Tuesday, September 22, 2009


As a child, I had some great toys. And now, its fun to watch Maggie play with those same toys at my parents' house.

I took the opportunity to organize our toy situation yesterday and I found that a) we have a lot of really crummy toys and b) we don't have many toys that are worth keeping for the next generation.

I would like to remedy this.

In the future, I'd like to invest in Legos and Playmobile. But as for now, I would prefer to not have to patrol my children's mouths for small plastic parts. What I'm in the market for is a dollhouse. A dollhouse is my own unrealized childhood dream and Maggie spent hours playing with one at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Garth's in Las Vegas last weekend--completely content.

It so happens that Maggie's birthday is fast approaching and Christmas is a hop-skip-and-a-jump (okay, more like a long jump) after that. So, I have some prime toy buying occassions on my hands.

What to get? Here are some ideas I've had, but I know there are some really smart Moms out there who know toys and toy buying better than I do, so please! share your experience!

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My First Dollhouse ($29), Target (I like that this one doesn't have small parts that would be easily lost or choked on)
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Disney Princess Figurine Set ($9) Target (Maggie has a real thing for Disney lately)
Loving Family Dollhouse, ($69) Toys R Us (This would be really fun to add to and collect over time, i.e. as she gets older and more responsible with toys)

I'm also thinking, though that Maggie would have a ball with a collection of animals--you know the kind they sell at the zoo and in bins at toy stores? I could start buying those until she has amassed a whole ark-full.

What toys are your kids' favorites? What do you recommend?


Rachel said...

Kirsten had a doll house and played with it oh........very little! She's an only girl too. Not sure if that is the reason but......she likes stuff like that at other houses but not ours. It is always just laying around losing pieces and on the floor. Not played with.

The toys that are ALWAYS played with around here with all of my kids are matchbox cars, army men, and plastic animals. I'd go the route of the ark. Get a bunch of plastic animals and put them in a bin.

My sister told me this years ago. She did this with her daughter and her daughter played with the animals for years and years. Same thing has happened here. The boys are happy with the army men, cars, and animals, and Kirsten loves the animals.

NICK said...

I had a homemade hand-me-down Barbie house when I was a kid and loved it. But, when I wanted to get one for Colette, Nick thought they were too big, so we opted for Polly Pockets instead. We found a enormous lot on eBay for $50 shipped, well over $600 regular price when new. It had over 60 dolls, hundreds of clothes, accessories, 4 houses, a swimming pool, battery-powered fountain, water slides, limosine, airplane, beauty salon and boutique, etc, too many to list. . . All three of our kids love it and play with it daily. Vera frequently chewed on the soft, squishy pieces when she was about a year old, but now she loves the "Polly Poc," as she calls it, the most. They all love to change their outfits, drive the dolls around in the cars, and play house with the buildings. FUN! and it takes up way less space than the gigantic Barbie house I had. --Jennie

Kirsten said...

Fisher price toys are the BEST!! I have fisher price toys from when I was little. I got that first little Fisher Price doll house (first picture you put) for the girls when Brynlee was three and Hailey was two and they have always loved it. Karli is getting the Fisher Price Enchanted Castle for Christmas and they are excited for that too.

Last Christmas we invested in a doll house I bought at Costco (they have the BEST prices from now until October on Christmas toys) and we have loved that for more like Barbie sized dolls for when Maggie is four or five. Here is a picture of it http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-68494591854995_2073_4620575.
It is called the Emma Dollhouse by Kidkraft. They have amazing wooden dollhouses. I love it because the parts are wooden (don't go plastic except for sturdy Fisher Price) and will last. I found it at Costco for cheaper but Target has a very similar one also by Kidkraft. Just a suggestion for the future.

My toy philosophy (since I am obsessed) is to go as much wooden and sturdy as possible. I also buy for the next generation. Specialy toy stores are more expensive but SO MUCH better quality than Toys R Us, etc. Ethan loves legos and still plays with Ammon's from when he was little. Good luck!

P.S. Stephanie Ford at simplyradiant.blogspot.com has listed several cool, interesting toys in the past. My favorite website is http://tutusandturtles.blogspot.comCheck it out!! In fact, go here and let your mind start dreaming of Christmas!!! http://tutusandturtles.blogspot.com/search/label/Toys-Games-Puzzles

P.S. Polly Pockets DRIVE ME INSANE!! ;-) I have never stepped on so many legos and polly pocket shoes in my life as I do these days!

Kirsten said...

Apparently I have TOO much to say on this matter. Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are awesome too. We have a bunch of those. Plus Maggie might love these too!! Google Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress Up dolls and you'll find three different ones. A princess, a modern girl, and a ballerina. We love them!

Cherringtons said...

Wow it is so hard to figure out what your kids will play with. Rivka loves the loving family doll house at my sisters house and i actually got it for her for her birthday this year and she hardly ever plays with it here, go figure. You have some pretty good ideas listed so i am actually no help on this one sorry.

jwise said...

I don't have much useful input--only that it looks like your finds are pretty good. That first one (My First Dollhouse) looks like a GREAT starter one--perfect for little ones. You're right about the Legos, though (even though they're not something you'd get right now). They are CLASSIC. We never had any growing up (at least not to my knowledge...maybe Jordan did?) but my in-laws have kept all the sets that my husband and his two brothers played with growing up and they are a HIT when we go to visit. They will never go out of style. Good luck with your fun purchases. Looks like you got a lot of good advice even though none of it came from me. ;)

Beth said...

