Apologies if there is a thread already on this. Tried looking but didn't see anything.
My DS (4 next month) has a fascination with landscaping tools the past few months (seeing other people get work done on their lawns). Often times to play he will find items and turn them into a weedwacker or leafblower and will create all sort of fancy looking items compiled together for his tools.
I was looking online the other day for something for him and inspiration struck me of whether they sell toy lawn equipment. They do.
While I know that he'd be over the moon for his birthday to receive an toy like that - his creativity in making these toys on his own will no longer be needed (at least for these items).
I guess I'm torn on that.
How about some other, useful gardening equipment? A little shovel (like a "camp" or clam shovel-- perfect size for a 4yo and rugged, unlike the toys), trowel, rake, hoe.... and leave the "toys" for his imagination. Even saws can be safe for little kids with supervision (and a good vise to keep things steady).
Or, how about something he has never created before, like a toy chainsaw?
I know how you feel. If I had to do it all over again, I'm not sure would buy any toys at all for my kids! Mine have been extremely creative despite the deluge of toys, but still, toys-- made specifically for children-- are overrated, I think.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Depending on how your ds creates his own lawn-equipment toys - something like miniatures with lawn equipment-type items (I think playmobil makes some, or I might have seen some of the Ryan's Room style dollhouse toys) with little people might be interesting for him, and still leave room for him to create stuff for himself?
Think of it like how artists, etc. make models of their work before creating 'the real thing'. I know my kids LOVE this kind of play - it helps them to have miniature people they can control and direct in doing stuff (and helps that whole not-having-control over other parts of life). They still create and make things for their miniatures and themselves. . .
We've also created our own other props - like out of cardboard, to go along with other already made toys. Image making up cardboard shrubs to trim with a fake kiddie chainsaw or trimmer? There are still options to make stuff, even going with some kind of existing toy (if he's really into a certain kind of play).
I just had an idea after reading your replies above. Perhaps it doesn't need to be either / or but can be both. I can suggest to him that for dress up / Halloween he be a landscaper. If he likes that idea - we turn the wagon into his trailer, make him an outfit with name tag and he can have both simple homemade tools as well as specific landscaping toys inside the wagon.