We live in a small space, so we’ve forced to be super selective about the toys we bring into our home. Emily’s background is in pediatric occupational therapy, and she has taught me so much about how kids learn different developmental skills through playing with items from different toy categories.We try to chose toys that meet the girls’ current interests, while also helping to push them towards the next-higher level of play and learning.

We’re sharing our TOY categories to help you get a better sense of what toys you have in your space and consider what new toy items you may need to bring in. Over the past few years, we have tried to use gift-giving as an opportunity to add or replace items within these toy categories based on our girls’ changing developmental needs.

Our Toy Categories

Imaginative

play kitchen

Our girls LOVE to play with their kitchen, so we upgraded our smaller kitchen to a larger KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen. It has a refrigerator, freezer, oven, stove, microwave, and washing machine, so there is plenty of room for both girls to play together!

play food

Last year we focused most of our holiday gifts on adding lots of fun kitchen food and accessories. We have the Melissa & Doug wooden food groups sets, which includes a healthy variety of foods. We have also enjoyed their food sets that work on fine motor skills, including their cutting fruit setslice-and-bake cookies set, and ice cream set.

kitchen appliances and tea party set

KidKraft has nice wooden appliances, and the girls have enjoyed cooking with their coffee maker, blender and mixing bowl. We also added the Green Toys brand dishes set and their tea party set. The girls love to pretend to cook food in their kitchen, and plan parties and picnics for their baby dolls!

Our girls love to take care of their baby dolls! Matilda’s favorite baby is the Melissa & Doug “Mine to Love” Mariana 12-Inch Doll, and Mabel’s favorite baby is the Baby Born Interactive Doll (who can drink real water from a bottle, and then cry tears and use the potty!). They move the babies around their nursery play set area, from the stroller to the highchair to the pack and play bed! They also love pushing around this double doll stroller. Their baby dolls are definitely played with every day!

doll house

We have a small wooden dollhouse shelf attached to the wall in the playroom. Sometimes we store other toys on the shelves, but it is usually used as a dollhouse. We have this wooden doll family with posable limbs, and this wooden dollhouse furniture set.

play room

We installed 2 shelves in the playroom rather than a child-size table. There are 2 small chairs next to the shelves, so the girls can sit to play if they want, but more often they are used as standing shelves for imaginative play. We also have a 3-tier metal storage cart that stores various imaginative play toys.

play shelves

Our girls regularly use the shelves as a doctor table to take care of their sick or injured baby dolls. They love opening their doctor kit, complete with a thermometer, stethoscope and syringe! Sometimes we even add real band-aids or medical gloves to the kit! Another favorite use for the play shelves is to set up a grocery store using play food and a toy cash register, and then roll up with this grocery shopping cart with a spot for their baby dolls to sit!

Our girls also love to play dress-up! Their favorite costume is to put on a fancy dress and then add dress-up shoes and a jeweled tiara.

puppets

They also love taking care of animals using a pet vet kit, with keys to open the doors where the animals are stored. They have recently become more interested in singing and putting on performances using their farm animals hand puppets and their finger puppets animals set.

Building 

We enjoy having a variety of open-ended blocks for the girls to create and build whatever their imagination desires.

A wooden block set is perfect for practicing balancing blocks on top of each other, while these large mega blocks and these bristle blocks require the girls to push the interlocking pieces together.

It has also been fun to discover a variety of magnetic blocks! We have a set of magnetic tile blocks, a magnetic ball and rod construction set, and a small set of Tegu wooden magnet blocks.

As the girls have gotten a little older we have also added a set of Plus-Plus blocks and a set of colorful Legos to their block rotation.

Vehicles

road rug mat

We have a “road rug” mat that we spread out on the playroom floor when the girls want to play with their cars and create a city. They enjoying playing with this wooden vehicles and traffic signs set, and a set of wooden professional characters.

Arts and Crafts

Our girls spend a lot of time doing arts and crafts projects at the table, and we love this double-sided tabletop easel. We bought this easel companion art accessory kit to go with it, and it includes paint cups, paint, paintbrushes, a paper roll, chalk, an eraser, and a dry-erase marker. Everything they need to use their easel for hours!

They also enjoy making creative original designs, and this giant art jar includes some of their favorite crafting items, like craft sticks, google eyes, buttons, glue sticks, glitter glue, and more! It’s a great gift set. We use this 6-drawer storage cart to keep craft supplies organized, with a drawer for construction paper, one for stickers, one for stamps and ink pads, etc.

Sometimes they prefer to color in a coloring book, and our favorite is definitely the Color Wonder coloring books! We have a set of Color Wonder markers, and they don’t mark on anything except the special paper, which also comes in a blank refill paper set.

Fine Motor

shape sorter

When they were babies, they loved to play with this classic set of large plastic stacking rings and a shape sorter. They soon progressed to a smaller wooden stacking ring set.

Matilda (age 2.5) currently works on her fine motor skills by playing with a Mrs. Potato Head toy, stringing large wooden beads, twisting together large nuts and bolts, and making pictures out of large dot buttons.

Mabel (age 4.5) currently enjoys animal lacing cards, making jewelry out of small pop beads, and practicing buttons, laces, and zippers on a dressing skills board.

Both girls also love doing fun experiments using this tong tool set, including tweezers, scoopers, and droppers.

Puzzles 

puzzles

We enjoy having a variety of puzzles, and we use this small puzzle rack and this large puzzle rack to keep them organized. We have a variety of small peg puzzles (letters, numbers, colors), 12-piece puzzles (farm animals, pet animals), 24-pieces puzzles (ocean animals and safari animals), and 48-pieces puzzles (mermaids), all stored in the puzzle racks.

