Sunday Post: Toys…Top Ten Toys for Young Kids

My grandson at 6 months…the stuffed bear belonged to his momma…my daughter


Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is TOYS.

As parents, our goal is to provide our children with everything they should have.  Nourishing food – A safe place to live – Clean clothes to wear – Love and compassion – Reassurance when they are afraid – Consistency – An atmosphere that encourages learning.

Sometimes, parents feel they have to give their children EVERYTHING…and stores and the media encourage that belief…offering toys of every size and shape.  Many parents spend more than they can afford to provide their kids with expensive electronic gadgets and ‘must-have’ items.

How much is too much?

To be honest, many young children would prefer the box that the toy comes in!

Here’s a list of my top 10 picks of what belongs on a young child’s toy shelf:

  • Stuffed animals/Dolls
  • Books
  • Blocks
  • Art supplies like crayons, paper, glue stick, safety scissors, markers, clay, paint
  • Pretend play clothes
  • Puzzles
  • Musical instruments like drums, bells, triangles
  • Matching games like dominos
  • Sports equipment like balls, hula hoops, bowling pins
  • Flannel board pieces and puppets for storytelling and role play

What have I forgotten?  What would you add?

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

53 thoughts on “Sunday Post: Toys…Top Ten Toys for Young Kids

  1. It’s true, even at christmas time, the wrapping paper was better than the gift. I remember watching my youngest brother opening his presents and watching his kids doing the same. They have so many toys these days!


    • That’s so funny…you mentioning the wrapping paper. )  I got married straight out of college…and started my first kindergarten teaching position.  At family gatherings, if there were presents to open, I got a reputation for never letting one piece of ribbon or wrapping paper get thrown away…I would come with a plastic garbage bag and collect every scrap…knowing it would be put to good use as a mosaic, puppet or other creative craft. 🙂   


  2. Our grandchildren taught us very early on that dragging out the pots and pans was better than any boxful of toys or fancy games.
    Your grandson’s posed pictures in your blogs are delightful, Vivian!


    • Thanks, Marylin…I’m fortunate my daughter loves to take pics and doesn’t mind having Jeremy be my blog model.  Pots and pans are GREAT for kids…we had a special cabinet that was just for them..and they entertained themselves happily with pots, pans, bowls and spoons while momma got dinner prepared. 🙂   


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  4. “many young children would prefer the box that the toy comes in!” – this is so true. Abby is more intrigued and interested with the box than the toy itself..

    Great photo Vivian! Your grandson is adorable…


    • Thanks so much, Marilou!  I can remember having so much fun with the big boxes that TVs come in…when we let kids play with boxes and blocks and paper and crayons and stuffed animals and dress-up clothes…we are encouraging their creativity and allowing their brains to develop.  Electronic gadgets may be fun…but not at all necessary…and too much of that type of toy actually restricts a child’s learning and cognitive development. Thanks for the lovely words about my grandson…he is lots of fun…and we love him dearly. 🙂   


    • Oh yes, Lisa…sand and water for outside are great!  Last month, I spent a week with my grandson…it was really hot outside so we found a place under the shade of a tree and brought out a bowl of water and several paintbrushes of different sizes.  We spent a delightful hour, ‘painting’ on the pavement…making circles and letters and roads.  It was great fun and NO CLEANUP…and it kept us cool as drops of the water sometimes fell on our skin.  One of the neighbors remarked that it was a fantastic idea…better than sidewalk chalk which remains for many days.   


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  6. yes, sand, with pots and pans, a box and dad’s hats or shoes were all favorites with my toddlers. Then came my step grandson who has so much he is overwhelmed. Too much is the monster of kids these days. nothing is ever new because they saw it on TV or the internet. Sad sad sad. 😦


    • I agree, Clar!  Too much is worse than too little.  With too little, one can use one’s imagination to create happiness.  With too much, one is overwhelmed..almost to the point of not being able to think and create. One of the activities in my book is to create a storage box for dress-up clothes…and I encourage parents to go to places like Goodwill to get appropriate items to fill it if they don’t have cast-offs of their own. And pots and cups and sand…a child can create a fort or a castle or a bakery filled with cakes or…..what a boost to the development of a child’s imagination and creativity. 🙂    


    • Hurray for empty boxes!!!!  I can’t see an empty shoebox without remembering the fun we had at the kitchen table with my mom, creating dioramas for school projects. 🙂  Computers are amazing…but boxes are…inspiring!   


