Chasing Cheerios

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Favorite Toys

A reader recently asked me to write a post about our favorite toys, so here it is! I love to research and find really wonderful toys for O (and Ema!). I admit that I'm a toy snob, and I prefer for O's toys to be well-made, open ended toys that inspire creative play. I try to buy toys that she'll play with for years instead of growing out of in less than a year. I try to avoid plastic toys and toys with characters...however, I DO make exceptions :) Here are the toys that are most often (daily or almost daily) played with at our house:

Playsilks!!! Playsilks are definitely the most played with "toy" in our house. O uses them in almost every aspect of her play...they make great capes, skirts, hats, scarves, baby doll blankets, baby doll diapers, picnic blankets, bags, shirts, etc. The possibilities are endless! We bought our silks from Dharma Trading Company and dyed them using Kool-Aid. However, they are on sale for another day or 2 at Let's Explore, so you might want to check them out :)

Unit Blocks- O has this set and this set of Unit Blocks. These blocks are very well made and will last forever. O plays with them all the time, and I'm sure she'll play with them for years to come.

Baby dolls- O is a little mama, and she loves her babies. Baby Emma is one of her favorite baby dolls.

Dress-up Clothes- O LOVES to dress-up! She has fairy costumes, princess dresses, ballerina dresses, dr. scrubs, construction worker outfit, etc. The scrubs and construction worker outfit are her newest costumes and therefore the most used right now, but she wears all of her costumes fairly frequently. For Christmas last year we gave her a suitcase full of costumes and accessories :)

Play kitchen and play food- O loves to cook in her play kitchen. She spends a lot of time mixing up crazy concoctions with her wooden and felt food.

Art supplies- O creates various forms of artwork everyday at her art shelf. She has markers, crayons, paint, scissors, tape, glue, and lots of various collage materials availabe to her at any time at her art shelf. She creates some interesting artwork!

Spinny Speller- We all love the spinny speller! We take turns making real and nonsense words to sound out and read. (I'm planning on writing a review of the spinny speller soon).

Playdough & Silly Putty- We love homemade playdough and therapy putty. O LOVES the homemade silly putty, but I prefer the therapy putty because it's not quite as sticky as the homemade putty.

O also has several great toys, games, and puzzles that she plays with occasionally (weekly or monthly). Here are our favorites...

Beleduc Your Body Girl Puzzle. O loves this puzzle, and she has learned so much from it.

Bilibo- The bilibo is so much fun and is so versitle. O was calling it her "turtle shell" a few days ago :) It also makes a fun cradle, a nice chair, an oversized hat, etc.

Latches Board- This Melissa and Doug latches board is lots of fun, and it's great for developing fine motor skills.

Buddha Board- O enjoys painting with water on her Buddha Board. This is also a fun way to practice writing skills. A mini Buddha Board would be great to have in the car...this may be going on O's Christmas wish list :)

Twig blocks- O loves to create different designs and structures with these amazing blocks!

Zingo- We love to play Zingo! Zingo is a great game for Family Game Night.

Rainbow Tunnel Stacker- O received the rainbow tunnel stacker when she was 15 months old, and she played with it almost every day for probably a year. She still plays with it frequently. It's a wonderful toy that can be played with in so many ways...a tunnel for mini cars, bracelets, anklets, rockers for baby dolls, sculptures, etc.


  1. This is great! My daughter's 3rd birthday is coming up next month (and Christmas after that) so I've been looking for gift ideas. Re: Baby Emma doll, have you been able to find clothes for her? The clothes from North American Bear look a bit pricey. I'm hoping to find a doll that isn't vinyl or plastic and that will fit preemie clothes (which I often see at thrift or consignment shops). Thanks, and thank you for this wonderful blog, it is a great source of inspiration for us :)

  2. I read your blog all the time but rarely comment. Thank you for sharing these toys. I will definitely be purchasing some for Christmas :)

  3. I wonder if gender differences are this prominent at this age or if its just personality but I cannot for the life of me get my almost 3yo son interested in his play kitchen (homemade and super cute if do say so myself), dress up, playsilks, or arts and crafts.

    The most popular toys here are the train table and wooden train set, Schleich animals and barn, puzzles, blocks, and "real" stuff like flashlights, instruments, and kitchen tools. The sensory table is always a big hit too!

    Love your criteria for toys and ours are pretty much identical. People always express how cute my son's room and play area is, and I think its because of the lack of plastic and battery powered stuff.

  4. That is a GREAT list. I am hosting a weekly toy review blog every Thursday. If you want to link up this Thursday, here is the address.

  5. Thanks so much for these suggestions. Your blog is wonderful -- so thoughtful and informative! I've never commented, so I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy what you're doing. Thank you!!

  6. Mark bought Seth a Bilibo a while back but he hasn't used it much. He'll do the turtle thing or "alien head" with it once in a while and has used it a s a fort for some figurines but loses interest quickly. Any suggestions on inspiring play with it?

  7. We are getting our daughter a dress up box for Christmas. I would love to get some ideas about where you found your dressups. I am having a hard time finding anything descent for a reasonable price.

  8. Lindsay- I found most of the things for O's dress-up box after Halloween. I paid 25 cents for wigs and various accessories, and I bought a Cinderella dress that was half price (but still a little pricey). I found a very cute fairy costume at TJ Maxx for less than 10 dollars and a ballerina costume for 2 dollars at a thrift store. Hope that helps :)

  9. Lynn- I bought a preemie sleeper at a 2nd hand shop for Baby Emma...she wears it, but it's really much too big. She spends most of her time naked or in a diaper :)

  10. Michelle: Interesting. I am hesitating about play silks for the same reason, fear that my son won't play with them.

    As for cuteness of playroom -- I think it has more to do with organization (or maybe its just toys in general?). We do have plastic toys and still get the comments.

  11. Oh man -- we really love the Spinny Speller too! What a fabulous toy!

  12. Thank you SO much for linking to my weekly post! Have a great weekend!

  13. My new neighbor, after visiting my home and seeing my girls' things, recommended your blog to me, saying it would be right up my alley. She was so right! Your toy list reads like ours...with a couple of additions. I just added a rainbow stacker to the baby's Christmas wishlist and the Buddha Board and Spinny Speller to my big girls'. :=)

  14. I recently bought a set of playsilks for my daughter and I'm wondering how you store them? I hate to just ball them up and stick them in a basket or bucket! Thanks!

  15. Karen- Here is how we store our playsilks
    It looks great, and since they are easily accessible, O plays with them ALL the time :)

  16. My favorite toys were my Barbie dolls, I remember every Christmas and birthday was what I wanted Barbies receive gifts. I still love and hope that my children also get to like them as much as me!