Trying to tie up loose ends from '07... click Kid Reviews under categories to see toys #6-10.
Toy #4: Mr. Potato Head
Okay, maybe not for everyone but this is our list after all, and all I can say is this toy gets a lot of mileage around here. Aidan may have more Potato Head parts than a collector, thanks to his grandparents (who gave him Space Potato Head and Spiderman Potato Head, among others) and to my own excitement at the challenge of fitting as many unique Potato Head accessories as possible into a bag at Once Upon a Toy.
Mr. Potato Head also makes a good sidekick to several superheroes, so he gets pulled out often. So there is usually a stray arm or hat under our couch...
Love this one. Tiny ones gnaw on it (see the Melissa Doug website for info on their products and their assurance about paint, etc. No lead-paint recalls there!), little ones cut it up with the kid-friendly wooden knife, and big ones serve you lunch with it. We pack it up every so often, but it always comes back out. Definitely worth the $.
#2: Power Tools and Tool Bench
They are Brian's sons after all. Aidan received his Craftsman tool bench from Santa when he was 2 years old. It's all plastic and batteries and realistic noises, not my kind of thing at all---but they love it, as does every boy who enters our home.
I've seen some sets that are too 'task-oriented' so that they require an adult's help, and other sets that offer nothing for a child to *do* (besides push that noise button). This one is a good balance (though there must be better ones out there).
For my guys, it was and still is all about the safety goggles:-)
#1 Top Toy: Arts & Crafts Supplies!
Okay, maybe that's a cop-out because they aren't really toys, but man, if they ain't loved around here. Gramare gave the guys a big plastic jar filled with pipe cleaners,googlie eyes, and popsicle sticks----and they were in awe! These two can never get enough of paper or freshly sharpened pencils. I'm always being asked if Aidan can dive into my stash of ribbon, buttons, or brads.
I have a friend who saves every paper towel roll, etc., for her boys' craft closet, and when she told me that, I did feel a pang of guilt. Then I read Camp Creek Press's post about creating a kid-friendly studio and felt even more guilt . Of course I also read Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much last year, so I've found a compromise. I've given Aidan some space, where he can "collect" all the household found objects he wants for his creations---until the designated space is filled. Then you gotta use some before you add more. Because space is limited, even if buttons are not:-) And this is a kid who won't let me throw anything away---the cup cozy from take-out chai is essential for "something" he wants to make.
Still, nothing makes Aidan happier than making something or creating something or---lately--just drawing up plans for the things he's going to invent when he's older.
And there are no batteries required:-)
Finally, 3 Honorable Mentions:
Because I'd be misleading you if I didn't mention them.
Sean usually has one in his fist throughout the entire day.
2. Stuffed Animals
I always favored them over dolls as a kid, but as an adult, they just seem like germ-collectors to me. And we have WAAAAY too many of them. But these boys have so much love to give.
One of my all-time favorite photos. Aidan was four at the time and I grabbed my camera when I saw he had set up all his friends with him to read on the couch.
Sometimes I think they just really need a dog. Give me two more years, guys, I promise.
While not a toy, the last is more essential than any toy or object. Save the $ you'd spend on toys and let your kids play with this as much as possible:
#3. Wide Open Spaces