I’m a self-proclaimed toy minimalist. As a mom of a one-year-old with another on the way in just a few short months, I feel I’ve earned this right. I like all our son’s toys to be easily contained in a basket in our living room and I’m always drawn to the classics when it’s time to gift him something throughout the year.
As we head into the holidays and as the Moss family specifically starts planning for the arrival of our second baby in January, I reached out to our Real Moms for some advice on the best toys. I didn’t want to know just which toys their kids loved and played with for hours.
I wanted to know the toys that have stood the test of time. Which are the toys that their oldest played with and their youngest is STILL loving? What toys do siblings of all ages play with together?
As usual, their answers didn’t disappoint and I think this post will make your holiday shopping even easier this year:
Toy Collections and Sets
If you want to talk about no-brainer gifting, then any of these sets are the toys for you. Real Moms could not stop chiming in and agreeing with each other on the love they had for each of these classic toy sets.
Real Moms Tina D., Tawna K. and Lindy R. all agree: a train set with wooden tracks and trains is the gift that keeps on giving. Kids can spend all day creating new tracks and you can continue gifting more pieces, more trains and even a train table for easy building.
My husband, who will be 30 this year, often regales me with the Lego building adventures of his childhood. He logged countless hours with his six brothers building empires, trading bricks and ignoring the instructions. He tells me all the time how he can’t wait for our son to be old enough to build blocks with.
Real Mom Tawna K. says her sons loved Legos into the preteen years and Real Mom Lindy R. says that while her bigs are into the classic Legos now, the Lego Duplo blocks are great for tinier hands. Start your kiddos off with one of these classic sets and then let your collection grow through the years as their imaginations soar!
Real Mom Allison L. says: “Magnatiles are perfect for all ages (including me!) and they literally pick themselves up!” and my four nephews would 100% agree. When we went to visit them a few years ago, all of them (ages 8 to 2) were obsessed with building anything they could from the basket of magnatiles my sister-in-law consistently adds to for birthdays and holidays throughout the year.
They also encourage STEM learning and motor skills, making them fun and educational–a win win!
My brothers and I were all about Playmobil when we were growing up and Real Mom Allyson S. says: “We are starting to get into the Playmobil toys! They are so fun and tend to be keepsakes too!” I remember being so excited to go to my cousin’s house to play because she had the Playmobil mansion dollhouse and we could spend hours setting up the rooms and acting out scenes with the tiny people.
Playmobil comes in sets of different scenes–think hospitals, schools, houses, farms–and you can never have too many!
There’s nothing better than fostering your child’s imagination and encouraging independent play. Real Moms think that these make-believe toys will help them do just that.
Real Moms Trisha W. and Lindy R. agree that dress up clothes are the imaginative toys all their kids still reach for. Real Mom Lindy R. shared this pro tip: she shops for dress up outfits and accessories when they go on sale after Halloween and then gifts them during the holidays.
Get a cute dress up box or bin to store that wardrobe and your kids will spend hours playing pretend and exploring different worlds, careers and adventures in dress up clothes!
The options are endless when it comes to choosing the play kitchen that’s perfect for your kiddos. Real Moms Janet P. and Christina P. say that it’s an essential toy that kids will be playing with for years to come. Add in some of our mom favorite Melissa and Doug wooden food sets and a tiny table with chairs and you’ve got a gourmet restaurant open for business.
Real Mom Marianne L. says a pop up playhouse like this Pacific Play Tents Cottage is perfect to house your child’s hours of imaginative playtime. They’ll be dressing up and cooking up new things and they can do it all from the comfort of their own little home.
Real Mom of 4, Amy C. says this toy was a hit for all four of her kids. “This was the best birthday gift we ever got. All four kids used it to walk and then ride on around the house.” This is the perfect toy for playing indoors and outdoors, promotes motor skills through walking, riding and steering and is just great for getting all those wiggles out!
Real Mom and Grandma Cindy K. says Little Tikes toys are must haves for all your kids. These are three of our favorites: the basketball hoop, the cozy coupe and the slide. They’ll get your kids up and playing and probably doing so together! They’re classics for a reason and we know they’ll be loved for years to come.
Real Moms agree that you can never go wrong with books and board games for your growing family. We’ve created a list of the 15 favorite books for every kid on your list that you can check out here on our blog. And starting your board game collection with the classics like CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders and Monopoly is your best bet!
Not only do books and games provide a little extra bonus of learning, they also promote togetherness. Your kids will long recall the memories of reading and playing and laughing together!
This is a great time of year to put together a wishlist at your favorite retailer with some of these lasting toys. Family and friends can access the list and gift the things they know your child will love and adore for years to come. Still looking for more gift ideas this year? Our GiveIt Blog is always full of the best ideas for children and adults alike at this time of year!