My boys play hard. And while they can be amused with something as simple as a stick and a rock, there are certain toys that have made it through years of play and continue to be played with on a daily basis. I’m talking about the type of toys you hold on to so that your grandchildren can enjoy them as well. They are timeless, well built, inspire creativity, and are enjoyed by a wide range of ages. These are the toys that make it on birthday and Christmas lists or we hint at when the grandparents ask what the boys are into lately. They aren’t always cheap, but they are worth the investment. Here’s a round-up of my top two toys for boys by age category.
So activity gyms obviously aren’t a toy geared just towards boys, but they do provide the opportunity for constant movement which is what boys do best! Check out the awesome Grow-with-Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit by Infantino. The original gym for babies becomes a ball pit for toddlers. It starts out as a sea turtle, complete with a crisscross of soft tubes and hang-down toys. Then it becomes a ball pit, with mesh sides and colorful, plastic balls. The turtle’s head is storage. Intended for 0-3 year olds.
Bruder trucks are high quality construction, emergency, commercial, leisure, agriculture, and forestry trucks that resemble the real thing. Each of my boys started playing with these around 18 months and now that they are 3 and 6 years old, they continue to play with them on a regular basis both indoors and out. Most of them are a 1:16 scale and make the sounds and movements of the real trucks. Search for them at Home Goods or on Amazon for the best prices.
You can’t go wrong with any sort of building toy. Let your little ones imagination run wild and watch in amazement at the creations they come up with. My favorites are LEGO and Magna-Tiles. LEGOs have been around for ages and there is a reason for that. My husband has as much fun with them as my boys do! Magna-Tiles are innovative magnetic building tiles that encourage your child to combine math, science, and creativity. They really make learning fun!
Where do we begin here? The love for anything with wheels starts young in boys, and never goes away. A great one to begin with is the 4-in-1 radio flyer tricycle, a trike you can start them out in as infants with you pushing, and they work their way to peddling it on their own. Once they become more independent in their mobility, the options are endless. A balance bike has no pedals and helps children learn balance and steering. Scooters, bikes, and power wheels are all very popular with this age group as well. For the best life out of your riding toys, invest in good brands. The tempting inexpensive ones will not make it past one season and you’ll end up spending more money replacing them several times a year than if you just bought the quality one in the first place. Spring for the 12 volt power wheels, dependable bikes like Schwinn, Diamondback and BMX, and well-known scooter brands such as Micro and Razor. Newsflash: you’ll never move out of this category, but it will be constantly changing. Prepare to keep updating their riding toys until they drive off for college.
Just like riding toys, boys are a magnet to anything Nerf. They are most known for their dart guns, called Blasters, that shoot ammunition made from Nerf foam. They are safe to play with inside and won’t break windows or hurt other kiddos. Nerf also makes great balls for football, basketball, and baseball, which leads me into my next category…
Boys need to be active and provided with healthy ways to get their energy out. Team sports provide many benefits, and it’s important to also have options around the house for them to play sports. Make sure they have access to all sorts of balls, gloves, rackets and nets, and buy some cones to help define playing fields and goals.
I don’t yet have children in this age range, so I asked some friends that do, and almost every one of them mentioned Osmo. Osmo is a unique gaming accessory that combines hands-on learning (what moms love) with the iPad (what kids love), and creates a whole new interactive way to play and learn. Our boys don’t know it but this was just added to their wish list!
The makers of the popular and well-known Lincoln Logs and TinkerToys make a great construction toy system for older kids called K’NEX (a pun on connects). Every K’NEX set is a STEAM toy (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), and comes with easy-to-follow, color-coded, step-by-step building instructions.
All of these toys will provide years of value and fun for your entire family. And don’t worry, we haven’t left the girls out! Make sure to check out Taylor Arriola’s post on the best toys to invest in for girls. Happy playing!