Great toys to buy for Christmas

(162 Posts)
cloutiedumpling Sat 10-Nov-12 19:45:36

I read the other thread and realised that I'd bought most of the toys listed there, so I thought it'd be nice to have ideas from other mnetters about toys that'd be good to buy for the DCs. Ones that'd be played with every day and would last for years so I don't make any more expensive mistakes!

My first suggestion for other people is the duplo Thomas the Tank train set. We've had it for years and it has had a lot of play but is still in great condition. Also, the pieces are chunky enough that even kids aged 3 or so can put the tracks together without needing adult help.

Lego
playmobil

Gumby Sat 10-Nov-12 19:47:36

Ds + games keeps them entertained for hours

DVDs - ditto

iPhone 4 for older teens

Lovesoftplay Sat 10-Nov-12 19:47:41

I really like imaginext stuff. Hard wearing but still clever in its design.

Gumby Sat 10-Nov-12 19:48:18

And books of course

Roald Dahl , other classics

Tryharder Sat 10-Nov-12 19:49:16

Ds1 loves GUESS WHO and we play that quite often. I got a bonus last year from work and spent the lot on plastic shit for the DCs most of which was binned by February.

Marking place on thread as I need some ideas for this year on a smaller budget!

Tryharder Sat 10-Nov-12 19:50:56

I don't get Playmobil but people on here rave about it. DS2 got a castle last year which took me fecking hours to set up. It stayed set up for about a day and has remained unplayed with and dismantled in its box since then!

Silibilimili Sat 10-Nov-12 19:54:36

Lego duplo and the small lego. Brio or similar train sets. Oh and I have just discovered 'where's wally' books. Awesome!!

Silibilimili Sat 10-Nov-12 19:55:20

I don't get playmobile either. I'd rather spend my money on lego. I may be wrong though. wink

Gumby Sat 10-Nov-12 19:56:16

Oh yes my ds spends hours playing with his star wars , dr who, Harry potter figures - he's 8

mamij Sat 10-Nov-12 19:58:51

What about the ELC Happyland sets? DD1 has loads of Duplo and was thinking of getting her happyland - good idea or not?

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 20:04:38

<crossing fingers that someone comes and says Melissa & Doug folding castle is the most fantabulous toy ever and that the fun doubles in direct proportion to how much it was reduced by...>

Violet77 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:05:14

Duplo, lego, brio, sylvanians. Good quality wooden kitchen and cosy coupe car.

Violet77 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:05:52

I would say no to crappyland :-)

Arithmeticulous Sat 10-Nov-12 20:09:02

Happyland and Duplo - we have Happyland car track and Duplo train track as well and they are played with together - duplo creations on the Happyland track, Happyland people playing in Duplo castles etc. Then onto little Lego and Playmobil. Wooden train track as well - DH makes a be one every week.

Silibilimili Sat 10-Nov-12 20:14:06

I don't much like happy land either. My dd has some but lego duplo gets played with more.
Dr sues books are another great find.

Lego.

A character they like. My DS got the Octonauts Octopod playset as his main present last year and he's played with it consistently since, in fact he's plaing with it now! smile

Take along thomas track has been the gift that keeps on giving here. Doesn't need batteries, hard wearing. DS has been adding to his collection for 6 years now (he's 8) and he still loves it and plays with it.

Other ideas: dressing up stuff, books, snakes and ladders, bingo hmm, dominoes (for games and rallies to knock down), ELC marble run.

Convert Sat 10-Nov-12 20:18:13

We've got loads of Happyland, the zoo stuff and funfair and DD who is 15 months has just discovered it so for the last couple of weeks DS1 and DS2 aged 5 and 4 have spent most of the day playing it with her.

kellestar Sat 10-Nov-12 20:21:03

Ok then, DD is 2 in 5 weeks. She loves the ikea play kitchen and has some food and play utensils and she likes to make dinner for her toys while I'm making our dinner. She loves her little tikes cosy coupe. She loves baby doll type things though she doesn't have many [she's getting a baby in April, when I am due DC2]. She does like the fisher price noah's ark. Stickle Bricks see more action than duplo [but they hurt like feck when she sneaks one in your slippers]. Aquadoodle seems to hit the spot with her, as well. She loves play doh, she has a big box full of cutters, rolling pins and extruders, she will play for hours [I make my own dough as she loves to mix it up until it's the vile shade of brown]. The little tikes turtle sandpit with a lid is popular. I've de-sanded it and stuck it in the shed for the winter, when DD was little, we used it as a paddling pool as it is quite rigid, she can sit on the side and paddle her feet.

I've got no idea what to get her this year, I have bought her a few books. Of course a week later it's christmas, so I'm trying not to go to overboard. She's got a balance bike coming, but she won't be riding it until the spring as her legs aren't long enough yet. Shall be watching this thread for more ideas.

My SIL splashed out on playmobil/brio for her DD/DS and they just aren't interested. She tends to go a bit overboard though and spends a fortune on them. Also her children never liked anything my DD is into, they are so completely different.

MrsBovary Sat 10-Nov-12 20:26:18

Yes, you cannot go far wrong with Lego and Duplo.
Also agreeing with nice wooden kitchens (boys or girls), dressing up clothes, and toy theatres/puppets.

We're not fans of Playmobil (in many bits very quickly) or Happyland either.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 10-Nov-12 20:26:18

We find the Playmobil vehicles and boats etc much better than the sets like the castle or school etc. The fire engine with the added RC unit has been played with for hours and hours over the past 2 years - with a trailer and a boat, without; on its way to an emergency, or just out doing routine jobs - you name it!

Ds 1 had this for his 7th birthday a few weeks ago and has played with it incessantly! It's a bit annoying but not too bad!

Lego is also good - not necessarily the sets that build a certain object as our ds's don't like thanking those apart so they become a pain to stiore.

Parrish Sat 10-Nov-12 20:26:44

The Imaginext space shuttle and all the Imaginext space accessories. Have been played with for 7 years!
Play doh sets still popular in our house after 7 years.
Lego.
My nephew has loved the Octopod playset!

ptangyangkipperbang Sat 10-Nov-12 20:31:53

Happy land is great. I think it's good to start with the track and/or road when children are small and add other things as the children become more imaginative.

I work in a reception class and Happy Land is one of the most popular activities.

KinkyDorito Sat 10-Nov-12 20:31:56

Love imaginext too.

MegBusset Sat 10-Nov-12 20:34:58

The Melissa & Doug folding castle is indeed ace smile
Lego and Duplo (bricks and other basics - not huge expensive sets)
Playmobil (not the fecking castle though)
Orchard Toys games & puzzles
Playdoh - yes a nightmare to get out of the carpet but massively popular in our house

crazygracieuk Sat 10-Nov-12 20:35:18

Lego and K'Nex are fab construction toys.

My dd plays with her Moshi Monster figures for hours on end.

You can't go wrong with a good, varied dressing up box too.

