9 Toys That Last Through the Years

by tinysneakers

… well at least 4 years.

I try really, really hard to keep the toy overflow to a limit around here but even though the beauty of minimalism appeals to me, I’ve yet to master it.

There’s something about having 1,293 different toys scattered all over the place that gives me anxiety {and not just because I have to clean them up}. It seems the more toys that are out and available, the fewer KB plays with. We had the art of toy rotation down at our old house, but have let it get a little out of control since we moved {KB interfered with my plan of hiding them all when he saw them all come of the storage unit and I’ve yet to re-wrangle them}.

Regardless, I vow to get it back under control one day and with both Christmas and birthday coming up, that means not buying new ones to add to the mess. There’s something inexplicably satisfying about buying things for your kids, but this season we’re trying to make sure it’s things that serve another purpose or need replenishing instead of just sitting on the shelf {or floor}, like learning tools, memberships, art supplies, crafts, science experiments, etc.

So in the spirit of not getting sucked into the toy vortex, here are some of our favorite toys that have lasted throughout the years, meaning they actually get played with and don’t just sit collected dust. We haven’t had all of them for all {almost} 4 years, but a pretty good while, meaning they do a good job of entertaining across age spans which will come in handy pretty soon. {Proof: you can see some of these in the last “toy guide” I did for babies… in 2012.}

{affliate links used}


1. Wooden Trains – these might be the very first toy I bought for KB. I just couldn’t resist – they seem like such a classic toy and the wooden simplicity {and cheap price tag} appealed to me. He loved them and hasn’t stopped playing with them since, though we’ve added to the collection by mixing and matching other sets {including some of the husband’s as a kid}.

2. Easel – Again, a cheap toy that keeps on giving. Admittedly this started out as more of me drawing and writing, it’s slowly morphed into KB taking the lead and drawing his own pictures {which I then have to take a picture of – you should see my camera roll}. Either way, it’s educational and entertainment all in one.

3. B. Zany Zoo Activity Cube – File this under “shocked he still plays with it” – what looks like mostly a baby-ish toy still gets all kinds of action today. It’s one of the toys that rarely gets put up during a toy rotation. We got it as a hand-me-down, but now that I’ve seen how much it gets played with, I would totally fork over the $.

4. Melissa & Doug Parking Garage – My mom got this as a gift for Kabes and is another one that never, ever gets put away. It was one of the first toys that KB played with independently and he still loves loading, unloading, and driving his cars around. This carrier truck is a close runner-up and they’re often played with together.

5. Mega Blocks – What kid doesn’t love blocks? These blocks are great for little hands and slightly bigger hands. We’re probably ready to graduate to regular Legos but I shudder at the thought of picking up a thousand pieces and plus, these still do the job. They’re also really fun to build big towers and knock over …

6. Bruder Trucks – Stop drop and find these somewhere like Marshalls, Homegoods, or TJ Maxx, although they’re probably still worth it full price if you have a kid that’s into trucks like mine. I highly recommend and all varieties. We have the crane, cement mixer, and recycling truck that get played with daily.

7. Race Cars –  – I think some kids {boys especially, though I don’t like to stereotype} are either car/truck/train kids or they’re not. Clearly from this list KB is. Cars have always been a big hit and are constantly all over our house, car, and in every bag I own because they’re guarenteed to entertain. An early favorite were the Kid Galaxy Soft & Squeezable Pull Back Cars before graduating the classic hot-wheels type, though all still get played. The best thing about hot-wheels-like ones is that you can find them for dirt cheap and they elicit a reaction like they’re made of gold. We have a huge collection thanks to the husband saving every.single.one. of his from when he was little. And yes, I hate cleaning them up every day.

Ok I’m fudging it a little on this last two as we didn’t get them until KB was one and walking, but they’ve been indespensible since then so I had to include them.

8. Mini Trampoline – especially if you have a high-energy kid, there’s nothing better than something fun and physical to burn off some steam indoors. This one has elastic ropes instead of springs and a padded handle bar.

9. Balance Bike – I was amazed at how little KB was when he first mastered the balance bike. He still asks to ride it just about every single day and is super frightenly fast on it. He even has a “real” bike now, but still chooses this one over it.


So there ya go. Toys that last over the years {and hopefully get us a few more} and actually get played with on a regular basis.

What are your tried & true favorite toys?


For other baby, toddler, and momma favorites throughout the years, see here: Favorite Baby Stuff.

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