Got young kids? Then I’m willing to bet your kids have toys. And, if your child is anything like mine, I’m also willing to bet your child plays with about 3% of those toys. Despite this, however, we keep buying toys hoping to find the holy grail that keeps them interested while you finally get your shower. Before long, you have a box full of un used toys that your kids grow out of anyway.
This is the point of yard sales in the summer.
Which is why when I passed one this last year I saw a vision of the future of us having such a sale–begging young children to take three (no five!) toys from the “free box.” I panicked. We live in a small 2 bedroom house and have no room for that amount of toys anywhere! So I did the only thing I could: I ate chocolate. Afterward, I reached out to my “mommy friends” on Facebook for ideas of toys that entertain for much longer than five minutes and don’t take over your house. I then reached out to my minimalistic mommy friends, and made a list of things that overlapped. You are welcome.
# Educational Toys that Will Grow With Your Kids
iPad/Kindle/LeapPad or tablet of some form
From reading and math games to watching Curious George for the thousandth time in the grocery store, this was by far the most suggested toy. Kindle even has a $99 version with a 2 year no-questions-asked warranty!
Cars/trucks/trains with wooden tracks
This can be as elaborate as a train table, or as compact as a simple race track. My younger brothers even used to bury them in the sandbox and dig them up. One thing’s for sure, these promise hours of fun for all ages.
As far as little figurines go, this was the most suggested.There are many sets and they can all be mixed and matched. Be advised, though, these are NOT recommended for children younger than 3 years old, as they do have small parts. You can find them on Amazon, but if you are in the U.S., Craigslist often has great deals on them.
Yes, they are technically blocks, but pricier, smaller, and, according to many moms, more evil. While they promise hours of fun for ages 3 and up (and hospital visits to 3 and down), they do get lost easily and hurt really badly when stepped on. User beware.
Used for catching bad guys or inspecting insect footprints, this is sure to be a hit for a variety of ages!
This one is definitely dependent on the child (and what you have on hand!), but from edible play dough (I have a great recipe for that- post to come!) and easy homemade paints, to cardboard and a bit of glue, this is an activity that fosters as much independence as you are willing to allow!
Magnetic board games
This is more for older children, but the magnetic pieces mean less parts missing and easy clean-up! These are especially great for long car or plane rides.
For imaginary play as well as a great way to teach your little ones the names of animals!
The first step to a band in your garage! Whether you buy this set or make your own, musical instruments are a hit to a variety of ages and promise hours of fun– even if it is in the other room.
Got a critter-focused child in the family? Then this gift is perfect for them! Spend hours outside finding, catching and (eventually) releasing the bugs native to wherever you are. You could also make it more educational by buying a bug book and looking up what you’ve caught!
Is nap time not coming soon enough? Wear your child out in any weather with this awesome trampoline! You could even use it for exercise afterward. This is sure to be a hit for all ages.
Teach your children the importance of a good meal with a play kitchen. Great for imaginary play and promises hours of fun, and who doesn’t love a good game of playing house?
Of course, don’t forget one of the best parts about unwrapping presents– the boxes! Keep them around for a few days and make tunnels, houses, and more!
So what are some of your go-to toys when it comes to hours of play? Comment below!