Toys!

When Blaise was a little guy we had too many toys, and they kept coming in. Family, friends, my Amazon addiction, a commemorative toy for every Target trip (which is at least once a week) … way too many toys. So I purged. Now, we have two toy systems: everyday toys and once-in-a-while toys.

Everyday Toys

Around here, less is better. When we had too many toys Blaise would be overwhelmed with what to play with. He’d play a little with one, move to another, then another … baby ADD. Or he’d play with none but go for Amazon boxes, kitchen utensils, pots/pans, non-toys. So I bought four baskets; two for downstairs and two for their room. (The two in their room shouldn’t really count since one is stuffed animals that are just rotating sleeping buddies and the other is for everyday downstairs toys that the kiddos bring upstairs.) If the everyday toys don’t fit in them, then we purge some more. With the exception of books, which are always available; the train set which is kept in its own small basket in the family room; and two ride-on toys. Blaise plays with toys the most, Laine prefers to read and harass Blaise.

Tonka Ambulance: This has been a favorite for almost a year. Not only is it fun on its own, it’s fun to play with by putting other toys inside (which is primarily how Blaise plays these days).

Ikea Wooden Train Set: Probably the toy we’ve got the most bang for our buck. Blaise has been a fan since before he was crawling, and has developed how he plays with the set since. At first we’d make the track and he’d push the cars; now he makes the track, sets all the cars up together, and pushes it on his own. (Blurry picture of sir playing with trains last winter where he insisted on wearing sister’s pink cat hat most days.)

Hot Wheels: The most played with. Blaise and Laine love to push the cars around, make them drive on the floor and table while making vroom-vroom sounds. Blaise also uses the Hot Wheels to put in other toys, then take them out (the Tonka Ambulance is one). He also likes to line them up front to back. And if there is one front to front or back to back, he’s on it.

CAT Dump Truck: Blaise was gifted this for his second birthday and it has become an everyday favorite. It’s great for putting things in and it’s motorized so it moves front, back, and dumps with the push of a button.

Stack & Roll Cups: Blaise has mostly outgrown his stacking everything phase, Laine is still currently in the phase. These are great because they can be stacked, combined into several balls, or into one ball. They can also put things inside the balls that make different sounds as they roll.

Magna-Tiles: When we were home in July their cousins have these and they were a huge hit, and they are a hit around here too. Blaise likes to make structures or line them up on the floor and/or make shapes, Laine likes to break up whatever Blaise is making.

Melissa & Doug: If I had to pick a favorite toy company, it’s Melissa & Doug for the win. They make really great, high-quality educational toys that work for a wide age range. We have a ton; some are everyday toys and some are once-in-a-while toys, though the ones available for everyday use are used maybe three times a week. Our everyday Melissa & Doug toys are:

Construction Site Jigsaw Puzzle
Shapes Chunky Puzzle
Shape Sequence Sorting Set
Alphabet Puzzle
Wooden Shape Sorting Clock
Car Carrier Truck

Ride-On Toys: We have an Ikea Moose Rocker and a Fisher-Price Little People Musical Car (being used for evil earlier this year below).

Other Everyday Toys: Random vehicles that have been bought or gifted; sunglasses that Laine loves to wear; two creepy dolls that are never touched but we feel like we should have some girly toys; wiffle and rubber balls; Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls; and a few little action figures.

Bath Toys: Technically they are everyday toys but these are for bath time only: Ikea Pots & Pans (the strainer is a huge hit) and Alphabet Letters. And of course, not a toy per se but a bath must, Fizzy Color Tablets.

Once-In-A-While Toys

Back when we had too many toys I’d rotate some and found he played with them more when they were “new” again. So when I did the big purge, I bought some bins to store the keepers in the closet. I’ve since added more bins as we obtained more toys, and purged and replaced others. I like variety so I imagine the kiddos do too.

What’s in the bins (and what doesn’t fit in a bin):

Wooden blocks;

Mega Blocks;

Melissa & Doug Lacing BeadsSee & Spell, and Beginner Pattern Blocks (by far the favorites);

Crayons, markers, paper, and coloring books;

Stacking cups and more stacking cups;

Play-Doh Animal Duffel Bag;

Way too many linking toys;

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head;

Melissa & Doug Alphabet Floor Puzzle;

Number and letter flash cards;

Memory matching game;

A bin full of Little People (and animals);

Rubber blocks (which will go next purge);

Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Bowling Set;

Melissa & Doug Take-Along Wooden Tool Kit;

Parachute; and

Lego Duplo Creative Sorter.

Also stored with the toy bins are more Melissa & Doug/Ikea puzzles that I rotate with the everyday ones.

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