will only be opening a little box of tiles on Christmas, but I'll technically be following her wishes and I think the kids will have fun, most importantly.

 

thanks for the suggestions! Of course, today, Grandma started asking for gift ideas! rolleyes.gif
 

 


Katie,  sahm to two wild and crazy guys banana.gif (8/07) and  bouncy.gif (3/10) and their sweet new baby sister baby.gif (4-1-13) 

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#16 of 24 Old 10-19-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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How about an indoor swing or fun chairs from ikea? The LOMSK chairs are considered a toy in my home, my kids loooooove to play in those! Still a toy but, fairly practical.


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#17 of 24 Old 10-19-2011, 02:09 PM
 
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Even though it sounds like you've already decided, I thought I'd suggest a play kitchen.


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#18 of 24 Old 10-20-2011, 06:27 PM
 
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My kids love playing with Magnatiles as well. However, we ended up buying Magformers. They're a little less money, and there are more shapes available. A year later, they are still played with almost every day.

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#19 of 24 Old 12-02-2011, 03:38 AM
 
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*


 

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#20 of 24 Old 12-05-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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If I were in your position I would totally get this playkitchen. It's very expensive but so damn beautiful.


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#21 of 24 Old 12-12-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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I recently decided to revamp Bug's toys and get rid of anything that doesn't fit into seven different categories...

1. Legos/Duplos

2. Wooden building blocks

3. Matchbox/Hotwheels cars

4. Wooden train set (minimal Thomas expanded with comparable cheaper trains)

5. Animal figures (sturdy ones by Safari Ltd. and Schleich...I get them at Michaels or Joannes with coupons for 40-50% off occasionally, so I'm not spending the big bucks on these, but he'll eventually end up with a decent set)

6. Babies and stuffies (he's only got one baby doll but about 10-12 stuffies...and won't be getting any more!!) If I had a girl it'd probably be a few more dolls and a few less stuffies...but the amount is decent for now)

7. Pretend play...this is the biggest one, because it incorporates dress up clothes, play dishes and kitchen stuff, and some play workbench stuff...but I still keep it from getting out of hand.

 

Besides the stuff listed above, Bug has got a few hulahoops, a sand and water table, and a hand-me-down scooter outside...a kitchen drawer with stickers, paper, construction paper, gluesticks, safety scissors, crayons, colored pencils, and a coloring book...a shelf of books in my room and a small basket of books in the living room...plus a little "desk" in our home office with a handful of manipulatives on it. 

 

We've got him a wooden train table off of Craigslist for $20 that he can use for just about every kind of imaginative play. If I were to find an inexpensive compact wooden play kitchen for him then we might add that to the mix. But really, with what he has everything fits in or on the train table and in containers on one side of the bottom of his closet.

 

I know we could be even more minimal than this...but this is what works for us right now. With a zoo membership, a museum membership, a library card, and access to both the neighborhood and several city parks...he's got a fairly well-rounded life without a ton of kid stuff overflowing every space in our house!!


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Decluttering my life...

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#22 of 24 Old 12-29-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I like all these suggestions, but would also add - playsilks and those big kid-friendly clothespins to go with them, I also second the dress-up clothes suggestion, musical instruments, and art supplies! (you could buy some gorgeous watercolor paper, Stockmar crayons - block and stick, paint, brushes, an art caddy... but here I am spending all your money on things I want :)). I do like your idea about a play treehouse or something open ended. We absolutely do minimalist toy box. We keep a "toy library" in her closet and cycle out toys that she's lost interest in for the time being (one in, one out, as you said). We also put away all the outgrown/too old toys. I think she currently has too much out now, after Christmas. Once the in-laws leave, we are clearing things up a bit.


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#23 of 24 Old 01-02-2012, 09:28 AM
 
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We've got about 200 Magna-Tiles and can't wait to get more. Those are our ABSOLUTE favorite toy. EVER.

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#24 of 24 Old 01-04-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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I'm reading along because we're in a similar situation re: we like to keep it minimal but also thoughtfully replenish. I actually asked a similar question a little while back. Thanks for the magna tiles rec, I'm going to check those out! 

 

Top toys in our house (for my 4yo) are matchbox cars and little wooden trains (he's been playing with them nonstop since he was 18 months), any kind of track (as long as it can be rebuilt lots of different ways), and art supplies. Of course he plays with all sorts of other stuff, including plenty of non-toys, but those are the things he plays with constantly, for hours every day.

 

I wanted to add that I've learned that I can't always predict which toys DS will like. For instance, I think I know what tree house set (or type of thing) you're referring to - I'm entranced by it myself! For DS's birthday we found a good deal on a similar but smaller-scale and less expensive version of it. I was sure he would love it. Well, while he does play with it occasionally, it's honestly far from his favorite toy. I'm glad we didn't go for the larger one because it would have been a waste. Same thing with his trampoline, which was my rec for his birthday present from my MIL. I was sure he'd love it, especially for our cold winters and he...doesn't. He can bounce on his friends' big backyard trampolines for hours in the freezing cold but the little one, not so much. So for that reason it's probably not worth it to buy a big ticket item unless you're really certain your kiddos will like it. I almost bought a play kitchen for him at one point but I decided to make him one instead out of cardboard. (I got an amazing pattern for one on Etsy.) It's not done yet but he's pretty excited about it because he watches me work on it and it's something special I'm building for him. I have fun doing it and if he likes it, great. If not, hey, it was fun and almost free to try out. Some of his favorite toys that he plays with for hours and hours are frankly ones I'd never have chosen for him, especially matchbox stuff (just never imagined they could be played with in so many ways). 

 

FWIW - Maybe it's my cultural background, but I think it would be unkind to go against your mother's intentions.


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