The Imaginext (old style though) Bat Cave, DS1 3.1 loves it, got it last Christmas and he plays with it almost every day. DS2 is quite keen on it too, in fact so were most of their friends when they came over for a Halloween party!
Mega Blocks are a big hit in this house too, we have the set with all the monster bits smile

Thomas take along tracks and engines, unexpected but they're brilliant.

Beyblades (again did not expect it but all dcs from 2-adult play with them)

Doll and pushchair

Mini micros- best money I've ever spent.

Magna doodles

Ipod touch, we bypassed nintendo ds' as the games seemed to expensive and everyone we know had had to get them replaced atleast once, one person 4 times! Whereas my ipod had took all kinds of abuse and works fine 3yrs later. Ds got his ipod at 5 and loves having his music, own camera/video camera, practices phonics/maths and can watch tv programs and films on long drives.

Bucket of Dinosaurs, you can get them for less than a tenner from ToysRUs or Argos, great for imaginative play smile

Megablocks also popular.

The dcs now have mine and dps knex sets from when we were kids, so a good buy for our mums!

Silibilimili Sat 10-Nov-12 20:48:45

I find with mega blocks they get loose over time. Initially they are easier for a baby or toddler to manage than duplo though.

bedmonster Sat 10-Nov-12 20:50:09

Moshi figures. We have HQ and Poppets house too, but the quality is pretty shoddy for what you pay. DDs love the figures though, and just use them in their other houses or make lego houses for them.

SantasStrapOn Sat 10-Nov-12 20:51:22

I'm getting a staple gun. grin

<realises this is probably not quite what MNers want for their children>

BertieBotts Sat 10-Nov-12 20:52:03

You can only get the happyland road on ebay now - search for happyland road, or happy street.

PPPop Sat 10-Nov-12 20:53:51

We have loads of happy land and it has been played with for hours, mainly with the ds's imaginative dad who comes up with all sorts of adventures for the "village", bless him. I preferred the old designs though, the new ones look too bubbly and cutesy for me.

Lego. Fab fab fab, wasn't too keen on duplo but it has had a resurgence here recently for some reason.

Ds1 loves his bakugan. They are generally sturdy and well made, as opposed to transformers.

Melissa and doug castle is good. Our wooden pirate ship has been played with a lot, but a few bits have dropped off.

Folding play tents. I like toys that pack away. We have a great castle tent and the Peppa pig camper van gets used a lot too.

Ds2 loves jigsaws, ds1 was never really into them but likes them now, which I am glad about.

Usborne sticker books are ace.

My iPad gets a lot of use by the children. apps are so cheap for what they are. Our wii was a bit of a waste of money in comparison really.

I've just bought a vintage 1980s fisher price house for ds2's 3rd birthday. Hard to get a toy house now that isn't pink and they don make some toys like they used to wink

tanfastic Sat 10-Nov-12 20:55:34

Imaginext. DS loves it and it doesn't fall to pieces like other toys. He's getting the Batcave for Xmas.

We got dd the ELC snow queen palace when she was 5 and it is superb.

She is almost 8 now and still plays with it.

The snow queenies were booted out long ago and the castle is now inhabited by moshlings. There is sometimes the odd skirmish when the zoobles try to take over.

Other than that Playmobil is ace. We have a big bucket and it is played with all the time.

Whyriskit Sat 10-Nov-12 20:59:08

Orchard Toys stuff
Octopod and gups
Duplo

TheMonster Sat 10-Nov-12 21:01:10

The imaginext bat cave is great! Ds has had it for a while and it is regularly played with. He just got the castle for his birthday. The catapult is interactive with the castle!

TheMonster Sat 10-Nov-12 21:02:03

The Nintendo ds is fab. My son got one when he wa s four and he is six now and it is still played with a lot.

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 21:08:49

Thank you Meg and Pppop!

I've had it for months and is still in the amazon box as disguise. I am so proud I haven't handed it over on a rainy day smile

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 21:09:47

Though I was annoyed I could get pink castle furniture, wtf? Even if I was buying it for a girl I wouldn't want pink furniture!

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 21:10:13

ONLY get pink furniture obv...

I'm watching this thread with interest because I haven't got clue what buy for DC.

Presents DS1 has enjoyed in the past:

Orchard games- Bus stop, the gingerbread man, shopping list and dotty dinosaurs all very popular.

Books- You Choose (DS is obsessed with this book, we've read it almost everyday since he got it for his birthday in July). He also enjoys any book with an audio cd/dvd.

Happyland farm
Lego
Cars
Clicks blocks (big blocks that are great for little hands)
Doctor's kit
Musical instruments
Velcro dart board

DS has some playmobil- the children's bedroom set but it seems quite fiddly. Is it worth buying more?

MegBusset Sat 10-Nov-12 21:16:53

Ah, we don't have room for furniture in our M&D castle, it's filled by various Playmobil knights, pirates, recycling men, horses, a stingray and several Batman characters smile

kellestar Sat 10-Nov-12 21:18:12

dontbugme I have some audio cassettes from my youth [I'm buying the CD's for neice/nephew] puffin stories for 5 year olds, it's a mix of short stories that are modern, myth and legend and fairy tale. here they do different age's, might be worth it if he likes audio books.

Thanks very much kellestar, will have a look now smile

MrsBovary Sat 10-Nov-12 21:26:37

You're right, PPOp. We bought vintage Fisher Price Woodsey house sets a few years ago and they're such good quality still.

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 21:28:22

Dontbugme have you seen this Just Imagine by Nick Sharrat? Got it for a You Choose obsessed DS and he loves it.

Meg - I can 't wait for that, he's just starting to enjoy imagination play and will love putting his spacemen and robots in there smile

MrsJohnDeere Sat 10-Nov-12 21:32:36

Playmobil is played with more than anything else here (Dcs 6 and 4). Most popular the knights and castle, ambulance, farm with tractors, rubbish truck. Least successful are the various boats.

Lego is good, mixed boxes of bricks more than sets of specific items (which nay get made once).

Brio is good but mine only play with it now and again now (space issues).

Connect 4, Guess Who, dominoes, scrabble, bananagrams also popular.

Tractor Ted DVDs.

Bucket of toy soldiers (as in Toy Story).

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 10-Nov-12 21:38:37

Stratters stapler would go well with what my 10 yr old has asked for this year. She wants a laminator and paper cutting slicing machine - it has a real name i Can't recall

Can any one recommend the paper Jamz music toys this year?

Mine love singing and art & craft and monopoly is a hit here although some family members are permantly banned from playing in this house due to allegations of cheating hmm

I caught DH playing snap with DD3 4 yrs and telling her she needs to sneak a look at the bottom card so she could win a big pile!

I've locked him in a cupboard for now.

peanutbutterfingers, thanks for the link. I thought about buying it for DS but I'm unsure if it's too complicated for him?

*He's 4 btw.

