I really enjoy toys and playing with Noah. Because he doesn't go to daycare (and is therefore home seven days a week), it's important to me that he has wholesome things to play with. You do not need any of the toys on this list, in fact, the most important thing you can do for your child is give them your love and attention. However, all of these toys have passed my personal checklist 1. they are well made 2. they will actually be played with and 3. they don't take up large amounts of space (with a few exceptions). I will put an asterisk behind the items that we either currently own or Noah will be receiving for Christmas.
Building: I love that blocks are an open-ended toy that entertain children of all ages. I specifically like these wooden blocks by Bannor toys, Magna-Tiles*, Tegu blocks, balancing blocks * (ours are homemade), and the Grimms rainbow.
Pretend Play: A soft doll is a wonderful toy for both boys and girls to play with. I like this doll* for a little boy. Cuddle and Kind is also a neat company that makes hand knit dolls. Play silks* are a versatile option and work wonderfully for dressing up and peak-a-boo. I also think that play kitchens*, pots and pans* and pretend food* are fun.
Small World Play: Noah is particularly fond of vehicles (wooden cars and trains)*. He also loves animals*. For Christmas, David and I painted him peg people and are giving him a doll house* sized for them.
Art: One of my favorite things as a child was creating little projects out of art supplies. You can even find craft supplies at Dollar Tree (stickers, pom poms, glitter etc.) Here are some more great suggestions: honey stick crayons, play-doh, kinetic Sand, a paper roll , wooden play-doh tools and chalk.*
Movement: Kids are naturally active so it's important to encourage them in active play that isn't destructive. Here are some suggestions: a ball,* a crawl tunnel*, a balance board, river stones & a Pikler Triangle (this is very expensive and does take up space). Another great option for getting out energy is to go hiking or visit a playground.
Reading: For younger children I would recommend touch and feel books* and for older children an I spy book or any book with real pictures is fantastic.
Outdoors: This swing,* has been a favorite for many months and I always get the sweetest pictures of him in it. He is also getting a wagon* this year that I think will be wonderful for trips to the zoo.
Lastly, if you are wanting some ideas other than toys I would recommend a zoo membership*, tickets to visit an aquarium (we plan to take Noah soon), a McWayne membership or donations to a savings account.