Our Family's Favorite Toys

Sometimes it’s so hard to find good toys for your kids…by “good” I mean ones that will last through siblings and aren’t junk.  Ones they don’t use once and toss aside.  Ones that make them use their brains and their hands and their imaginations.  I really detest the junk…the batteries, the breakage, the frustration felt by kids when toys break for no reason, or don’t work the way the commercial says they will.  We don’t have many toys…but they add up fast with 5 kids.  I try to add to collections and find the good stuff..

I thought I’d give you a few good ideas in case you were in the market for some soon. (wink wink)

Here’s some of our favorites.

026 Duplos
…from oldest to youngest they’ve been an old stand-by.

027Find and Say books…this one if for littler ones, but I know there are some great ones for older kids-.

005 Zingo-a great quick game for preschoolers.

008 010 Seriously, I have no idea what the appeal is…but this giant foam USA puzzle has been around for at least 10 or more years....something about the foam and large pieces?  Here's one like the one we own: Foam U.S.A. Map Puzzle

 012 014Rush Hour
…this is so fun…and I am NOT a game person.  It’s addicting for adults and children….Andrew was totally into this even as a 5 year old!  This is a family favorite for sure.

017 Groovy Girls….Abbey has never been much of a baby doll girl, but these dolls are SO cute…she would dress them up, and even take fabric scraps and pin them together to design new outfits.  They have been a huge hit when friends and cousins come to play too!

019 My favorite…EVERY house needs a typewriter….NOT a fake one.  Go to Ebay!

021 Dress ups…real dress ups. These are my old formal dresses.  I can’t tell you how many girls have loved these!

023 Of course. 024 A great magazine…without all the boy/girl crap…just the cutest ever!025BeTween: A Preteen Girl's Guide to Life
There are a couple of these magazine-like books…great for any pre-teen girl.

 026 LEGO City and Bionicles.

027 Guinness World Record books-An annual purchase...the boys love these.

028 If you buy this series, you will laugh your heiney off.

032 My mother-in-law bought each of the kids this treasure box a couple years ago from a local toy store.  I think they might even have them in Michael’s now?  They are filled with all those little things I'd throw away if I could, but I can't.

035 037 038 Vintage Fisher Price.

028 029032 Magna-Tiles - Irresistible.

  030 Blocks…have had these for 15 years!

034 035Zoobs-My kids all have loved these….I would say by 4 they are old enough to clip these together.  They come with lots of ideas for what you can build.  You need to buy a container though, because the one they give you…you can never get them all back in…(don’t you hate that?)

And of course, the wooden train set, that has been added to for 16 years.  Abbey loved it as much as the boys.

Elefun-Patrick loves this dumb old elephant...and honestly the older kids can't resist either.


  1. Thanks for the post, I have bunches of ideas rolling around in my head now! I have been needing a little inspiration for Christmas. I hate to spend money on stuff that isn't going to get used, or isn't going to last. This is good info! Love reading your blog by the way :)

  2. The typewriter! Genius. I just found Eliza's gift. Thank you!

  3. The boy loved his type writer! Glad we aren't the only ones!

    We also got the schleich animals for the boy. Beautifully crafted and pretty sturdy. Can't wait for Freddie and petunia to grow into them.

  4. I am laughing at the typewriter - we have an old electric one from my college days and I take it out for the kids every once in awhile - they absolutely LOVE it.

    Glad to hear about rush hour - I have thought about buying that game MANY times but was on the fence. This year I'll get it!

    We never had any luck with elephun - it wouldn't extend correctly and I felt like I was always picking up those darn fluttery butterflies.

    Duplos/legos and Thomas have been huge hits. Books are always great. Art supplies have been HUGE - last year my oldest got a beautiful wooden easel, but they've also loved the large cases you can get at craft stores (not pricey - they are happy with the inexpensive ones).

    playdough is huge for my youngest. I use a big plastic tablecloth on the floor underneath the play table so mess is fairly contained. we add to our collection each bday/holiday.

    hexbugs were great stocking stuffers last year - the nano bugs are hysterical.

    scooters, skateboards, snowboards - all great gifts. Would love to hear how much in general you spend/how many gifts - I struggle SO much in this area. Its so hard - so many kids are getting ipod touches, ugg boots, north face jackets.

    oh - one more item I forgot - those little calico critters - my kids have really loved those things!!