Peanutbutterfingers Sat 10-Nov-12 22:15:31

Dontbugme- my DS is 2.10 so it's been good to help with his imagination, we talk about the different pictures and he chooses his favourite one and tells me which one is my favourite one I'm surprised by how much he likes it as a lot of the things in it aren't as familiar as You Choose, but then I never guess what's going to 'take' with books

Meglet Sat 10-Nov-12 22:20:59

Duplo and Lego. We have a mixture of basic sets and themed sets. DS builds the set once then he makes something new with it.

Brio (or the cheaper imitation) wooden train sets. This and the Lego will be kept for grandchildren.

Playdoh, especially ok if you have a laminate floor. Get a couple of squidging sets, cutters and rolling pins and even my dc's will sit down to play in peace.

The Orchard games are good too. Shopping List is easy and simple. I have several of the other Orchard games too and even the slightly crappy ones are worth it.

If you have a garden, bubble mix...and more bubble mix. Get it cheap in Poundland in the summer and they can still play with it in the winter months. Also Glow Sticks as long as they aren't likely to chew them (and we had a near miss). They can tear around a back garden after dark in the winter or make discos in their bedrooms.

Second hand real digital cameras. More robust than you'd expect and better photos.

iloveblue Sat 10-Nov-12 22:21:07

Wooden swords
My boys (6 and 8) got one from here at Ludlow castle last year and use them almost everyday.
They also play with their light sabres most days too.

Hoberman sphere is our other most played with toy - every child who visits is fascinated by it.

Playmobil pirate ship also great.

DorisIsWaiting Sat 10-Nov-12 22:37:08

DD's have been playing all day today with the ELC medical kit (they were vet's) and the same constuction kit (not sure how that came to help the vet but it did!)

They also love barbies and polly pocket most of the orchard toys games, playdoh.

Games wise jnr Monpoly, guess who and jnr scrabble are popular.

cabbagewhite Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:35

Lego, all 3 are Lego mad, even DD14 wants some Avengers set (she has a crush on Robert Downey Jr). DS7 who is a late reader loves Lego as he can usually manage the instructions as they are pictures not words (also means minimal involvement from us. Makes them models once then they seem to always be making them into tall towers and houses grin

We also have several sets of Scalextric which are excellent for older children - although the newest is 8 years old, so don't know if they are still as good.

The wooden train sets were good when smaller, although we only had a small amount of Brio, most was Tesco's own brand and just as good.

Sylvanian families still really popular in our house from originals with DD27 to DD9. Even DS7 plays with his sister's stuff.

Can recommend a Wii, especially as they can be bought for less than £50 with loads of games and accessories (try your local selling pages on facebook). Also they each have a DS which have had many hours use.

I have an iphone 3gs, which DD14 will be getting for christmas and DDnearly 10 will be getting her iphone 3g. I will of course be getting a 4 or 4s. Son will have an android tablet. The free apps areexcellent, keeps them occupied for hours and there are lots of educational ones. DS spends ages on a space one looking at different planets and stars. DD9 has some maths apps and also managed to find some english apps in UK english (most are US english). These will all be second hand and be less than £100 each, except mine which will be via Amazon using my Nectar points.

Haven't got much of the playpeople stuff, as went down the Lego route - wanted to have more of one thing rather than lots of different stuff. Also had megablocks when they were small as we were given it as presents - it was always on offer in Woolies. It's ok when new, but goes loose after a while, doesn't last like duplo, but a good cheaper substitute for smaller children.

Other best buy has been the TP 3 swing set with climbing frame on the end. We've had that over 10 years and they play on it every day the weather is good still (which is a shame as we could do with the space, so we've had to convert the underneath of the trampoline into a chicken run). Always a draw for visiting children too.

stilli Sat 10-Nov-12 23:13:16

Another You Choose fan in this house, although the obsession has died down now we read it for months for ages at a time not so long ago. Thanks for the additional nick sharrat tip.
Happyland was also a big hit here, though dd grown out of it now, just sold a load of it and got a decent price do definitely still in demand!
Dd turns 5 in about a week and we've got a playmobil house, bit of a gamble as she's not got a huge amount of playmobil but she's got a great imagination and I can imagine her getting lost in it. Fingers crossed ...

sleeplessinsuburbia Sat 10-Nov-12 23:39:09

My boys (4&5) are loving the playskool super hero range.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 10-Nov-12 23:41:54

Is marble run toys any good? Thinking about getting one for ds this year because I always wanted one the whole of my childhood.

thegreylady Sat 10-Nov-12 23:46:27

Every child should have a Brio wooden train set. I got mine for my fiftieth birthday with a Flying Scotsman and a Mallard train. I made sure all my dgc had one and all play with mine when they visit.

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 11-Nov-12 00:02:27

Over the years my DD has spent many a happy hour playing with her box of Barbie Dolls, at one stage she had 40 and loved changing thier clothes and putting them in the dream house.She also played with her Polly Pockets alot and had the plane,boat and fashion show.Sylvanian families got alot of playtime.Her all time faviourite game was school with a circle of her teddies and her stood there with a pen and paper.Now she is older I do not get as much pleasure watching her play on her DS but I do enjoy the Wii dance games.Guess Who, Monapoly,Twister,Snakes & Ladders,Cluedo were played with on many occassions.

DS adores his tub of matchbox cars and wooden train track.

bizzey Sun 11-Nov-12 00:10:33

was on the other thread ..but over here now for inspiration !!!

Has any one tried/heard of "Waxidooles"....modeling sticks ?

Looking at advert for it in paper now

TaperJeanGirl Sun 11-Nov-12 00:34:44

Despite having every toy ever made, my 4 only ever play with Playmobil, and figures, power rangers, lego figures, polly pockets, moshi monsters/trashie/squinkie individual figures, I find entire sets a bit pointless and after many years of getting them the entire set of various toys I now usually just buy the figures, other brilliant toys are brio, and hot wheel cars ONLY not track...

SuperScribbler Sun 11-Nov-12 07:36:15

Lego
Playmobil
Brio train set
Wooden castle
Wooden pirate ship

All of these are in constant play in our house - DS is 5 coming up to 6.

Also Quadrilla marble run - pricey, but you can add expansion packs and extras. It is played with masses and is so robust and beautifully made. We get it from Why Wood Works as they seem to be good prices and quick, reliable delivery. But amazon also stocks it.

spababe Sun 11-Nov-12 08:49:30

Tomica trains here (the blue plastic track ones) Not as expensive as Brio and lighter in weight. Trains run on batteries and we get cheap ones from poundland. It started with a simple loop and my 2yo sat in the middle of the loop to enough track to go from one bedroom to the other with a child in each bedroom sending messages to each other on the trucks so has lasted 10 years.

spababe Sun 11-Nov-12 08:51:07

Another vote for a pop up tent as well. Can be used indoors or in the garden and also as a 'changing room' on the beach.

For older kids, a Flip camera. Mine make their own 'movies' and also do the editing on the computer.

Thumbwitch Sun 11-Nov-12 11:13:06

Has anyone bought the Le Van Emerald Castle? Is it any good?

