Christmas is less than 6 weeks away…yikes! As you prepare your lists and check them twice, here are 10 toys that the children in my house use constantly. These are opened-ended, high quality, and work for a wide variety of ages.
Amazon affiliate links are included (I purchase most of the toys through them). I’m a deal shopper though, so I encourage you to shop around! 🙂
1) Hohner Instruments
We LOVE this instrument set. The bell is our favorite piece; it’s enclosed inside a cage with a handle, so it’s not a chocking hazard & is easy to hold. Infants and toddlers love using these pieces during singing time, and some children will literally cart around the bell for hours at a time.
2) Melissa & Doug Puzzles
Melissa & Doug make beautiful wooden puzzles, perfect for toddlers! The pieces are thick, so they can be easily manipulated. Children can also use the chunky animals, etc. on their own for pretend play.
3) Green Toys Tea Set
Tiny One LOVES using this tea set to feed her dolls and to eat real snacks off of. The pieces are sturdy, cute and useable. The set is made from recycled milk jugs so it’s a bonus for the environment too! Tiny One is getting the matching dish set for Christmas (don’t tell!).
4) Learning Resources Play Food
Almost any food set by Learning Resources is worth it. It’s realistic and sturdy. I avoid wooden food as it is a possible weapon, and I definitely avoid anything cardboard since I want it to last. This food is the best we have found so far! The kids love the sandwich set especially, as well as the fruit and veggie set. Despite being constantly thrown and “eaten”, it’s held up perfectly.
5) Hape Pound and Tap Bench
This is a cause and effect toy (hit the ball with the hammer and it falls down) AND a musical instrument; the xylophone piece can be removed and played on it’s own! The balls can also be used for color matching/recognition since they each have a corresponding hole. Fun! You can get the item on its own, or with a free coloring book (pictured)!
6) Baby Stella
This is the perfect first doll for babies and toddlers. It can be gender neutral and is 100% cloth (no hard plastic pieces), so it’s perfect to hug and sleep with. Coordinating clothes have Velcro to make dressing convenient. It does not make sounds (bonus) and also comes with a magnetic pacifier which is lots of fun. Tiny One uses this doll every day & she sleeps with it every night!
7) Duplo Legos
We go with the duplo legos at our house, as they are safe for little ones but still fun for preschoolers. This is a great toy to collect because the more the merrier! When I was growing up, my mom let extended family know we collected legos and after several years we had received enough to fill a giant bin! In addition to the basic blocks, we have some great coordinating sets like a zoo and a counting train. These are a huge hit at our house!
8) Prince Lionheart Ride-On Animals
Okay, I love this purely for “it’s so cute” reasons. If you want a ride on toy for your toddler, go with this. Toddlers love riding on them or pretending they are real animals (Tiny One frequently “feeds” her pig during snack time). In addition to being adorable, it’s very sturdy and will last forever!
9) Push cart
I love this cart because it is sturdy and very open ended. Infants can steady themselves with it as they learn to walk (the wheels can be tightened so they don’t move much). Toddlers and preschoolers can use it as a stroller for dolls, or to fill with items. Added bonus: it’s big enough for small children to ride in. It’s the cutest thing to watch kids push each other around in this!
10) Children’s Factory giant foam blocks
These are by far the best “big” toy purchases we made so far. The blocks are foam on the inside, and covered in sturdy vinyl. We purchased a small set and a big set, and they have been played with almost every day since we got them a year ago… and they show no signs of wear!
Infants love to grasp them (they are fairly light), and toddlers and preschoolers love using them to build giant towers, practice matching colors, or make into houses. Even the most energetic boys wear themselves out as they repeatedly build, knock down, and repeat.
Added bonus: they can withstand lots of chewing and drool and are easily sanitized with soap and water. Yay!
Well there you have it! Ten toys that have been tiny-tested and approved.
Happy Christmas shopping!
My favorite gift! 🙂