Since it's Cyber Monday, I thought I might post a list of some of the toys/ gifts to our girls that have had a relatively long play-life around here. (I'm definitely not in favor of loading kids with toys, but if you are going to buy a few things, it's nice to make sure that they're going to have some lasting value in your playroom :-)
Melissa and Doug Stacking Train Set- The girls have been playing with these from about 18 months, and M (my 4-year-old) still plays with them. I don't know what it is about kids and trains! :-)
The Peter Yarrow Song Book: Favorite Folk Songs- Picture book and CD. I'm pretty picky about children's music (I like it to be simple and gentle, but still pleasant for adults to listen to). This CD gets played at least once a week in our house. We all love it. (It's the Peter from Peter, Paul, and Mary fame)
2pc Adventure Play Tent Kids Dome & Children Tunnel Tube- This set gets pretty low reviews on Amazon, and I guess I understand why. It is a little cheaply made and has gotten some holes pretty easily, but the girls have gotten LOADS of fun out of it- especially the tunnel- which they've put to all kinds of unconventional uses. If you can find a comparable item that is of a little higher quality, that might be the way to go.
4. Dress-up Accessories- We don't own this exact set; so it's not really a recommendation, but it fits what I like in dress-up sets- lots of smaller accessories that can be combined in creative ways (rather than a single, expensive outfit that really only has one particular use).
5. My First Little House Books- Our favorite series of picture books (based on the original series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but simpler language). I think the words and pictures keep the same spirit as the original books. We've read each book over and over again. I think our favorite so far is Going to Town.
6. Glue Sticks- seriously. What craft supply gives more joy to a toddler or a preschooler and is in more need of constant replenishment?
7. Toot and Otto- like a simplified version of Connect Four with several versions of play for different levels. My two-year-old regularly begs to play this game (I think she mostly likes the feel of the tiles sliding in and out, but she's starting to understand the object of the game more and more).
8. Child-sized Broom- We discovered what a wonderful thing this was when we visited my aunt and uncle who happened to have one. M used it lots. After we left, she talked about it as if it were the highlight of the trip. And of course, what parent can resist a toy that helps make their child want to clean?
9. Melissa and Doug Pet Sounds Puzzle- Just about all of Melissa and Doug's wooden puzzles are wonderful, but this one is probably our favorite.
10. Create Your Own Pop-Up Books- This set really more for older kids (especially six through nine- year olds); so I've saved some of parts of the set for the girls for later, but M loves the interesting little books she's been able to color and put together already. I've also learned some fun things from the set on how to create my own lap-book mechanisms for homeschooling.
I'd love to get some ideas from you about long-lasting toys, games, and books around your house. Please share!