For the first three years of Connor’s life we lived in an apartment. This means there was no designated “toy room” and instead all of his toys and games had to fit in our living room or his bedroom (or stacked in the guest bedroom closet…sorry guests!) We moved to our first home in August, and one of the things we were most excited about was having a bonus room over the garage to house all of his toys. We joked, “We’ll have to buy more toys to fill up all this space!” Ummm….no… I have no idea what kind of Houdini magic was taking place in that apartment but all of Connor’s toys EASILY filled that double-bay-sized playroom and spilled into adjoining closets. Eek!
But if there is one silver lining to this game-a-palooza, it means we have LOTS of great suggestions for beloved early board games and toys. Here are some of our favorites complete with links. I’ll add to this list as we think of more 🙂
We love this game! It is especially great at helping reinforce one-to-one correspondence and numeral recognition. Super easy game that is great for even the very youngest of players
Have a very young child at home? This game is great for early vocabulary development for toddlers in that taby (toddler/baby) stage. At almost 4, Connor still enjoys using these cards to do a scavenger hunt around the house.
I just LOVE this resource. The wooden numbers and letters fit inside the thick flashcards like a puzzle. Plus, each alphabet card shows both the lowercase AND uppercase letters along with a word image and the cursive letter on the back. Connor loves to play matching with these cards and to line them up like a parade.
Connor got this case of toy foods for Christmas last year, and he has played with it nearly every day since then. I love that it came in a storage bin. These foods are great for vocabulary development (my child now knows more vegetable names than he’s ever eaten), and matching skills along with fine motor development
The jumbo animals collection for Learning Resources have been a HUGE hit in our family. They are a little pricey (about $30 per box of 5 animals) but they are high-quality and have great detail. I love that they are quite large, making them perfect for little hands. Plus each set comes with an info sheet on the animals to guide your discussions and play. DEFINITELY worth the investment. We use masking tape as band-aids and play veterinarian offie with these animals just about every week.
It sounds like such a simple thing, but this toy washer/dryer has given us HOURS of play. Washing toys, socks, baby doll clothes, letters, etc. or using it like a Bingo raffler to pull out random numbers or letters to practice recognition. Connor could just sit and watch this thing spin forever.
This Fisher Price car track was Connor’s number 1 obsession from age 18months till about age 2.5. All day every day he just wanted to “pay tars” (play cars). In my opinion, this one is the best because of the simple design. The other ones (like the Take Turns Skyway) are harder to manipulate because of the pull-down levers.
We got this exact doctor kit as a Christmas present long ago, and I am pretty sure it’s been used daily since then. For a long time Connor was obsessed with the dentist tools and hippo mouth model. Now he likes pretending to give us a shot and listen to our breathing. This kit is WELL WORTH IT to help calm anxieties around medical checkups through role playing.
We have the Sam’s Club version of this grocery store (on deep discount after the holidays), but it is very similar. Connor plays with it more than he does his toy kitchen. He absolutely loves playing cashier while making us shop for food.