While clearly not the greatest hardship of being a new mom of twins, one thing I found frustrating from the start was trying to pick out toys for my little guys. I was frustrated because: A. Would they like it? and B. For how long would they like it? It just seemed like a crapshoot. And for a double-income family that became a single-income family after I became a SAHM, there was no room for waste.
So, my criteria for a good toy was that they had to play with it for more than 5 minutes (I know, I set the bar high, right?), and that they had to play with it for more than 5 days. Longevity and a long shelf-life are what I was looking for.
Amazingly, we hit the jackpot quite a few times, and mostly by accident. Some were gifts to us; some were hand-me-downs (which we gladly accept). But looking back, last December, my boys were almost 9 months old, and I can remember the toys they received. Today, they are almost 21 months old, and many of them they are still playing with! A whole year of fun? That is definitely a big bang for the buck and a win in my book.
While knowing all kids are different, let me share some fan favorites of my two expert toy critics.
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My boys loved all the gears and sound and buttons when they were younger. Once they got a little older, they pulled themselves up and walked around with it. Now, they love running around the house with it and crashing it into everything!
The boys LOVE this toy, and they weren’t even into Thomas when they first got it. They loved pushing the buttons and hearing it go, “Choo-Choo!” and make all the other train noises. They loved opening the seat and putting anything and everything inside – Jenga blocks, spoons, puzzle pieces. Now – you guessed it – they love running around the house and smashing it into doors, walls, furniture – and each other! We have two of these because they both loved it so much. They play with this toy every. single. day.
If Thomas is too boyish, try the elephant. This is a good unisex choice. My boys have this one and like this one just as much! They love bouncing on the seat!
We got a LOT of use out of this one. When the boys were first learning to walk, they LOVED zipping around! It was honestly one of the cutest things to watch. While they were cruising, they loved going to the table, pulling themselves up, and playing with all the activities. Once they didn’t want to be confined anymore, we took the chair off, and now it is just an activity table they still love playing with!
I cannot say enough great things about this one. My boys discovered this while in the church nursery, and I knew we had to get it for them. They LOVE opening and closing the door, going in and out. We set ours up in the corner, so behind the door is a little fort of sorts. They love bringing pillows in through the door and having their own little baby-man-cave! They play with this one every day, too!
We’ve gotten a lot of life out of this one also. I love that it grows with them. At first, they just liked the lights and music and gears. Now, they love putting balls (and blocks and stuffed animals) through the basketball hoop. Once they get coordinated enough, they will have themselves a just-right-sized soccer goal. VTech for the win!
My sister gave us this toy after her kids were done with it, and thank God! This is another fan favorite. She said her kids loved this one for a long time, and I think ours will, too! At first, again, it was just the lights and buttons and sounds. Then, they learned to drop the letters through the train shoot and watch it come out in the caboose. Then they learned to snap the letters in the boxes. They like to flip the pages and look at the pictures. Eventually, they will match the letters with the words and pictures in the book. A great one to grow with them! Still going strong with this one!
Oh my goodness. We take these out first thing in the morning, and they keep coming back to these cars all day long! Not only are they super-cute, but really fun! Once they learned how to pull back the cars (well, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth – same effect), it’s so fun to watch them shoot across the room, crash into something, bounce off and go in another direction. When we go out, this is a toy we always bring with us to keep them busy!
From day 1, the boys loved this cute little guy. At first, they would just drag him around the house by the string, along with pushing buttons and seeing lights. Now that they have learned how to feed Dino, it keeps them busy for a long while. As they get older and understand more words, they will actually be able to feed Dino what he is asking for! (Healthy foods, of course!)
This is a great music toy. It has all different instruments on the back of the turtle shell. By pressing them, you can add or subtract instruments from the classical music song! Right now, the boys just press them randomly, but it will be a great musical teaching tool as they get older! But they are still loving this toy a year later.
I honestly can’t figure out why they love this toy so much, but they go crazy over this one. This is the one toy that, when they see it, they whine, cry and reach for like no other! When they have their cranky days, I pull this one out, and it focuses them enough to calm down. They adore this one!
Future Toys I Wish I Had Gotten Sooner
This next batch has not been tested by my boys, but these are ones I’ve gotten them for Christmas this year. I know my boys will love them, but to be honest, I think they would have loved them if I had gotten them months ago. So, I’m going to include them on this list.
I went to a friend’s house, and she had this car for her little girl. My boys fought over this all morning long! We have the Bright Starts Baby Light and Colors Driver, (which they also love, by the way – and it’s a great option if you don’t want to get something this big), but something about getting in and out of the car (you know, that open/close-door-thing) was so fun for them! So, this will be under the tree this year. This also comes in other colors.
I read about this one last Christmas, and it got great reviews. I wanted to get it for the boys and then sort of got lost in Babyland before that happened. I came across it again on a Facebook moms’ group, did a little research, and decided to get it. From what I’ve read, kids have fun using this one up until 3 and 4 years old! That’s what I’m talking about! (If you are interested, jump on this deal on Amazon. They are selling it for almost $20 less than what I paid for it, on Amazon, on Cyber Monday! Grrrr!)
My boys have always loved crawling through things, hiding in and under things, so I’m sure they would have gotten a kick out of this months ago! I know this one will grow with them for a long time. Who doesn’t like a secret hideaway – especially one where you have to crawl through a tunnel to get there? I also bought some ball pit balls to add to the fun!
The 4 Bs
You can’t go wrong with the four Bs: blocks, balls, bubbles and board books (5 Bs?). My boys will play with these all day long as well, and any kind you choose will likely be a hit.
Here are a few tips:
- Get your bubbles from Dollar Tree! Super-cheap and they work great! (Not the ones in the 3-pack, but the ones that are $1 each).
- For board books, grab a few that have lift-up flaps – they keep my boys busy for a long while, and they get so excited seeing what is under the flap.
- Most blocks will be a hit, but when they are littler, try the Melissa and Doug Soft Blocks. They are a great introduction and have pictures and all sorts of learning activities on them; they will definitely grow with your littles.
Hope my little guys’ picks will help you out! There are still 10 shopping days until Christmas – have fun!