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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DH stays home with ds and I go to work. We do not have a big income to buy many toys/play things but had set a side some money to buy some for ds. We want to set up a corner for him in our living room. We both like wooden toys. We are also thinking of having another child so the toys would have to be made to last. I would very much appreciate any ideas you might have on what would make an ideal play environment for toddler age 1-3 as well as your top 5 choices of toys/play equipments.<br><br>
Personally, as far as environment, nothing loud. I prefer gentle play area with plenty of natural daylight. I would like a train set and table, a play kitchen. Not sure what else is out there. Just want some ideas to make "sound investments" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
Thanks again.
 

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hello,<br>
my ds is 18 mo.s and he loves his train table- we found ours at toysrus, on sale for $50, and we bought the tracks and grandmom bought some thomas trains for him. Toyrsus brand train stuff is Imaginarium, which is a lot cheaper than Thomas, or Brio, and seems just as good. You can also find train stuff on EBAY but when I looked it seemed not much cheaper once you factor in shipping- but you might get lucky! i would def. recomment the table- great for drawing and doing all kinds of stuff, and helps keep the mess off the floor<br>
IKEA is also a great place for inexpensive well made wooden toys- we just got ds on of those pull wagons that have colored wooden blocks that fit together like a puzle on it, for 7 bucks, he loves it!<br>
gotta go ds is calling for a walk
 

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Play food, play kitchen, dolls, trains, cars, block blocks blocks. Anything for pretend play to get that brain working.<br>
I agree on toys that make noises. I cannot stand them. We have very limited amounts of them (all gifts) and they are not used as much as the things I listed.<br><br>
Of course DD is right now making it snow. I shredded a bunch of things (new year start fresh!) and she looked in the waste bag I have in the office from the shredder I just emptied and now its snowing in here an hour later. Its a great touch, hear, and seeing as well as using your imagination play. Look for any toys that do that.<br><br>
Don't be shy about asking people who have children older than you what toys they used. A lot of times they will offer them to you since their children have outgrown them. This is how I got in the mail yesterday a huge bin of preschool legos from sil. Her kids don't use them anymore. It compliments the lego table I bought fo $10 at a resale. I figure I saved about $100 with the table and all those awesome legos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Musingmama,<br>
I have seen some of the toys at ikea.com and they are so cool. I like them because they are an environmentally-conscious store. They are not here in MO and not everything they have at their store are available for web purchased. Thanks for taking the time to response.<br><br>
Amy,<br>
Thank you for you thoughtful ideas. We do not know that many family with kids, much less family with kids that are older than dh. We are also choosey about what dh plays with. A friend of ours did give us some used train tracks and other wooden toys and we were so so so grateful. We do snow here too. DH likes to play with the "peanuts" that comes in mail order packaging. He calls them "posies". We have posies snow every so often. We also made our own play dough at home. Thanks again.<br><br>
Mamas out there, please take a min to share your thoughts. It is so nice to hear about what you do since we do not know that many unconventional, attached families in our area.
 

