In almost 13 years (ACK!- a teenager), we have seen a lot of toys. Many of them noisy, plastic, cheap and now gone. What remains? Well, here are my picks for you-can't-really-go-wrong toys...no books on this list because they are obviously the BEST choice ALWAYS :).
Fisher Price Little People - We have quite the collection - and these are great to find at yard sales (although there aren't any around here now that it is wet & cold!). Our favorites? The Farm & the School Bus are timeless and verastile. Evie is currently diggin' the Thanksgiving set and the Castle. But the dudes would have loved the wheelie set....
Melissa & Doug - where to start... Their products have never steered me wrong. We love the wooden food, blocks, puzzles- the Clock is a favorite as is the car carrier. You can find them everywhere and they are reasonably priced. Hooray!
Automoblox - as Laura already graciously pointed out; removable parts + indestructible = favorite toy Evie likes them too...
Easels - Ikea's is 14.99 (see above) Melissa & Doug have one too...you can't really go wrong.
Action Figures - It is easy to be anti character toys (they are cheaply made & cheesy), but since we are already luddites, I am okay with a few favorite mix & match action figures. And you need some people to inhabit the worlds built with Legos, blocks, etc. They make good stocking stuffers too. We have seen it all from the Wiggles to Rescue Heroes and Transformers to Ben 10. And we have a little bit of all of it now, after perhaps some character overkill in the past. One mixed up box still gets mild rotation and reminds me of the different age and stages...sigh.
Board Games - once you are past the Candyland stage...these are our most requested game night choices - Spy Alley, Break the Safe, Clue, Monopoly. What are your faves?
There is also play food (who doesn't love fake burgers?), paper dolls (my favorite), and baseball cards. And I remain firm in my belief that everyone likes new sports equipment - there is nothing like a fresh basketball, football or soccer ball.
I realize this is mostly a boy list - so I ask you mamas to girls...what are essentials for the lil ladies?