It’s almost Black Friday. I don’t even enjoy shopping on a regular day, so I won’t be going out to brave the crowds. But I did want to write a post of appreciation for a few of the best toys in my house. Toys are pretty important for those little ones, and with so many to choose from, choosing the right ones for gifts is a big deal. These are toys that have lent a nice atmosphere to our home. I’m not going to link it to Amazon or be very specific. You can do your own research. I just wanted to share the general type of toy.

The number one best toy for my son is the wooden, connectable train track. It has a lot of pieces, can be put together many, many ways, has clear instructions for four impressive track plans (which I laminated), and has stood the test of time. We gave it to my son when he was three. He is now almost nine. It still gets happily played with.

Toys for girls are a little harder to choose because my girls play with a wider variety of things. Both girls have had a lot of fun with a jump rope I picked up for a quarter at a garage sale. And yes, I let them jump rope in the house. We have high ceilings.

Mostly, my girls like to accumulate things. The more stuffed animals, the better. The more little figurines, the better. The more dolls, the better. They play pretend with these things, scattering them all about the house, making endless collections of them in strange places. Sometimes they use their small dollhouses, sometimes they don’t. Barbie dolls are included here. I know that’s controversial, but I don’t think I was scarred for life by playing with Barbies, so I doubt they will be either. So the girls like multitudes of small things for pretend play.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I remember playing with my paper dolls a lot. I scattered them around in strange places (I suppose my mother thought), but really I had a very intricate world planned for them. I think that might be why I am a fiction writer today. I still have those intricate worlds in my head, and I like to move people around in them. I hope the toys my own kids play with inspire them well into adulthood.


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