FushiaFernica Sun 11-Nov-12 11:17:26

Sylvanian family stuff for girls-well made
Wooden peg solitaire
Draughts
Chess
Scrabble
Mastermind

Eggrules Sun 11-Nov-12 11:20:32

Any ideas for games, please? Massive hits have included Pig Goes Pop, Bubble Burster and Snakes and Ladders. Delux Guess Who was too complicated. We were thinking of Junior Pictionary this year.

DS had an Argos/Chad Valley pop up tent for his first birthday and still plays with it at nearly 6.

kateSedge Sun 11-Nov-12 11:26:11

The buzz and woody buddy set.
Pull string Jessie the cowgirl
Elc playground set (only at sale price though :/)
Little people (i think) noahs arc and lights and sounds airoplane
.... Pretty much everything iv baught DCs for Christmas haha.

LeonieDeSainteVire Sun 11-Nov-12 12:38:18

Lego
Playmobil
Duplo
Brio
PlayDoh
Doctors Set
Tool kit
Tea set and play food

Board games - Orchard Toys puzzles and games, shopping list and Round the Houses and Tummy Ache have been most popular for little ones plus a good set of dominoes.
Next stage games, Junior Cluedo and Junior Scrabble
Older games Bananagrams and Beat The Parents

The Wii

spiderlight Sun 11-Nov-12 13:01:37

Brio - played with daily from 1 to nearly 6 years and still going strong. He has Tomica trains and track as well and goes through phases of playing with them endlessly, but he always seems to come back to Brio.
We have Hoberman sphere, which visiting kids are always drawn to.
DS's favourite outdoor toys this year have been a flashing bubble gun, a bubble stomp rocket and a cheap pocket kite. All from Amazon. He's also had hours and hours of fun with his didicar.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sun 11-Nov-12 14:11:45

Hits so far with DS (2.9yo):

Duplo
Lego
Brio
Wooden blocks
Jigsaw puzzles - ELC ones have been fab
Books, lots of!
Pop-up tunnel
Small toy diggers, mixers and tractors from Hawkins Bazaar
Sandpit with a bucket, spade and dumper truck
Play kitchen with IKEA utensils and food
Plastic shopping basket full of fruit & veg
Playmobil ark
Plastic animal figurines
This wooden bus playset, which was his Christmas present from us last year and has been played with every day.

This year he's getting a mini micro scooter so fingers crossed!

Pitmountainpony Sun 11-Nov-12 14:41:23

Zolo sculpture pieces. Great fun.

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 11-Nov-12 14:45:58

K'nex gets played with a lot in my house..
Brio still gets pulled out every now and again,
Any musical instrument toys like guitar and drum board
Nerf guns get loads of play

BeaWheesht Sun 11-Nov-12 14:49:07

Anything imaginext. We have the bat cave, various vehicles, space stations, moon base, aircraft carrier, ship, and submarine. All except the moon base gets played with regularly and they are very hardy.

gemdrop84 Sun 11-Nov-12 14:49:16

We bought dd the spongebob squarepants pirate ship with figures of spongebob, patrick and gary. They also squirt water so the whole thing is ok to play in the bath with.

ColdWinterMorning Sun 11-Nov-12 14:58:27

We got the elc rocket for ds1 when he was coming up for two. He played with it a lot, and even when he'd stopped playing with the spacemen, still used the rocket with lego figures, so played with it regularly until he was four. Ds2 is 11 months, loves press ing the button for the sounds, and can often be found crawling round the house with a spaceman in his mouth. I think it was on offer in Debenhams when we got it for about £25, for years ago.

exexpat Sun 11-Nov-12 15:18:10

There's definitely a common thread running through here, isn't there?

My two DCs are older now (14 & 10), and the toys that we have had most use out of over the years have been: duplo, Lego, brio train set, basic wooden blocks, toy kitchen with lots of food etc to go with it, toy cash register, play-doh and tools, realistic small plastic animals and dinosaurs, and Sylvanians.

Notably absent from that list: anything with batteries, and anything overtly 'educational'.

Games that have also seen repeated use over the years: Orchard Toys shopping list game(4+), UNO (from about age 5), Cluedo (6/7+), Boggle (7+), and Solitaire. And lots of jigsaws.

exexpat Sun 11-Nov-12 15:19:35

Oh, and it was a long time ago now, but we also had a lot of ELC HappyLand (and similar Fisher Price etc stuff) which got a lot of use from the early toddler years until age 4 or 5.

sauvb Sun 11-Nov-12 15:23:29

Wooden kitchen and food
Shop till (played with above, but also with books, when we pretend it's the library!)
Wooden train set - bought john crane one and added to with thomas engines etc. (ditto garage, goldilocks & 3 bear house and similar - these off ebay)
Doctor and vet kits and dress-up
Lego / duplo
Happyland thumbs up here
jigsaws / play dough
fold away tents
roll away car mat (the sort that's like a rug, with village/roads/buildings etc. printed on it)
doll and pram
CD player and CDs, incl. audio CDs
Dmum's contribution - guitar, key board and mike from ELC - DCs love the noise they produce!
Shopping list game, ludo, snakes and ladders
Vtech camera - LOVED by DS, (and by DD, so we've given in and got her one for Christmas), even though we're on the 4th replacement in less than a year for DS... (has stopped working each time - can't fault Vtech customer service!)

DS - 5, DD - 3

Can we get this thread moved to Christmas rather than saved in chat? - I always look up these kind of threads when birthdays are coming up too grin - very useful. I'm posting and then off to work, but if anybody who reads my post knows how to shift it over so it's not lost in chat, I'd be grateful!

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sun 11-Nov-12 15:41:00

Excellent board games:

Cluedo
Junior Monopoly
Monopoly
Boggle
Upwords
Scrabble
Ludo
Snakes and Ladders
Coppit (old version)
Bang! (bullet version)
Apples to Apples
Rummikub
Cranium
Can't remember what it's called but you each have a mouse, one person has a cup and you have to pull your mouse away before it gets caught under the cup.

QueenMaeve Sun 11-Nov-12 15:48:27

Lego always. We got an elc wooden castle 5 xmases ago and it still gets regular playing, very sturdy. The Toy Story folk always get played with here too .

legalalien Sun 11-Nov-12 15:53:41

In terms of longevity - ds now 7 - the wooden building blocks that a friend bought when he was born - they've been used to construct all kinds of things - plastic animals, a hideous megaphone voice-changing thing which still seems to come out every play date, a wooden dagger, a magnetic dartboard and some padded quoits designed for really small children but which apparently make great ninja type weapons.....

