As a mother of two girls ages 5 and 8, and a pediatric occupational therapist who's job it is to get children to play - I LOVE toys! I often get carried away when buying toys for Christmas, because I see the therapeutic value and potential in just about everything. It has taken me a long time to realize that less is more. That children play more creatively when there are less toy options available. I've seen it in my own children. This is why I'm extra choosey when picking toys - I want something of high quality that will last years, and something that will be cherished and played with on a regular basis. These are the toys the kids will remember fondly when they grow old. I'd like to share some of my favorites with you. There's more....but due to space and time, I'll share a few I love.
Schleich knights, fairies, dragons....anything enchanted
Mardi Gras Masks
Scarves - to make costumes, capes, for fort-building, etc...
Buck Pocket Knife - whittling, tool
Lego Walkie Talkies
Wooden Bird Cage - what started as decor, quickly became my girl's pretend "jail"
Childcraft Hollow Blocks
Doll House - I love the castles since my girls prefer to play with kings/queens, knights, etc.
HearthSong Firefly Bug Box
M.U.S.C.L.E. Toys - I don't have boys but know a few that play with these for hours!
I recently went to a simplicity parenting workshop and learned that having 10 to 15 toys available to children is enough. It keeps the children from becoming overwhelmed. You can have another 10 toys away in the attic, in order to rotate the toys out. Keep in mind this list is 22 toys! This may be a good example of what one household has for toys - period!
Symptoms that a child has too many toys includes: decrease time spent playing with their toys, having trouble picking up after themselves, appearing disorganized, or having trouble finding their toys. If this is your household, it may be time to do an overhaul and pick your top 10-15 toys when the kids are not around. Get a big trash bag, and fill it with the toys they rarely play with - donate these toys to less fortunate children. Simplify your childrens' lives so they can grow to cherish the toys they do have, appreciate them, clean up after themselves, and play for hours on end.
Hopefully the above list of toys will give you a few ideas of great gift ideas that you may not have thought of yet.
What are your favorite toys for kids?