(Originally published a million years ago on foreverparenting.com)
One of the best things about having my babies was getting to play with TOYS all over again! I spent many a happy morning, building block towers so that my sons could knock them over again; creating towns with train tracks, fields and herds of domestic dinosaurs. In December we would build a crèche using toy animals. By Christmas Eve night, the crèche had become O Sprawling Metropolis of Bethlehem with villages, fields and animals galore.
“Umm, maybe not the dinosaurs,” I would say. “But MUMMY, Baby Jesus loves ALL the animals.”
“Oh! I see...”
So much for my tasteful nativity scene!
Creative play is important. We know this. Given a heap of blocks and a few wooden or plastic animals, kids will make an imaginary world come to life. Add a cardboard box or two for hours of entertainment. You can join in the fun, if you’re feeling extra-creative!
Wood vs. Plastic:
Wooden toys far surpass plastic for sheer toughness. Our wooden toys withstood heavy use… The plastic toys ended up in the bin. Environmentally and financially, wooden toys get an A+.
Don’t Get Carried Away…
It’s tempting to buy everything in the store! But really, less is more. Investing in a few good quality toys will sound like very good sense if you happen to step on a broken piece of cheap plastic toy in the night. A recent poll found that children only play with five percent of their toys… Think of all that money spent on stuff that will lurk at the bottom of the toybox, unused. Usually, the latest flashy toy will be played with once and the ones that have been around for generations will entertain your kids for years to come. Good quality toys are recyclable too: Our wooden blocks and train tracks have been handed down to happy little cousins, even after being bashed, crashed and loved to death by my three boys.
Our All Time Favourites:
Sets of animals and people, farms and buildings
Matchbox and Hot Wheels Cars
Cardboard boxes, glue, crayons and bits of paper
Musical and percussion instruments
And a Teddy Bear!
What's on your Christmas List? What are your kids' favourites?