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We have a playroom (our living room is divided into 2 parts by a chimny & semi-wall), and I love having a seperate area for play.<br><br>
We have a wooden kitchen & wooden dishwasher (Elves & Angels). We bought an inexpensive pine shelf from Micheals Crafts & dh screwed it to the wall at toddler chest level to make a counter. We also have a wooden microwave that is screwed to the wall. FOr the kitchen, we have HABA food (tons of it, it was very expensive, but a gift & is a year old & looks brand new), a pot/pan set (from Marshalls), little plastic mixer, etc. We keep the food in bins/baskets. Dd also has a plastic shopping cart (they do make wooden ones, ours was a gift) that she likes to play with.<br><br>
We also have a 'baby' area next to the kitchen. It has a wooden bed & highchair for dd's babies. There is also a basket of clothes, blankets, diapers for the babies.<br><br>
Next to the kitchen area is dd's doll house. It's a Plan Toys doll house w/accessories. I keep the extra stuff in a basket. (I got the doll house fully furnished with EVERYTHING for $50 when a local toy store was going out of business. It was their demo. Everything was glued down, but I just pried it all up.).<br><br>
In the corner is a box of musical instruments, a xylephone, radio, etc.<br><br>
On the side of one wall is a book shelf (a must IMO for play rooms) with books, various toys (doctor kit, lacing beads set, elephant flashlight), etc. Under the bookshelf is a wooden crate of puzzles. I keep a picnic basket full of soft cover books next to the books shelf & a wooden rocking chair & a bean bag on the floor near the books (although that gets dragged everywhere).<br><br>
We also have a basket of trucks & one of stuffed animals in the play room.<br><br>
We also have a wooden chair/table set in the kitchen, but I think those are a must have for toddlers. Great for eating at, drawing, painting, play doh, etc.<br><br>
Dd also has a bookshelf in her room w/books, toys, etc. Her Little People farm & zoo are also up there.<br><br>
It may sound like we have a ton of toys, but I can honestly say we didn't buy most of them. They were either gifts or free from the dump (our town doesn't have trash pickup, you bring it yourself & there is a house there to put stuff that's good, but you don't want. We've gotten a TON of stuff there including the bean bag, chairs & table set, foam ABC mat, baskets, puzzles, books, etc). We also have recieved a ton of hand-me-downs from friends with kids a few years older than my dd.<br><br>
HTH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We bought a little wooden table from Ikea (but you could get one from anywhere) that is the stage for tons of different kinds of play for our dd, age 2.5. Crayons and paints and stickers are great art play on the table, and she also lines up small dolls and figurines there to play. We store some toys under the table when she goes to sleep, so the room stays tidier for the grownups to use at night. I think a little table is a crucial part of our small play corner.<br><br>
From the local dollar store, a deck of "concentration" type playing cards, with animals to match, has been a great toy. She doesn't play the game the way that older kids would, with the cards face down, but we use it to do a lot of learning about animals. "Can you find me the animal that says moo? Can you find two mooing animals? Can you find me an animal with fur? Can you find me a green animal?" etc.<br><br>
Wooden or soft foam cars are great.<br><br>
Small soft balls are good for inside during colder/rainy days. They can be rolled or kicked with socks on.<br><br>
ITA with all the recommendations for play food and kitchens/grocery carts/etc. This is a big hit with dd. And yes, puzzles are also good, but see if you can find a toy co-op or something, because once dd gets really good at a given puzzle, she tends not to want to play with it much. Having someone to trade with would be good.<br><br>
Others have given great suggestions. Hope you find things your son will love!
 

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Best timeless toys for ages 1-3 (imo):<br>
*A GOOD-QUALITY wooden pull toy (quality is huge on this, as this toy will surely be worn to bits)<br><br>
*A good quality wooden push toy<br><br>
*A good size basket of stuffed animals (surely you have tons <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
*A rocking horse<br><br>
*A table/chairs set (for some reason a toy on a table can be more fun that a toy on the floor - assuming that it wasn't on the table to begin with <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
*A kitchen set with good storage for wooden foods. A wooden dish set, and some type of pots/pans.<br><br>
*Some type of dollhouse/animal/people set - we have the melissa and doug fold and go barn - this is a huge hit! I like their fold and go dollhouse as well, but we're getting the Hartfield dollhouse and wooden furniture for Christmas (which I love) from MIL. Make sure to have a good amount of quality animals to play with and some people.<br><br>
*Some type of vehicles - we love the pop and go schoolbus from melissa and doug, but bigger would be better. A fire engine, car for the play people, and dump truck would be a perfect set.<br><br>
*Blocks .. some type of stacking building blocks<br><br>
*A magnetic area for letters, numbers, animals, pictures, whatever!<br><br>
*A dress up basket - playsilks, hats, shoes, doll clothes, anything!<br><br>
That's all I've got for now..
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> These are all awesome ideas.<br><br>
Also- Someone mentioned puzzle swap- I just noticed at my library they check out wooden puzzles. We have checked out a few. Its awesome since she gets tired of them pretty quickly. The same with board books. Check your library to see what else is available.<br><br>
I practiced what I preach today- I did a toy rotation. I also "hid" the hokey pokey and limbo elmos. What a waste of someone else's money. She received those as gifts. They are a 30 second toy. You press the button and it dances or whatever. They tire of it pretty quickly (if not scared) and move on. For the $15-$20 do you know how many blocks or playfood you could buy? Or a nice Melissa & Doug set that they will not tire of.<br><br>
For the dress up area- we have a couple of yards of fabric included. They were glitzy pieces that kids love to wrap around themselves. Also MIL made a few elastic skirts out of them. I found them on bargain tables in craft stores.<br>
Also old purses that other people gave us and dozens of bead necklaces.
 

