Toddler Toys That Stand the Test of Time (or at least a year)

djeco stacking boxeskid o puzzleikea stacking cups

I probably should have thought of this earlier for it to be actually be helpful to anyone Christmas-wise, but I was looking around the apartment this morning and thinking about all the toys Harper got for (or around)  last Christmas that she still plays with, or that she now plays with in new ways.  When you’re living in a small space, a toy really has to earn its keep.  And I actually think it’s pretty amazing when I think about how much Harper has changed in the last year that there are any toys she still likes at all.

At first, the ridiculously cute Djeco nesting cubes were mostly fun for knocking down. We’d stack, she’d knock and clap. Now that is some high-quality fun. But since then, things have evolved, and now she’ll stack them herself. She also really likes storing things in the smaller boxes, as an especial passion lately is a game that seems to involve mostly wandering around and placing stickers, scraps of paper, finger puppets, stray cheerios and such into small containers.

Kid O makes the prettiest toys. I love this simple fruit puzzle. She used to gnaw on the puzzle pieces like well-designed wooden pacifiers, and finally she actually does the puzzle. And I mean, if we’re going to have toy bits and puzzle pieces all over the place all the time, they might as well be really pretty, right?

I guess these aren’t all that different in concept from the nesting boxes, but these Mula stacking cups from Ikea have also been lasting amusements. And hello, they only cost $2.50. Stocking stuffers, hello? I guess it’s obvious by now that I’m partial to simple toys.

Harper’s biggest present last year was the Schoenhut My First Piano that no one seems to be able to resist buying for their kid.  It’s just so cute.  And shiny.  And red.  And she still likes tickling the old, um, plastics, particularly before 6 am.  It also makes an excellent seat.  She’s very avant garde in that way.

She’s also heavily into finger puppets these days.  A few batches of finger puppets have trickled in as gifts for varying holidays since she was born, and I have to say only now is she really really into them.  They are small, lightweight and thus good travel toys, and it’s super cute to watch her make them dance around and go “Doo doo doo,” which as everyone knows is the finger puppet theme song.  I’m partial to the bla bla ones, but she likes them all equally.

But to get back to Ikea, as we always do.  Realistically, I probably love this stuffed mouse doll more than Harper — she’s not super into dolls and stuffed animals, generally speaking.  But when she is, she’s into Fabler Mus, as she has been since it first appeared on the scene, maybe over a year ago.  Whoever designed this Fabler series for Ikea really knew what was going on — the patterns are so sweet, and the little details on the animals like crowns and wings are just very evocative of, well, a fable.  Not any particular fable, just the world of fairy tale and make-believe.  Which is a good world, I happen to think.

So anyway, hope this maybe helps someone with some last-minute gift ideas.  Here’s to another year of these same toys!  Right?  Right?

9 responses to “Toddler Toys That Stand the Test of Time (or at least a year)

  1. Good toys for us: fake food and a fake stove. Son #1 used to put all his toys in a mixing bowl and pretend to cook them. Or he’d find some string and tie them all together. That’s pretty much all he did until he learned to read. Son #2 discovered that if you put a talking train into the bathtub, its voice would change into something totally hysterical. Much fun! Though eventually everything ended up in the tub.

  2. What about the stuffed earth ball? That’s a great toy.

  3. The best “toys” for us were plastic kitchen utensils, bowls, and measuring cups that we floated in a half-filled kitchen sink. The kids would stand on a chair (Today’s mom’s will use helmets) and splash and play for a long long time in the afternoons, giving the moms time to chat, and watch the little ones have fun.
    No one ever fell off the chair.

    • Harper LOVES playing in the sink. In fact I’m loathe to let her because it’s always at least a forty minute commitment once she gets started. Good thing we don’t pay our own water bill.

  4. I think we bought her finger puppets when she was born. I hope they stuck around long enough to get stuck on a finger.

  5. That’s so cute. I love kids learning how to talk. They’re really poetic.

    • It’s true. I love the confusions, too — when Harper wants to be carried she says, “Carry you?” And just this morning she was shaking her head and laughing and then said, “Harper funny!” Ha!

  6. Pingback: Cheap and Easy Non-Toy Toddler Amusements (Except for the Dog, Who Is, To Be Honest, Neither) | household words

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