This week’s #MomTalkTuesday is all about my favorite toys and activities for my kiddos. I should preface this post with the fact that these are my favorite toys, and not necessarily theirs. For example, I might love books because they teach them things and allow each child to have some quiet and alone time, while my daughter might LOVE watching Mickey And The Roadster Racers on TV. Make sense?
A few other things to note: I have a 3.5 year old daughter and a 21 month old son. So trying to find a list of toys that suits both of them at their respective ages is definitely harder than if I were to come up with a list of toys for each of them. Because of that, this list is going to be short and sweet- but you’ll know that these toys suit both genders and kids of different ages. And, another great part about this list? All of these toys are under $50 and are available for purchase on Amazon with Prime shipping!
1. Pretend Castle Play Tent
If you have enough room for one (and they don’t take up much- around 40″ in diameter), I highly recommend buying a pretend castle play tent! They come in ones for girls, ones for boys, and then unisex ones. The one we happen to have is a pink princess castle, but it doesn’t mean my son loves playing in it any less.
I love this toy for two reasons: 1) it encourages my children to have imaginative play. I’m sure you all know the many benefits of imaginative play, but to name a few: it teaches them about social roles and etiquette, such as sharing, taking turns, growing patience, etc. As soon as Patrick and Johanna enter the tent, they start pretending and making up stories and different scenarios about where they are and what they’re doing. The tent gives them a space to make-believe, and I love that!
2) It keeps them entertained for hours. Because their pretend-play is limited only by their imaginations, Patrick and Johanna play in it much longer than they do with regular toys. The scenarios they imagine are always evolving, which keeps them engaged. One minute, the castle is a house, and the next, they are hiding from “bad guys” in a secret hideout.
Most of the castles I’ve seen, including the one linked here, are under $25. You get a lot of bang for your buck out of this one!
2. Mega Bloks First Builders Deluxe Building Bag
The Mega Bloks are fresh on my mind, because we just got done playing with them- and we use them almost every single day! If I could compare them to something, they are like much larger Legos. I could go on about benefits of having larger blocks: they are harder to lose, are friendly for kids of all ages, you can build larger things with them, and they hurt less when you step on them (can I get an Amen!?). Both Johanna and Patrick love playing with them- Johanna likes to build houses for her stuffed animals, while Patrick gets SO much pleasure out of being able to stack blocks upon blocks. He’s getting better at stacking them as time goes on, and I can tell that they are helping to develop his fine motor skills! Playing with building blocks also helps them to build spacial awareness, which will help them in so many ways down the road!
We actually have two sets of these blocks. The more they played with the first set, the more we realized that we wanted to build larger and bigger towers- so we bought a second set. Something else I appreciate is that the blocks come in a carrying bag – it’s nice to have a designated place to store the blocks when we’re done using them.
3. Amazon Echo Dot
Ahh, the Amazon Echo Dot, or “Alexa” as my kids like to refer to her. If you don’t already own one of these, what are you waiting for!? We use our Echo every single day… to have our own dance parties, of course! We also love Alexa because she can travel from room to room with us. If you’re unfamiliar with the Echo, you can sync it with your phone and wirelessly stream your music through it! My kids love music (right now, we have the Frozen soundtrack on repeat. Before that, it was the Trolls soundtrack, and T. Swift’s Shake It Off). When we aren’t listening to Let It Go, we often default to one of Amazon’s playlists from their extensive music library. I love playing children’s worship music, or, my personal favorite, the Beatles station. And the best (or worst, depending upon how you look at it) part is, my children can use Alexa on their own. All they need to do is have the ability to say, “Alexa, play _____” and she obeys!
Another amazing feature of the Echo that we have yet to explore is the ability to listen to audio books, which can be synced with your Kindle or Amazon book library! I can see this coming in handy soon, as my 21 month-old continues to develop his vocabulary and language skills.
4. Crayola’s Mess Free Marker Kit
Ahh, maybe one of the best inventions since washable markers- markers that are INVISIBLE and only work on special paper! We invested in several sets of these when Johanna was just a toddler and haven’t looked back!
Here’s how they work: these colored markers only work on Crayola’s special mess-free paper. So, if your 1 year old happens to get his or her hands on one and, say, for example, draw ALL over your brand new wallpaper, it won’t leave a single mark! [And all the parents said Amen! again.] Crayola makes an array of mess-free coloring books, in addition to the mess-free blank paper, so your little one can color in the Mickey Mouse Club-House themed coloring book to her heart’s content!
Both my son and daughter LOVE these. I can’t tell you how many hours they have spent coloring with these. They are great for road trips and restaurants, too!
And? That’s the end of my list! I told you it was short and sweet! Honestly, I’d rather the list be short than include more toys that my kids don’t truly love and use just for the sake of having a long list.
I hope this list gives you some fresh new toys and activities for your little ones. And I’d love to hear from you all- do your kiddos have a favorite toy or activity?!
And before you leave, make sure to check out the other posts from my fellow Mom Talk Tuesday bloggers: Maggie from Polished Closets, Stefanie from The Style Safari, and Alyssa from Feathers and Stripes!