Not all toys are created equal. Some toys get played with for 5 minutes and then sit on the shelf for 10 years. Some toys break and can’t be played with after the first time you use them. And some toys cost SO MUCH MONEY. This post is NOT for those toys. The toys in this list are the workhorse toys. They don’t cost much. They get played with all the time. IF they eventually break it is due to extreme overuse.
#1. On-the-Go Water Reveal Pad : $5
I was skeptical when I first brought this toy home. I thought they probably would leak water everywhere, and the water would run out quickly, and they’d basically be useless. However, I have had good experiences with the “Melissa and Doug” brand, so I thought I could take a $5 risk. Oh man, how glad I am to have this toy! We keep a couple in our church bag for the kids to play with when they need to sit still and be quiet. The kids love them, they don’t leak, and the water lasts FOREVER. Seriously. We’ve had this toy in the church bag since last Christmas and I didn’t refill them until JULY. Buy it. You won’t be sorry.
#2. Sidewalk Chalk: $15
Tried and True! A little advice with this toy: keep them in a plastic tub or bucket. Organizing them back into the box after every use gets tedious, especially when the kids snap the sticks in half. As long as your just dumping them into a container, no amount of breakage will stop your kids from using them down to the tiniest nub.
#3. Snap Beads:$15
We bought these for my daughter when she turned 3. She’s a girly-girl, and our oldest is a boy, so I wanted to get her a toy that was more feminine. She could snap the beads together herself, even though she was young. My son has enjoyed playing with them too. All-in-all a good, creative building toy.
#4. Matthew Reinhart Pop-Up Books: $20-25
Matthew Reinhart is an amazing creator of Pop-up Books. My son LOVES the Lego Pop-up. Books are definitely fragile toys, but this one has proven to be about as resilient as normal books are, which is incredible considering it’s intricacies. They are well-built and ingeniously designed. A great way to interest kids in books.
#5. Magnetic Tiles: $30
My first experience with magnetic tiles were with the brand name “Magformers.” My kids loved them, but I didn’t love the price tag (more than $1 per tile!). So we bought some knockoffs. 102 pieces for 30 bucks. They’ve held up well and my kids play with them all the time.