As the holidays are approaching, it occurs to me how many gifts I've bought that my kids never really used. (And we're talking quality stuff here!) I realize there's a huge difference among kids, but thought it might be fun to make a quick list of what things my kids HAVE actually used. I'm including the age, too.
DS (now 6)
-- Bob the Builder die-cast vehicles (2-3)
-- Playdoh with various "tools" (2-4)
-- Matchbox-style cars (2-5)
-- Automoblox (3-5)
-- Magnatiles (3-5)
-- Puzzles (2-6)
--PLaykitchen with food (1-3)
-- Action figures/superheroes (3-6)
-- Wii and Nintendo DS (4-6)
-- Balance bike (3-5)
-- Plan City garage (3)
-- Playmobil 1-2-3 sets (3-6)
-- Board and card games (3-6)
DD (now 3)
-- Babies (mostly Corolle, including high chair and baby bed) (1-3)
-- playkitchen with food (1-3)
-- Calico Critters (2-3)
-- Dollhouse with family (3)
-- Playdoh with various "tools" (2-3)
-- Crafty stuff (2-3)
-- stuffed animals (2-3)
-- Balance bike (3)
-- Playmobil 1-2-3 sets (1-3)
-- Books (1-3)
Man, I could have saved myself a TON of money on things like wooden trains, Fagus trucks and dress-up that my kids don't really use. Ah well. Live and learn! Hopefully I'll be wise when shopping this Christmas.
I'm not capable of thinking back to my children's younger years since I have Mommy Brain Rot Disease, but here's what they actually play with now:
DS1 (will be 8 on the 25th):
my desktop computer
Pokemon/Bakugan/Club Penguin trading cards
Webkinz (very rarely)
Wii (very rarely)
That's it. He has Legos, Lincoln Logs, tons of board games, an iDog, a huge box full of Nerf guns, about 15,000 stuffed animals, G.I. Joe stuff including big Jeeps & tanks, a real electric guitar, a couple of real acoustic guitars, and probably way more stuff that I'm forgetting about. He never even looks at it. I am seriously about to do a major clean-out of his stuff. I guess he's outgrown toys. :
DD (4 on the 29th):
baby dolls & strollers
puzzles (when I feel like cleaning up a huge mess)
She really plays with almost all of her toys. The only thing she has that I can think of that she doesn't use is her Littlest Pet Shop daycare playset (which she refuses to let me get rid of -- I've tried).
Black & Decker tool set, especially the hammer
Balls of all sizes, especially his green soccer ball
A CAT dump truck
Everything else in his toybox could (and should) go. He's really not into toys. He much prefers being my shadow and doing whatever I'm doing. For instance, today he had a ton of fun throwing an empty paper towel roll into the tub and climbing in to get it over and over and over while I was cleaning the bathroom.
This was a nice reminder. I think tomorrow I will spend a large chunk of my day cleaning out toys they don't use to make room for Christmas stuff that they hopefully will use!
All my kids age 2-5, wooden train set, girls and boys. Everyone loves them--Thomas, Brio, generic, whatever. My older kids love these still sometimes, when they have time.
Rhythm instruments/recorders/handbells. Everyone 3-11.
Legos--small ones, everyone age 3 through 11. A LOT. Most of all by ds since he was 3, and continuing until now--he's almost 6.
American Girl dolls. Older girls, ages 7-11.
Tinker Toys. Everyone, ages 3-11.
Fisher-Price Little People toys--everyone ages 3-11, but mostly 3-5. Also, baby age 6 months looks at these too.
Dress up clothes--Everyone, ages 3-11.
Wooden blocks--everyone ages 3-11.
Wii--everyone including dh. A couple times a week (budgeted screen time).
I guess I like open ended toys.
Just now, my guys are really into:
Imaginarium Marble Race (constantly!!!)
Wooden train set
art supplies (construction paper, crayons, markers, paints)
small plastic animals (he makes up the most elaborate stories with them)
anything with wheels
k-nex (makes dinosaurs and dragons with them)
Since I'm due with baby #3 in a few weeks, they both seem to be really in to their dolls and playing 'parent', but I think that's situation-specific, not age-specific.
Hmmm, my daughter really uses:
Littlest Pet Shop -- I have to admit, she gets a ton of play value out of these
All kinds of miniature plastic stuff -- Disney princesses and mermaids, Polly Pockets, etc.