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We don't have a large area for toys, but we have a ton of stuff - so we had to get creative. What I love are toys or items that kids can use in different ways. My dh made what was going to be a puppet theater, it's just a wood frame, with a half wall across the bottom, and a tension shower curtain rod at the top that we hung a curtain on. My dd uses it for everything - it's a store, a school, a theater, a restaurant, an ice cream truck, etc.,.<br><br>
I recommend puppets, my kids love plush hand puppets. Puzzles, wooden pretend food (my kids love the food with velcro that you can "cut"), grocery cart, books, cars and trucks, and art stuff. We had an easel that dd loved - I left chalk and crayons out, and would put markers and paint out when I could supervise.<br><br>
Good luck!!
 

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My son's three favorite things are<br><br>
*his wooden easel from Ikea ($20). It has dry erase on one side, chalkboard on the other and a roll of paper that comes up and over the top to draw on. He adores it<br><br>
*his wooden train table. I like this b/c it has storage underneath the table and built into the table!<br><br>
*wooden rocking horse. He loves to rock on it all the time.<br><br>
But if I had a bigger apartment, I would buy a wooden kitchen set. Or wooden washer and dryer. And a dollhouse. My son loves pretend play.<br><br>
Also he loves wooden building blocks.
 

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I should mention he also loves his wooden food. Also his wooden train toy that has stacking blocks on it. And felted wool balls.<br><br>
Oh and re: trains, we only do Imaginarium. I do not buy anything licensed (like Thomas) and he does not seem to mind. Plus Toys R Us has a free expansion pack with a purchase of a regular set.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>meco</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But if I had a bigger apartment, I would buy a wooden kitchen set. Or wooden washer and dryer. And a dollhouse. My son loves pretend play.<br><br>
Also he loves wooden building blocks.</div>
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If I had more $$ I would - they are well worth the cost. But I am very lucky to be married to a man who loves to wood work. He is working on our wooden kitchen set for DD as I write and watch the apprentice (another discussn). It is not costing us much to do.
 

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Just wanted to say ditto to the wooden food - DS plays with his all the time. Also, if your child is the "fix it" type, a tool box is a fun thing to have. DS has a hammer and a little bench with pegs you pound into it that he plays with a lot.<br><br>
We have a play corner in our living room. There is a table over there that has a cabinet underneath, with a door. My DS *LOVES* to stash stuff in there. He's like a pack rat, I open it up every few days and there is always piles of stuff in there. So maybe if you could have a cabinet with a few shelves and a door, in addition to open shelves, your DC might find that appealing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you! You mamas are so awesome. What wonderful ideas you have given me. I will start scouting garage sale as well as after-holiday sale at the stores for some good deals. It would be so nice to invest in things that will last. Thanks again.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>famousmockngbrd</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just wanted to say ditto to the wooden food - DS plays with his all the time. Also, if your child is the "fix it" type, a tool box is a fun thing to have. DS has a hammer and a little bench with pegs you pound into it that he plays with a lot.<br><br>
We have a play corner in our living room. There is a table over there that has a cabinet underneath, with a door. My DS *LOVES* to stash stuff in there. He's like a pack rat, I open it up every few days and there is always piles of stuff in there. So maybe if you could have a cabinet with a few shelves and a door, in addition to open shelves, your DC might find that appealing.</div>
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That is so cool having a place for him to stash stuff! All of the ideas mentioned really encourage creativity and independent learning. Great job mamas! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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just wondering, around what age is good for the rocking horse? haven't tried that with my wild boy yet?<br>
I am planning to get an ikea easel , too, when he is a little older- glad to hear that others have enjoyed this!
 

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musingmama,<br><br>
My son is 22 months, almost 23--on the 24th :)LOL), and he loves his Ikea easel and his rocking horse. They are 2 of his top things right now. He is content to sit on a chair (I got cool red fold up ons--I have a small apartment--from Target) and draw all day long <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
I got them both a little over a month ago.
 

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thanks, meco<br>
We'll have to get an easel and rocking horse soon!<br>
I brought out paints the other day, and he looved painting, which is cool, but he doesn't like to get stuff on his fingers (other than dirt) and he rubs his eyes when he gets something on them, so he started rubbing paint in his eyes!? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br>
I kept some wipes and towel close by, but couldn't get to them in time<br>
so i think i will wait another month or so and try again! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We do not use paints yet!! It gets all over, everywhere. :LOL<br><br><br>
Right now we stick to chalk (one side of the Ikea easel), crayons, colored pencils and markers under strict watch :LOL<br><br>
So far the dry erase ones have stayed hidden.
 

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very wise, meco! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 
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