What toys do your kids REALLY use?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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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)
--Legos (5-6)
--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)
--Puzzles (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.


Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#2 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:11 PM
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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):
Nintendo DS
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):
dress-up clothes/shoes
baby dolls & strollers
Barbies (occasionally)
dollhouse (rarely)
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).

DS2 (2):
Rocking horse
MegaBloks wagon
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!
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#3 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:25 PM
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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.
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#4 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:41 PM
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Just now, my guys are really into:

DS 5yo:
Tinker Toys
Imaginarium Marble Race (constantly!!!)
Wooden train set
art supplies (construction paper, crayons, markers, paints)
My laptop

DS 3yo:
Wooden trains
kitchen/food toys
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.

Gwen , partner to D ; Mamma to T (6) , J (4) , and baby P
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#5 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:44 PM
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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.
Bead kits
Her Parents magazine vet hospital
Play food and tea set
Puzzle books
Puppet theater
Calico Critters
Pretend school set
Stuffed animals

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)
Lite Brite
Digital pet toy, kind of like a tamagotchi
Detective/spy kit
Bow and arrows
Hot Wheels

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.
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#6 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:47 PM
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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

-Play kitchen
-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
-train set

Both of them

-Caribou game
-Connect 4
-Hi Ho Cherrio
-Chutes and Ladders
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#7 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:49 PM
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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

Shleich animals

Lauri pegboards

Doctor kit

Tool set

Stuffed animals

Felt board

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.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#8 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:52 PM
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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)
board games
ride-ons (balance bike, Plasma car, tricycle)

plays with a few times a week:
train and trains tracks
dolls/stuffed animals

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)
figurines/action figures
musical instruments

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.
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#9 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 06:55 PM
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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.
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#10 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 07:23 PM
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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.
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#11 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 07:40 PM
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Let's see....Tyr will be 3 Nov 17th
He plays with most of his toys (especially if he sees you tidying them up)

Wii/Xbox360/Nintendo DS
Marble Run
Board games
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
Fridge Magnets
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

PAT- photosmile2.gif Mommy to a super little boy kid.gif Tyr -Nov 17, 2006 Married to joy.gif Sky -August 28, 1993 
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011  m/c 6w5d  angel.gif
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#12 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 07:59 PM
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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.

Candacepeace.gif, Married to dh   guitar.gif, Mom to ds (8) biggrinbounce.gif , Gavin candle.gif (9/30/10 - 12/19/10) and cautiously expecting our rainbow1284.gif 4-29-12

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#13 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 08:07 PM
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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.

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#14 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 08:38 PM
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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
art supplies
plasticine and playdoh
dress up
marble runs
skates (inline and ice)


poly pockets
dress up (purses, cell phones the most)
art supplies
recycled paper, notebooks
skipping rope

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.
hotwheels sets
They love the cars but the sets are not good at all
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#15 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 08:52 PM
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DD 2-3:
Small indoor push wagon
Toy piano
Cardboard nesting and stacking boxes
Play kitchen
Books, books, and more books
Dolls (she got into thise closer to 3 than 2)

DS 1:
Cardboard nesting and stacking boxes (the same set DD uses. It was the best 50 cents I've ever spent at a thrift store)
dump truck
Toy xylaphone
stacking rings

Mom to DD 10 and DS 8.
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#16 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 08:59 PM
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Dd (7)

stuffed animals
art supplies
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#17 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:05 PM
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Ds (4):
Wooden trains and track
Wooden building blocks
Trucks of ANY shape and size
Matchbox Cars
Play food and dishes
Plastic toy tools
Imaginext Firehouse + Firetruck + Firemen

Dd (1):
Baby dolls
Toy bottles
Baby cradle
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

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#18 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:09 PM
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3 year old DS plays with:

wooden trains
stuffed animals
plastic animals
wooden and die cast vehicles
pebbles outside
leapfrog letters thingy
number tiles (from a rummikub? game)
bread dough (everytime I bake)

And practically all of it becomes a talking person.
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#19 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:13 PM
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My 3 sons, 2 to 4 years:
Books, books and more books
Wooden Blocks
Mega Blocks
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
Dress up
Ball Pit
Jungle Gym
Board games
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.
Anything crafty
Dress up
Collecting anything and everything, even rocks from wherever we go.
Jungle Gym
Board Games
Bike riding
Pogo Stick

My 9 and 11 year old sons:
Books, books, books
Lego Technics
Techno Gears and Techno Chains (bought in South Africa and used to build various electronic things using Gears and Chains)
Ball Games
Any outdoor games
"club" meetings
Dress up
Board Games (especially chess)
Wooden blocks (9 year old)
Air hockey
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)
Bike Riding
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.
Pogo Stick

We have a Wii, and they use it about once a week.
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#20 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:45 PM
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she spends 75% percent of her time mauling our cats, dogs, chickens and horses.
Cooking fake and real
Matchbox cars
Plastic animals
the recycling bin
slides, swings, climbing bookshelves
mini baby stroller
stuffed monkey
Anything mine
Daddy's tools ideally the hammers and not the chainsaw

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#21 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:46 PM
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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
Mini trampoline
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
Board games
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#22 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 09:53 PM
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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.
*Big Legos
*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.

Wife to J 9/00 Mama to K 12/05
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#23 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 10:05 PM
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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:
Little People
Plan Dollhouse
Sand toys, outdoor toys
Dress up

The less loved toys are:
Wooden blocks (not yet anyway; I keep hoping)
Puzzles (he does them once, then is done. Forever, apparently.)

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#24 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 10:11 PM
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DS (almost 7):

Recipe deck
Kids size cooking utensils
Drawing supplies
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
Handwriting Flashchart

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#25 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 10:17 PM
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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.
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#26 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 10:17 PM
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7-year-old DS:

Spy Gear
anything that could be considered a "weapon"
Bakugan (sometimes)
Art Supplies of any kind
Kid K'nex
Stuffed Animals
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

5-year-old DS:

Legos (#1 thing, every day play)
Kid K'nex
Any conceivable kind of building toy
When he was younger, wooden blocks
building Forts from household items (hmm I'm sensing a theme here)
Spy stuff
dress up
Science kits (had the wizard one and loved it)

2-year-old DS:

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)
toy animals
stuffed animals
little people farm
trains, a bit
Wooden castle with knights
Anything to do with Elmo
Anything he can climb
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#27 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 11:19 PM
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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.

Arizona backwards is still Arizona! It's a palomino!
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#28 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 11:48 PM
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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.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#29 of 89 Old 10-14-2009, 11:55 PM
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DS 5
resin dinosaurs and animals
bug cup
wooden sword/shield/ knight cape

What he never paid much attention to (and it made me sad)
wooden blocks handmade by a dear friend
Brio trainset

Go figure.
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#30 of 89 Old 10-15-2009, 12:12 AM
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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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