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Every birthday and Christmas I dread the one question that is always asked, “What do you want?” Now that I’m a mother I get to dread that question for not only me, but my child as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving gifts. I love even more watching my little one open them.
What I don’t love:
Useless junk that piles up in my house and is never used.
Toys that are a one and done or easily break.
Toys with tiny pieces that can't be kept up with.
I try to be pretty minimal when it comes to “stuff.” I go through my daughter’s toy box and closet once every 3 months and if she hasn’t worn or played with something in over a month, or price tags are still on it, it goes bye-bye. So I came up with a list of our favorite, long lasting and educational toys that not only get played with, but also help teach her life skills and don't break when she's rough on them.
You may notice quite a few of them are wooden toys and come from our favorite business, Melissa & Doug! This is not sponsored, I just really love their toys! You can’t beat the quality and prices!
So here goes!
It always amazes me how observant little ones are and how quickly they pick up on how to do things. When my daughter started trying to help me vacuum, I gave her a broom to carry around. She follows right behind me, "sweeping" away. Unfortunately, the broom is twice her size, so there's a lot of frustration of running into things. When I found this 6 piece kid size mope and broom set, I knew it would be perfect for her!
On the topic of cleaning, she is constantly trying to get my Thieves cleaning spray bottle and a dish rag to copy me. I'm not sure who was more excited, her or me, when I found this caddy cleaning set! It comes with a waterproof caddy, a spray bottle, a squirt bottle, a scouring powder can, a squeegee, a cloth, a scrub brush, a sponge, and a cleaning checklist. It is the cutest little thing and since it looks exactly like the same products I use, it makes her actually want to use it, which us great because we all know the littles only want what they can't have!
If you use special locks in your house, then this one might not seem like such a great idea to you, but we love this board! Not only has my daughter learned how to open 6 different locks, but she has also started learning her colors, animals and numbers through it! Under each latch is a specific number of animals all one certain color.
These little tiles are not by Melissa & Doug, but they are one of the most played with toys! Not to mention they are great for traveling with. We make sure to always have these in the diaper bag no matter where we go! We bought them to keep our daughter entertained when we went on her first plane ride. They were a lifesaver! She played with them on the plane, at the airport and now everywhere she goes! Not to mention, they come in a small gray drawstring bag that she loves to carry around.
For my animal loving friends, this little set is so cute! We don't personally own this one at home yet simply because it does come with 24 pieces and I just don't want them all over my house (haha, no shame in that!), but a friend has this set and it is so fun to watch the little ones play pretend and take care of their furry friends.
The bag is nice to try to keep the pieces together.
We have both plastic and wooden blocks. I'll share the plastic ones, as well, below. There are pros and cons to both, but we love both sets. This set comes with 100 blocks in 4 different colors and 9 shapes. I love the wooden ones for building because the different shapes are fun to create with and they're much more durable. That said, if they are thrown by little innocent Johnny or Susie, they do hurt much worse.
I bought these to put in Kinsley's stocking and I'm so excited to have her use these! There's 3 different ones: animals, numbers and letters, but they are mess free and will be great for traveling with! You just fill up the pen with water, color - let it dry and it disappears so they can do it over again!
My husband is a former Speech Pathologist and one of speech therapist buddies had this little game at their facility. The kids loved it! It comes with two fishing rods so the kids can play either alone or with a friend/sibling/parent.
The cool thing about this specific one is that it has a spinner included to help teach the kids numbers and colors.
I'll be honest and say that I haven't bought this for my daughter yet, but it is on the list for this spring. It's another Melissa & Doug set. After my husband and I had our first garden this year, our little girl was only 9-12 months old during the time of it and she LOVED being out there, trying to play with the shovel and picking vegetables, etc. so when I saw this set, it was I quickly added it to the list. This specific one is the one I will be buying though.
My daughter may be under the age of 2, but she already knows how much her momma loves to bake. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen at the mixer. She usually sits next to me on the counter or I give her a bowl and some spatulas to pretend with. So when I saw this mini mixer a few months ago, I just couldn't pass it up! It even comes with a recipe card. The recommended age is 3+ so I got it to give her at Christmas.
Speaking of in the kitchen, we don't have this set at home (yet), but a friend of ours had it and the little ones absolutely loved these stainless steel pots and pans! Kinsley is always trying to pull out my big pots and pans to carry around and since these actually looked like mine, she naturally wanted to play with them even more. You just can't go wrong with pretend kitchen toys. This set is just the pots and pans, but they do have an option for both the pots and pans with utensils, too!
Another Melissa & Doug favorite, I stumbled upon this little clock at one of the nursery's we visited and have it on the list for Kinsley's next birthday. The colors and moveable blocks are great for helping little ones learn time, along with the moveable clock hands.
When my brother and I were little, we each had one of these wooden dress up puzzles. His was a boy bear and mine a girl bear. Ours aren't Disney themed, but are identical to these in design. I found mine the other day and it is still in great shape! I was amazed at how well it held up, it does have multiple pieces so after showing it to Kinsley and finding pieces all over my house, I quickly decided we'd put that one away until next year because like I said, little pieces everywhere, not a fan. However, this was a favorite toy of ours!
We asked for this cube for Kinsley's first Christmas. She was only 4 months old at the time, but she started playing with it around 6 months and it has been a favorite since. It comes with 12 shapes to sort, but they're easy to keep up with and contain thanks to the cube itself. It has been great to learn colors with this past year!
This was one of the first puzzles Kinsley got, it was for her first birthday and I don't know what's cuter, the puzzle itself or her trying to mimic the sounds each animal makes! We don't keep many puzzles because, you guessed it, lots of pieces, but the 3 we have are all from Melissa & Doug and have helped us to teach our little girl her basic colors, numbers and animals/sounds.
There you have it! Those are our top 15 favorite toys for the 1-2 year range; durable, educational and of course, FUN! Have a favorite toy? I'd love to hear! I'm always looking for new ideas! Drop a comment below to let me know!