Timeless Toys – to stand the test of time!
As a parent to three kids, I long ago accepted that my home would become a child’s playground. However what I didn’t foresee when I gave birth 10 years ago was the sheer volume of toys cluttering the floors, shelves, cupboards and every room in the house. I didn’t realise the attachment my children would have with (what was essentially) plastic junk.
Being an expat family, we can’t always get our hands on the latest fad in kids’ toys (thank goodness). So when possible, I try and give them timeless toys: essentially those toys which will stand the test of time. This tends to serve me well and I can see the difference they have on the way the kids play. Toys that have survived (and evolved) over generations generally require more imagination, more fine motor skills and generally keep the kids’ attention longer.
These timeless toys are rarely a fad. The same box of Lego has sat in our house for years, being added to. It never gets boring. Jigsaw puzzles have developed and art and craft supplies become ever more exciting the older they get.
The list of timeless toys below will keep your kids entertained for the majority of their childhood and beyond.
Good old-fashioned Lego
You cannot ever go wrong with Lego. Ever! Today, you can buy starter sets such as in the photo link, or individual sets. Once built, add them to the collection of bricks and redesigned into something totally different. As an adult, I still love a good old Lego construction session.
Other construction toys
Building blocks are still a firm favourite in my house, despite my kids getting older! Now they’re used to create animal enclosures, army barracks, princess castles and obstacle courses. The opportunities for imaginary play are endless. Building blocks are a must-have for every family.
We’re now in a position in our house where we’re playing games that not only am I allowed to win – but I actually enjoy. My kids are now 6, 8 and 10 and family games night favs include Cluedo, Quirkle, Monopoly, Boggle and every card game known to man.
For a long time we were playing a range of Orchard Toys games which are perfect for preschoolers and younger primary kids. Great fun, and a chance to educate through play.
The toy kitchen has been a permanent fixture in our house for almost a decade. They never get bored of it. The food options have grown over time as has the list of accessories. They play together for hours. Just how extensive a kitchen you have will depend on your space and your budget. Even a tray of wooden cutting food and some plates will go a long way in keeping your younger kids entertained.
Wooden train track
Another classic to add to the list, a wooden train track and accessories is a must for younger kids. As my kids have grown older, it still makes an appearance but is often accompanied by other favourites and the once simple train track has grown into something of a city!
Toy cars are sure to be firm favourites for years. Whether you go for the latest Hot Wheels stunt track or a simpler selection of die cast cars with a road mat, your child will play with these for years to come. We tend to buy our son Hot Wheels sets for Christmas/birthdays as they’re always a favourite and the tracks are all compatible with each other. He loves them!
Possibly the queen of toys, Barbie has been entertaining kids for decades! While only our middle daughter is a Barbie fan, she will sit and play for hours and has a whole host of accessories. It’s like an old-fashioned game of The Sims!
Play Dough/modelling clay
Who doesn’t love creating play food/scenes out of Play Dough? As an adult, this has always been one of my favourite activities (to play with the kids of course!) The bright colours and endless opportunities never get dull and with the addition of air clay to our supplies, the creations can be used again and again. We even made a market out of it for the Barbies – tiny pieces of fruit, veg and other groceries. The potential is unlimited!
Whatever the latest fad in Hollywood, you can guarantee there will be an action figure to match. However, the traditional superheroes are just as popular now as they ever were!
Starting with the most basic, and working up to really detailed, tricky puzzles, a good jigsaw will keep your child busy for hours. We regularly have one on the go – the bigger the better in our view – adding to it when we have some time.
A craft supply is the perfect way to stay entertained on a rainy day, or when you want to make something handmade with love. Our supply has grown substantially over time – with each kid having their own large tub which I refill whenever it’s needed. You can buy pre-made tibs such as these, or simple make one up yourself with glitter, glue, card, pipe cleaners, felt, stickers, tape, pom poms, googly eyes, foam shapes – the list goes on and on. We never get bored of creating!
The above list is a selection of my favourite timeless toys. You may have others! Whatever you choose, they are the perfect distraction to screen time and not only offer entertainment value but also help to improve coordination, fine motor skills and imaginary play!
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