When it comes to toys, I’m a big fan of the go outside and use your imagination variety. But we have stormy days in the summer and below zero days in the winter and it’s always good to have a few go-to playthings ready. With A’s birthday just around the corner and V’s the following month, I’ve been thinking toys. Here are a few of our favorites:

We received our first set of MagnaTiles for Christmas this last year and when I decided to add more to the mix, I was surprised at the price tag. They aren’t cheap, but I still bought them without hesitation. Why? Because they are my kids’ absolute favorite toy. They are played with almost every day and it’s amazing the different ways kids find to put them together.

Another Christmas gift that gets regular play is the Brio train track. I love that in an era of plastic and easily breakable toys, this has heirloom possibility. My brother still has his set from 20 years ago and with the track, trains, and most pieces made out of wood, I know that A will be able to share his set with his own kids one day.

Calico Critters are a favorite of V’s. She loves setting up the furniture, placing the little pieces (soda bottles, flowers in vases, throw pillows) just so, and enacting little stories. You can find an endless array of kits (grocery store, dress shop, camper) or just use your imagination with things around the house (V uses one of my small jewelry boxes as a table) to create houses and expand villages. I especially love that she gets to enact stories like she would with Barbie, but without the whole body image thing of Barbie.

Is any list complete without Lego? We just recently packed up all the big old Duplo bricks (sniff) when V bought a Lego set with some reward money and they both decided “small Legos” were the way to go. We added a few of Dad’s old kits to the mix (heirloom toys…love them) and have our eye on a few pieces from Lego City and Lego Friends for birthdays this year.

As you can tell, we’re big fans of expandable kits. By doing it this way, the kiddos get to add the excitement of a new toy but without adding a slew of different “stuff” to be corralled and stored.

What are some go-to toys in your household?

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  • we still have my husband's brio train set from when he was little. I can't wait until my daughter (and future children) can play with it!