Now that we are about 5 years into this whole parenting thing, we are starting to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t, especially in the area of toys. I feel like toys and sugar are things that used to be special and scarce in kids’ lives, and now are simply ubiquitous. So needless to say, we’ve tried out our fair share of toys over the years, and we’ve settled on five absolutely must have toys that your kid’s life won’t be complete without. Here goes.
- A Stick
Sticks are amazing toys. They can simply help little ones walk, of course, but they can also be “signposts” anchored into the ground, guns, wedged between walls to make a gate, an anchor point for flying jumps… you name it. To be honest, half the time I’m not really sure what my kids do with sticks, but I do know that every time I send them outside they immediately find the closest stick and start playing with it.
Bonus: Grown-up kids enjoy sticks too.
Ah the blanket. My kids’ favorite thing to do with blankets is bring every single one in the entire house out to the living room, make an enormous pile of them, and then burrow into them and pretend to sleep. They rarely use blankets to actually sleep, but they sure do love playing with them!
Blankets make excellent forts on bunkbeds, fantastic royal robes, and amazing superhero capes. They are also great for making “chariots”. You spread a blanket on the ground and grasp two corners while a sibling jumps on top. Then you drag said sibling around the house on the “chariot”. Hilarious screams ensue.
My kids can play with water for hours. They have a water table that they really enjoy (mostly by filling it up with water, then dirt to make a mud table). But they love water in any form. In a bath, in a squirt gun, in a hose. The hose is especially fun since you can spray your mom when she’s not looking. If we were okay with the water bill, the kids would play with running water 24/7.
4. A Box
This one is super fun. And so open ended! A box can be a castle to hide out in and defend, it can be a contained coloring space, it can be another chariot to push a sibling around in. The big sturdy boxes that diapers come in are a favorite in this house. They are also great for filling up with every other single toy in the house and stashing in a special place. A stand-in for a suitcase if you will, which is great when going on a “long trip”.
Dirt + kids = kid heaven. I swear our yard in New York did not have as much dirt as our house in Colorado. We have unbelievable amounts of dirt here. It’s pretty much kid heaven. My kids use the loose dirt under the pine trees as a sand pit, they rake it and plant eggs as “seeds” in their garden, they smear it on each other as a sign of affection. Dirt is especially, irresistibly attractive immediately following a bath, and you get bonus points for smearing it in your hair. Dirt is the bomb diggity.
Bonus: Dirt or sand + water basically equals a child’s paradise and you can trust that they will simply play happily all day long, or until you insist that a bath must take place. In which case they will scream like banshees.
So those are our five favorite toys for kids. Give your kids unlimited access to these five “toys” and they will have the happiest childhood around. So don’t delay! Run out to the store right now and purchase them! Oh wait, actually, all five of these things are most likely in your bedroom and outside in your yard. Hey look, they’re free too! Hurray!