Her Parents magazine vet hospital
Play food and tea set
Pretend school set
Rarely played with, but she'll occasionally fall in love with:
Expensive rocket playset that she BEGGED for for Christmas a couple years ago
Building sets -- i-gami, K'nex, lincoln logs
Wizard science kit (mix "potions" and such)
Digital pet toy, kind of like a tamagotchi
Bow and arrows
When she was littler, she loved her baby dolls, ball pounder, play-doh, and any toy she could roll around the house -- doll stroller, wagon, fisher-Price "lawnmower." Also, anything she could play with in the bath.
Keep in mind that I have a kid with unusual taste. LOL
DS 6 years old:
-Workbooks, specifically math, any age level from pre-school through 4th grade.
-Cookbooks (he's in love with the Barefoot Contessa so I plan on getting him at least one of her books this Christmas)
-Measuring cups, spoons, bowls and whisks to pretend create the recipes he's reading (now if he'd actually eat the stuff!)
DS 3 years old
-Crayons, paper, dot art paints
-Handy Manny anything, especially the tools. He loves getting his tool box to help daddy and it's so stinking cute
Both of them
-Hi Ho Cherrio
-Chutes and Ladders
DD is nearly 4 and she actually plays with everything we have. She also plays with many things that aren't "toys" per se but figurines and knick-knacks we have sitting about, but I'm not going to list those.
In the "toy" category, this is what she has:
Play kitchen with lots of food (for her the choppable fruits/veggies and pourables, like containers of dry pasta and beans, are a hit)
Play fabric scraps
Wooden beads, feathers, rocks, shells, sticks, ceramic tiles
2 baby dolls
Legos, MegaBloks, wooden blocks, Lincoln logs
Random balls, cardboard tubes, bean bags
Mr. Potato Head (I wouldn't have bought this one but it was a gift and dd does play with it occasionally)
A wooden bench that she uses as a car, a boat, a safari vehicle, and a platform for putting on "shows"
A few Playmobil 1-2-3 sets. I actually don't keep these together but make our own playsets out of felt and use the trees and people with them.
A pretend camera, a kaleidoscope, a slinky, binoculars
A Little People Garage (she never uses it as a garage but rather as a machine for cleaning things).
Sandbox (outside). We made this ourselves by converting an old wooden table.
A hideout (card table covered with blankets and soft fur on the flooring)
I've gotten some great things from Goodwill for play (like wooden baskets and utensils) as well as from etsy.
For Christmas this year, dd is getting a dollhouse. Her b-day is right before Christmas (she'll be turning 4) and we're giving her a Waldorf doll.
Kids can be so different in what they like. My nephew loved his wooden (Thomas) train sets. My DS likes the trains, but loves matchbox-type cars way more. It's sometimes hard to predict. Personally, I just try not to get too much of any one thing. That said, here's my list:
DS (3 yo) - plays with daily:
Matchbox cars (esp Disney Cars ones, but he loves them all)
ride-ons (balance bike, Plasma car, tricycle)
plays with a few times a week:
train and trains tracks
plays with a few times a month:
art supplies (paints/crayons) - although it may be because I don't suggest it much
play kitchen (he used to play with this every day when he was younger)
Really, when I think about it, DS doesn't play with his toys that much at all. He spends a lot of time hanging out with me, doing whatever I'm doing. LOL.
Oh yes, it is so depressing. We are in the midst of getting rid of toys he doesnt play with and it is a lot! Must be at least $500 worth. I am watching all my carefully planned xmas purchases from last year getting tossed in the donate bin. Oh well, hopefully someone will get a good score and a high from a good score.
My son plays with his matchbox cars and his guitar and his magnadoodle. Anything else is something to throw or throw across the room or throw at someone. He is 2.8.
He has this thing about wanting to play with the adult stuff. Why play kitchen and fake cut something up, when we can go in the kitchen and really cut up strawberries. It is like that for everything and it drives me crazy.
Right now, legos, wooden blocks, (both kids) barbies and barbie dream house (dd, a little), breyer horses (dd), ds (dd) and any transformer/gadgety thing ds can find. I have enough extremely expensive wooden waldorf toys to outfit a toy store, but the kids have really moved on at this point. Anything art related is used a lot. Mostly they play outside.
