Our Most Played-With Toys
These are toys are kid-tested and mother-approved because unlike most of the toys in my house, they actually get played with... a lot. Also, they span a wide age range in that both my boys have played with them from
about a year old (or whenever we acquired them) and my three-year-old both still play with them. Sometimes they even play with them together so you know they're special! These toys are all great for screen-free playtime and some of them even travel well to keep little hands busy when you leave the house.
Sometimes our toys are the less-expensive versions of the premium brands (like the rainbow stacker and magnet tiles) whereas the Melissa and Doug toys were chosen for the superior quality (I acquired a few of them second-hand which speaks to their durability). We received some of them as gifts, but I'm always trying to find the balance between affordability and value, and I am happy with all of these choices.
You may notice that most of these are open-ended toys that require creativity and imagination to power them, not batteries (with a few exceptions). We own plenty of electronic toys, to be sure, but I've noticed the "new" wears off quickly and the kids don't gravitate to them the way they do these. I also included some outdoor play equipment pieces that aren't technically toys but are used for sensory, STEM and gross motor activities (note: the water table is a slightly different model and the slide we have is no longer sold so I chose the closest thing).