As I look back on Christmas and Birthday gifts we've given our boys over the last few years, there are a few that I would purchase again in a second. There are others that have faded in time, but there are a few that I think are just awesome all around.
None of them light up or play songs, but they all teach something along the way.
1) A Strider Bike. There are a lot of different brands of these bikes without pedals, but this is the one we have. If you aren't familiar with these bikes, let me explain the concept. They teach kids to balance, which is something a 2-wheeler with training wheels doesn't do. They learn where to put their weight.
We bought it for Rex on his 4th birthday. He rode it for about 2 weeks and then we took him to the park with a regular 2-wheeler. It took about 15 minutes and he had it. Now, you might feel like it's a waste to buy something they won't ride for a long time, but nothing teaches them like this bike. It would be awesome to have a neighborhood one that every kid could borrow at about age 3.
Baden has been riding it for the last year and a half. He loves it. He can actually ride a 2-wheeler at age 3 because of this bike, but because he is a more cautious kid he prefers riding the Strider instead. He even keeps up with Rex pretty well while riding this.
Ours doesn't have brakes, but you can buy the nicer version that has brakes. After pedaling a trike and then using this, the regular bike is a simple transition. I have no regrets about this purchase and I highly recommend it.
2) Magna Tiles. A few years ago I saw these at a friends house and then I was reminded about them HERE from Steph at MPMK. We made this our big Christmas present for both kids this past year. We purchased the translucent ones HERE. They are a little more expensive than the solid color ones HERE, but the boys can see into them and they like building prisons for their bad guys and garages for their cars. It was a lot to spend in my mind, but this is another toy that I do NOT regret buying.
They are plastic tiles with magnets long the edges. (Don't worry - the magnets are well concealed.) You use them to build anything you can dream up. My kids have played with these like crazy. I've had older kids come over and they spend hours playing with these. I actually really like playing with them myself. You'd think that you'd build a few things and then run out of ideas, but every time my kids get them out they come up with something different. I think it fosters their creativity.
If you purchase them, the best price is on THIS SITE. If I had a lot of extra cash lying around I would buy these for my kids' classrooms. They are just awesome.
3) Legos. As much as it pains me a little to list Legos, they really are awesome. I hate stepping on them and no matter how hard we organize them I still find stray ones in random places. However, the boys truly love their Legos. We actually have a lot of them that were my husband's as a child. His awesome mom saved them for him. Rex will disappear to the basement and build for a while. He and his dad will build together sometimes.
So, I must say that I've never regretted a Lego purchase. What other toy has stood the test of time like Legos? Nothing I can think of. Maybe Barbies? We haven't entered that department yet since our girl is still in utero :)
Baden will play with both Duplos and regular Legos at this point. He's kind of in transition. Either way, I think they teach my boys great things and I might just save them for my grandkids like my mother-in-law did.
So, do you have a toy purchase that has stood the test of time? I would love to hear your suggestions. Thanks for reading.
FYI: I wasn't paid to write about any of these things. I just love them. However, if the Lego company wanted to give us free Legos for life I definitely wouldn't say no :)