As I've been having a clearout and thinking about what to buy for Christmas, one thing has become apparent: the toys with lasting value are very thin on the ground. By this I mean the ones that your children return to again and again. Because this year, in the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, I would love to only invest in toys that will have lasting appeal. Though really you can never predict what children will latch on to – sometimes it's the little things that they love the most.
However, I also wonder whether we parents latch on to classic toys a bit too much, and underestimate how much children enjoy the latest short-lived fads.
So which of your children's toys stand the test of time? These are mine:
The stories that I used to read to my children at bedtime seem to come around again when they're learning to read and need something straightforward to build their reading confidence. And my nine-year-old takes great pleasure in reading books like Harry Potter and Jacqueline Wilson's stories over and over again.
A classic toy for a reason. It's so simple that it challenges the imagination very easily. Sets vary from toddlers to teens.
- Pop-up tent
This is one I would really like to get rid of, because it takes up a lot of space, even when it's folded down. It doesn't get used a lot, but every so often my son gets out the tent he got for his second birthday, and it becomes everything from a garden shelter to a spy headquarters or a library. So I guess we're stuck with it for a while.
These magnetic balls and sticks are so tactile even adults love to play with them. Sort of like an executive toy for kids.
- Magnetic Colour Doodle
A magnetic board you can draw on, then wipe off. At first I used it to draw little pictures, but now my children use it to send me messages. Mind you, I bought one of these for a friend's child and he looked at me like I was deranged, so maybe it's not for everybody.
- Arts and crafts sets
Actually 'sets' would be pushing it, because these rarely stay complete for long. But coloured pens, paper and stuff for making stuff, never seem to go out of fashion
- Baby dolls and soft toys
My daughter was never really into Barbie-type dolls, but the baby-sized ones still get incorporated into many games, and she insists she can't sleep without at least a dozen 'cuddlies'.
- PlaymobilLike a lot of these toys, Playmobil can seem pricey at first to invest in, but when your child plays with it every day for years, you can see how you're getting your money's worth. Plus these are so sturdy that they still look like new, despite being used over and over.
So which toys do your children go back for time and time again? Leave a comment and let us know