Thursday, November 19, 2009

Favorite Toys for Kids Ages 1-4

With Christmas only 5 weeks away, I wanted to share some of my children's all-time favorite toys, as well as where I found the best deal on them.  Most of the toys are pretty basic- not a lot of glitz and glam, but the kids have a lot of fun with them .  Today I'm sharing our children's favorite toys for ages 1-4 years old.  Tomorrow I will share a list of our favorite toys for kids 4-7 years old.

Please feel free to leave a comment with what your kids' favorite things are too!  I have enjoyed getting ideas from other moms as our kids have been getting older and becoming interested in different things.

 *Duplo Blocks by Lego.  These are a lot of fun to build with, plus they are big enough that choking is not an issue.  This is a toy that kids play with for years and is great for letting several kids play with together.  Even our 6 year old still has a blast with them! 

Where to shop: Wal-mart, Target, and garage sales.

*Touch and Feel Books.  Usborne has some really cool ones which can be found through their consultants, or for an even better price on

*Baby Dolls.  Our girls play with their baby dolls all day long!

*Little Tikes Shopping Cart.  Our 2 year old loves to push around her babies in the shopping cart and the other kids enjoy using it in their kitchen play.

Where to shop:  Toys R Us will have the shopping carts on sale for $17.99 on Black Friday.  

*Doll Stroller.  Our daughters push the stroller around all day long.  You can find these anywhere- Target, Wal-mart, Toys R Us.  Just make sure you find one that has a seat cover that stays on well. 

*Play Food.  The Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box has been a big hit, as well as Learning Resources Pretend and Play Bakery Set

Where to Shop: (especially next week as there are likely to be sales all week long).  Garage sales are a good place to find Fisher Price and Little Tikes Play Food (from the 80's and 90's) for pretty cheap.

*Play Kitchen.  All of our kids love playing kitchen!

Where to Shop:  I found ours at a garage sale for $5!  I find that the older Little Tikes kitchens have better storage, (especially shelves) then some of the newer ones.  Usually you can find people selling play kitchens on Craigs List, however it will be pricer than if it was at a garage sale.  Wooden play kitchens can be found at (with free shipping on some of them), Target and many specialty toy stores.

*Fisher-Price Loving Family Dollhouse and Dolls.  My daughters (ages 2 & 3) play with their doll house every day. I like how much detail there is to the sets and have had a lot of fun playing it with them.

Where to Shop:  Garage Sales!!! I watched spring garage sales and Craigs List for 2 years until I found the doll house I was looking for.  I bought a large doll house with a box full of items to go in it for $25.  This Spring I found another Loving Family Doll House for $5!  I bought it and gave the other one to a friend.  The one we have isn't the newest or fanciest model, but it's just right for our girls.  .  If you can't find one at a garage sale or Craigs List, Wal-mart has them for about the best price I've seen.  They also carry some of the very basic decorating sets to go inside the house.  Toys R Us carries some fun sets for house as well that you might not see at other stores.

*Dress-Up Clothes and Costumes.  Every day is dress up day at our house!  My daughters love to wear ballerina skirts over their clothes, and my sons enjoy dressing up like super heroes as they run around the house.

Where to Shop:  The week after Halloween at Target (you can find them up to 75% off).  Garage sales are a great resource too.  I've found ballerina skirts for 25 cents, as well as ballet shoes, leotards, hats, and costumes for the boys.  25 cents- $1 is what I've found most of those items for. 

*Thomas Trains.  Our kids started playing with these as toddlers and our oldest (age 6) still enjoys playing with them. The wooden ones have a lot of cool bridges and accessories to go with them, but our familiy has the metal Take-Along type.  If cost was not an issue, I would have chosen the wooden type, but our kids have still had a blast with the take-along ones.

Where to Shop:  Just about all the mega stores carry Thomas and finding them on sale is fairly easy.  Craigslist and garage sales are a great way to get a larger ammount of trains for less.

*Matchbox and Hot Wheels Cars.  Our boys started playing with these when they were 1 and like the trains, they still enjoy playing with them now.  When they were really little and couldn't even talk much, they would sit pushing the cars and make car noises.  Funny how boys just know how to do that.

Where to shop: Target, Wal-mart, Toys R Us.  There are tons to choose from and they are super cheap- 88 cents- $1 a piece, or $4 for a set of 10 at Toys R Us on black friday.  They've made great stocking stuffers for our boys.  Our girls enjoy playing with them too.

***In case you're interested, you can find many of the black friday ads on the internet already!  For our family, I usually watch sales at the stores as well as keeping an eye on Amazon's prices every day.  The prices fluctuate on on a daily basis, so I find it helpful to add things to my cart and just check back each day until the price drops low enough and I'm ready to buy.


  1. I would add: a set of basic wooden blocks for open ended blocks, and a set of play silks : ) My girls adore them!!

  2. Interesting how some toys stay the same. I had most of those toys, starting in 1996, and they still look the same and apparently children will always enjoy them.

  3. My kids have pretty much the same things your kids do and yes, everything you mentioned is a huge hit with them!

    I got the idea from YOU of shopping the Halloween after-sales for costumes for their dress-up bin! I got some awesome deals - a ton of wigs for $5.00, costumes for anywhere from $1.25 to 4.00 and some accessories for under $3.00!!! We have so many dress up costumes now...they're having a blast with them!

  4. Great list! Reminds me that I need to start Christmas Shopping! I heart Amazon!!!

    BTW, I love, love, love everything Melissa and Doug!


  5. Thanks for posting this! We're going with a play kitchen and play food for my two year old after reading that they are loved toys here too. I really want to get my son more legos and lincoln logs. Oh I can't decide :). I wasn't sure what to get our son and now my list is pretty full, thanks again


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