I’m not even going to pretend we are a minimalist family. I love cleaning things out and surely feel best in a non-cluttered home, but we still have stuff. Even so, I’m all about simplifying our life right now. Less to think about, less to clean, less to put away.
I’m also trying to be purposeful about the toys that come into our house for holidays and as gifts. I feel like we have a really great mix of timeless toys right now.
I recently went through my son, Ollie’s, playroom and realized that he plays with everything in there. Even better, many of the toys were already at least a year old. I’m here to share our favorite timeless toys that provide hours of fun for multiple years of your child’s life.
For my son’s second Christmas, we gave him an adorable kitchen set I found on Craig’s List. We are the third owners of this kitchen and I love it. The last person painted it to cover up some sharpie marks and to me, it looks perfect. Over time, we’ve built our food and dish collection. My son’s favorites? A recycled tea tin, a spatula he was allowed to pick out in Boston, and a real lunchbox that proved far too small to use for his food. We have a few soft food sets and wooden cutting food.
I remember playing house, restaurant, and store with my own kitchen set before it was passed on to my cousins and then eventually sold in a garage sale. My mom still has the bin of food and Ollie now plays with it when we visit. I look forward to someday having grandchildren of my own come over and prepare meals with the kitchen set, just like Ollie does for us today.
On days where I have a headache, I sometimes regret this timeless toy suggestion, but thankfully my son is pretty great about taking a break from his band when we ask. I love having real musical instruments in our house. For my son’s first birthday, he received wooden maracas and a ukulele from his grandmother. His grandfather added a tambourine this past Christmas.
We also own a drum and llama shaker. His dad gets the first timeless toy credit. He picked out the drum before Ollie was even born! We brought the drum out when Ollie was less than a year old and let him use his hands until he was much older and ready for the accompanying drumsticks. Parades around the house with instruments and dress up hats are a near daily occurrence. He now gets to rock out on his dad’s drums and a kid’s set that were passed on to us as well. Next on our list? A cabasa!
My son has a balance bike. For the first six months with it, he barely moved on it. He’d push a few feet and walk his bike, helmet and all, while his cousins scooted past. We didn’t force him to ride it and he all of a sudden took off on his own. This summer, he flies everywhere on his balance bike. He knows how to pick up his feet and coast. He’s also mastered pushing down hills to go even faster. He even spends time on the pump track in Essex! The timeless toy sometimes takes time off my life, but I love his confidence now.
The bike lived in our unfinished basement all winter where there was a perfect loop open. I bought our balance bike used from a Facebook swap group. The price was great and the seat adjusts without a tool and can grow with your child. The more a toy can grow to fit your child or their needs, the more of a timeless toy it is!
For his third birthday, we’re upgrading our son to a pedal bike. In my effort to simplify things, he’ll get his bike, a bike shirt, and a basket to go with it. We will all go “off roadin’” on our bikes, aka bike on our lawn instead of the road. We will also attach some balloons to the bike, as that is all Ollie says he wants for his birthday. He cracks me up with his gift requests. “Maybe just three birthday balloons,” says the toddler who asked Santa for a ladder and ceiling fan and was disappointed the Easter Bunny didn’t bring carpet.
The beauty of balance bikes is that they teach children to ride a bike while totally skipping the training wheels. My niece was riding a two-wheeler before she was even three! The timelessness of a bike is slightly dependent on your child’s growth, but I think it is best to find one that will grow and can be passed on or sold, as that does prolong its timelessness.
There you have it. Three ideas for timeless toys. These have all lasted us multiple seasons, stages, and ages. I look forward to continuing to watch my son grow and use these timeless treasures. What are your favorite timeless toys?