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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Must have toys for 1 - 3 year olds

    What are the best, most used toys for this age group? I just opened and don't have a ton of toys but am looking for the best toys to add to my playroom - I'm going for play value over quantity - hopefully!

  2. #2
    Euphoric !
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    I have the Fisher Price parking garage and a whole lot of cars and the boys and girls play with it every single day. I also have a kitchenette and a shopping cart full of dishes and those are out every day. Easel & chalk, washable markers and paper, finger puppets, dolls, blocks, we have a tunnel that I purchased at Ikea. Besides that there is a variety of musical instruments which I hide after a while, hehe, and by the way I got most of the big items used at yard sales, Value Village, Goodwill and bleached the heck out of them.

    You don't have to spend a ton of money. My children love balloons and balls and bubbles and sidewalk chalk and letter boards and making a fort with blankets better than my expensive pop up tent that I bought for them. For the babies, I have a few walking toys they can push around and learn to walk. Just one more thing. For your own sanity, don't buy things with repetitive loud music or talking.

    You can make your own playdo and buy paint at the dollar store and sometimes I even make my own fingerpaint with just a little flour, water and food colouring or shaving cream & glue and food colouring.

  3. #3
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    Some things that my little ones have played with a lot: balls, little people, cars/trucks, drum/piano/xylophone, a little wooden duck with a string that you can pull around, toy animals and dinosaurs, play tools. Also wooden puzzles and board books.

  4. #4
    Starting to feel at home... Big Hearts's Avatar
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    my kids love foam blocks, as well play dishes and food I picked up for cheap at ikea! Ikea also has great toy cars made of wood my daycare loves, the play with them more then the tonka cars we have.

  5. #5
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    I bought various bandanas and silky scarves from the dollar store and my 1-3 yr olds love them! they will play for at least an hour with them. They also love puppets.

  6. #6
    Euphoric ! Dreamalittledream's Avatar
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    Everything everyone else said, for sure! My daycare kids favourites: Melissa & Doug latch board & doorbell house, train table (the one that is hollowed out with built in tracks), dress up trunk, ball pit, Elefun butterfly game, Catch 4 & peg boards (fine motor), magnet wall (especially felt stories!).
    Children are great imitators.
    So give them something great to imitate.

    ~Anonymous~

  7. #7
    Euphoric ! Dreamalittledream's Avatar
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    Oh and the best advise re: Toys that I ever received (thanks to Reggio...avoid as many as you can that take batteries. You will get sick of the cost of batteries, the sounds/lights of the toys themselves and why not invest instead in toys they can use their imagination with and do many different things with (blocks, animals, people, scarves, costumes, puppets...)
    Children are great imitators.
    So give them something great to imitate.

    ~Anonymous~

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  9. #8
    Shy
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    The most loved "toy" for my kids (all between 16 mo and 2yrs) are ribbon wands that I made by attaching strands of ribbon to wooden teething rings. The kids use these during dance time. Usually they ask for them 2-3 times a day!
    Building blocks and puzzles are also well used. Dolls with accessories like blankets, bottles, and stroller are loved by my girls and boy. Play kitchen and accessories is also a big winner.

  10. #9
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    I agree with opting for play value over quantity ... also check out your community for a toy lending program no need to buy when you can borrow to get variety and rotation!

    I prefer open ended materials for children specially when working with 'mixed age groups' because than each age group can use them different depending on their age and stage

    When choosing toys for the playroom I always try to envision at least 3 different ways the material could be used by children this guarantees they will come up with at least twice that and the material will be a good investment than!

    Staples for me are:

    A large wooden 'house' which is just stained plain wood to leave it open to the imagination ... serves as doll house, the fire department, the hospital, the farm, Santa's workshop and so forth so no need for me to have to store all those different Fisher Price style units .... one staple piece that can be used for a multitude of different playscapes depending on what accessories are put out with it and the imagination and interest of the children.

    A good set of wooden blocks along with organized accessories like cars, trains, planes, community helper style people, little animals and so forth to add to their play here ~ fun for all ages to create things from simple stacking towers to complex playscapes.

    Dramatic play centre stocked with real life things like food boxes, pots, pans, dishes, cellphones, scraves, dress up clothes, babies, calculators, cameras and all the other things children will use to 'role play'.

    Book nook ... a place for quiet exploration of books, puppets, puzzles and just lounging ... again aside from the staples of perhaps little chairs and what not no need to buy hordes for this area ~ make use of the toy lending library for variety and rotation

    Creative Discovery area ... a small table and chairs set up as place to explore open ended craft materials like coloring, painting, gluing and sensory like play dough, science nature or discovery invitations and so forth

    Musical instruments ... a collection of materials to use to make music with.

    Everything else on my toy shelves are open ended materials .... a collection of different textured fabric peices and scarves, a collection of cellphones, cameras, binoculars, calculators, computer key boards, joy sticks, a collection of 'large lids' which serve as food, money and 'treasures' in their play and also get used for sorting and classification and so forth ... my children will play more with real life 'bits and bobs' collected from around the house and second hand stores than they would with traditional toys like shape sorters and 'themed' Little Tykes or Fischer Price style things ... not that I do not have a few of these types of things but just not my focus for them in the playroom.

    Sometimes with children LESS is more because it encourages them to think outside the box and use their imagination in their play ... my children are NEVER bored and some days they will play for hours with just a bin of lids and few other things they collected and their play will evolve from one concept to another as the change what those lids represent for them
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  11. #10
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    Here yeah ,,, the little people garage is the only thing I have nto yet rotated OUT of the toy room. ALL the kids play with it and music instruments. I have mulitple sets of the Melissa and Doug band in the box.
    Every month I have a theme and most times we build something related to it like when it was fish we built and aquarium with a box, made puppets on a posicle stick, used blue chiffon for the water and the kids played with it non stop.
    One time we made huge clown hats ...the them was carnaval. Wow they would not stop wearing it.
    When it was barn animals, we painted a big red barn, put some stray in it and hay ... Again , it became the favorite toy int he place. So I would say things they create themselfs but can play with it creates extra interest at minimal cost.

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