Gift recommendations (for kids)...

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.
OK, that was a long list, but hopefully it's helpful. What are your favorites???


Shannon said...

Wooden or felt play food is a perennial favorite over here. Duplos are HUGE with our three year old. I love the Schleich animals for their sometimes over the top realistic details (perhaps I shouldn't have gotten that male bull; ahem), but they tend to fall in and out of fashion with E. He's been working on jigsaw puzzles lately -- the smaller (48pc) Melissa and Doug ones totally occupy him for a while, the bigger 100pc ones are a good family activity.

Would you share where the awesome parking garage is from?? E. has been begging for one but I haven't loved any of the ones I've seen.

jamiegirl said...

Thanks for the toy recommendations! I have a niece who's 19 months and I know she will LOVE some of the toys from B.toys.
Love the blog as well! Thanks for the daily inspiration =)

Aesthetic Outburst... said...

Shannon- Duplos...good one! Oops. I forgot about those- EZ E plays with his all the time. I also forgot about the Schleich animals, but I think I like them better than the kids. :) Yes, we also have the male bull and *ahem* is exactly right. ;) Ha ha! The parking garage in the photo is by KidKraft, but I have to admit that it hasn't held up well. The paper is already falling off and the pieces that go with it aren't that great. It gets left in the closet a lot. I've heard the one by Plan is good, but we don't have that.

jamiegirl- thanks! I hope your niece likes the toys! :)

Outpost Empress said...

Instant rewind for me to the late 80's. We had a number of those now vintage toys, and some of them still reside in the basement waiting for their new day in the sun. I think the old-style FP people were re-designed in part because of the potential choking hazard, so do be watchful out there in toyland!
My kids also loved Duplo and Schleich animals ... but Playmobil ruled when they were old enough!

Aesthetic Outburst... said...

I can't wait for EZ E and Kicky to get into Playmobil. We have a few things, but had to put them away (with the old little people) because Kicky puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. You are so right about the potential choking hazard. Hopefully we'll get over this phase soon. :)

Colleen said...

Wooden playstands and play silks!


They are puppet theaters, play houses, forts, little rooms, filled with blankets, for kids to recover from their tonsilectomies, you name it!

What do you do about vintage FP people? IIRC, they started making them differently because they didn't meet the anti-choking standards.

Colleen said...

I forgot (and missed the little people response). Ostheimer animals!!!!!


I have the Noah's ark and a ark full of animals. Now that my kids are too old, it's *mine* ;-)

My kids didn't play with their duplo much, but once they were set loose on Legos, they've been playing ever since. My 12 yr old is eagerly awaiting his new Mindstorm kit to arrive. That programmable robotics kit is the neatest thing ever.

Alisa said...

I just discovered your blog and this post when looking at pics of your playroom, and I have to say I am a sucker for vintage fisher price. O loved the old baby toys, and now I am looking into the play sets for her. She loves duplos, and I am in love with B. Toys as well! And I love anything M&D.

Another really good source for toys for her kitchen is kidcraft and greentoys. We made her a kitchen for christmas and my FIL got her the little kitchen mixer set from kidcraft, and we got her the green toys teaset. Love em!

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