Want to know what my kids play with?
Not the millions of toys around here.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, my daughters spend about 99% of their time reading books and playing with random things from around the house. Recently Philomena spent an entire week in this pantry organizer and was “seat belting” herself and baby dolly into it. They would then read and scootch around in her “car.”
One day last month Ethan and I commented on how we have SO many toys and they were just all over the place but never being played with, stored in these messy blue bins that the girls wouldn’t bother sorting through.
You all know from my post about not lying to my toddler how much I like Janet Lansbury, and something she recommends is having really simple play areas with mostly open ended toys, displayed in a way that makes them easy to see and access. (Open-ended toys are items that don’t have a concrete purpose of how you are “supposed” to play with them, and definitely not a ton of “educational” toys with a bunch of battery operated functions.) Some of the items we chose are Janet’s recommendations, and some I found just looking around on Amazon.
I gathered up this mess of toys never being touched and sold them for a few bucks on my local Facebook buy-sell-trade group. I kept select things like the blocks, the barrel of monkeys, the wooden train, the toy farm/animals, and a few other favorite items, but otherwise I got rid of the rest.
Then I set about picking out new toys and a new cubicle shelf from Amazon.
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I Spent Money On New Things?!
I know, I know, me buying things new?! This almost never happens; I’m the Facebook-marketplace-thrift-store-garage-sale queen. I never buy things new if I can help it. However, we did have a couple hundred dollars given to us for the girls from my aunt and uncle for Christmas that we hadn’t used, so I thought I would invest it nicely in this new set up, getting high quality toys and a good shelf that would last a long time, and enjoy the ease of just ordering them without scouring thrift stores or making stuff myself.
And here is what we have now:
I love how neat and clean this looks in comparison, and almost instantly the girls play with what we do have a lot more with the easy access to them.
These toys and items overall require imagination to have fun with them, and it’s been a blast watching the girls explore them for the last month and come up with things to do with them all.
Philomena had a new babysitter this week whose mother texted me afterwards saying how her daughter was so surprised how imaginative she was, and how easy it was for them to come up with games with these toys, without relying on screens or electronic toys.
Below I am going to highlight some of my favorite items, and I’ll have a full list of everything we have at the end that you can click to see on Amazon. (For things we already owned I just found the closest match currently available).
This 6-pack of play scarves by Simply Sweet Fabric are really high quality. They are quite large, and make great capes, dancing scarves, pretend picnic blankets, and whatever else the girls come up with. They’re nicely hemmed and don’t fray.
These pretty hand kites are fun to run around with, hang off of hooks, dance with, and Philomena pretends the ribbons are water and gives her stuffed animals showers with them!
Metal Mixing Bowls
This set of five metal mixing bowls have been stacked, filled with blocks, used as a target for these high quality bean bags we bought for tossing, clanked with spoons for music, and served as bath tubs for baby dollies so far.
The lids also make perfect plates for pretend picnics!
Bright and colorful hair rollers stack, they roll down the slide, they are pretend cups or food, fun for the baby, and a bonus is they give me a workout finding them rolled under the couch or chair.
We added a twelve pack of colorful shaker eggs and this wood guiro toy to our tambourines and other instruments. The eggs may be the girls’ favorite things. They shake them to music, they shake them for fun, they toss them in the metal bowls, they roll them down the slide and more. The gurio isn’t the best quality or length for making the neatest sounds, however it is safe for Zelie, and right now I like keeping everything baby-proofed.
This 6 foot colorful parachute is a blast for the girls when Ethan and I shake it up and down over them, but it’s also a favorite for building forts!
Containers and Bags
I didn’t actually purchase any of these various spoons, bags, bins, and containers. They came from around the house and are some of the girls’ favorite things. They love to sort out the other toys with these.
The Full List
Not pictured here are some puzzles, a craft bin with paints/markers/crayons etc., Philomena’s toy vacuum and broom, and her kitchen and play food in her room. Otherwise these are all of the toys we own now, and it is working great for us at this stage.
Classic Wood Alphabet Blocks
Wooden Stacking Train
Wooden Activity Cube
Monkeys In A Barrel
Plastic Hair Rollers
Metal Mixing Bowls
Metal Measuring Spoons
Shape Sorter Cube
Magnetic Drawing Board
Plastic Bowling Pins
Baby Stacking Cubes
Velcro Ball and Mitts
Fisher Price Farm and Animals