08 December 2010

Tried and True Toys

Selecting perfect toys for children is certainly on the mind of many adults at this time of year.  We've had some doozies and all-out failures in the past six years, but some have stood the test of time and are clearly better choices -- clearly in hindsight.

Here is our list of five tried and true toys, as inspired by Katy's post, "Tried and True Toys -- A Gift Guide" at Sycamore Stirrings:

1. Razor Scooter:  For the past 2 years, this has been taken out every single time she goes outside to play. We take it on vacation with us.

2. Office Supplies:  This is very popular with my six year old, especially during the winter months when outdoor play is limited.  She is happiest with basics like paper, colored-pencils, scissors, glue sticks, Scotch tape and a stapler; however, she likes the "fancy" stuff, too. Visiting kids love art supplies as well. I store it all in a cabinet at kid-level and don't restrict access. I recently read a blog entry about a kid receiving a regular hole puncher and a stack of colored paper as a gift; evidently he loved it.  I'm sure my daughter would as well. She loves tape.

3. Plan Toys Wooden Play Kitchen with Accessories:  I originally selected this for its compact size and because it's the only wooden one I could find locally. This has been used for the longest span by the most number of children. We bought it for her second Christmas. As suggested by Katy, it includes both a cake and tea set in its ensemble. A very popular accessory is a plastic pizza divided into pieces attached by Velcro. I've always preferred the Haba line of play food, but Young One never did discriminate between it and the much cheaper plastic. Although she has lost interest, she refuses to let me pass it on to another child and will play with it from time to time. (I'm not really ready to either.)

4. Dress Up:  This is not usually an independent activity but the supply is raided every single time we have visitors, both boys and girls.  She has quite a diverse collection that extends beyond princesses that has doubled in size recently with the addition of some rather vintage hand-me-downs from a friend;  it's probably time to weed it all.  Play make-up was added to this last Christmas and has been a big hit.

5. Pocket-sized Toys:  This has been pretty consistent with my daughter.  Polly Pockets, the smaller Pony's, little animals, etc.  The favored toys may change, but the preference for the small size does not. The once popular Pony's have been shelved for now.

Stuffed animals and books are popular here, too, as are dolls from time to time.  The art supplies are by far the current favorite.

On the subject of toys, my two favorite local toy stores are Citta del Sole on Corso Palladio and De Bernardini on Corso Padova.  Of course, IMHO, the toy stores here don't hold a candle to the ones in places like Germany.  But I must warn you, the prices in Italian toy stores are sure to blow your socks off, even for the cheap plastic that many try to avoid. 

Click on over to Katy's blog for more on this subject of gifts for Children.

Perhaps next we can write about the doozies.  A big one for me was this fabulous doll house.  The girl was just not interested in it.  After having it take up space for two long years, I gave it away to a pair of sisters who are reported to fight over it at times, they like it so much.

Do you have doozies?


  1. That doll house is beautiful! Funny how they love some things and have no interest in others. Baby G is getting a Bilibo this year, I'm anxious to see what the kids think of it.

  2. Ouch! The doozie must of hurt to give away given the expense. My mistake last year was a play work bench set with tools. He played with it for about 2 days now I am contemplating giving it away because it is taking up space.

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  4. Yes, Kelleyn, ouch. In hindsight, I probably should have put it away and reintroduced it after a year or two. The daughters of my friend love it, so it's not a complete wash.

    Susan, we had that kicking around for a long time, too. Young One used it primarily as a crib for her dolls and animal and as a little chair for her at times. It eventually went to the thirft shop. What was I thinking???? We have issues with space.

  5. Post script. . .
    This morning I walked down to the taverna where Young One had played alone for a bit before gymnastics. To my surprise, she had pulled out the Haba food pieces (and left them out) of her box of kitchen goodness and was preparing a feast. Maybe she is more discerning than I thought?

  6. Ours is a doll house too. Luckily it was a hand-me-down. But it is one of those tall, big ones that has a lift in it. All the kids that come to play at our house *love* it but the girls have never set it up and played. If they play with the furniture and bits and pieces in it, they set it up "house" on the floor. I keep it because I always think they'll get into it one day. Dana, I posted your picks on my blog. Thank you so much for support of my post. xo

  7. Oh, if you don't know what to do with your outgrown dress-up collection, I know a little girl who has grand ideas about costumes and princesses:)!

  8. Lynda Keller12/10/10, 1:03 AM

    OK...is the kitten now part of the family?