  5. I love games, I know they aren;t that fun to open but the week after Xmas when everyone is home. Plus anytime you want good family fun. Love Zingo. Here are some more game ideas:
    -Chinese Checkers (metal one with chess on reverse side)
    -Who Is it
    -Bingo with the cage (kids love turning it)

  6. okay, THAT's weird!...I just posted about some items we were buying for christmas this year.. I'll link it up.

    Our favorites are always, always craft supplies! Our kids do have the basic ipods, but we do alot of traveling by car, and they are a life saver there.

    I found myself nodding to most all that you mentioned. A few others:

    Games- we do alot of games in the winter: A bingo game (oldfashioned with the one you turn the balls in a bucket)..just a few dollars from target. Great for number/letter recogniction

    Cranium Cariboo- great for about age 2.5 to age 6...good for teaching colors, numbers. Actually like most of the cranium games

    Tier au Tier...great game!

    hmm..maybe I might just have to do a post of my own! :)

  7. I so needed this post. I hate those crappy toys out there. Thank you! Thank you!

  8. Both of our young boys (4 and 3) love the "super heros" by Imaginext (sp?) They are smaller for little hands and don't require a lot of watching because of little pieces. LOVE THEM!! The basic guy with car, and various other things for about $5.70. I've found that Target and Toys R Us have the best variety. Hours are spent playing with them, and of course the basic hot wheels are a big hit too.

    Sarah, thanks for so many new/good ideas. I'll be purchasing some of these this holiday season!

  9. I tried to link my blog and had no success. I bought one of the best gifts for my son last year after seeing it on your blog...lazer tag. Lots of good clean sweaty fun had by all- including dad and mom on occasion.

  10. Thanks for the repost. I need to get to buying!! Thanks for the prompt!

  11. I always love your classic ideas. What a great idea to share the links. I was inspired to share the books I've given as gifts over the years!

  12. I second all of these, except for the Elefun game. My kids LOVED ours, too, but what a pain to have to keep starting it over every 5 minutes.

    I'll add art supplies. You wouldn't believe how much we go through. My kids would be THRILLED to get their very own fresh ream of white paper!

  13. I love elefun more than my kids..those butterflies are so great!

    sandy toe

  14. Great suggestions! i've been debating about getting some vintage fisher-price and a typewriter...neat to see they popped up on your list.

  15. We have several of the toys that you mentioned. Love 'em! My favorite(which we don't have) would be the vintage Fisher Price. Wow, that brought back memories.

  16. http://amanda-babymakes5.blogspot.com/search?q=toy+idea

    a post about the.best.toy.EVER...all ages...kind of pricey but great, great, great. Junior 15 piece is $25 I think but is plenty of entertainment/options and then you can keep adding from there...

  17. WE have several of those games & toys. However, I see a couple that we don't have and would probably like. I finally gave the trumpeting elephant away cuz I just couldn't take it for one more day! Hugs- Diana

  18. Blocks, legos, duplos, barbies (6 girls, how can we not love barbies!), uno, wooden trains--love them! I was wondering if anyone has had the table to play with them on like from Toys r us, or target. It seems like it would be easier to play with for a little guy instead of on the carpet.

  19. Oh where oh where can I find that Mickey Mouse USA puzzle?!?!? Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!!

  20. Thanks for the suggestions! My 5 year old would love Rush Hour!

  21. Just ordered zoobs on amazon for christmas! thanks for the suggestions! A couple of game ideas Cranium Balloon Lagoon and Hullabaloo...hours of great fun!

  22. I'm definitely getting Zoobs for our son for Christmas now, thank you so much!
    Blokus is a really great game that even the older kids will love, we all play it... 5 years to parents to grandparents and we LOVE it!

    didn't see the link... am i missing something??

  23. My nephews adore this, once my babies are a little older I will be getting them some. Its fantastic.



  24. I can't tell you how happy I feel today as my long pending divorce case is resolved by Lydia. Finally got freedom in life.

  25. Just as an example, Step 2 recalled Buggy Toys because the pin that holds the handle on loosens and it detaches posing a danger to a child. These toys have been sold for over ten years and were made in the United States.big teddy bear