Let's see....Tyr will be 3 Nov 17th
He plays with most of his toys (especially if he sees you tidying them up)
Wedgit blocks (mega blocks used to be a fave...now he doesn't use them much)
Nerf Guns (with safety goggles)
playdoh and craft stuff
His garage sale cheapo plastic kitchen
sandbox toys....although those are being put away now
Tubtoys (fish/foam letters/cups)
His trains....if we go downstairs together (I wish I had more space on the main floor)
I find if I bring toys out and remind him about them he will have lots of fun with them....but he wont open his cupboards to find them
He has a big bag of plastic animals....not interested in (fortunately a garage sale find)
His cool castle...nope but will happily play with his other castle and knights at Grandad's
DS loved the wooden trains when he was 2-4, we had the train table and all kinds of trains, towers, etc - and they got tons of use. I have them in storage, hoping we can use them again someday.
Now though - he's almost 7:
Bakugons - uh, those little balls, they provide hours of fun.
LEGOS - Ds can build the most amazing things with them! We even set up a little "lego station" where they are divided by size to help him quickly find the piece he needs. He can play with legos for hours - and so can his friends K-2nd grade, girls and boys.
Nintendo Wii and DS - need I say more? Esp on MDC?
Hot Wheels - still a staple in the bathtub. Water races are a nightly thing.
Board Games - Clue, Life, Monopoly, Battleship, Operation - DS loves them all.
Card Games - Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy 8's
That's all my tired brain can think of for now.
DD is 2 so she doesn't have that much time on the older kids but she plays with:
Craft supplies daily. This includes oil pastels, stickers, finger paints, drawing books, pencils, pens, glue sticks, you name it. She's obsessed with crafts! I think this is where I honestly spend the bulk of my money because I love them too.
Kitchen/food: she plays with this a few times a week, if not daily.
Puzzles! Whenever I bust them out, which I do often, we love them.
Fairy/Fairy tree house: Daily
That's basically it at the moment, but she has about 1,000 things she DOESN'T play with that I'm donating.
I'm going to do a list with toys my kids love and some that were a total bust.
Here's the things they play with now
board games and cards
any platform or computer type game
lego, lego, lego, lego and more lego
geo-trax train set
plasticine and playdoh
skates (inline and ice)
dress up (purses, cell phones the most)
recycled paper, notebooks
In the past they all really liked weebles. Oldest liked the leap pad. Little people farm was liked as well.
Things that were a total bust.
anything to do with hockey
the wooden train track sets.
They didn't like how hard it was to make a track that was completed. They didn't like how they easily broke. So glad we had the opportunity to use a friends set first and for some reason I only know of 1 family who's kids did play with these sets.
They don't stay together and fall apart to easily.
They love the cars but the sets are not good at all
Small indoor push wagon
Cardboard nesting and stacking boxes
Books, books, and more books
Dolls (she got into thise closer to 3 than 2)
Cardboard nesting and stacking boxes (the same set DD uses. It was the best 50 cents I've ever spent at a thrift store)
Wooden trains and track
Wooden building blocks
Trucks of ANY shape and size
Play food and dishes
Plastic toy tools
Imaginext Firehouse + Firetruck + Firemen
Baby high chair
Baby blankets and pillows
Step 2 Fairy Shoe & Step 2 Mainstreet Village house
Things that did or do not ever get used: bead maze, any baby/infant/toddler rattle, teether, or electronic plastic toy, play kitchen, any VTech toy, train table, Little People
3 year old DS plays with:
wooden and die cast vehicles
leapfrog letters thingy
number tiles (from a rummikub? game)
bread dough (everytime I bake)
And practically all of it becomes a talking person.
My 3 sons, 2 to 4 years:
Books, books and more books
Trucks and trailers (especially my 3 year old who want to hook everything onto his truck LOL)
Farm animals and wild animals
Wooden train and tracks
riding their "motorbikes" - never seen them over here, we brought them over from South Africa. They sit on them and then push them along with their feet, no pedals or anything. My 2 year old has a y-bike, which is pretty hard to balance on, but great for learning to balance.
My 4 and 6 year olds also love playing with Hot Wheels.
My 6 year old son:
Books, books, books.
Collecting anything and everything, even rocks from wherever we go.
My 9 and 11 year old sons:
Books, books, books
Techno Gears and Techno Chains (bought in South Africa and used to build various electronic things using Gears and Chains)
Any outdoor games
Board Games (especially chess)
Wooden blocks (9 year old)
Strategic games they devise themselves
Building things from old electronic parts
Using science equipment for experiments (my 11 year old specifically. We got a whole lot of real equipment at a closing down sale and he LOVES anything scientific)
Sports (especially my 9 year old), so we have a box of sports stuff. They sometime use it the "normal" way, but just as often make up their own games.
