It’s so easy to overbuy toys. It’s so easy to justify buying toys because we all know that kids learn best through play… but… you also don’t want to be drowning in kid’s toys.
I should really take my own advice here, because my son’s love language is toys, but for those who are smarter and more minimal than I, here is a list of the very essential toys for kids.
And don’t forget to check out my tips for organizing kid’s bedrooms so you can store all those toys!
My pick will always be plain, unfinished wooden blocks because I have such strong visceral memories of playing with exactly these types of blocks as a kid.
Of course you can go with colors, different shapes, and materials, but I urge you to keep it simple – at least at first. There’s plenty of time to add in all the other fancy stuff later.
Why blocks? Blocks boost creativity, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills in kids. Blocks will teach your kids about gravity and geometry.
Every kid must have Legos.
Duplos are perfect for wee little children, and then they seamlessly shift over to Legos when they want to build more complicated thingies and whatsits.
Honestly, Lego is one of the few toys where more is better, and I also love that they are making Legos in a rainbow of colors now, instead of the very basic primary colors.
Why Legos? Legos are phenomenal for boosting fine motor skills, patience, concentration, and creative thinking in kids.
Soft, squishy balls are the best, right?
Anyway, you’ll want different balls for different ages:
Exploring balls with different textures and shapes are perfect for babies on up
Balls of different bright colors and shapes are fantastic for toddlers
Expandable balls are great for any age
And you’ll definitely want a basketball hoop in every kid’s bedroom when they’re ready for that.
Why balls? Motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and interactive play are just some of the skills kids can hone while playing with balls.
Stuffed Animals Are Essential Toys
Soft, squishy little buddies are must-haves for every kid. Whether they have a very best friend puppy or are on a mission to own every plushie ever made (my kid), stuffed animals are classic, perfect toys for all kids.
This floppy, goofy teddy bear is perfect for young kids, Here’s my pick if you’re looking for a sloth (isn’t everyone?), This sock monkey should prove to be a favorite, and here’s an absolutely enormous stuffed giraffe that will look perfect in the corner of the bedroom. 🙂
Why stuffed animals? Stuffed animals, or plushies, are amazing tools for kids to explore nurturing skills, as well as empathy, companionship, emotions, and socializing.
My favorite thing in the world is when I became a parent and realized out local library had SO MANY puzzles to play with and check out.
Both of my kids were/are puzzle fiends and it’s cool to see the change in demeanor when your kid is completely absorbed in working a puzzle.
Why puzzles? Fine motor skills are an obvious reason to encourage your kids to do puzzles, but we’re also boosting memory, relaxation, mindfulness, and visual-spatial reasoning.
Yes! Every kid must own a little dollhouse of sorts to arrange, rearrange, and role-play with tiny creatures.
My son was recently dismayed that Target has so much cool stuff ‘for girls’ in their Our Generation doll line, so we snapped up the school for him to use with his Five Nights at Freddy’s plushies. It’s a perfect fit.
Why doll/toy houses? Dollhouses let your kid’s imaginations and role-playing skills explode. Plus, they can help kids practice social skills, and hone fine motor skills.
These will be one of those toys your kids pull out on a regular basis and become completely absorbed with for a while. You’ll almost be able to see all the amazing brain growth as they play with them.
I love playing with these, as I’m sure many other adults to too, so they’re a great way to spend time with your little punks.
This is the one we’ve had since my son was 1, and it’s awesome. The only thing I don’t like about it is you either have to store it flat on a shelf, or transfer the contents to a different container with a lid (there’s no lid with it).
Why pattern blocks? Math skills! Geometry, fine motor, and spacial skills are all bonuses of playing with pattern blocks. Not to mention color recognition and spatial awareness.
Wire Bead Maze
These things are a hit from toddlers to double-digits. Actually, I find them incredibly relaxing as well.
Bead mazes are available in very simple tabletop models, but this floor model has so much fun stuff to explore and play with.
Why wire bead mazes? These 3D mazes help kids with fine motor, hand-eye coordination, and color skills.
Some kind of something with wheels, preferably large enough to put other toys in to drive around the room, are a must-have. There’s something so compelling about moving toy vehicles that kids are always drawn to.
Why rolling vehicles? Kids can’t help but get exercise when they are playing all over the house with rolling vehicles. Plus they get to role-play, use their imaginations, and hopefully make VROOOOOOM sound effects.
What kid doesn’t like to throw on something besides their regular clothes and become somebody else? From superhero costumes to a shmancy little tutu, have some dress-up clothes for your kids ready for playtime.
Why dress-up? Creativity abounds when kids role-play in costumes. Kids tap into emotional development, gender exploration, and socialization as well.
Music and Art Supplies
I guess I wouldn’t really consider these toys, more like necessities. But I felt the need to include them because they’re an important part of every kid’s bedroom.
Why music and art supplies? Um. Yeah. I could write forever on why kids need music and art in their lives, but let’s just leave off with a list:
- problem solving
- emotional development
- social skills
- language skills
- total coolness
What did I miss? What did I forget that is a MUST-HAVE for kid’s toys? Slinkies? Let me know in the comments…