As a mom of four, I've had my fair share of experience with toys over the years. I aim to stick to the four gift rule: something they: need, want, wear and read. I find this helps me with impulse control, and means I focus on buying things my children will really love and cherish. Since I aim to purchase quality, eco-friendly and ethical toys where I can, the four gift rule also helps to keep me in budget, haha.
I thought it would be helpful to some if I composed a list of toys that our family really loves, and have gotten great value from. I haven't really broken this into age categories, since my four girls (10, 5, 3, 1) play with all of these.
This one is a big ticket item, but it's truly loved, and well used in our house. We use it as a couch, a table, a slide, fort, trampoline, and my girls even use the triangles to sneak food off the kitchen counter lol - the possibilities really are endless. You can shop Nugget here.
We are big fans of sensory play over here, and while having a dedicated space for it isn't necessary, I find it helps make set up, play, and clean up easier and simpler for me. If you're the same way, I highly recommend the Flisat table from Ikea. It can be hard to get your hands on, but is ideal for young children (my 10 year old still uses it though - she just isn't as comfy on the stools at the younger girls). You can shop the Flisat table here. Note that you will need Trofast bins to use it as a sensory play table.
Magnet tiles are amazing, I can't say enough good things about them. My girls build all sorts of buildings, enclosures, and statues with them. They're also fun to put up in the light and see the light come through them and pour color all over the floor. My kiddos also love to stick them on the fridge to create pictures.
Toy animals/figures etc are an absolute playroom must have for me. They really spark children's imagination, and allow for some super fun small world play. You can shop our collection of wooden animals here.
Mega Blocks/ Duplo / Lego
Any and all kinds of Lego are great, they're wonderful for developing children's fine motor skills, and challenging their creativity, and critical thinking. Lego has a series of blocks for every age group, and they are all thoroughly loved in our home. Lego products are great quality, so they can be passed along to friends, re-sold, or handed down generations, which I also LOVE.
I don't know about you, but we get through a LOT of crayons over here. They're my favorite coloring utensil because I don't have to sharpen them, or worry about their lids being left off lol. And you cannot beat Kitpas crayons, they're great for coloring on paper, but you can also add water to create a watercolor effect, or color with them on windows. You can shop them here.
Sensory play is a regular occurance in our house, and playdough is our number 1 choice. We bring it out most everyday. You can shop our collection of playdough and tools here.
Hope this helps you this holiday season.