I’m not proud of this fact, but our house looks like a well-stocked day care. Between the two of us, my husband and I have 7 siblings only one of which has kids. Our three children have more people that want to give them stuff and less competition than is at all fair. We have such a wide variety of toys that I’ve actually set up zones in our house for different types of toys. Our dining room has learning/building toys around the perimeter (puzzles, legos, lincoln logs, tinker toys, play doh, etc.) One bedroom has large scale make-believe toys (play clothes, play kitchen, work bench, stuffed animals, as well as an artist easel and art supplies). Another bedroom has small scale make-believe toys (doll houses, hot wheels, Barbie dolls, Thomas trains, etc.) We have another area specifically for athletic equipment with a few mattresses for the kids to jump around on. (We’re very lucky to have a large house.)
We regularly have to get rid of old toys either through donations or garage sales, just to make room for new stuff without our house feeling cluttered. While I don’t feel like my kids need a tenth of the toys they own one advantage of this situation is that I feel surprisingly qualified to recommend long lasting, cost-effective gifts for kids of different ages. I’m constantly looking around at the toys my kids have and mentally putting them into one of three categories: donate as soon as my kids stop playing with it, donate after my youngest child outgrows it, and keep for my future grandkids. At present, my oldest child is 4. As he gets older, this list will expand, but for now, here are my current recommendations for the best gifts for kids up to the age of 4.
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