Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Toys They Use and Love and I Don't Mind Storing

I've been talking a lot here about handmade gifts lately so it's time to switch gears and talk about the old fashioned (hehe) store-bought stuff (or in my case, Amazon-Prime-bought stuff... who has time for stores??)

A few friends and I had a night out last weekend (wait - let me say that again - a few friends and I had a night out last weekend!!!!   It was so great!  *I should do stuff like that more often*)  So, we were out at a restaurant having appetizers and drinks like adults do (most more than me...)  and the conversation turned to Christmas gifts and the place of toys in the lives of our kiddos and the places to put toys in our houses.  Seriously, where to put them all?!?!?  We were sharing ideas about what our kids really love and started swapping recommendations of toys that are worth the space they take up. 

I loved Kendra's post last month about the toys they don't regret having and it got me thinking about the things we have that we actually use and love.  For everything listed here there are 3 other toys that we've given away, packed away, or have lying around and should get rid of.   We've bought or received a lot of toys that we really don't use.  And since we've got 7 people in a small-ish house with 1930's-inspired storage (which means, hardly any) we're trying to keep only the things that are worth it :) 

Anyway, I love lists.  I especially love reading lists when bloggers are making recommendations.  And now I've got my own for you!   Here are some of the toys and such that we have that the kids use and love and that I'm happy to hold on to.  Maybe you'll glean some last minute Christmas gift ideas... cause with good ole Amazon Prime, you still have five days of browsing and shopping left!!  (though, warning - the current prices of some of these Amazon goodies are suffering from major holiday inflation :(  You might want to wait... till Easter.)  


Rush Hour Jr. (a favorite with everyone here from 3 to 47)

HABA Animal Upon Animal Balancing Bridge Game (we don't have the bridge version, but I'm sure it's as fun as the original game)

Uno Card Game 


Don't Spill the Beans (one of those games that can span a nice age range!)

Spot It 


Connect 4 

Plan Toys Balancing Cactus (a fun building/balancing game, and pretty looking!)

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel - this has been a real crowd pleaser.  All ages!

Hoot Owl, Hoot! - this game is super fun because the players make a collaborative effort to "beat the sunrise."  The teamwork aspect is really fun!



LEGO's (obviously!)   (trucks mostly) 

DUPLO LEGOS!!  So perfect for little hands trying to be like big boy hands!

Snap Circuits - for budding electricians :)

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks (Aaron received these from my parents when he turned one and he was playing with them again today.  They get tons of use.)

HABA Marble Ball Track Building Set  (I give this toy two thumbs WAY up for combining fun, creativity, engineering skills, problem solving, cause and effect experimentation.  And did I mention we just think marble tacks are so fun?!?) 

130 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks (I got this set directly from Tegu for much less.  The wooden blocks with magnets inside are great for adding stability to tall projects and other concepts that traditional blocks can't handle)  


CRAFT SUPPLIES (beyond Dollar Store poms poms and googly eyes!)

Darice Set of 4 Round Plastic Knitting Looms (lots of hats are being knit around here, and not be me ;)  )

Harrisville Designs Potholder Loom and Loops (I recommend the Harrisville loom because it's metal and sturdy and their loops are cotton and look nicer than the nylon ones.)

Perler Beads

Eyelike Stickers - these stickers are gorgeous!!!



Folkmanis Puppets (the box of puppets the kids received three years ago still gets regular use.  These puppets are super cute and have lots of "extra" features - like the owl's head spins all the way around and the hedgehog curls up into itself.)


Schleich Animals (we have a beautiful wooden ark that doesn't get a lot of use, but the animals are always a favorite.  The kids incorporate them into all sorts of games and imaginative play.)

Corolle Mon Premier Calin Baby Doll  (Once was Ruth's, but now is Clare's Sally.  This is one of the only toys we've ever replaced after the original was lost.  It was that important.)   And Sally and her caregivers LOVE this STROLLER and CRADLE!


Geomix Pattern Blocks (these get a lot of use - copying the patterns that are on the box, building unique creations, making pictures for guessing games.  And it looks pretty too!)  

1001 Nights Tile Arranging Game  - this game with magnet tiles makes some very beautiful designs.
Djeco Wooden Mix and Match Magnets - Animals and Dress-Up Kids - oh my!  my kids have a lot of fun with these!

*   *   *   *   *   *

What toys and games are used and loved and are worth the space they take up in your home??  Like I said, I take recommendations from friends very seriously, and I'm always looking for new ideas!!

(Thanks so much if you shop through these affiliate links!)


  1. Okay I'm big on toys that last the distance, first to come to mind that are used consistently over the years and last are; K'nex, lego and Nerf guns. Though dress ups are popular too. Mud kitchen for the girls (and boys)
    now board games, thats a whole nother story, we have lots and lots and they use many of them

  2. I love Melissa & Doug toys. They really last, they're solid construction, and their customer service (from what I've heard) is superb. Their play castle and latches board are the two I recommend to everyone but their other pretend play sets are wonderful, too. I also love the Folkmanix Puppets not just for how creative and beautiful they are, but also for the sheer variety of animals you can get. This is a great list! :)


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