The list author says: "When my kids were younger I used to wonder what toys would have lasting appeal and durability as they got older. Now that my kids are older, I can say this is that list! Get toys earlier as they may surprise you with how early they can appreciate it. By the time you realize you want a ___ for them, you might have missed half the window of opportunity for them to enjoy it! This could also be a great gift or wish list.
You may want to yawn as you look over the list, but see your child play with these much more than the fancy electronic toys and you may be pleasantly surprised. And a major benefit of classics is that many can be found cheap used. Shop craigslist, eBay, second hand stores, yard sales (often best deal) before you consider paying full price. There is evidence that the best thing you can do for your child is to buy fewer things. It turns out that kids who are more creative actually have fewer toys. Having a small number of simple, basic toys helps children develop their imagination and resourcefulness.
FYI, if a toy entertains a child for 30 minutes that is phenomenal so don't set your expectations too high. The good ones are the ones they will play with again and again over the years. Many toys will not have initial appeal (my kids didn't take to blocks at first) so don't get discouraged too soon. While many good toys can be had for reasonable prices, others are worth the extra cost. These are toys that will truly last the years in enjoyment as well as durability. They are also the best bargain when you calculate hours played. You could have fewer, well-loved toys over too many toys rarely played with.
Finally, imagine being told that half of all toys are OFF LIMITS. Don't you think it would just make the other toys even more tempting? I've found it's normal for boys and girls to want to play with toys of both genders, and ultimately, it's much easier just to let them. :)"
"Smaller tents are cozy and space efficient. A bigger tent can double as a small playroom or child's personal space. It could even end up replacing those expensive outdoor plastic playhouses, and be easier to put away. Add the tunnel and the crawling helps wire right and left brains."
"What's a tent without a flashlight? Save a fortune on batteries with crank flashlights. Practical, useful for home and car, and teaches cause & effect, physics and environmental awareness. Also, in case of emergencies, you won't run out of batteries!"
"$37 at Costco. Pulling motion on handle moves the car smoothly and easily. Super fun indoors & outdoors which really entertains them for hours. Can comfortably fit two kids. All ages. This is worth buying!"
"This is an excellent pre-balance bike for toddlers and even preschoolers. Using balance bikes kids learn to ride a bicycle in just weeks to months. With training wheels it can take years. I love the Bell Faction helmet. Next step: Zum bike which adjusts from 12-17 in - quite a range for balance bikes."
"Play doh, like Legos, grows with kids and has add-able accessories. Calms them down, develops fine motor skills. Making play dough is early cooking fun and bonding. Clay is also a medium for a budding sculpturist."
"Soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, footballs, bouncy balls. Your child will never tire of wanting another ball. Each ball is a new toy to them, don't ask me why. I think having a variety of balls keeps them engaged too. This is a nice soft one."
"Distract a teething baby, give a toddler incentive to bathe, get a kid outside to play. The bubble machine by this company will break easily, but their bubble solution is the best. Or use lightly diluted dishwashing liquid."
"Musical instruments will stay in the toybox longer than most other toys. My kids liked bumpy hollow wood tube thing that you rub the stick with or hit it with to make noise. Egg shakers are easy to make by taping plastic easter eggs together with rice, beans, etc."
"Hula hoops are not just for older kids. Crawl/walk in them. Toss bean bags in them. They are also good energy and babies are calmed by a 'tent' of varying sized hula hoops! Either get the inexpensive ones at your local store or splurge on a nice one for the whole family to use."
"For some reason, the eggs -- both fried and whole -- are still favorites with my kids. I also like how toy foods can help them to let you know what they feel like eating when they are pre-verbal. The Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor Set are also big, lasting hit."
"Any kitchen toy with food will do. Wood kitchens were more appealing to my kids than the plastic ones (we owned both plastic and wood). See also the smaller kitchen, Plan Toy Doll House Kitchen, by Plan Toys. Smaller can be just as good or better depending on child."
"Mini brooms. Your child will want to sweep when you do, and it's an extra set in a pinch. Get the extra help while you can, unlikely to hold appeal during the teen years, but you can always cross your fingers."
"It says it's for older kids and adults, but if you supervise, younger kids have great fun too just putting the pieces on the board. One of the greatest board games ever, and develops mathematical and geometric thinking."
"Good for age 2 up, balancing fun which can be enjoyed among kids of various ages, and a game which mom & dad will love, and won't make them go insane (Chutes & Ladders, Candyland can make a parent insane with boredom.)"
"Although a tear-jerker, you and your child may love this book forever in your hearts and minds, even if it does not last forever physically. You can't go wrong with books, or ever have too many! Board books make great early reading tools. Also check out "Even Firefighters Go to the Potty" - amazing and superfun, durable potty training book!"
"Okay, this may be good only until they are 3 or so but it may be one of your best toy investments. I got this used on craigslist for $25. Twelve or more toys in one, this combination is much greater than the sum of the parts. Has optional phone. Phones are an essential car distraction for baby."