We've had years and years of value from a selection of die cast WWII aircraft, but I appreciate these may not be for everyone. smile

mumzy Sun 11-Nov-12 16:08:53

Scaletrix
Light sabres
Monopoly
Operation
Scrabble
Playing shops stuff: till, money, fake foods
Marble run
Magnetix
Chess set
Book sets

SarahC1985 Sun 11-Nov-12 16:32:57

A play kitchen has been the star in our house, my daughter got it when she was 2 and is now 5 and plays with it every day! You can buy add ons for Christmas or birthdays like a kettle, microwave, toaster etc. This year we got her a wii, she plays with her grandparents all the time and they are going cheap now as the new wii is coming out! I agree that train sets are always a winner!

NickECave Sun 11-Nov-12 16:33:07

Absolutely love the Melissa and Doug folding castle. Really beautiful well-made toy that both my girls love and really stands out amongst all the pink plastic crap in their room

Violet77 Sun 11-Nov-12 16:43:42

Would like to add farm we have a good quality wooden one with scheich animals and dinos, they see a lot of play. Its the open ended stuff mine like the most!

I have found it more fun to have a lot of the same, so loads of playmobil or duplo, to build and extend play.

mindyourhead Sun 11-Nov-12 17:12:26

Playmobil
Brio
Megabloks/Duplo/Lego
K'nex
Meccano
Wooden castle/garage/pirate ship/doll's house/kitchen/farm
Wooden blocks
Car play mat
Wheelybug
Bike/scooter/Razor/V triker
Shape sorter
Push along walker
Doll and doll's pram
Bubble machine
Playdough
Books
Wooden marble run
Snakes & ladders
Monopoly
Ludo
Twister
Screwball scramble
Boggle
Bingo
Doh Nutters
Frustration
Guess who
Jenga
Kerplunk

Galaxymum Sun 11-Nov-12 18:02:02

Littlest Pet Shop TreeHouse - this is really sturdy and my DD loves putting her pets in the different crevices. I think if you have a child like mine who isn't so careful then Sylvanian Families easily lose pieces! But she loves this toy.

Also that Dinosaur track from ELC has been brilliant. Lasted three years and still loads of fun.

Instead of annuals we've decided on book sets from The Book People as they are such a great buy and enjoyed much longer.

Rowlers Sun 11-Nov-12 18:04:23

My 5 year old DS LOVES Nerf guns - and may I suggest the "Jolt" if you're thinking of a Nerf? Smallest, cheapest (c. £4 although Sainsbury's just had them for £1.99) and very powerful.
He also loves board games - Orchard Toys "pop it in the post" has been a real hit here.
Lego never fails in our house.
I struggle more with ideas for 8 year old DD - she likes makey-doey stuff and would be happy with paper, glue and scissors to be honest!

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Sun 11-Nov-12 18:39:35

Duplo keeps ALL the family occupied! I've been known to build with while watching tv after the kids are in bed when somes been left on the floor so has FIL grin

pens and paper. Always a hit

Any kind of figure to join 5 year old DD's army of "people".

Innotab is played on every single day by DD.

anything with wheels that can be pushed along. toy buggies, hoovers, pushers- 1 year old DS is not fussy!

CD player and story CDs.

Bath toys- but the simpler and less expensive the better ime.

Iamalmost40 Sun 11-Nov-12 19:09:29

Ds is 4 and loves his Lego and Playmobil. Has never been into trains or cars really.

Recommendation for a game is Lego Sunblock. Think it's an old one but we are all addicted to it. Will definitely be buying more Lego games

Taffeta Sun 11-Nov-12 19:25:29

Sylvanians
Scalextric
Jenga
Monopoly
Bananagrams
Scrabble
ipod touch
DSi
Snooker table
Footballs/football goal
CD player
Moshis
Usborne colouring books and lovely felt tips
Scooters/bikes

Mine can take or leave Lego and Playmobil, not that interested, or in any building items, never have been, much to DH's sadness sad

bookwormthatturned Sun 11-Nov-12 20:27:04

It's good to see a few mentions of the Melissa and Doug's folding castle.

I've been looking at it for my DS who's 6 as it's a good size but can be packed away but was wondering if it was aimed at younger children. Only having seen it online it's difficult to tell.

If you've got one / seen one would you say it's aimed at toddlers or would be okay for older children?

MonsterBookOfTyFawkes Sun 11-Nov-12 20:44:00

Lego
Take along thomas. Had for 2 years and still going. Ds is getting the Quarry climb this Christmas

allagory Sun 11-Nov-12 21:32:44

micromini scooter we bought last DS2 (2) last year has seen a lot of use this year and anticipating a lot more next year when he moves up from the loop to the T-bar.

Monopoly Deal is a great stocking filler for an older child (8) - takes about 2 hours less than standard monopoly.

PiedWagtail Sun 11-Nov-12 21:34:55

Playmobil
Lego
Happy land v popular here
Play shop
Guess who, connect four, kids monopoly, any orchard toys game, scrabble
Art and craft stuff - can't go wrong with felt tips!
Playdoh
Doctor's set
Jigsaws
Balloons
A soft ball for playing footy snide
Brio and wooden train tracks

Kethryveris Sun 11-Nov-12 21:43:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThisIsMummyPig Sun 11-Nov-12 22:05:48

My kids are 4 and 2. We like:

Playdough, but do it for a couple of months, and alternate with colouring
Happyland, especially the bus and farm, but also the train for the 2yo
Doctors set
Play food
Tea set
Till
Books
Magnetic etch a sketch type things
They also like Scaredy cat and 4yo likes Shopping list, both from Orchard
We don't actually play with the blocks much, but when we do, they really seem to get a lot out of it.
scooter
Not one for christmas, but watering cans and garden tools (trowels, rakes forks toy lawnmower etc)

The best buy ever in terms of money spent to play had has to be the sandpit though.

survivingautumn Sun 11-Nov-12 22:07:04

Baby Annabell doll - yay or nay? DD is desperate for one (the all singing all dancing one not the cheapy first one I thought I could get away with hmm)

My DS only ever plays with lego and his nerf guns.

DD only ever plays with dolls/pushchairs/nappies etc.

With my two - everything else has been a total waste of money!

HerLadyshipsSoap Sun 11-Nov-12 22:18:37

Fisher price little people especially the farm, 10 yrs old now and still played with by dc
Lego Lego and more Lego
Doctors kit
Pretend kitchen saucepans and tea set.
Play dough.

harrietspy Sun 11-Nov-12 22:28:09

My dc are v different & play in completely different ways. Their best presents ever:

ds1: Playmobil, soldiers (the dead cheap plastic ones whose arms fall off when you give them a hard stare), big factual books (eg Usborne See Inside books, Usborne History of Britain, etc), Nerf gun.

ds2: wooden train track, blocks, Lego, trampoline, Lego ideas book, Usborne 1000 things to make and do.

Blokus is a brilliant game for slightly older children & adults (7+).
Ticket to Ride also brilliant for older children (8+) & adults.
Slamwich is great fun and easy enough for 4+. (It's a US variation on snap)

Startail Sun 11-Nov-12 22:32:53

Trampoline! even allowing for one broken arm, one cancelled holiday and the excess on the travel insrance.

