The 5 BEST toys!

Ok. These are my dream toys. If I could, I would give these five toys to every child, because as far as I’m concerned they are the BEST toys of all time.

There are a ton of great toys that didn’t make the list (like puzzles, games, and musical instruments), because I limited myself to only five. It wasn’t easy, but those five toys had to follow ALL of our rules. So, remember the rules? We want toys that:

1) Are related to real life experiences that your child lives everyday;

2) Will be interesting to your child for a long time;

3) Will keep your child engaged through active play, not just pushing buttons;

4) Will offer your child experiences with a variety of skills or concepts (not just SCLANS) and offer play experiences that may be simple at first, but can be expanded over time; and

5) Will add something special to your child’s toy collection, not add more junk that takes time away from truly effective toys and that you can’t wait to get rid of.

And the BEST toys (not in any particular order) are…

1) Dollhouse

Dollhouses are the best way to allow your child to act out and play what HE or SHE knows about (ex: eating, sleeping, washing, mommy, daddy, baby, etc.).

I love this dollhouse by Plan Toys because it’s eco-friendly. Really, it’s unbelievable and if I could, I would move in. Rainwater collection. Recycling. SOLAR PANELS! It’s awesome. The house includes furniture for five rooms. They also sell fun expansion sets separately (like a dog and dog house, or garden set). Although it’s a bit pricey, remember, you are going to be buying fewer toys AND these are toys that are going to last your child for years. This is a keeper.


If the green house is still just too expensive or you want something smaller, this is my other FAVORITE house (available at Kohls). Yes, I have two favorite dollhouses. I use this smaller house in my work everyday because it’s portable. It comes with some furniture and has more sold separately. I can assure you, boys and girls alike have gotten hours of enjoyment and learning from this house and you can take it with you wherever you go!


2) Farm

I love this one by Melissa & Doug, but there are hundreds! Although your child may or may not be around animals every day, the ACTIONS of what you do on a farm (feed, sleep, play) are similar to what you do at home. Plus, making animal sounds is so much fun!

3) Baby

I didn’t pick this image in particular. Any baby doll is great. Some kids like big babies and some like little babies. In general, it’s best to try to coordinate with the size of your child. Target has a small baby that my daughter can easily carry in one hand that’s around $3. That’s her favorite. Hallelujah.


I must admit that the marketing for dolls makes it difficult to see them as being okay for boys. There’s so much pink, flowers, and sweetness that it can be sickening. You can just strip that baby down and have your crafty aunt make a little plaid jumper, or if you just cannot, will not, do not like baby dolls for boys, what about a dog? Would you allow a boy to feed, wash, put to sleep a dog? Well, here you go.


Still pink!!!  Bwahahahah! It does say colors may vary! I don’t know what to tell you.

4) Potato Head

Enough said about that, right? Classic. Body parts and clothing items. Endless hours of crazy options.

5) Kitchen

Kitchen play leads to an infinite variety of meals, talking about categories of foods (ex: fruits, vegetables, etc.), and many different actions (ex: stirring, baking, pouring, etc.). I know several boys and girls with this set that have had many hours of fun and more to come. AND…my daughter is getting this as her main present this year from her grandparents! Can’t wait!


When you’re ready, these are also great accessories to add on to the kitchen.


And because it was really, really hard to just stick to 5, here’s one more. Although it’s not really a toy, so maybe I did stick to my 5 only criteria after all.  Instead this is a piece of furniture that every house would love to have. It’s called the Learning Tower by Little Partners and it allows your child to safely participate in activities in the kitchen. You can get done what you need to get done AND your child can be engaged in learning with you at the same time! It comes in many colors, not just the green one below.

AND, it has an attachable art easel, so that you aren’t adding another large piece to your home.


So, what did I leave off? Do you like my list or do you have something I should add?

  1. rachel says:

    I have and LOVE all (or at least some version) of all of these toys. Oh, and I have the doggie with the blue carrier case, and it is a HIT with the boys!

  2. Sjell23 says:

    A nice set of wooden blocks – HABA makes really nice ones:

  3. Shire says:

    Thanks for putting it out there that boys can have dolls too! Maybe, instead of having the name dolls, they can be called “little buddies”. Not sure what the dolls house can be renamed to.

  4. Shire says:

    Also, homemade toys are great! Sock puppets, plastic cups and Tupperware, drums made from oatmeal containers, ect. That’s if you want more than 5 toys in you house.

  5. erin says:

    great list!!!! I was stuck on what to get Sadie for her 3 christmas gifts and these are great ideas. She loves her Mrs Mermaid Potato Head!

  6. Sofia says:

    Love the list! and want to add that IKEA has also a lot of great learning toys to affordable prices. I love wooden toys, but so does our dog… so think I will get these next time we go to IKEA

    • Kim says:

      You’re right! Checked their website and they are fantastic toys! Your link wouldn’t work for me. Can you resend? I’d love to see a dog proof toy!

  7. Kate says:

    Thanks for your list! I found a slightly less expensive version of the learning tower on OneStepAhead that I’m going to ask a grandparent for for my DS’s 2nd b-day. I can’t wait to have that thing!!

    I also can’t wait to get him a play kitchen, at daycare they said DS’s thing is to cook everyone breakfast (just like Daddy!!) SO stinkin’ cute.