The Best Toys for Kids
Did you make it to my free webinar on "The Best Toys for Kids"?!
I shared my favourite, most recommended toys and what makes them great.
This advice is based on my 15 years of teaching Kindergarten and primary aged kids, 2 years of running a home preschool, and raising my own 2 kids (now 10 & 7 years old).
As a Playroom Consultant, I help families to reduce, organize, and display toys to encourage lots of play, learning, and creativity and make clean up easy.
The information I give my clients helps make it easier to decide which toys to get rid of, which ones to keep, and what other toys could be a welcome addition to their play spaces.
Too many toys is overwhelming for parents AND for kids.
This information helps you reduce the amount of toys in your home, giving you back some space and calm.
You can avoid wasting money on some toys, and reduce the amount of garbage/recycling that some toys become.
I want you to feel relaxed in your home and confident you are giving your kid a childhood full of play, learning, and creativity!
If you missed it, be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you will be the first to know when the webinar happens again.
In general, THE BEST TOYS FOR KIDS:
can be used in many different ways
they inspire the child's imagination and creativity
can be used for many years and are played with differently as your child grows
they encourage a wide range of areas of play and learning
they have a designated place in your home to be stored and displayed ;-)
they DO NOT require batteries and make a lot of noise
they can be passed on when outgrown, reducing landfill waste
Here is the list of toys I mentioned!
Disclaimer: I have signed up as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program, and included links to some of the following items. As an Amazon Associate, I can earn a wee bit from qualifying purchases.
I only recommend items I have used and like.
The exact same items can be purchased from many independent retailers and small businesses and I encourage you to buy from them if you can do so! If you will be ordering through Amazon anyway, my small business may be able to benefit. :-) (I'm experimenting with this...)
Also, consider buying second hand to be more eco-friendly!
My favourite! Good for 1.5 years old to... (my 10 year old will still play with sometimes!)
Open ended. Fine motor skills. Creative.
Includes people and animals so imaginary play can be combined with the building!
Many sets and range of prices available.
Classic Brick Box, 65 pcs, $39.99
Classic Deluxe Box, 85 pcs, $69.99
I love how kids use Baseplates for building on!
Duplo Baseplate, should be $20. Try Lego store or Mastermind if price inflated on Amazon.
Regular Lego Baseplates do work with Duplo:
White baseplate, $10, 10x10"
Green baseplate, $10, 10x10"
Blue baseplate, $10, 10x10"
Grey baseplate, $18, 15x15"
My experience is this brand is the best quality and allows for most creative building of all the magnetic blocks out there.
E.g., car garages, animal/small doll houses, can stick to whiteboards/magnetic surfaces to build out!
They are very pricey - maybe a set could be a good group gift from relatives?
If these (or other suggestions I'm making) are out of your price range, remember these are not NEEDED toys. Cardboard boxes are great building toys, too!
Magna Tiles, $149.99, 100 pcs
Magna Tiles, $66, 32 pcs
Magna Tiles Metropolis, $189, 110 pcs
Melissa & Doug Solid Wood Building Blocks, $90
Kapla Planks, 200 pcs, $70
Available at Mastermind Toys. (I have no affiliation.)
Larger sets also available.
Amazing things can be built with a large collection. Suitable for the serious builder kids!
Any costumes or clothes (parent's old shirts and scarves are fun!).
I like Great Pretenders brand.
Green Toys Tea for Two , $28
(Pink & Blue at Indigo, $35)
Fisher Price, $25
Purchase real, working instruments for family jam sessions!
Rent an instrument to try
Tickets to a live performance
See my Art Cart post here!
I list art supplies to make available for lots of creativity and how using a utility cart works great to keep them all together, easy to see and reach.
Here are links to some favourite, special art supplies that could make great gifts:
Kwik Stix from Mastermind Toys, 12 colours, $16
Crayola Quick Dry Paint Sticks, 12 colours, $13
Crayola Gel Crayons, 5 colours, $11.11
I found these Kingart Gel sticks at HomeSense for less than this listed price, around $20.
Creatology Silky Crayons from Michaels, (I have not tried these), 24 colours, $14.
Do A Dot Markers, $33, 6 colours
(I have found these in Winners and Homesense in past.)
Bingo Dabbers from the Dollar Store work the same way!
These are any toys that kids use to make up stories, act them out, and use their imagination!
Consider your child's interests and look for sets that match. Eg., dinosaurs, insects, farm animals, jungle animals, forest animals.
Toobs by Safari Ltd have a wide variety of themes.
I have seen them for sale in Michaels. Around $16.
The Learning Resources brand has a wide variety also.
E.g., Jungle Animals, set of 60, $33.
Larger: Jumbo Forest Animals, set of 5, $39.
Schleich brand is available at Mastermind Toys, Indigo, Amazon. E.g., Farm World Mother and Puppy, $15.
E.g., Winged Rainbow Unicorn, $18.
Consider gifting sets of just the characters and avoid the large accessories like vehicles, headquarters, etc.
For example, Paw Patrol 6 figures, $30
Calico Critters Rabbit Family, $25
Create a parking lot area in your play area for a few large vehicles, if you have them.
Store small ones, e.g., Hot Wheels, in an appropriate sized bin.
My kids played a lot with the figures, animals, and bus for a few years.
If you have Duplo, however, there are the same figures and animals available so stick to just one brand of these toys.
Introduce numbers, counting, money, shapes, patterns, and sorting into your child's play!
Cash Register (one battery operated toy I approve!)
Learning Resources Calculator & Cash Register, $53
Ikea Duktig Cash Register, $20
Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks puzzle , $30
Real ones. Ones made for kids often are poor quality and a waste of money.
Topics that your child is interested in or you would like to learn about together.
A few we like:
Science Centre or Museum Membership
Fun and learning as a family!
OUTDOOR PLAY & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Get outside and get moving!
Gift equipment or coupons for experiences.
Zipline, Slackline, Ninjaline
Indoor Swedish Ladder or other climber
Hiking & nature!!! Provincial, Conservation Area, or other Park Memberships
Did this post give you some new ideas?! I would love to hear about it! Comment below.
Keep in mind:
There isn't a guarantee your child will love these toys, each child has their own interests and talents and parents should support and encourage them!
There are things you can do, however, to model and guide different types of play that take your child's interests into consideration and give them different experiences which contributes to creativity skills.
My playroom consultation services (virtual and in-home in the Toronto area) as well as my workshops help parents learn how to support that learning and creativity through play!
Get in touch if you want to learn more about my services. I would love to connect.
Happy Playing, Creating, and Connecting as a family!