I would go to DI and start scavenging for happy meal toy collections. stalk other shoppers, if you have to, and tell Maggie she doesn't need to go to school. she can just as good an education at DI.

Beth said...

she can GET just as good an education at DI.

Leslie said...

There was a sale at Toys R Us in Las Vegas several years ago. Buy one or two Loving Family sets and get one for a penny. So I got the whole set, practically. We don't have the house, though. I bought a bookcase/dollhouse at Down East Home that had been dropped. It is one floor short. Only three levels. I added a wider base and screwed it to the wall, so if she tried to climb it, it wouldn't tip. She's 7 now and still plays with it. If you have the doll gene, there is no stopping her. If she enjoyed it in Vegas, she'll enjoy it here.

Do you have an old bookcase? Save the money from the house and buy the furniture and family first.

I am going to add another floor for Christmas. I bought the MDF. It will be taller now that she is taller.

Emily said...

my kids LOVE doll houses! And Kirsten you rock!

The Tuck Family said...

I have 3 words for you....Melissa & Doug! I love, love, love, these toys. They are wooden so they last forever! Here's a link:


Some other benefits are you can shop online and they aren't expensive, especailly for the quality you get! But they also sell them at Toys R Us and Roberts to name a few.

Amanda D said...

I used to think that Legos were cool. That was back when I didn't have kids that spread Legos to EVERY room in the house. I am constantly stepping on, trying not to vacuum up, cleaning up and moving Lego pieces around.

My daughter (6) would love a doll house too. My neice has the Twin Time one and it is VERY cute. My daughter plays more with Barbies so I am looking more at a house that would fit those for Christmas.

Good luck and let us know what you decide!

Kati said...

Megan- I am totally ticked off---- ALMOST to the point of going enviornmentalistic over the toys made these days. They are made to break. period. SOOOOO when I find toys that are made well, we collect them. So far- we buy Little People things. I hate that they are made in China, but still, they are durable and fun. We also buy IKEA train sets. We have a huge collection of these and the more you have, the more fun they are. AND it is helping my future civil engineers gets a good foundation :) I recommend them for your boys- they are also fun and durable. LASTLY--- POPGUNS from CABELA'S. FUN FUN FUN!!! AMD MADE IN THE USA! So I am not sure how durable the things are yet, but it hasn't broken since Saturday. Brad happens to be the best tester of durablilty ever and so far, so good. Highly recommened for both Maggie and the twins :) Good luck with all that doll house stuff. I have no idea about all that girly stuff.

Andrea said...

I LOVE talking Christmas. I'm especially excited this year because I think I found perfect gifts for Miriam and Cowen.

As for your question: we had the loving family dollhouse and it only sort of held up . . . okay, it would probably hold up with normal children but not Miriam. Also, my kids never played with it. However, I donated it to grandma and all the OTHER grandchildren love it.

The biggest hits at our house: SCHLEIK. They are the only way to go. Totally expensive, totally worth it. We bought the imaginext castle one year and filled it with schleik castle toys and it is still all four of my children's favorite. The dragon alone, plus the ogre, and the princess, and the unicorn--okay, my kids love everything. We add on to it every year and have hours long battle sieges. We also have the imaginext pirate ship which has led to some pretty stellar book of mormon reenactments for FHE (the pirate captain has a removable coat--Laban anyone). It's a must. Melissa and Doug has a pink princess castle that I TOTALLY want for the girls, but Timothy is phobic of wooden toys, and we haven't had much luck with them holding up to prove him wrong.

Other favorites: dress-up clothes. That's Miriam's favorite thing. I buy all her dress-ups at Savers and DI. Last MUCH better than costumes and don't itch her arms.

Stick horses. I know, I know. I thought it was crazy too but my kids ride those things around at least half the day. Miriam "hitches" them to the chair to take her to balls. Best time to get them are during Halloween because then you can get them cheap at ToysRUs as cowboy costume accessories.

Plastic animals. Animals can do so many things and serve many functions. We have just started collecting the Schleik wild west series so we have an Indian and canoe, a cowboy and horse, a trapper and horse, another gazillion horses, a tiger (who is always fighting on the trolls side instead of the good guys--my kids didn't grow up with He-Man), oh a bunch of different animals and my kids LOVE them.

This Christmas I'm getting Emeline a bilibo and I'm totally excited. I think my kids are going to go crazy with all the possibilities it presents. Emeline is turning three this week and she actually plays with dolls (Miriam didn't), so she's getting a stroller for her doll and one of those dogs (posh puppies or something like that) in a carrier. I'm pretty sure she'll be delighted because she's a stuffed animal and bag fanatic. So there you go.

Really, my kids are all about imaginative play and most toys seem to get in their way. I know that's weird but we've tried doll houses and polly pockets and numerous other toys and ended up giving or throwing them away. I'm glancing around my room and right now on the living room floor is a dinosaur a princess (schleik), a dragon (schleik), a pink flamingo, and a rifle. So there you go.

Whoa, this was long. Sorry, but I'm a Christmas fanatic and almost have all my shopping done and I am SO EXCITED. WAHOO!!!

{Erica} said...

A dollhouse for sure and the figurines. We have a huge bucket of those disney figurines and my kids spend hours playing with them. Best investment we've every made...

Diana said...

I didn't read all of your comments, but I would go for a wood Doll House, and I know just the place to look for one. My brother-in-law's store on Center Street in Provo. D and B Woods sells doll houses. Denae got one for her girls and they LOVE it! It's a Barbie sized house. But I believe he has a few to choose from. Take a look at least. Best of all....no batteries required!


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