Since Christmas is soon and gift buying is well underway, I thought I'd do a silly post about all of the favorite toys we've had around here for the past almost-5 years! There are several toys in our home that have withstood the test of time, a few have surprised me quite a bit and other "classic" toys were worth the extra money to have a well-made toy.
For Beth's first birthday, a friend of the family gave her a Leapfrog Fridge DJ. I thought it was dumb and intended to return it but it somehow became Beth's car toy, and she played with that thing every day in her car during all of our drives. It stayed in the car and she loved it. As she's gotten older, she now can sing along with all of the songs and the silly thing still entertains her! Both Luke and Jack love it too, so it's gotten a lot of use!
Similarly, Beth received this Fisher Price piano for her first Christmas when she was nearly one. All of our children play with it, almost daily, and every time we have friends come over to our house it's one of the most sought-after toys. It sings different songs but also has a mode where it just plays the notes, which entertains Mommy and Daddy sometimes too!
Two years later, when Beth was almost three, she received a Melissa and Doug kitchen. Surprisingly, Beth is starting to outgrow this but she'll still play with it when she gets into it, but the boys still love it. Jack loves standing on a stool and opening and closing the high cabinet, and cramming other toys into the fridge. Jack will play with it by himself for 30 minutes at a time! It's a winner!
For Luke's second birthday, we have two big winners! He received these Melissa and Doug blocks from Grandma and Grandpa and this John Deere weed whacker from Mawmaw and Pawpaw. I have to tell you right now, if you have a son who can walk, or will walk soon, he absolutely needs this weed whacker. Every single boy that has ever entered our home just all out LOVES this toy, and Luke still plays with it daily over a year later. Granted it's broken and doesn't quite work anymore, but he and Jack both know to make a "ptbbbbb" noise that gets their chins and shirts all slobbery, and those boys both whack every single weed growing in our house! Luke has spent countless hours playing with this toy, and since it's a solo toy he usually is happy to wonder around the downstairs by himself, lost in his own little world. The blocks are awesome too, don't get me wrong, that's why they made it on this list! The blocks are also played with every day, usually in conjunction with our Little People. Lately the blocks are shaped like an airplane, church, or house, and Beth and Luke play with the people for quite some time. Our collection of random cars go well with this... On these days, there's hardly a square inch of clean carpet space on the floor! (For All Saint's Day this year, the blocks were transformed into Heaven and we named all the Little People after saints based on what they were holding. We had an interesting lesson on Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell that I was sure would fly right over their heads, until the other day when Beth recited the lesson nearly verbatim to me as she was helping me in the kitchen!) We have several of the Little People sets, but nowadays the kids just play with the people and animals.
One of the most versatile toys we have is our "Fire Truck." Well, that's what we call it. It's like this, but ours isn't Elmo-related and doesn't have wings. Ours makes engine noises, songs that sound like an ice cream truck song, and makes a few other sounds, but that's it. It's a sit or push toy that we bought for Beth for $15 at Wal-Mart. I think it made its video debut on my blog when Beth was climbing and standing on it when she was little, but that toy also gets played with every single day. It's commonly used as a lawn mower by Luke, or the kids will push each other on it around the house and see how fast they can go without wiping out! Jack pulls the seat up and hides his sippy cup in there (if it's ever missing from the table, that's the first place I look at nine times out of ten, it's there!). Cheap toy but a good toy!
Of course we have all the various toys that get lots of use like baby dolls, dress-up costumes, puzzles, and cars and trucks. Those are the ones that we've accumulated a small collection of but each one has it's own special use. We're also book lovers... We love books. We have a lot but our little, sweet Jack has become a book ripper so some of them are in pretty horrible shape. Sometime I should put together a list of our favorite books but it should suffice to say it'd be very long because we read a LOT! We visit the library about every two weeks to bring home 20 or so for the next two weeks. Beth and I are starting to read chapter books together (I read them, she listens, just to clarify... She's not reading chapter books yet!) like Charlotte's Web and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. All three of them will sit down and look at books for any length of time though, I could read to all three of them literally all day long and they'd be happy with it!
One thing we have and love but isn't technically a toy is a CD Player. Beth had one in her room when she was about two years old and would turn it on herself and press play. Now we have one in our playroom where it gets used multiple times a day for kid's CDs or the radio. Lately I've also been using Pandora on my cell phone, but the CD player is definitely another must-have. I find that having soft music on in the background has a calming effect on my kids, and when we have sing-along CDs up loud then there's always lots of dancing and jumping!
That's all I can think as our main favorite toys, and I think the kids would agree with me on those! We're planning a few surprises for Christmas that I think will quickly become new favorites, but these old ones will surely always have their places!