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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am overwhelmed by all the things my children own but never play with. I've donated, rotated and just plain tossed so much stuff and they still have more.

I want to drastically reduce what they have (and don't want) and replace it with a few things they will enjoy for a long while to come.

What types of toys do you avoid?

What types of toys do you get?

My ds is 8, is very into science and nature. He's also very destructive.

My dd is 5 (in a week or so) and has an imagination as big as the great outdoors! She is my little actress.

So give it to me! What is in your kids toy boxes? And what's not?
 

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blocks, paper, crayons, (no makers with my 3yo in the house!!!) paper, dress-up clothes, fabric scraps/worn out clothes, needles, thread, scissors, Barbie dolls (to sew clothes for with the previously mentioned fabric scraps and old clothes), books, simple baby dolls, and wheeled things (cars, trucks, fire engines, noodles, etc. Ds can turn ANYTHING into a toy vehicle)
 

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The sturdy cardboard nesting-block sets, board books - what did parents of toddlers do before board books? - alphabet sets (we have three: fridge set, foam bathtub set, and a stuffed set from MIL), and Tonka makes some really cool little oversized-Matchbox-style cars and trucks that are perfect for my 18-month-old.
Do you have a Zany Brainy/Toys that Teach-type store in your area? I'm going to be spending a LOT of time in our local store, because I don't want my son getting hooked on all the plastic crap at the Toys R Us. My parents were very frugal when I was a child...they wouldn't give in to the "gimmes" but they never ever refused to buy us a book. I think it's a very good policy
 

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My all time favorite toy is legos. Duplos (big legos) for younger children.

The more the better.

My second to the favorite are playsilks (and dress up clothing.)

Balls (all sizes) Bikes, wagons, rollerblades.

To me good toys are openended and stimulate creative play.

Bad toys are very specific telling the kids what to do with them.

I like Brio Trains as well.

Debra Baker
 

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We have no plastic toys. We only get toys made from wood, cloth and ds has one metal dump truck for playing with outside. We try to only get toys from small artisans. Their wooden play kitchen from elves and angels is great, as is their treehouse dollhouse and my children really like wooden figures and animals from Ostheimer. Both my dd and ds like their cloth waldorf-style dolls that I made them. Balls are always fun. Dd loves doing art so we have lots of supplies. We also have lots of baskets with stones, pinecones and tree blocks (rounds of wood). Many of these toys are expensive and only found in catalogs or from small craftsman, but we don't get a lot of toys, and take care of what we do have, so it balances out. As far as your 8 year old goes, I am not sure as my children are younger, but they get in a lot of nature play. My dd is 6 and my son is 3 and loves this kind of stuff, so it has been easy finding toys that fit our philosophy as well as their interests. That said, my children spend most of the day outside and use what they have around them (sticks, flowers, trees, rocks, our assortment of farm animals, lol) for their play.
 

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DS and I both LOVED wooden train sets like Brio. We have bridges and stations and turnstyles and a ton of accessories. He has out grown it but I have kept all of it. If dd doesn't like it maybe someday my grandchildren will.

The best "swingset" we ever had was a tree that blew down in a storm. We left it there for 2 years and hung a swing and rope ladder from it. It was great for climbing.
 

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Favorite "toys"

Brio Trains
Brio Waterway (in summer)
Real hammer and carpet tacks plus a discarded piece of wood--- they will do this for HOURS.
Wooden Blocks
Duplos (I actually prefer them if you have enough to legos)
Magz/Geomagz
Board Games
Art supplies (including tape, scissors, glue--- DS spent about six months just cutting paper into pieces all the time)
Dress Up (including play silks)
 

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I had the same issues. Here is what I did. Got rid of the cheap plastic toys. Unplugged the TV. I bought mostly wooden & natural toys. I have a bunch of folkmanins puppets, erzi wood foods & other toys that use imagination. Works great. They actually play with thier toys now! They don't break either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diaper_Addict_Jen
I had the same issues. Here is what I did. Got rid of the cheap plastic toys. Unplugged the TV. I bought mostly wooden & natural toys. I have a bunch of folkmanins puppets, erzi wood foods & other toys that use imagination. Works great. They actually play with thier toys now! They don't break either.
This is what I've started to do, slowly. Willow loves puzzles so I've gotten a bunch of those. I really like the wood ones, and the multi sided cube ones give her a challenge.

