This Little Miggy Stayed Home: Top 10 Played With Toys

Monday, December 14, 2015

Top 10 Played With Toys

I took this photo on Saturday of the girls spreading out their Playmobile stuff all over the dining table, immersed in a a very satisfying 'childhood unplugged' moment. Sometimes I feel like I have to actually force my kids to play with their toys, but other times--like Saturday--it just happens. One of the reason I love Playmobile for my girls is that it's a toy that actually gets played with in our house time and time again. I don't know about you, but now that I have 3 kids Christmas and birthdays sorta stress me out a little in the sense that I want to buy presents for my kids and give them toys and things they will actually enjoy, but the accumulation of stuff--especially toys that don't get much play time--is something I really want to avoid. So I got to thinking, what have been the top 10 most played with toys in our house? I sat down and talked to the girls and came up with the following list and thought I'd share it here today. Obviously, this list is rather girl-centric, but there are still quite a few gender neutral items on here. Also, I'm not including books as part of this list or outdoor playground type of equipment.

1. Playmobile--On the kitchen table, on the floor, in the dollhouse as opposed to the actual dollhouse people and their furniture...again and again these are always a hit. The girls have separate sets, but they almost always get them out together. PSP keeps hers in a medium plastic bin, while I made one of these drawstring bags for Lamp to keep hers in (easier for her to access.) The down side with Playmobile is all the teeny, tiny parts. So many teeny, tiny parts! But overall I find that they're worth it. I also like that you can spend as little as $5-10 for a small set.

2. Legos--Both of the older girls have a couple of the Lego friends' sets but they really, really wish they could get some Harry Potter legos. Sadly those were a limited edition item (and cost an arm and a leg on eBay!). We also have a set of the bigger Duplo Lego (this cupcake set that I'm pretty sure we did not pay $60 for) that Zuzu enjoys playing with as well.

3. Blocks + Magnatiles--You just can't go wrong with building blocks. We've had this set since PSP was a baby and all the girls have loved them over the years. The Magnatiles were a little controversial to make the list because we've only had them for about a year and it doesn't seem like they get much play...but lately they've been in heavy rotation with Zuzu. In general you can't go wrong with any sort of building or construction toy.

4. Fisher Price Little People sets--I've collected a few vintage sets over the years like the barn and this camping set--both of which I had as a kid! But my favorite for sure is the amusement park set. It's a special toy that only comes down off the shelf every once in a while, but all the girls love it. Also, it looks like we may be adding another set to the rotation this Christmas. For some reason getting a vintage toy that is somewhat a collectors item also feels less like I'm just accumulating more junk.

5. Dress-ups + pretend make-up kits--Dress ups are a no brainer. As for pretend make up sets PSP got this one years ago and I made this DIY makeup set for Lamp a couple years ago and really need to do another one as the compact eventually broke. Also, we may or may not have made a industrial clothing rack for the girls dress-ups this year modeled after this one on Little Green Notebook. Shhhh!

6. Dolls and strollers--PSP wasn't much of a doll girl until Susan came along, but now she digs them and even has my old American Girl Doll, Samantha. (The American Girl doll question is another post all tighter... do you or don't you?) Lamp has a very special beloved doll Lucy. Lucy has always seemed like a bit of an odd choice, but she loves her fiercely. Zuzu is also a baby/doll lover and its so sweet to see her carry little dolls around and push them in her stroller. However, neither Lamp and Zuzu seem to care too much for the dolls I made them last year. Ingrates.

7. Kitchen Set + Pretend Food--I wasn't sure about this one making the list, but the girls claim to still  play with this stuff all the time, so there you go. In general I do think pretend kitchen sets are always a good idea.

8. Musical instruments--Family music time is one of my favorite spontaneous activities we do around here. The husband and I grab guitars (and/or a violin in his case) while the girls play the tambourines, kazoo, shakers, harmonica and other kid instruments and we go to town. Funky town that is. OK, I'm chilling out now.

9. Maileg Mice--My mom got the girls each their own Maileg Mouse in a Box years ago and they remain a favorite. They also have the table + chairs set and the circus as well. My Sweet Muffin is probably my favorite place to get Maileg stuff. No one tell Zuzu, but she might be getting her own little mouse this year from Grandma.

10. Art Supplies + Craft Kits--another duh, but seriously I love that Zuzu is now really into coloring. She is also into coloring on walls, the floor, and furniture...this I don't love.

What did I leave out? What are your kids can't-live-without toys? Anything you are super glad you've purchased over the years or anything you super regret purchasing? Do tell, I need some idea or Zuzu's gonna get some abandoned toys in the basement recycled for Christmas and her birthday.


  1. I have two boys (biggie is almost 4 and little is 1 and a half) and our list is so different, haha! Our most played with toys are blocks of all kinds (megablocks, mostly, but we also have those big cardboard ones that come flat and fold up), a million tiny sea creatures, a hoard of old beanie babies from my husband's childhood, markers/crayons, and play-dough. Biggie loves his marble-run set which was also saved from my husband's childhood, but he can only play with it when little is napping because little still puts marbles in his mouth! They have no interest in the playschool little people sets or the baby doll that we have. They aren't into dressing up much either, though we have plenty of costumes (shark, squid hat, fireman, etc). They used to play with the train table all the time, but now they just climb on it/use it as a stool to get to things that they shouldn't.
    This will be the first year that we're actually buying a lot of Christmas gifts. Everything they had before now was from family or estate sales. We'll see how it goes!

  2. My daughter (almost four) loves building toys. She has duplo at my parents' house, and wooden blocks, tinker toys, and "velcro" blocks at my house (I don't know the real name for the velcro blocks, but they're these little plastic shapes covered in nubby bits that sort of knit together like velcro). I would love to buy magnatiles, but they're really pricey and I know her kindergarten class has a big set so I don't feel bad about not owning them.

    We have a Hape dollhouse, which gets a fair amount of play, especially when we have visitors. That's our main "big toy", due to the size of our house. G has a homemade play kitchen and a work bench at my parents house, plus an old Fisher Price garage that I found in the trash! The elevator is sometimes wonky, but G doesn't care. I love how neutral it is, compared to the "girls toys"/"boys toys" that seemed to emerge in the mid-nineties.

    Dolls and puppets are very big right now. We have a small stroller and a simple cradle, and a white dolly high chair is coming courtesy of my aunt this Christmas. The puppets live in an old Barbie case.

    Our other popular toys are what I call tabletop toys. These get rotated from their cupboard in our buffet to the toy shelf. Pattern tiles, magnetic "paper" dolls, lacing cards, pop beads, wooden animal figurines. The cupboard is packed (and then locked!) which keeps the toys from overwhelming the house.

    This year for Christmas she's getting a wooden cash register (made by Hape, I love their stuff!) with Canadian play money and the Ikea fruit stand. The fruit stand is made of cardboard, so we'll see how long it lasts, but I'm think the cash register is going to be a hit. She's getting more into dramatic play these days.

    In terms of buying toys, most of ours have come second hand. There are some excellent children's consignment stores in my city, and I tend to do well at school garage sales. G is too young to know the difference, and it's a great way for me to afford top line toys on a reduced budget.

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