Vintage board games:
guess who
operation
downfall

Not the crappy modern versions

ThisIsMummyPig Sun 11-Nov-12 23:28:47

survivingautumn - If you have to have a talking doll, the annabel does seem to be better than some of the others. We have had at least two that the batteries have been taken out of by request as my poor DDS just couldn't stop them from crying.

It weighs an absolute ton though, so you need to be a fairly good walker to be able to carry the thing, but not a chucker who will throw it at their baby sibling and cause lasting damage.

youonlysingwhenyourewinning Mon 12-Nov-12 00:01:58

Survivingautumn - my dd's love Annabell. She's sweet.

Toys my children love/have loved are:

Trampoline
Balance bike/bike (balance bike was our best buy ever)
Basket ball and hoop
Little table and chairs (really!)
Lego
Playmobil
iPod touch
Ds
Little china tea set
Any cuddly toy (dd3!)
Blackberry (dd1!)
Cluedo
Monopoly
Zoo am I

Issy42 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:08:09

Another recommendation for duplo here and I'm Toy activity centre triangle has been well used too.

Those recommending the Melissa and Doug folding castle, do you mean this medieval one or this 'fold and go' one? I was thinking of getting one for DD (3) for Christmas but can't decide whether to spend the extra on the bigger one in the hope that it will last longer or stick with the cheaper one especially as it comes with furniture and people.

applecrumbleandcream Mon 12-Nov-12 01:33:37

Pop to the Shops game
Peppa Pig snakes and ladders
Twister
Hama beads
ELC kitchen
Build a Bear and clothes
ELC tea set
jigsaws
WH Smith tub of felt tip pens used every day
Guess who game
Sweetshop and till
Happyland funfair set
Squinkies
Jolly Octopus game
Jenga
Connect 4
Bop It

mathanxiety Mon 12-Nov-12 05:36:15

Tomy Megasketcher -- fab toy.
Stickle bricks
Tea sets
Pot and pan sets
Small stovetop/oven
Medical kit
Clay
Huge crate of wooden blocks
Doll buggy for small DCs
Toy supermarket trolley
Toy checkout with cash drawer and pretend credit cards
Beads for stringing, sorting, counting
Lacing shapes
Pegboards
Stencils
Drawing and writing materials, paper, blackboards, chalk, paints
Razor scooter
In line skates
Water pistols for the bath

Blokus -- yes indeed, a great game, and also Connect 4, Mastermind.

PPPop Mon 12-Nov-12 07:47:30

We have the medieval castle, Applecrumble. It is quite big so not portable really but lots of room to play in. My ds2 pulled it off the toy box where we kept it and the hinges broke, which was not really surprising, but my lovely dad got some new hinges from the DIY shop and fixed it again and it's good as new. Think your choice Of castle depends on how much room you are happy to devote to it. It's a good looking toy so I'm happy to have it out on show <shallow>

PPPop Mon 12-Nov-12 07:48:16

Sorry that should have been to issy42

PeppermintPasty Mon 12-Nov-12 09:46:28

Morning. Does anyone have any views on the Innotab thing? I have a 5 yo and I'm a bit hmm that it's too early to get him one, but he does like playing games on eg his camera thing (sorry tech dummy) when he gets the chance. Plus it's something for him iykwim, that his horrid 2yo dsis can't get hold of and ruin.

Same goes for the LeapPad, which one do people prefer?

kiking Mon 12-Nov-12 10:47:53

My 5 years boy received a CD book called " stick man" which was the best X'mas gift ever.

CatherineHMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 12:02:46

If it's useful - we also have a page of all the Top 10 toy lists from various retailers for Christmas 2012 with shopping links and feedback from Mumsnetters.

KinkyDorito Mon 12-Nov-12 12:03:47

Peppermint I have just bought DS a Leappad because he is always playing games on the camera he has. He will be 4 at Christmas and I think he will manage it. The new Leappad is £60 on Amazon at the moment.

Blipbipbeep Mon 12-Nov-12 12:09:09

DS1 (age 12) - Ipod touch, DS, PS3 and anything else with a screen - I hate them, he LOVES them, <sigh>

DS2 (age 3) - Brio, cars, trains, balance bike (best thing ever as it means that I get to exercise too) scooter, puzzles.

iseenodust Mon 12-Nov-12 12:40:08

An oldie but goodie - Tiddlywinks (John Lewis do nice wooden box one for about £7)
Marbles - DS 8 really into this.
The Lego games too - the Hogwarts moving staircase one is good for older DC.
Agree Jenga.
Callisto is good quite quick board game that you adapt for 2,3 or 4 players.

I'd never heard of the imaginext stuff - would it be suitable for 5.5yo ds or is it already too babyish?
He loves playing with Playmobil and any figures - it's all mix and match. Am thinking the Batcave might be good.

Failing that, does anyone have any recommendations for a Scooby Doo fan?

ABitWoozy Mon 12-Nov-12 14:55:05

Dobble is great, each card has one symbol in common with any other card and you have to spot the match.
My 6 year old is obsessed (mainly because he's better than his older brother and sisters and often thrashes the lot of us!)

PeppermintPasty Mon 12-Nov-12 15:03:30

Thanks Kinky, I'll do a bit more research I think.

HopeForTheBest my son is 5.8 yrs and loves most of the imaginext stuff. I think 4-6 is the optimum age for a lot of it so definitely worth a look.

If he likes Scooby Doo, there are loads of things out there. My son has the haunted house and plays and plays with it. He has the mystery machine too plus the figures, and keeps himself amused for hours.

PeppermintPasty Mon 12-Nov-12 15:04:45

Ha Kinky that read as if I was dismissing your input!! I meant that I need to look into it further instead of trying to persuade others to make a decision for me smile

Zwitterion Mon 12-Nov-12 15:18:53

DD is nearly 3. Last Christmas we gave her a dolls house (Le Toy Van Strawberry Villa).

It's been played with every day pretty much since then.

She's actually playing right now with my old sylvanian families caravan, so I would say sylvanian's too, even though haven't bought any for 20 odd years.

Other hits:

Kitchen and play food
Till
Threading beads
Tea set
Doctors kit and coat

CinnabarRed Mon 12-Nov-12 16:40:55

Any ideas for a 15 month old boy?

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Mon 12-Nov-12 16:52:30

Cinnabar try:

Go, Maisy, Go! - a book with about a zillion flaps, entertains for ages
A plastic shopping basket full of toy fruit and veg
Wooden blocks

Bluemary3000 Mon 12-Nov-12 17:12:07

I say a big thumbs up to Happlyland, my DD got her house when she was 1yrs and now just turning 5yrs, still plays with it. My DS also had some boy happyland given to him to add to the collection and they love it. Currently both sitting playing with the fairy boot as I type. I dont think its quite in the way ELC intended but its getting good use and it has withstood a hammering from both of them.
Megablocks, I would avoid like the plaque, I got a load for DS last xmas and its currently in the garage awaiting a charity shop. Lego all the way, regardless of how young they are. My DS started at just over 1yr and although he had to supervised as everything goes in his mouth, He can build his cars, houses and his favourite gun!