  7. Wonderful photo of your grandson and his bear that once was your daughter’b bear. Very touching. I enjoyed your list of toys. I also added pots and pans with spoons. Big boxes also make wonderful toys to play in. Great post 🙂


    • So glad you stopped by, Dana! I do love that photo. 🙂
      I agree about the pots and pans…I cleaned out a bottom cabinet in the kitchen when my kids were very small…and filled it with a couple of big plastic bowls, a small pot and some wooden spoons…while I was busy preparing dinner, they happily sat on the floor, nesting the bowls or creating their own drum symphony. 🙂 As they got a little older, they joined me in the measuring and mixing of ingredients…I love to include children in meal preparation…that’s why I provide a recipe with every story summary in my book. 🙂
      And big boxes…oh my goodness…the BEST toys…playhouse, fort, secret hideaway, surface to draw on…the possibilities are endless!


  8. What a cutie id that grandson of yours Vivien. I wonder too at what is too much. i don’t think kids are being done a favour – they have no idea how to invent play anymore from nothing.


    • You said it all, Jo!  That’s why I try to encourage parents  (and teachers) to do simple things…my book has 100 quick and easy crafts…using just paper or paper plates or paper bags and crayons or markers…a pair of scissors and a little glue..and presto, magic, creativity soars and imagination is at work!  The other part of my book is the 100 simple healthful recipes…again, encouraging a child to help in the kitchen is a great way to build their confidence and competence.  When kids have too much, they become overwhelmed…and don’t really enjoy anything.  Thanks so much for your insightful comments, Jo…much appreciated!   


      • Children are actually happy with so little – it is the parents who seem to crave all the gizmos…maybe a way of saying look what a great parent I am. Sadly later this attitude is picked up by those same children. if they just spent the time instead of the money,,,everyone would be happier. My son was so happy with a stick and some stones and mud. Building and playing…it was such a joy to see. And they loved being in the kitchen – cooking, washing, drying – it was such a game to them.


        • Yes, Jo…so true!  Perhaps as parents we want to give our kids everything we didn’t have.  During my week with my grandson, we went fishing at a lovely pond (kind of like a lake) right near their house…Jeremy had a ball, picking up pebbles and skipping them into the water…which one will make the biggest PLOP…great lesson on mass and density. 🙂 🙂   


    • Thanks, Jennifer…glad you like the list…just the basics…and from that, we encourage kids to use their own imagination and creativity.  Like the slogan for my book says, NO BATTERIES REQUIRED…POWERED BY A CHILD’S CREATIVE IMAGINATION AND A PARENT’S POSITIVE PARTICIPATION!   


  9. Excellent list! And so true – kids always love the box – which reminds me of that post from last year or so about the 5 best toys of all time – box, stick, string, cardboard tube and dirt 🙂 (or something along those lines :)) The only things I would add to your excellent list would be Legos/tinkertoy/Lincoln logs (not for very young children obviously) – all fun to build with! and a train set 🙂 And what a cutie your grandson is 🙂


    • You always leave such lovely and thoughtful comments, Susanna!  I’m all for the legos and lincoln logs…I kind of meant the ‘block’ category to include those. 🙂  You know, they are doing studies that show that kids who don’t have enough block play may suffer from depression later on…and so many kindergartens are taking out the block center to put in…a computer center. 😦  And other studies are showing that kids who have more than 2 hours of ‘screen’ time (computer, TV, video games) and less than 30 minutes of physical activity may have narrowed arteries behind their eyes…a indication of possible future high blood pressure and diabetes. 😦   


      • OMG. That is really horrifying. And sad. I was lucky to grow up with blocks, and my kids all loved them – all 5 of them! It makes me sad to think of computer centers replacing the block area, especially in kindergarten. This feed into a serious beef I have about children being robbed of their childhoods… but I won’t get into that here 🙂


        • Thanks for validating one of my primary soapbox rants!!!  Not that I usually rant. 🙂  But where do our legislators and school administrators get the idea that making kindergarten into the new first grade will help kids become better readers?  It DOESN’T!  In fact, quite the opposite.  Kids that are ready to read at 5 (and there are some) can get some separate instruction…but don’t force it on those who aren’t ready (physically and mentally)…and don’t take away their childhood…yes, I love your phrase, Susanna!   


  10. Pingback: SUNDAY POST : Toys | Simply Charming

  11. Great list! I’d add empty boxes, big and small, and playdough. We also like paper bags. We use the small ones for hand puppets, the big ones on the head or over the head for costumes. I’d have big Lego (Duplo) to the blocks. Kids love to stack them up sky high. Sheets or blankets to build forts under furniture are cool too. Balls, balls, balls or all sizes. Kids LOVE balls. And anything to play in the dirt or sand.


    • Great additions, Milka!!!  I especially love the blankets or sheets to make forts. 🙂  And with the paper bags and boxes, I’d add paper plates, egg cartons and empty paper towel rolls…a year of fun for FREE!!!!!!!!   


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  14. Jake supplied yet another excellent photo prompt. And as usually, Vivian. You pulled off another wonderful post. I’m loving your grandson’s baby photos too! My kids played with pots and pans. It seems Marylin’s kids had the same great idea. 🙂


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