Here's an updated list of our favorite, most-played with, delivered-to-your-doorstep, Mom-approved toys.
I know that finding good, classic stuff can be hard...there is just SO much straight-out junk for kids in the stores today.
I do end up spending a little more on good stuff, but to me it's worth it, because it just gets handed down from sibling to sibling (I've had 18 years of Santa visits at our home already!), and really really played with-it's not just broken and thrown away. I have always loved adding to our collections (and always have something to offer when those relatives ask, "What should we get them?)...whether that collection be Legos, or a train set, or Magna Tiles.
If you have some family favorites of your own, please let me know-I love suggestions.
Our family favorite books and games are here and here.
Patrick loves this puzzle-I think it was his most-played-gift last year.
Everyone should have a big ugly plastic basketball hoop in their living room, don't you think?
I don't mind it as much when I think of all the energy the four boys burn during the 5 long months of winter.
We've tried a few different brands but this one has been the only one that has really held up to all the dunking it endures daily.
A great marble run that comes with a nice booklet of different configurations. (I have to help Patrick with this one-Andrew who is nine can figure it out on his own.)
This is another really cool marble run that the boys get really creative with. I often find it wrapped around my living room.
We've had this forever and it's about the only toy that makes noise that I don't mind.
Patrick and Andrew were introduced to Playmobil by their cute neighbor friends.
Legos will always be a favorite of ours, but this collection is a little relief from the thousands of little pieces and parts, while still being "buildable" and great quality.
They decided to start with the popular dragon land sets.
Ripstiks are probably one of the favorite outdoor toys we've purchased. They do take some co-ordination and core muscles to master-which means it takes kids about 5 minutes to figure out.
Andrew's big birthday present this year was the Razor Electric Scooter. He was SO excited about it, and uses it to patrol the neighborhood.
For teenagers, a longboards are all the rage.
This particular one has just the right amount of spring. I think Andrew's record is several hundred, no joke. It gives me a headache just watching him.
I don't even remember who asked for this once, but it's now in Patrick's closet hiding his treasures. He loves that it is all under lock and key. The kids have used it to play store too.
A nice reader left a comment about this toy being a favorite with her sports-crazy boy and I bought it for Patrick and he plays with it constantly. He is always setting up games-one time I thought he was cleaning up because all the guys were in a big pile, but he corrected me and told me he was just waiting while they all fought over the ball.
(I love that each of the sets comes in its own box.)Magna-Tiles A few of you asked me what in the world these cool blocks are when I posted this picture in one of my Ordinary Day posts.
Build A Road set-It has little cars that DO need a battery in them just so you know, but the batteries seem to last forever, and the cars really zip around. The kids can snap the track into all different configurations. k.
This year's all time favorite-thank you Aunt Tracy! It has gotten many a boy tired before bed time and my boys playing together-ages 17-3. It comes with 2 nets and a different ball...one that has a flat side so it doesn't sail in the air. What a great invention! Except that my children, because they know I will only get mad if I hear lamps fall, use a little "real" soccer ball. There is a game at my house (in my living room) almost every evening...the furniture pushed back, teams chosen, and sweaty kids rolling everywhere. I go hide in the den.
Drawing books and sketch pads. Once in awhile Michaels will have a 50% sale for their nice sketchbooks. I have found all sorts of drawing books at book stores.
Vintage Fisher Price (from Ebay also.) They don't make them like they used to.
Paper Fashions Klutz book-One of Abbey's all time favorites- she played with it from about 3rd grade till about 6th grade. (I have seen this book at Michaels also.) She received it with a big sketch book and a little pair of scissors-it comes with the all the cute paper. She filled a big folder with fashion designs. Aren't they cool? When I was pregnant with Patrick she did a couple maternity designs for me. How cute is that?
Shrink Art Jewelry Kit-Abbey also loved this craft book. She even had a little business going in 7th grade selling earrings to her classmates. I spent many an evening, baking shrinky earrings, thinking, "Oh boy what did we get into here?" She loved it though and could hardly keep up!
Snap Circuits -Matt (12) has always loved these and I saw Andrew (8) had it out the other day. I have never figured it out but the kids seem to be able to make things work. I know they've tricked me with a door bell sound before.
Of course Legos are a huge favorite here. My favorite is the Eiffel Tower that Matt built. I am glad that we bought it when we did because it now sells for $1,189. No joke. I think Andrew's favorites are the Star Wars Lego and Lego City series. I can't imagine life without Legos. As you can see, they can quickly take over a room.
Jumbo Zoo Animals-This is a cheap little set of BIG zoo animals. It's really hard to find big models of animals and I searched high and low. These go in the bath tub, the pool, the sandbox. Sometimes it seems that they all get along so well, and sometimes there are a few battles.
Zingo-One of my favorite games to play with Patrick, and all the kids enjoyed it through the years.
Duplos-Especially the Thomas the Train duplos. Some of these blocks are 17 years old, no kidding. All the kids, even Abbey, played with these.
Groovy Girls Abbey loved these little rag dolls! She had some of the clothes that are made for them, but she would often just sew or pin her own together out of little quilting quarters I would pick up, or just plain felt. Her and her friends would put together the cutest little outfits on these girls.
-flashlights/headlamps for reading in bed
-new pens and pencils for school
-cheap gloves (the kind that cost $1)
-socks and underwear
-for girls: little make up items, hair bands and ties, nail polish
-ITunes gift cards