Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Most Long-Lasting and Played-With Toys (From a Mom of 6)

Even a modest Christmas for our 6-kid family means a huge proliferation of STUFF. And I can't stand when half of it breaks or gets forgotten about a few days later.

We don't have room for 6 separate sets of half-broken toys that don't get played with very often. Any toy we have must be:

  1. durable enough to be passed down from one kid to the next
  2. interesting enough to be used for years
  3. versatile enough to be played with by multiple age groups

Gathered from my decade of mothering, here are some of the very best ones, test-driven by all 6 of my kids.
Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything the cost stays the same to you but I get a small commission.

Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

KEVA Structures

We almost didn't buy this 200-plank set of construction blocks because hello, they're just rectangular planks. But because of their size and precision cut, the kids use them to make the coolest and most intricate things long after they've outgrown other sets of building blocks.

We regularly see everyone from the 12-year-old down to the 2-year-old building with these on the floor. We bought a second set (Keva Contraptions, comes with 200 planks and a few ping pong balls to make ball runs) so everyone could have enough.

They are, hands down, the one block set I'd keep if I was told I could only have one. I like them even better than Legos because I don't have to worry about the baby choking if he gets his hands on one.

Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

38" Trampoline


This was technically a gift for our son when he was 6 as a way to burn off energy during the winter months in his room. The compact size is good for one person to jump at a time and doesn't take up too much floor space.

It's been in his room for 2 years now and I constantly hear kids upstairs jumping on it, even the older kids relieving stress during homework breaks. It's an adult exercise trampoline with  a 200-lb weight limit so theoretically even I could use it although any woman who's birthed 6 children knows better than to ever get on a trampoline.

Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Magic Moves Wand


Generally I'm not a fan of toys with batteries, but this one isn't loud or annoying so I guess it can stay. And the kids love it. The voice tells them to "swim like a fish" or "jump like a kangaroo" and then plays music to match the action while they do it.

This wand is obviously most popular with the 2- to 4-year-old set. But honestly, all the kids get on the bandwagon being silly with it if they're in the right mood. I find it all over the house (even in the bathroom,) which means that it gets a lot of mileage.

Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Perplexus


I first saw this at the children's play area in the library and knew our 6-, 8-, and 10-year olds would love it.

Kids have to tilt the ball every which way to get a marble through a really complex obstacle course. The obstacles are numbered so they can keep track of where they are and compare with each other ("I'm on 42, where have you gotten to?")

They also liked Perplexus Epic, which their grandpa got them the following year. There's also a Rookie version for younger kids but we haven't tried that one yet.


Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Wee Waffle Blocks


We got a huge garbage bag of these at a yard sale for $2 once and it was the best $2 we ever spent. I'd say these are used the most by our kids in the 4-10 age range, but even the preteens build these with their preschool siblings. It's a simple idea that can make an awful lot (scroll down for a picture in this post if you don't believe me.)

When I sat down to write this post, I was shocked to find that Little Tikes isn't making these anymore: no wonder the world is going to you-know-where in a handbasket. But you can still find them through private sellers or on eBay! 

Test-driven by all 6 of my kids, here is a list of toys that have lasted a long time, appealed to multiple ages of kids, and I've never regretted buying.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Busy Ball Popper


Again, batteries. Changing them is annoying. But I'm willing to do it because our 1- to 4-year-olds love this ball popper. Even the kids who are way too old will still jump in if they see their little sibling playing with it.

The Christmas morning we gave this to our toddler, we had to keep shooing the big kids out of the way so he could play with his own present. In fact, after watching my kids use it over the years I'm convinced it's way funner in a group than one kid alone because they're all laughing at each other and running after the balls.

These are just a few of the toys we own that have lasted a long time and appealed to multiple ages of kids in our house. Purchases that I've never, ever regretted making.

What's on your list of best value for your money toys?

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15 comments:

  1. Those KEVA planks look awesome! I'm a huge fan of building toys for kids, and when I was little my parents got us a wooden marble maze which was awesome. I think those planks look way more versatile, though. And I think it sounds awesome that you don't have to worry about choking hazards in the way you do with legos. Plus, as amazing as legos are, the sets always get separated and pieces always go missing and next thing you know, legos are everywhere you step (and they're not that nice to step on!) We're not really in the buying stage yet, since Peter is obviously not going to play with much (and, because of myself and my husband's love of geeky stuff, we already have some weird plushies Peter can play with when he gets older), but I will keep those planks in mind for the future.

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    1. In our house you don't really get Christmas presents until (1) you know what Christmas is, and (2) you know what a present is. I think we're giving the baby a tub of Eucerin for Christmas this year and I expect him to be pretty happy about it.

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  2. Those KEVA planks look awesome! I will have to tuck away that idea for the future. While I love Legos, I really love the idea of planks/blocks that aren't crazy choking hazards and aren't ridiculously painful to step on.

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  3. My kids all have loved the ball popper too.

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  4. The plastic build your own marble run is high on my list. I still love playing with it myself. It is a lot of pieces, but we just keep it in a backpack so it's not too bad to keep track of.

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    1. Also, have you checked out nanobugs? They are awesome fun. Especially if you use the blocks you have to build mazes for them.

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    2. That's a great idea. We had a Hexbug once and it was really cool, but I think the kids sent it off the 2nd-floor balcony and it sadly did not survive.

      I LOVE the plastic marble run we had when I was a kid and we used it all the time, but sadly they made the plastic flimsier and thinner now and it's rather lame in comparison. Such a disappointment!

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  5. That 38" trampoline is awesome! I was thinking the 9 and 3 year old would benefit from just a purchase thus year.

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    1. this.... Not sure old English suits my commenting style :)

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  6. Duplo blocks! The 3 yo got them as a 1 yo, and still plays with them, of course, building castles. Now the 7 mo teethes on them, while sissy plays! And no choking hazard! AND, they're big enough to see before you actually step on them, and feel like you've died! Bonus!

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    1. Yes to the Duplos! I think my kids played with those long beyond the recommended age on the box...

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  7. I love this. I'm minimalist when it comes to toys, so I love practical lists. Thank you!

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  8. I love those structures! That looks really fun and useful for a long time. Thanks for sharing. You are so wise :)

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  9. We love our Keva blocks! (My boys tend to love anything they can build with)... I also remember that ball popper from when my boys were little and I just loved it. Great ideas.

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  10. Great toys. I have had a few of these and they are great entertainmet.

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