CinnabarRed Mon 12-Nov-12 17:36:43

Thanks!

haggisaggis Mon 12-Nov-12 17:39:21

Diddy cars - brilliant (especially if you have a house with hard floors but also fun outside). Suitable from about age 3-4 to adult (yep - dh and I have raced them too)
Micro scooters
Playmobil - wheeled stuff for smaller kids and the houses / schools etc or older ones. Think it has more play value for older children - 8 + rather than the 4+ on the box.
Bruder trucks are brilliant (if pricey) particularly recommended the bin lorry (for about age 3 up)
Sylvanian families - again better from about 7 up as the pieces are so small and fiddly (and there is no way you can pose them to match the pictures on the boxes - reckon they muts be glued into position)
Learning Resources Pretend and Play School - dd (aged 10) has been known to still play with this. Easily packed away afterwards.
Decent set of felt pens

happybubblebrain Mon 12-Nov-12 19:06:12

Most played with:

Playdough
Vtech camera
Zingo
Othello
Memory Game
Tumblin Monkeys
Build a Bear and other cuddly toys
Jigsaw puzzles
Connect 4
Lego
Paints and craft materials
Toy musical instruments
Scooters, bikes etc

Never played with:

Playmobil
Moondough
Buckaroo
Hungry hippos
Dolls house
Dolls
Action figures
Farm set

StillSquiffy Mon 12-Nov-12 19:28:29

Yr2 / Yr3 kids are spot on target for Skylanders. Has advantage in that once you get the base you can get family to buy the little figures, so makes the whole xmas thing much easier..

My DC's have loved it. Only downside is that it wasn't difficult to get to the end, and the average Yr3 will do that within a couple of months. We are hoping the 'giants' version will be more difficult.

pinknanny Mon 12-Nov-12 19:58:22

Toys the kids and I enjoy most:
Books
Jigsaws
Orchard toy games
Board games- snakes n ladders, frustration, guess who, jenga, tiddly winks, house jack built, pairs, snap, dominos etc
Bikes
Scooters
Outdoor toys- bats n balls, football, skipping rope, hoola hoop, swings etc
Lego
Duplo
Farm sets
Train track
Doctor kit
Dressing up costumes
Dolls house
Play Kitchen
Toolbench
Musical Instruments
Animals
Garage/Cars/Playmat
Arts and Crafts- make up own box of paint, glue, glitter, sequins, googly eyes, feathers, tissue paper, foam etc
Paper/Colouring pens/pencils/Colouring books and activity books
Shape sorters
Playdough and cutters
Swimming Pool toys- like zoggs
Bath toys
Meccano
Pirate Ship
Puppets
Fuzzy Felts

Im sure theres more! Lol!

BeaWheesht Mon 12-Nov-12 20:00:53

Ds has been getting imaginext since he turned 4- he will be turning 6 at Christmas and is getting more. Loves it.

Chockywockydoodah Mon 12-Nov-12 20:36:29

2.5 year old DD loves happyland. Has train, farm, space house, cottage, funfair. Plays with it loads.

Play Doh with cutters and presses

books books books

colouring and painting things

mini cooker and cutting vegetables with teaset

jigsaw puzzles

fuzzy felt

driedapricots Mon 12-Nov-12 20:43:18

I've just discovered Makedo...not sure if mentioned on here already as not been through entire thread, but it's brilliant if your kids like junk modelling. It's basically like a set of connectors that you can use to stick together cardboard etc rather than tape and glue and there are kits that guide kids to make specific things like a car or a robot, perfect for using up all that xmas packaging too!! ..ideally for 5+ - a bit of a nightmare for younger toddlers tbh

iheartdusty Mon 12-Nov-12 20:52:18

The one present that just keeps on giving has been DS's subscription to the Beano. Every issue has been read and re-read at least 10 times, and the jokes just keep coming out as good as new.

SminkoPinko Mon 12-Nov-12 21:26:42

Baby Annabell is my 3 y.o daughter's favourite toy by quite a long way, survivingautumn. She is the only toy that my daughter plays with every day (unless books count as toys). She has a nice face, is a good size, cry not too annoying and the off switch works so I like her too.smile My daughter likes most dolls but BA is the top baby of all and gets the most rides in the argos dolls pushchair. Any child from 1st tottering steps stage up to 4ish without one of these £5 buggies should be bought one- I have never met a young kid who doesn't like to push a cheapo buggy about.

Other toys my daughter quite likes are her scooter, her wendy house containing play kitchen, teasets (especially when she manages to illicitly fill the teapot with sticky juice to pour into every cup and onto every clean surface), felt tips and paints and occasionally her happyland boot. Duplo, brio type train-track and schleich farm animals are so far quite a disappointment- bought because her now teenage brothers LOVED them so we thought we were onto a surefire winner but played with only with adult help/direction really. I think she might grow into them though. Our duplo collection is quite small and I think a few more bricks might encourage her.

My teenage boys love: google nexus 7 tablet (I would HIGHLY recommend this as an xmas present for a teenager if affordable for you as a family- it's excellent and not as pricey as some tablets), mobile phones, ipod and stereo, comics graphic novels and manga, digital camera, nerf guns and super soakers, skateboard, designer clothes(!).

Tricccky Mon 12-Nov-12 22:01:24

What's the best K-Nex set to buy for a 3 year old?

girliefriend Mon 12-Nov-12 22:05:44

My dd is 6yo and her best presents have been

fifi forgetmenot watering can house - she plays with that a lot

lego

puzzles

books

a car playmat thing, a garage and cars (she is a bit of a tomboy grin )

kiddicamera thingy.

This year she wants a leapster - can anyone recommend any good games for them?

spookysal Mon 12-Nov-12 22:31:40

Do any of your dc play with a wooden theatre and hand puppets?

DD1 wants one. Great in theory but in reality I can see me paying out a small fortune for puppets and the theatre to collect dust.

Or am I being too cynical. What are your experiences of them?

