December 13, 2016

Christmas Toy List of Toys That Will Last!

Stormtrooper painting

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

Image of tablet, train track, toy people and blocks

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.


Great for all ages. From ABC blocks to magnetic ones (like these), to good ole’ wooden ones, this is a toy that can mix with nearly every other one and inspire imagination!


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.

Magnifying glass, art kit, magnetic games, and plastic animals

Magnifying glass

Used for catching bad guys or inspecting insect footprints, this is sure to be a hit for a variety of ages!

Art supplies

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.

Animal Figurines

For imaginary play as well as a great way to teach your little ones the names of animals!

drum set, bug catcher, trampoline, and play kitchen

Musical instruments

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.

Bug nets

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!

Mini trampoline

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.

Play kitchen

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?

Bonus: Boxes!

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!


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