Thursday, December 4, 2008

Favorite Toys

What are the favorite toys in your house? I've been pondering this question lately and trying to make a mental list of what my boys really play with again and again. They really love this building set and have played with it so much. It's Jacob's from when he was little--he played with it a lot too. It's very open ended--they can build whatever they like. I have an opinion about building toys--that when putting them away it's better to take all the creations apart, thus starting with a clean slate next time. The important thing is the experience of building, not the finished project. I find they play much more this way. (It was the same with all of Jacob's building toys, including his Lego creations).
:: The wooden train set. Man, they love that thing. We have two sets--Ben's old set and Jacob's. Jacob's old set is at the grandparents house and is slightly different than the one we have here. They play with both.
:: Animals and dinosaurs of all kinds. Dieter especially loves his dinos. Both boys are very engaged in pretend play with the animals when I play along with them.
:: Trucks. What can I say? Boys love trucks.
:: Stuffed animals. But not if there are too many. Dieter has bonded with this husky dog my parents gave him for his birthday last year. It's really cute the way he carries him around.
:: Books. Dieter will especially sit and "read" the dinosaur books by himself for longish periods.
I really try to keep cheap plastic and "character" toys out of the house. I don't want the mainstream media shaping my boys' imaginations. It's hard, and we do live in the "real" world (although I'd rather not!), so that stuff does seep in. I emphasize the "plain" toys much more, though. I think the long term benefit of playing by their own agenda--not some "script" from a toy or movie--is more creativity. And creativity--plus perseverance plus good work ethic-- is what will eventually solve the world's problems. Who knows, maybe my children will someday be part of that? Hmm--food for thought.


taimarie said...

Thanks for this post- this is the time of year for thinking about this. My guy loves his play kitchen most of all, and I've really enjoyed "stocking" it with handmade play food. I love getting served up raspberry soup or chickpea tea first thing in the morning! Other beloved toys are a few handmade puppets, his waldorf doll, a cardboard box "boat" and a basket of flooring offcuts that get used to build roads and train tracks! It really is the simple stuff.

Iris said...

I agree with you so much Mary Beth. It's quite a struggle though to keep out the kind of junk that I don't want my kids exposed to. My mother finds it very hard to understand this and constantly inundates us with parcels full of cheap plastic toys. Up to now we've been 'intercepting' these and only passing on the least offending item from the pile, which gets us out of the difficulty of the phone call to the children with 'did you get my parcel?'. We don't feel too good about it though, but don't really know what to do as talking to her hasn't helped. Not so easy! But I still think we need to assert our right to be able to choose how we raise our children.

Leslie said...

Great post!

Madelyn has 2 favorite toys. The first is a dollhouse with ALL the goodies (enough that fills a large plastic bin) that my mom got at an estate sale. Second is the 100+ piece set of plastic food and shopping basket. This year she wants a Barbie SO bad (she is only 3 for heavens sake), but I am going to get her one, and I am going to the storage shed to pull out all of my old Barbie stuff to see what I can add with it. I am sure it will bring back great memories!

Take care!


Beth said...

What a nice post! I need to get one of those bulding sets for my 2 year old.

Anita Ann said...

I am trying to get rid of character toys and have been able to get rid of most of the plastic. The only characters they really do like and I don;t mind are Clifford and Thomas.

Jennifer said...

The toys that get used daily in our house are the wood unit blocks, the wood cutting food and small wooden tabletop kitchen, cars, trucks, trains, musical instruments, and two favorite stuffed dogs (sometimes all at the same time!) A big basket of tools is rummaged through constantly; apparently there is a tool in there to solve any and every problem. We also have a basket of camping tools beside the fireplace and an inflatable boat and air pump under the couch -- these help us survive all kinds of pretend adventures. This year I'm thinking of expanding the play with a wooden marble maze set, a good set of animals (like the ones you pictured), and maybe some more people to populate our towns. Oh, and a guitar and a harmonica. I can't wait!

stephanie said...

At this point (4mos) my little one just likes anything she can hold onto and chew. I definitely agree with you- simple and/or handmade toys are better and a lot more pleasing. It's incredible just how many toys she already has though!

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hanna said...

This is a great post. I totally agree and I'm being very picky now as to what toys are in our home and doing a lot of culling.
It is hard though as birthdays and Christmas always bring new toys into the home from well meaning loved ones :o)