So, I thought that I would do one post a week for the next month of so with some suggestions. I play for a living and have very strong opinions about what toys are best. Frankly, I get the best toys at garage sales, but since kids typically like to open new presents, here are some ideas.
Just please, BEWARE: These toys do not have buttons or speakers and don't make noise. I know, it's odd in these technologically advanced times to expect our children to use their imaginations to make their own sound effects and move their toys with their own volition. But, I feel they are up for the challenge.
These toys are all best for kids ages 3 and up and are for symbolic and representational play... you know - it's what the kids call "pretending."
I love Melissa and Doug . Their toys are fantastic simply because they are simple. They are also organized into fantastic themes - like "birthday party" or "mailman." The quality is exceptional and almost everything is either wooden or plush. Here are some of my favorites:
Awesome castle, complete with a dragon. Plus, it folds up for travel and storage.
I love this barn. It looks great in any playroom and comes with just the right amount of farm animals. The only thing missing is the farmer.
Love this mailbox. It's sturdy and big enough to hold lots of letters and packages.
Here are my favorite play food sets. The cupcakes are especially cool because the set comes with dry erase markers to use like icing to decorate the cupcakes.
Have a child who loves aggressive play? I know quite a few. Helping channel that tenacity through play is a surefire way to keep your child emotionally healthy and regulated in his/her relationships. I have found that dinosaur and pirate play are excellent mediums for this.
Check out these dinosaurs. They are big so that when your child makes them stomp, it really feels like a dinosaur. I also like the additional volcano.
When it comes to pirates, Fisher Price has them covered with this fantastic set.
I also like this pirate set from Matchbox. You can use it in the bathtub and it comes with a hammerhead shark that actually swallows the pirates! You just pull them out of the shark's stomach to get them out. ARRRR!!
Also fun is this treasure chest complete with pirate booty.
I'll post some more ideas next week, but hopefully this will get you started on shopping and keep you out of the stores! I own or have personally played with each of these items, so if you have any questions or comments, let me know!