I've gotten a couple wooden food sets- everyone loves those when they come over.

We want to get her a puppet theater for her birthday. We were at Bombay Co a few months ago and she shrieked with glee and made us sit for a good 30 minutes while she performed with the puppets.

Ethan is harder to buy for. He prefers people to things, which, for an autistic is pretty good, but I'm always on the lookout for toys for him to precipitate joint play with him, something he enjoys that will draw the other kids to him.

He has a large Brio train set and table but he's never really played with it. He's not really into anything that is imagination based. He prefers science and facts. Microscope? Telescope? Metal detector?

I'm getting started but I wish I knew *what* the kids would thrive on and what I can toss and not worry about replacing. You know?
 

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Well, my dd is too little for me to have parenting experience with this but I have been an elementary school teacher so I do have experience with which toys the kids love.

Knex - if they lose them you can buy more and it fits right in. Don't get a special set, just a generic set will do.

Legos - same as above

Chess and checkers - get a nice multifunctional, wood board and plastic pieces because they will get lost often.

Uno - great card game, cheap and easy for all ages to play

mancala - get a wood board and when they loose the pieces, you can use anything you have around to replace them (paper clips, buttons, raisins, it all works)

small gardening tools - so they can dig and explore and find bugs and worms, etc

IF I think of more, I'll edit.
 

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I agree with whoever defined undesirable toys as being toys that tell the child specifically what to do with them, toys that basically only do one thing (e.g. Chicken Dance Elmo).

My kids are 4 and 1. Right now, they're really into their play kitchen. I bought them some stuff from Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day: a turkey baster, funnels (they use mine and don't put them back), some little metal condiment bowls, a wooden spoon, and a small colander. They've used those SO much, especially the metal bowls. Things like peg puzzle pieces and magnets make their way into the bowls and are served to us as "food". We have some nice wooden play food that they love too. I also bought some fabric placemats that they use for picnics. The kitchen and accessories (including real ones) has resulted in hours and hours of independent play with both of them.

Legos are HUGE here. We have some other building toys, but they're not safe for my 1yo. My 4yo LOVES Magnetix.

Crayons and paper are very popular with my oldest, but only hold my 1yo's attention for 10 minutes. The last few days, they've both been using little foam craft shapes. My 1yo collects them and puts them inside cups and things, then throws them like confetti. My oldest used them as party decorations for his Lego train's birthday. They're all over the house right now.

Vehicles have been very popular here. I love a few solid wooden ones we have, but honestly, the kids have preferred the brightly colored metal vehicles.

Books are used a lot.

Puzzles are a big hit with both.

We have a wooden indoors tricycle that's an item of contention.

Magnadoodle is very popular with both kids.

My 1yo likes balls, but my 4yo never was interested much.

We have a wide variety of dolls, but they don't catch either child's interest for some reason.

They use their playstand, but only when it's split apart and propped against the wall like a house. The fabric "roof" and curtains get moved around. We have playsilks, but they don't generate much interest. The dress-up clothes only generate sporadic interest.

We have a train table that gets used a lot, although my 1yo takes it apart.

For outdoors, they like to water things, so watering cans and pots of different sizes are popular.

Some of their favorite toys, as you can see, are not really toys. Sometimes, they are interested in the strangest things. They "go fishing" with my metal sieve thingys and my pots. That money I spent in Bed, BAth and Beyond was so well-spent. :LOL
 

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My 5.5 year old son now likes building toys for the first time. So one of his favorites right now are Legos, and he also likes Knex and Zoobs (although the Zoobs break so might not be a great choice if your son breaks toys a lot- I'm amazed at how durable Legos are, by contrast).

