Meet my little guy Oliver: almost 3 year old (in one week, how?!), active, imaginative, funny, outgoing, constantly on the go. Despite the chaotic, distracted, inattentive culture we live in, I'm striving for slow, focused and learning to appreciate the ordinary. Although there's absolutely nothing wrong with buying the the bells and whistles type of toys (and so fun watching them open), I'd rather provide the experience and challenge to use their imagination. Some of the best advice I've received is allowing them to feel bored. How else will they learn to move past the boredom into creativity if we are constantly entertaining and bombarding them with stimulation? This philosophy translates to our toy collection. These current favorite musings keep Oliver busy and I love watching him actively engage in his imaginary world.
1. Homemade wooden blocks - My hubbs crafted the middle blocks from an old project and the wooden frames to the left are originally repurposed barn wood purchased from Etsy a few years back. We originally used these as home decor turned catering props turned toddler toy. I love multipurpose, multifunction objects. Bonus: aren't they pretty too?
2. Melissa & Doug farm wooden block puzzle - Oliver received this as a birthday gift last year and has recently taken a liking and understanding to this puzzle that offers different farm animal options. I know there's a plethora of more unique, pretty puzzle options , but can't argue with free so this one stays while he plays with it.
3. Plastic stacking cups - Ok so I'm not a huge fan of plastic and we try to minimize the usage in our home, but these offer multiple play options from stacking and sorting to scooping and bath toys. Plus at $3.99 from Amazon they don't break the bank.
4. Magnatiles - These are literally THE best! I can't rave enough about these little magnet shapes. My husband and I probably get equal play time out of them. Oliver loves building houses, tents, roadways, boats and creating different things for his beloved cars. They double as travel toys too. They are a tad pricier starting at $19.99 for a set of squares and triangles, but when I calculate usage value they are well worth the investment.
5. Basket of cars - A mix of old (from Michael's childhood), Goodwill finds, potty training rewards and "borrowed" from Grandma and Grandpa's house. He adores his cars. I find him lining them in neat little rows, stacking them on wooden blocks, hidden in various magnatile creations.
The next investment I would love to treat Oliver to are the line of Grimm's Wooden Toys. I stumbled upon these beauties via Denaye Barahona of Simple Families podcast. The investment is steep, but quality > quantity. Not to mention the design aesthetic criteria met, check.