The AwkEng's Guide to the Best Toys for Kids

Hi all,

Today's post is about the best toys for kids, based on my 6+ years experience as a dad.

The motivation for sharing is a reflection on the toy inventory levels in the house. Periodically, I notice that the amount of clutter rises to a point where I'm motivated to Do Something About It(TM), which is a reminder that it's time to think about systems for avoiding toy clutter in the first place.

For the record, I'm yet to find such a system, but often the key to eliminating clutter is just eliminating stuff, which leads to an evaluation of which toys have had the most replay value, and hence, today's post.

So the top criterion by far when talking about toys is how often the kids play with them, but there are no hard and fast rules to this list.

The best toys, in no particular order are:

  • Giant, empty Ikea furniture box - this has been painted, glued, sequined, stickered, and used over and over. It's been a blanket fort component, a boat, a space ship, a turtle shell, a house, and more. Periodically rotating it to the basement/back porch and to the play room has increased the replay value.
  • Magnatiles - equally popular with my son and daughter, they come back to these over and over. No toy rotation needed.
  • Plain wooden blocks - My theory is that because they're so simple, they become canvases for the imagination. Again, both children still play with them.
  • Poker chips, tokens, beads, dominos, and other knick-knacks. - Again, see the blank canvas theory above. Be warned, they end up everywhere.
  • Legos. - Because of course, Legos.
  • Favorite Stuffed Animal - I wouldn't necessarily call these toys, but in terms of repeated use, their favorite stuffies have been with them every night since they got them.
  • Kitchen pots and pans - I think these were the most popular when the kids were under 2, but there was a lot of bang for the buck. And banging in general.
  • Small Trampoline - Low replay value when the kids are on their own, high replay value when they have someone to fight over it with.

Best regards,

aka THE Awkward Engineer

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