I usually post my WFMWs (“Works for Me Wednesdays”) over on my main site, Muses of Megret, but due to the subject matter this time, I felt it had a better home here on Muse Reviews. After all, on Muse Reviews, I am all about blathering on about what we love to use, play with, read, etc. as a family, and toys fits right into that.
This little mini-guide to the best of the best toys in our house will hopefully help you with your Christmas shopping and planning. It’s no fun to pick out gifts that turn out disappointing or uninteresting….and that’s what this is for! Maybe you’ll find that one of these toy suggestions works for you and your family, too!
So, without further adieu, I give you the WFMW “Toys Worth Buying” Edition, hosted by Rocks In My Dryer!
(These are in no particular order, but in parenthesis beside the items, I’ll put a suggested age range. If you click on them, the photos of each toy will also lead you to a marketplace where you can buy the item, a variety of online stores we’ve used and had success with in the past.)
Quercetti’s Saxoflute. This may not look like much, but for our kids, this puzzle-like flute contraption is responsible for hours of open-ended, creative play. It’s been a regular old flute, but it’s also been a makeshift marble chute and Cheerio shooter. G loves this toy SO much, in fact, that it’s a known fact that Santa has already added to his sleigh the Super Saxoflute to add to it. You know it has to be good if I see enough potential to buy the “sequel.” (toddler/preschool)
Playmobil. This German toy line oftentimes gets shoved aside in lieu of Lego and other playset lines, but let me tell you, this is our favorite. My husband and I have been collecting Playmobil toys since we were in college, storing them away for our future children. It’s truly neat to see our kids enjoying these little toys today! The plastic is extremely durable and well-made, and the attention to detail is beyond compare. Playmobil can be found at numerous stores online (as well as their main store site) as well as in most specialty children’s shops around the nation. (preschool and up)
You’ll notice a common theme here….sometimes oldies are the goodies, and in this case, it’s so true. Tupperware’s Shape-O has been around since I was a tot, and this toy still stands strong today. It’s a shape sorter that both my 2 and 4 year old still pull out and play with…it’s virtually indestructable…and easier to maneuver than the balls that completely come apart (this one is hinged in the center with an elastic band). (baby/toddler)
Playskool’s “Busy Basics” Busy Ball Popper. My sister-in-law always picks out the most fantastic toys for our kids, and this one was no exception. She uses this toy with the autistic children she works with. It’s fun, whimsical, and very interactive. It’s another toy that gets pulled out very, very often around here (as well as occasionally enhanced & changed into other creative contraptions by our scientific-minded 4-year-old). When we have other kids over, this toy is usually the hot commodity! (baby/toddler)
Green Toys Recycled Plastic Tea Set. We bought this for our daughter’s 2nd birthday this summer, and it’s so nice to know it’s safe and non-breakable. I wrote a thorough review of this item here, if you care to learn more. This one is definitely worth the money. (toddler/preschool)
Play-Doh. This goes without saying: Play-Doh is one of the best toys for creativity and developing fine motor skills — by far. It’s inexpensive, non-toxic, and can be accessorized in countless ways. We buy a lot of it — just because the color picking is the most fun, so there must be lots of them — and also because, within a few months’ time, they all somehow mysteriously take on a blended color of brownish-grey. (Hmmm.) It’s expendable, though, and a great way to give your kids something to do on a rainy day or when dinner’s not quite ready yet. You can’t go wrong with this stuff. (toddler/preschool/and up)
The Classic Etch a Sketch. My mom gave G an Etch a Sketch for his birthday, and such a myriad of masterpieces have already graced its screen. It’s a toy that’s truly timeless and never gets old…and you never get too old for it, either. (The Etch a Sketch in its original, retro packaging can be found at Fat Brain Toys, one of our favorite sites for educational toys & games. (preschool)
Bunnies By the Bay. Everything they make. All of it. Our children have the Blanket Buddies and are completely inseparable from them — have been since infanthood. We have several other items, as well — and I can say that this is one of the cutest companies (and concepts) around. Their website is tres adorable — go see what I mean! I buy Bunnies By the Bay for baby gifts like nobody’s business. They’re a company I always come back to! (baby/toddler)
Knowledge Adventure’s JumpStart series. We got the kindergarten disc for G last year, and let me say, he is still loving this computer-based game. It was several months before we had to decide whether or not we’d pay a little more to add to his game (via online). We did that a couple of months ago, and now he is progressing and mastering even more skills. This series was entirely new to me when I first saw it, but now, I feel comfortable with the way it teaches math, reading, and other conceptual skills. It only bolsters my faith in this product that our local school systems heavily endorse it and use it in the classroom. Five stars for JumpStart! (preschool and up)
Small World Toys’ Original Gertie Ball. I used to work in a children’s specialty shop, and these balls were an always-stocked item for us. They are made of the most squeezable, pliable material around and are super easy to fill up and refill (a straw is included that adults can use to inflate it). They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. A must-have for an inside ball! (toddler/preschool)
And here’s a fun little list of cool and nifty stocking stuffers, too!
** NOW go see the other great toy suggestions today via WFMW at Rocks In My Dryer! ** Thanks for dropping by!