Instead of making a traditional holiday gift guide for kids, I decided to tell you about a few toys that Kicky (age 1) and EZ E (age 3) already know and love. These are the easy-to-find, go-to toys that get played with over and over again and that I have come to love as a busy parent. I like gift guides, but what I really want to know is whether the kiddos played with the toy or whether it got ditched first thing. So, without further ado, here are the toys that we recommended:
- The Educo creative kitchen is the toy that gets played with by both kids every single day. It came with food, a pot and pan, and utensils, which was great. I like it because it's compact, nice-looking, and has held up really well. We know several folks who have this same set and it gets rave reviews from everyone!
- The Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor Set was a gift from my best friend. EZ E particularly likes it and is constantly scooping out cones for everyone (I'll have mint chip, please!). We have a bunch of Melissa & Doug toys and love them all. Their puzzles are great, their Fold and Go barn is nice (the animals that came with it were not), and their sushi set is fun. We haven't found a dud in the whole lot. The ice cream set is definitely EZ E's fave though.
- Again with the play food...Kicky is a fan of the Plan Toys Fruits and Vegetables. She could spend all day taking them apart and putting them back together. I like them because they get knocked around a lot and have held up well.
- Speaking of Kicky, she also really likes Sophie the Giraffe. She got it last year and has recently fallen for it again (she squeaks it constantly).
- We're big fans of B. toys. We have the Hellophone Cell Phone, the Parum Pum Pum Drum, the Wheeee-ls, and the Fun Keys and they all get played with often (well, maybe not the drum only because I hide it when I need a break from the noise). When B. toys asked recently if Kicky and EZ E would be interested in reviewing a couple of their new toys, we answered with a giant YES! We love their toys and have given them as gifts too many times to count. They sent over an alphaberry and the Pop-Arty and EZ E and Kicky are honestly obsessed. I like them because they're portable, the packaging is great, and they're made well.
- These may not be the easiest to find, but the toys that most kids gravitate to when they visit our house are our vintage fisher price buildings. Parents do too actually. Several are from my childhood and we collected the rest from thrift stores, ebay and etsy. New Fisher Price is OK...we do have some of their new toys but they honestly just don't get played with as often as the vintage. The oldies get hauled out time and time again and they hold EZ E's attention for the longest. Besides the nostalgia-factor, these toys are my favorite because they don't have any bells or whistles and they were built to last. You can still find them new in the box and I've had a lot of success finding them on etsy.