Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 20 favorite toys

My boys have some very favorite toys and after yesterday's post I wanted to share them... I always feel the need to counterbalance my negativity with something positive. 


1.  Lego sets (or mega blocks, k'nex, TRIO blocks, etc).  My kids have more "brick" sets than I know what to do with.  They love to build them, they love the details and they love playing with them when they're all done assembling them.  They are Lego maniacs.  When they get sick of an old set they dismantle it and then use their imaginations to build new things with the bricks.  If you can handle the clutter, don't mind shelling out money for a toy that comes in pieces, and don't mind the pain of occasionally stepping on a misplaced piece then Lego sets are fantastic.  I overlook all the downsides since they love them so much and learn so much by using them.  My boys even love reading book about Lego's. 

2.  Imaginext play sets-- we have owned tons of these over the years and we've never been let down by a single set.  They have great moving pieces, sturdy plastic parts and come in all sorts of fun themes.  The boys personal favorites are the pirate ship, Batman (jail, cave, figures, etc.), the samurai set, and the space shuttle.  Most of the sets have lasted us years and the only complaint we occasionally have is that they misplace pieces.  They use their imagination whenever they play with these sets and I just love having them around.

3.  Our newest favorite are these plank sets by KEVA.  Ian got a set called Structures for Christmas and he loves them so much he's already planning to ask for another set for his birthday.  It's a simple concept-- uniform pine planks that the kids can stack and build with.  The possibilities are endless and I love watching them use their imagination to create elaborate structures.  Ian has dismantled his buildings and re-built new ones at least a half- dozen time already!  What wonderful math skills he's developing! 

4.  As much as I'd like to leave them off the list the boys insist on adding Nintendo 2DS, Kindle Fire, Wii, PlayStation, etc..  Any and all video games, electronics, movies, etc. are huge favorites in this house.  I could take 'em or leave 'em I do try to support their loves of games.  I find it hard to argue against since they so learn a lot by playing all the various games and I technology is here to stay.  In moderation it's all good but finding that moderation is key.  Even I can't complain about a movie marathon on a cold, snowy day! 

5.  Playmobil sets-- we have many of these sets (mostly animal ones for my middle son) and we just love them.  Sure they can be a bit of work to set up and they contain many small pieces but we just love how realistic the sets are and how wonderfully they hold up to a lot of play.  Occasionally we loose some pieces but overall we've kept these sets intact for YEARS. 

6.  Beyblades--  My boys love these and play with them often.  We only have one Bey station but we have tons of Beyblades and they often disassemble them and re-assemble them to make new and improved Bey's.  They're learning wonderful science concepts too!


7.  Hex Bugs-- I wouldn't have thought of these as a favorite toy but the boys insisted I put them on the list.  We have a few different kinds of Hex Bugs and I guess they really love them.  They are funny to watch move all around and we have at least one that glows in the dark. We've even been itching to try and make some of our own bugs using toothbrush heads and small batteries.

8.  Pokémon, Ben 10, or other "characters"-- we have lots of action figures and the boys love them. My younger two are especially interested in playing with figures that they can make walk and talk and act out fantasy play.  Our family favorites are Mario Characters, Pokémon characters, Ben 10 Figures and Superheroes


9.  Bruder trucks, Cat trucks, heavy equipment-- I lumped all our trucks together.  If given the opportunity my oldest son would rate them all individually.  He loves trucks and is actually quite rough with them.  We have to replace them almost constantly because he completely wears them out.  He likes trucks that he can really use outside to dig in the dirt and sand and yet they don't all hold up that well to the constant abuse.  While we love Bruder trucks they are definitely made to be inside toys (and ours typically are for the first few weeks or months).  The Tonka trucks (especially if you can find the metal ones) hold up the best outside but don't have nearly the same attention to detail.  It's a distinction my oldest son just does not see or care about; in his eyes all the trucks are worth the money since they work well for at least a year and he uses them on a daily basis.  

10.  Hover craft-- My oldest son has a remote control hover craft that he just loves.  He has used it inside and outside the house.  We've used it on carpet (which doesn't work well), on tile and hardwood (where it zooms!), on sand and even on water.  The battery compartment is not held on by screws so it's easy to remove the battery and dry it out (if need be) or charge it.  I never thought it would last as long as it did! 