We have a Wii, and they use it about once a week.
she spends 75% percent of her time mauling our cats, dogs, chickens and horses.
Cooking fake and real
the recycling bin
slides, swings, climbing bookshelves
mini baby stroller
Daddy's tools ideally the hammers and not the chainsaw
Interesting how many plastic mainstream toys are on the list, and how many expensive, lovely wooden ones fall to the wayside
Here are the high-traffic toys, in no particular order:
DDs, 5 and 3:
Little Pony and all the related playsets (something about miniature things...)
Barbies and accessories/clothes
Dress up stuff
Foam building blocks
K'Nex (the kids' ones..the monster set)
Dollhouse with doll furniture
Laptop and kid websites (PBS kids, NickJr., Treehouse, etc.)
Any bag that can hold a whack of random toys
K is 3y10m and has really in the last couple of months just started playing independently. So some things we've had for a while and he really just started playing with and others he has played with for a while.
*Little People, various pieces
*Imaginext-rocket ship is big right now, various other pieces.
*Wooden blocks...still not as much as I had hoped for.
*Kinex-very old set that was my brother's.
*Play Dough, sometimes this keeps his attention for a long time, other times not. Not regularly played with.
*Kitchen food...but not the kitchen .
*Looking at books by himself.
Oh and almost forgot...
*TRAINS-we have Thomas and GeoTrax-currently the favorite. But he doesn't play with these independently. Something about putting the tracks together, just doesn't have the patience I don't think.
*Riding his trike through the house.
Also likes his bicycle, car and other outside things for outside.
Kids are really different. I'm not sure I see the toys my son is less fond of as "waste" exactly - it's part of him developing his own tastes and preferences.
Anyways the things that my son plays with mostly every day are:
Thomas set (has been true since he was 2)
Cars of any kind
Any adult thing
Less used, but loved:
Sand toys, outdoor toys
The less loved toys are:
Wooden blocks (not yet anyway; I keep hoping)
Puzzles (he does them once, then is done. Forever, apparently.)
DS (almost 7):
Kids size cooking utensils
Barbie and Disney Princess/Prince dolls
American Girl doll
Dress up clothes (mostly from Sarah's Silks because that's what I sell)
T-Rex stuffed animal
Corgi stuffed animal
Playmobil and plastic animals are the hands-down winners with my kids. Barbies and certain stuffed animals get used quite a bit, too. (But most of the stuffed animals spend most of their time just taking up space.) Dress-up clothes are also very popular.
anything that could be considered a "weapon"
Art Supplies of any kind
in general he is into more "active" play, so whatever he is playing with gets incorporated in a physical way, if that makes sense.
When he was younger, plastic dinosaurs (he was obsessed with dinosaurs) and he also went through a planet hero phase
Legos (#1 thing, every day play)
Any conceivable kind of building toy
When he was younger, wooden blocks
building Forts from household items (hmm I'm sensing a theme here)
Science kits (had the wizard one and loved it)
Mostly follows me around and likes to clean
books! (when I put him in his room for his nap and he doesn't sleep the books are all over the floor from him looking at them and the toys mostly ignored)
little people farm
trains, a bit
Wooden castle with knights
Anything to do with Elmo
Anything he can climb
DD's younger - 18 months. So far she loves:
Picture books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Peepo etc - she's really into studying the pictures right now)
A bouncy ball
A doll, occasionally
She doesn't like stuffed toys or her nice wooden blocks - I'm hoping she eventually develops a taste for the latter! She also likes playing on my keyboard (as in piano, not computer). Most of her other entertainment comes from making mischief - emptying books out of the bookshelf, clothes out of drawers, kitchen implements out of cupboards. Sigh.
Dylan, age 11: Legos including Bionocles; L5R (Legend of the 5 Rings) collectible card game; chess; games on the computer. He is also getting into cooking and has always been interested in history and the History Channel. Still enjoys dressing up in historical costumes--viking, Roman Senator, Renaissance, knights, WWII soldier Samurai.
resin dinosaurs and animals
wooden sword/shield/ knight cape
What he never paid much attention to (and it made me sad)
wooden blocks handmade by a dear friend
You know what? I think I am not getting expensive wooden blocks for Xmas. That is what I want them to play with. I think we will be getting more legos and maybe a nintendo DS.
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