Sometimes I think we get all caught up in the new and shiny toys out there each year for our kids that we forget about the simple, good old fashioned toys out there. The originals. The ones that will never go away. The ones that come from companies that don't use air time, fancy advertisements, and popular well known characters to sell their products. Some of these toys are just amazing on their own, because they were designed for educational and engaging purposes! They are phenomenal at opening up your child's imagination, without the aid of their favorite cartoon buddies, or without a well known brand name stamped on them. I truly believe the creators wanted to give something to the kids, truly, not just want to make some money. Sometimes these toys are so simple they get overlooked come holiday season, because everyone wants to give the gift with bells and whistles. However, some of these toys are the very best! As a mom, teacher, and nanny, these are the ones that make my list!
Here are my top 20 favorite noncommercial toys for preschool aged children!
1. Shopping carts + play food + kitchen. Nothing sparks the imagination like dramatic play. Kids mimic everything they see the people around them do, and it's not just cute, or funny, it's also very important. Kids need time to play, act, and mimic adults because it makes them better understand the world around them and teaches them how to act socially. One of Noelle's favorite ways to play, is to either play house, or play shopping. This isn't only a "girl activity." Boys can certainly (and should) play house and shop as well! They learn how to share ("Would you like some tea?"), they learn how to serve (fixing up each other some food), and they learn how the world functions ("Here's $5 for my groceries").
4. Dress up clothes. This goes hand in hand with #1. Kids should be doing lots of dramatic play! And when I say dress up, I don't just mean getting little girls dresses and crowns. I also mean getting doctor's uniforms, cowboy/cowgirl outfits, police officer uniforms, etc. for both girls and boys. There's a whole world of imagination out there and half the time kids don't need the outfits to believe what character they are, but having it to compliment the fun makes it even better!
16. Water table + water toys. Much like sand, water is another great sensory too. Water tables are great, especially for the warmer months. When you have to stay indoors there's no better place to play with water than in the bath! There are so many fun water toys out there nowadays that bath time is now another play time in our house!
Some places where you can find said toys, include (but are not limited to):
*All the images shown above were taken from one of my favorite sites, Zulily. If you haven't heard of it, it's similar to a discount store (think Marshall's or TJMaxx) that's online. They sell well known and off brands for up to 70% off the retail price, and there's something new every day. They offer these prices until the items simply sell out. Click on my link, to get there and join! (Membership is free. I get so many of the girls' things from Zulily. BTW, I don't get anything from them to say all this - I just really do think they offer some great deals! - But if you click on my link and join, I do get credit for the referral. :))