Toys with Staying Power

I know I've spent a lot of time throwing shade at toys over the past month or so. And for that, I would like to apologize. Because I do love toys. Just not all toys...

A friend of mine is a new mom and asked which toys I would recommend that have staying power. It's led to a lot of thinking and so I thought the topic deserved a post.

When I was first pregnant, I envisioned a nursery with all wooden toys, maybe some felt ones, too. I spent so much time picking out little wooden animal puzzles, tiny square board books each dedicated to a different emotion and felt finger puppets. I was able to have a lot of control over our toys the first year of Judah's life because Christmas Baby. But that first birthday rolled around and then Christmas came and I was in toy hell. See here I go again: doggin on those  toys. I really do wish I had had the guts back then to say NO! Or at least to direct in the right direction as I've learned to do. So please, learn from my mistakes in this older post on Toy Fatigue.

And without further blabbing: some toys you can grow with!

Open Ended Toys:

If I could go back and do it all again, we would have all open ended toys. Kids just know how to play with these kinds of things and it's truly amazing to see what they do with just a few little toys like this and their incredible imaginations.

A lot of this stuff can get pricey, but would be very easy to DIY and I included links for easy DIYS. But let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in some posts on how to DIY some of these.

Without having to buy a thing, you can create a Nature Table for your little one to explore. My son goes to a Waldorf based preschool and they are always incorporating elements from nature into their play and learning. I have plans to create a similar table concept that I'll switch out seasonally. And this is the link to my Pinterest board for it. 

Dress Up:

Dressing up is something that my kiddos have always enjoyed but lately have almost been exclusively dressed up as something. It allows for so much creativity. And even can be fairly open ended: Maple wears her unicorn horn as a tutu! We love these Seedling Littles capes because they have velcro pieces so the kids can customize them. And they strap around their arms instead of their necks. I'm always on edge when my kids have anything around their necks.

Play Silks are also great for dress up but also can be used for so many other things. 


Most kids love forts and mine are no exception. They spend hours having tea parties or roaring like baby bear cubs in their forts. We have an easy one from Ikea that they can use on their own. And we also have one like this that requires some grown up assembly. 

Musical Instruments:

Judah has had a set like this since he was one. And unfortunately for my ears, it gets played with very often. The Radish Family Band performs daily and I'm very thankful that their taste goes beyond Raffi. Their current favorite band to cover is Queen. 

Judah's Picks:

Car Ramp  Judah has never met a car ramp that he couldn't play with for hours. 
Shopkins  At first, I thought Shopkins were cute but not very functional. And then Judah got one, and I saw all the possibilities. He plays with them every day. He gives them voices and personalities. And the surprise aspect of them is very exciting, too.
Egg Toy  This egg toy was a favorite for both of my kiddos from like six months and beyond. It helped them learn colors and with motor skills. And then it was housed in their play kitchen for imagination. 
Hamsters  Another toy that got Judah's imagination going in a way I didn't even expect. He loved these guys for months and took one with him everywhere.  
Barn  This barn has housed plastic dinosaurs, shopkins, hamsters, Daniel Tiger and family. Kids love little houses that they can use for play with their various characters and creatures.    

Maple's Picks:

Babies - Both of my kids love babies, but Maple really loves babies. Diapering them, pushing them in a stroller, wearing them and giving them bottles.  One of the ways that I counteract how "girly" Maple tends to be is by naming her babies after badass women. Her Bitty Baby is named Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her most favorite baby is Michelle Obama. 
Play Kitchen - Just like with the babies, I love that both of my kids love the play kitchen, but it's definitely a bit more of a Maple pick. She loves to set up plates of food for us. 
Coffee Maker - Maple's favorite thing to make in the kitchen is coffee. 
Smoothie Set - Don't tell Maple, but she'll be getting this for Christmas. When she's not serving coffee, she's cramming a plastic strawberry in her wooden coffee mugs and giving us "smoovies." They're her favorite. 
Characters - Maple loves to play with her dollhouse family. She makes them have conversations in her dollhouse. But she also likes to add in Daniel Tiger figures, Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig and anyone else she can find in our character bin that's always just waiting to be dumped out by a frenzied toddler.

Some of my favorite places to shop:
Magic Cabin - so many unique toys and the prices are reasonable. 

Safari Ltd - I can't say enough good things about this family owned business. Their animal figures are so detailed. Judah has loved them forever. And when your son wants a Red Panda birthday party, Safari Ltd to the rescue for favors! They send a paper copy of their cataolog with your order and its Judah's favorite thing to look at. He can identify hundreds of different animals because of it!

I've also never met a child that didn't love blocks. Foam. WoodenLego. Magnatiles. The play is endless. 

Let me know in the comments what's on your kiddo's Christmas list! I'm always looking for good ideas.  

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