My boys spend a lot of time playing with their toys at home.
Over the years, I have streamlined our toys and retained only those that we really like. The best toys are truly the well-made, open-ended which my boys never seem to tire of. Some do come with a hefty price tag but when I see the many hours of play my boys have gotten out of them (which translates to many hours of peace for Mama), I would say they have repaid themselves many times over!
I have shared before about 3yo Sean’s favourite toys before and it is quite heartening to see 3yo Jordan playing with the same toys (especially the wooden cooking sets and DUPLO) now.
I thought it would be interesting to share some of my boys’ favourite toys (Sean is almost 8yo, Ryan 5yo, Jo 3yo) currently:
Our mega DUPLO zoo set (which Sean received for his first birthday) is still a hot favourite in our house. It is probably the one toy that is played with everyday by all three boys!
As for LEGO, the boys do have a few ‘mixed’ bins of LEGO which they play with quite regularly. Sean does enjoy playing with them but the younger two are not really into LEGO yet.
I played with LEGO as a child so I fully understand the allure 🙂
If there is one toy I like to recommend for young children, it would be Tinkertoys. They are a staple in most American households.
I got a small set for Amazon for Sean few years ago and he absolutely loved it and played with it all the time.
The plastic components are well-made, versatile and a good size for small hands. There are spools, flags, connectors, discs, end caps, rods, bendy pieces, etc. My boys like making play swords and weapons with them.
I got tired of them fighting over the pieces so I got them a jumbo set with more than enough to go around. So far, so good. Am quite surprised local toy shops don’t bring them in – they really should. They don’t cost too much on Amazon anyway.
K’Nex is a more grown-up version of Tinkertoys. Same concept but with smaller, more sophisticated pieces. Some of the pieces are very small so I would not recommend them if you have babies/toddlers at home!
The designs are geared towards boys, but I can’t imagine why girls shouldn’t play with them though (I wish toy manufacturers would stop making gender-specific toys)! Ryan and Sean play with them a fair bit so I would say they are good for children aged 5 and up.
Yet another modular connector-type of toy, similar to Tinkertoys. My boys get a lot of play out of them too!
Our first encounter with Magnatiles was at the now-defunct Gymnademics where Sean used to attend gym classes when he was 3-4yo.
Children and adults were drawn to the translucent magnetic tiles like bees to honey. I really wanted to get a set for a long time but held back because of its steep price tag and the fact that it was readily not available in Singapore.
We chanced upon Magnatiles again when we were in Japan last year. They were slightly cheaper because of the SGD-JPY exchange rate so we bought a few big sets at one go. It turned out to be the best investment ever because the boys play with them all the time.
My boys like to use them to make elaborate 3-D structures and homes for their Pokemons. I think it is great for developing spatial awareness in children.
If you buy it, I would recommend you buy the biggest set available (or more than one set) so there are many pieces to go around. Really a case of the more, the merrier 😉
Happy to know there are many local shops (Pupsik Studio, Playhao, Toddle) that carry Magnatiles now.
If you don’t want to spend too much, a cheaper alternative would be Magformers. We have them too but my boys still prefer Magnatiles over them.
PLUS PLUS is a simple modular toy made in Denmark. The pieces comes in ONE shape only but with a bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless!
Personally I don’t find it all that exciting but my boys go through bouts of playing with PLUS PLUS obsessively! We have both the Mini and Midi sizes – I find the Mini pieces are too tiny for young children but the Midi ones are just right. I find that you don’t need a big set for this. A medium-sized set would suffice.
Ryan and Sean love making structures and robots and they can spend hours playing with them. I like to have a small bag of them when we travel or go on road trips because they are easy to clean up and good for keeping fiddly hands occupied!
1-2-3 Power Rangers
We chanced upon this 1-2-3 Power Rangers set in Japan. My boys couldn’t stop playing with it at the store so we bought it even though it was quite pricey (I think we paid about SGD70-90 for it but looks like it is cheaper on Amazon!).
It quickly became Ryan’s favourite toy and he played with it obsessively for months. He would play by himself muttering to the pieces for hours.
Essentially, each coloured cube can be transformed to an animal and together the cubes can be connected together in the most creative ways to form a giant Power Ranger robot. It is very sturdily-made and ingeniously designed as most Japanese toys are.
We were so impressed with it so much so that I got my sis to buy the following two sets for me (4-5-6, 7-8-9). It is one of those toys I will definitely save for the grandchildren!
Last but not least, the ubiquitous cardboard box! Which other toy is free, allows you to climb into it, doodle on it and can be a cave, aeroplane, car, tent? I swear every cardboard box that comes through our door really get maxed out.
Just wanted to add this to the list to show you we are not toy snobs and that not all toys have to be expensive to be good! HAHAHA
That’s it for now. Will be interesting to see what how the boys’ tastes for toys change in time.
I am always on the lookout for interesting, well-designed toys with good mileage to add to our collection. Any other toys to recommend?
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but I have included Amazon affiliate links (which just means I will earn points if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to yourself) via the links).