He also spends lots of time with his Playmobil people. He has lots of pirates, knights, soldiers, etc.

He still uses his dress-up clothes, though less than he used to.

He has elaborate ideas for building things. Sometimes he just lets loose with empty boxes, stuff from the recycling bin, various tools, tape, glue, etc.

He also likes board games- chess, Battleship, Great States, etc.

For a 5 year old girl, maybe a more elaborate dollhouse with more detailed furniture than the basic wood type? Some dolls? Props for different types of role-playing? I recall spending a lot of time at that age playing school, vet's office, etc.

Does your son have a telescope, or a microscope along with tools to collect things from nature? We have a card deck of science experiments- we haven't tried it much yet but it seems like most of the experiments use things we actually have around the house.

It seems like my 5.5 year old is moving into a phase where fewer toys will do (although his toys now have a zillion little pieces). My toddler, however, is moving into that stage where I want her to have a lot of fodder for her budding pretend play. But, like you, I have seen that my own kids play better with their toys when there are fewer of them!
 

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I know so many here won't do "plastic". I know there are wonderful wooden toys, but others have their value. I feel sorry for their kids for missing out on:

1. Lego's/Duplos. Even my 11 y.o. still uses the Duplos. We have TONS and she builds houses with them (that don't fall down easily, ala the wooden version of "brick"! Tons of other cool stuff too.

2. Cranium Games: Plastic Yes. Yucky, No. Really great and lots of fun. Could you make up your own version without plastic, um maybe, but wow its so wonderful as is.

3. The game Who/Where. Learn about deductive reasoning. But yeah its plastic.

4. Cheap plastic blow up "instruments" like guitars, drums and pianos. We have real versions of these, but I wouldn't want them to be used for the Jumping up and down "rock band" my two little one's like to create. And since they have to find a way to create their own music this way. VERY FUN

5. Hoola Hoops. Contests involve can you jump up and down or run around while doing it. Hours of fun.

6.Plastic buckets for sand play. (Is there an alternative?)
 

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Toys that are used daily around here:
-the cardboard brick blocks
-playsilks
-beanbags
-art supplies
-pop up tents/puppet theaters, tunnel
-one of those blow up plastic balls with the handle that they can bounce on
-spring horse
-pattern blocks
-toolbench, tools
-Nerf basketball hoop (inside, Little Tikes outside)
-Remote controlled dump truck and Lincoln Logs
-Legos
-my exercise ball
-soft foam balls for inside, all kinds of balls for outside
-couch cushions/ pillows/ blankets for making "forts" and "ships"
-big logs from a tree we had taken down
-sidewalk chalk
-playdoh/ clay
-instruments
-puzzles
 

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Nost of what we use has already been covered but I'd like to add - a marble run, like Discovery Toys has (even the adults that visit get into it!), a tape recorder that dd can use herself, tupperware & the kitchen sink for 'doing dishes', and wagons/ride on or in toys, etc. She loves carting things around in bags and backpacks, too. And any furniture that is toddler sized, although that's not really a toy I guess.
 

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My DD isn't too much into "real" toys.
She really likes making things together, Digging through my yarn stash and "knitting" with me, boxes, art supplies, cloth bags for hiding treasures in, home-made musical instruments, playsilks
The only toy toys she really likes are blocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How sturdy are the playmobil toys? Do the pieces come apart? If it can be taken apart, ds will take it apart and it will never be played with again.. He seems to really enjoy taking things apart..

We actually stopped buying him things because of that.. five minutes after he opened it he'd have it in pieces and never look at it again.
 

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Playmobil has some pieces that come apart (like a knight might have a helmet and breastplate that can be taken off) and they have various things they can hold (swords, etc). But you can't take apart the actual bodies except for the hair.

If he is a "deconstructor" you still might do OK with things like Lego, Knex, Zoobs, etc. Just stay away from the sets where you build a certain object from Legos and stick with the generic type sets. Then he can put together and take apart to his heart's content.
 
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