11. Hot Wheels All- Terrain remote control vehicle-- this is one remote control vehicle that really lived up to it's name.  We used it in the snow, in the house, at the edge of the water/sand, everywhere!  We do need to remove the batteries after use and let them dry if they got wet but for once the boys had no problem with maintenance (probably because by the time they finished using it they needed to recharge the battery anyway!). The battery compartment is on top of the toy so they don't get as wet as other water/ RC toys and amazingly enough my oldest son had no problem getting his to work even after it was accidentally left out during a rain storm.  **UPDATE-- 2 years later and we still have them!**

12.  Remote Control Snake/spider-- meant solely for inside use my boys have loved their remote control creepy crawlies.  I think they mostly like to scare me with them and I do scare pretty easily but in my defense a huge hairy spider in the middle of the rug always gives me the creeps!


13.  Clics-- we got these blocks for Ian's birthday last year and we only wish we had even more of them.  They are great, sturdy blocks that my boys have used to make everything from arm casts to boots to car garages.  I love toys that inspire imagination! 

14. Jovo Blocks-- Another great set of versatile blocks but these blocks also include all sorts of geometry lessons since they come in a variety of shapes too.  (While the link and photo are courtesy of Amazon I did not buy our block through them--- but everywhere I checked they were pretty expensive!). 

15.  Board Games and Puzzles-- We love most board games and puzzles.  They are all now at the age where they love jigsaw puzzles.  Some of our favorite puzzles were of the world map, the talking United States map (which my kids just used yesterday), floor puzzles and anything with animals or construction vehicles.   We love games like scrabble, monopoly, life, Mario chess, checkers, clue, and many, many more.  We have shelves upon shelves of board games.  They teach/ reinforce reading, math, spelling and so many wonderful life skills.  But I think we all knew that. 

16.  Blow Darts-- never in a million years did I think I'd ever hear myself say that Blow Darts are one of our favorite toys... but they are!  When my son opened this on Christmas Eve I was less than thrilled.  I'm not a huge weapon fan, but my brother the "fun" uncle totally gets boys and how fun weapons can be.  Once I corralled all the kids into the basement with the blow darts they had HOURS of fun!  The darts are suction cups so they don't hurt anything or anyone (other than breakables around the house and why they were all corralled into the basement) but they are endlessly fun.  We have drawn targets on our windows with dry erase markers and held contests adding up scores to see who could be the first to 500.  They're lots of fun.

17.  Nerf guns-- I admit I love Nerf guns and my husband and I have been known to steal the kids guns and wage war on one another.  It always leads to laughter, squeals (on my party anyway) and lots of fun.  I wish I didn't find Nerf bullets all around the house (like I do), and I wish we didn't have difficulty keeping the Nerf bullets in one piece (which we do) but I happily buy more "ammo" for good, clean family fun.... hey, what do you want from me I live with all boys and am totally outnumbered, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

18.  Bikes, scooters, skateboards and all those other wheeled outdoor toys.  I'm glad in this day and age all of my boys still love to ride bikes and scooters.  We have owned various kinds of scooters, two wheeled bikes, tricycles, skateboards, pedal tractors and who knows what else.  Sometimes it's hard to get them to ride with all the convenience and fun of the battery powered vehicles their generation seems to be growing up with but all my kids can and do ride. 

19.  Sporting equipment-- My boys aren't huge sports fans.  We don't watch sports on TV, they rarely play on any sort of organized sporting team but we do have tons of sporting equipment.  They love a good pick up game of wiffle ball in the yard, they'll chase a soccer ball around the field for hours, they love to shoot hoops, etc.  You know, the way we all played when we were kids?  Not an organized event held by the parents but a fun event hosted by kids of the neighborhood where you had to negotiate terms, rules and teams.  We have bins full of balls, baseball gloves, bats, plastic horseshoes and pins for them, bowling pins and balls (plastic), roller skates, ice skates, hockey sticks, and I don't even know what else.  It's a great low- key way to try out various skills and interests and it gets us off the couch and outside moving around. 

20.  Stomp Rockets and Science kits--  we have several different versions of the stomp rockets and the boys just love them.  They launch so far into the air and provided hours of fun.  All three of my boys love science so any kits that we receive are always a huge hit.  We've grown crystals, mined for rocks, gems and fossils, we've panned for gold, built a radio, put snap circuit together, built our own remote control machines, broke open geodes, and so much more.  Anything they can put together, take apart, experiment with and use their imagination is always great! 

**** all photos are once again courtesy of Amazon.com*** 

What would you add to this list?? Any "MUST BUY" toys on your list that I forgot to include? 

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