FloellaDaVille Mon 12-Nov-12 22:48:23

We bought a puppet theatre for Christmas about four years ago when DDs were 2 and 4. Can't remember the make but it's the one that can be a theatre or a shop depending on which way round it goes. We still have it now and they still play with it from time to time (8 and 6 now). We kept the original box so it doesn't have to be up all the time. The string puppets are a bit of a nightmare and get horrendously tangled. They preferred a set of finger puppets, nice ones with wooden heads and main fairy tale characters like king, witch, prince, princess, dragon. Also have a set of Red Riding Hood hand puppets. They have made other puppets of their own over the years too. It's also had lots of use as a shop too. Great toy IMHO.

blondieminx Mon 12-Nov-12 23:55:38

great thread smile

I've been looking at Sylvanian Family stuff for DD 2.9, and wondering if she's too young for it? they really have thought of everything... grin

Worley Tue 13-Nov-12 00:04:01

hopeforthebest - my ds2 is 6 and LOVES his batcave.. he actually has two. one is the older style one he got a few years ago and he got the newer tall one last Xmas. he plays with it probably every day. has been a brilliant toy. he has his eye on the Gotham city jail now.. my living room floor looks like an action film set when he is all set up to play smile

mathanxiety Tue 13-Nov-12 00:05:30

I got someone a great book ('Sleeping Beauty') that included a cut out bit at the top of the pages (boardbook construction, but large pages and story complex enough for age 5-8 to read) so readers could set the book up and act out the drama to an audience while reading out loud. 'Beauty' was not the usual insipid portrayal. Here. It was far cheaper when I bought it shock

Great entertainment -- they used it a lot and their friends loved playing with it when they came over.

mathanxiety Tue 13-Nov-12 00:20:14

They also loved the Izzi puzzle on many different levels.

Tangram set with a puzzle book like this was great value for money.

Rush Hour was also a hit.

So was Labyrinth but for older children. Great strategy game.
Also Hoppers. Best to let people of similar ages play that one together.

exexpat Tue 13-Nov-12 00:53:21

blondieminx I think 2.9 is still a bit young for Sylvanians. There are so many tiny fiddly and easily-lost pieces. At that age I'd stick to chunkier things.

Sylvanian families really start to be good from around age 5, when they can cope with setting out all the miniature pieces of food etc. DD and her best friend still play with it all now they are 10, so you would still get plenty of use out of it even if you wait a couple more years.

exexpat Tue 13-Nov-12 00:58:31

spookysal we have a wooden theatre and hand puppets, and it has had sporadic use, but not necessarily enough to justify the cost. But I think a lot of it may depend on your family set-up and how often your DCs have friends round to play - I think it is very much a social thing to be used by two or more children together, but my DCs are far apart in age (more than 4 years) so never really played together. If you have a cluster of similar-aged children, or have friends round to play a lot (and of course imaginative/theatrical children) it would probably be more worth it.

A low cost alternative is to use a cardboard box as the base for a theatre and sew yourself some basic curtains, and get the children to make themselves some sock-puppets or similar.

IsabelleRinging Tue 13-Nov-12 07:51:28

Essential toys for every kid in my opinion are:-

Toy kitchen
Playdough
Good quality large wooden bricks
Dolls
Teddies
Duplo/lego
Pens, pencils, paints (an easel is great)
Jigsaws

Oblomov Tue 13-Nov-12 08:05:09

marks place.

mumtoaandj Tue 13-Nov-12 09:42:15

imaginext- so robust, my boys have 3 years age gap and both play with it.(3 and 6)
Lego/duplo
micro scooter
make own playdough
happyland train set- both still play with this.

fuzzpig Tue 13-Nov-12 09:56:57

Favourite toys in our house:

Happyland - they have absolutely loads of it, it lasts brilliantly and is very versatile.

Wooden train set - not brio as we can't afford it. I'd recommend getting starter sets from a few different brands as then you get a nice range of accessories and bridges.

Wooden bricks - obviously! Mine have loads including mine from childhood.

Duplo - excellent quality and hopefully a high resale value grin as mine are moving on to proper Lego this Xmas

Disney figures - we have loads, some new, some from eBay, all very much loved and good quality.

Toy dinosaurs, animals, cars, food etc - no particular brand, it's just great to have them.

Toys DD has had over the last few years that are played with consistently:

Disney store figure sets, she has the tinkerbell fairies, nightmare before christmas, toy story 3 and disney princess sets and they are always played with, they often move into the ELC rosebud house she has.

Sylvanian families house and dalmatian family.

Moshi monsters, she has about 30 of the moshlings and adores them, we have the treehouse put away for Christmas.

Mini lalaloopsy dolls are played with very often.

Basically for DD anything that involves small character figures, and an assortment of houses she can fashion into a village.

shaztwins1 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:15:07

my boys love
lego
nerf
remote helicopters
scalextric
wii
jigsaws

dd loves
lego
sylvanians
polly pocket
mini lala loopsy
ds
anything crafty such as aquabeads, make own bracelet sets

nothing else gets a look in, not cheap to buy in but many many hours of peace for me of enjoyable playing by all grin

jepa Tue 13-Nov-12 11:18:31

Thumbwitch
I have the Van toys castle from GLTC.
DS aged 7 plays with it for hours def recommend www.gltc.co.uk/wooden-play-castle/gifts-for-a-boy/gltc/fcp-product/10002268
Hope that helps

Thumbwitch Tue 13-Nov-12 12:08:11

Thanks jepa! smile

mathanxiety Wed 14-Nov-12 02:15:54

OMG -- we have this, but again, bought it years ago, and it wasn't a fraction of the Ebay price.

This was a lovely set. It had a secret key and secret teaspoon, towers that came apart and became teacups and saucers, the castle itself was a teapot, and there were tiny figures. It came with a tray. Constant vigilance required however, in order to keep it all from getting lost. It was one of those toys we hid when having friends over.

Can't believe that price..

DTisMYdoctor Wed 13-Nov-13 19:19:34

In our house:

Lego, basic bricks and themed sets like Star Wars and City
Duplo sets - fire, police etc and Thomas the tank engine
Thomas take n play much more popular than the lovingly collected brio & Thomas stuff angry
Bag of wooden blocks (different shapes)
Happyland (older stuff - the current sets are lacking compared to what we have)
Playmobil

Stevie77 Thu 14-Nov-13 11:43:45

Has anyone seen Lalaloopsy house furniture sets? Annoyingly, they seem to sell the house, empty of contents but a Goigle search has mainly found stuff on EBay for ££££

Luggage16 Thu 14-Nov-13 12:42:03

Haba marble run - expensive but gets used daily and has done for nearly 4 years now (hubby likes to play with it too so recon it will still come out when they are teens)

Brio train track

Duplo

Playmobil

connecting straws (these are only about £1 in the range too and have been played with so so much)

wooden play frame

octonauts toys - yes they are over priced plastic tat - but again they are played with daily so worth the money

wild science perfume kit

anything made by schleich

anything made by pintoy

almost anything made by Melissa and Doug

Luggage16 Thu 14-Nov-13 12:51:22

spookysal - go for a play frame instead of a theatre. We started with a theatre and beautiful as it was it kept falling apart and was awkward for them to use. The playframe sets up as a theatre and is much sturdier, plus you can also use it to build dens, a shop etc so much more versatile and packs up small too. We have this one: www.myriadonline.co.uk/products.php?id=3862&name=Folding Play Frame
but this one is excellent too: my-kea.co.uk/children.html

Beccawoo Thu 14-Nov-13 21:16:37

Kellestar, my DD must be almost same bday as yours - 2 on dec 15. I've got her a (second hand) wooden dolls house for her bday. And a scooter for Christmas, plus Melissa and Doug wooden sandwich kit for her kitchen :0)

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