We also have a variety of floor puzzles. They enjoy connecting together this long alphabet train puzzle and this number train puzzle. We also have a large USA floor puzzle, and a fun “look and find” observation floor puzzle, where you get to assemble all the pieces, and then look for the images shown around the border hidden in the larger puzzle image.

Instruments

instruments

We have a few instruments for the girls to play with, and their favorite is definitely the wooden ukulele. They love to sing and strum the strings! We all get lots of entertainment from this tap and pound xylophone set, with balls that can roll down and make music. They also enjoy making sounds with their simple tap-a-tune drum set, large rainmaker stick, and maracas set.

Sensory

play doh

The girls enjoying sitting at the kitchen and playing with various sensory textured toys. Their favorite is definitely classic Play Doh, but they also enjoy colorful play foam and these rainbow water beads. Mabel’s big wishlist item this year is a DIY slime kit!

Gross Motor

We like having a few indoor gross motor toys available for the girls to play with since we don’t have a yard. Sometimes they just need to move their bodies! They love to practice yoga or gymnastic moves on a fold-up play mat. Or set up a sleeping mat for their baby dolls, as pictured!

ball pit

They also love to crawl through a tunnel and ball pit set. This was a gift to Mabel for her first Christmas, when she had just learned to crawl. It has grown with the girls over the years, and they love hiding out in the tent to play or read books. The tunnel and tent both collapse and store flat.

boxes and a cash register

One of our very best “tidying with kids” tips is to take time to go through your own inventory of toys. Consider the big toy categories that your kids enjoy, see if there are any holes missing, or additions that could meet their new developmental needs. But despite all of our best efforts… in the end their favorite toy will probably always be the box!

_______________________________________________________________________

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission for purchases made through these links with no additional fee to the customer. We only link to products we use and love! Thank you for supporting our blog! 

for pinterest

Thanks for pinning!

More from thetidydad.com

   tidy up arts & crafts   

I'm Tyler Moore 

My wife and I live with our three young girls in a 700-square-foot apartment in New York City. I started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


December 2, 2019

Toy Inventory

We live in a small space, so we’ve forced to be super selective about the toys we bring into our home. Emily’s background is in pediatric occupational therapy, and she has taught me so much about how kids learn different developmental skills through playing with items from different toy categories.We try to chose toys that meet the girls’ current interests, while also helping to push them towards the next-higher level of play and learning.

We’re sharing our TOY categories to help you get a better sense of what toys you have in your space and consider what new toy items you may need to bring in. Over the past few years, we have tried to use gift-giving as an opportunity to add or replace items within these toy categories based on our girls’ changing developmental needs.

Our Toy Categories

Imaginative

play kitchen

Our girls LOVE to play with their kitchen, so we upgraded our smaller kitchen to a larger KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen. It has a refrigerator, freezer, oven, stove, microwave, and washing machine, so there is plenty of room for both girls to play together!

play food

Last year we focused most of our holiday gifts on adding lots of fun kitchen food and accessories. We have the Melissa & Doug wooden food groups sets, which includes a healthy variety of foods. We have also enjoyed their food sets that work on fine motor skills, including their cutting fruit setslice-and-bake cookies set, and ice cream set.

kitchen appliances and tea party set

KidKraft has nice wooden appliances, and the girls have enjoyed cooking with their coffee maker, blender and mixing bowl. We also added the Green Toys brand dishes set and their tea party set. The girls love to pretend to cook food in their kitchen, and plan parties and picnics for their baby dolls!

Our girls love to take care of their baby dolls! Matilda’s favorite baby is the Melissa & Doug “Mine to Love” Mariana 12-Inch Doll, and Mabel’s favorite baby is the Baby Born Interactive Doll (who can drink real water from a bottle, and then cry tears and use the potty!). They move the babies around their nursery play set area, from the stroller to the highchair to the pack and play bed! They also love pushing around this double doll stroller. Their baby dolls are definitely played with every day!

doll house

We have a small wooden dollhouse shelf attached to the wall in the playroom. Sometimes we store other toys on the shelves, but it is usually used as a dollhouse. We have this wooden doll family with posable limbs, and this wooden dollhouse furniture set.

play room

We installed 2 shelves in the playroom rather than a child-size table. There are 2 small chairs next to the shelves, so the girls can sit to play if they want, but more often they are used as standing shelves for imaginative play. We also have a 3-tier metal storage cart that stores various imaginative play toys.

play shelves

Our girls regularly use the shelves as a doctor table to take care of their sick or injured baby dolls. They love opening their doctor kit, complete with a thermometer, stethoscope and syringe! Sometimes we even add real band-aids or medical gloves to the kit! Another favorite use for the play shelves is to set up a grocery store using play food and a toy cash register, and then roll up with this grocery shopping cart with a spot for their baby dolls to sit!

Our girls also love to play dress-up! Their favorite costume is to put on a fancy dress and then add dress-up shoes and a jeweled tiara.

puppets

They also love taking care of animals using a pet vet kit, with keys to open the doors where the animals are stored. They have recently become more interested in singing and putting on performances using their farm animals hand puppets and their finger puppets animals set.

Building 

We enjoy having a variety of open-ended blocks for the girls to create and build whatever their imagination desires.

A wooden block set is perfect for practicing balancing blocks on top of each other, while these large mega blocks and these bristle blocks require the girls to push the interlocking pieces together.

It has also been fun to discover a variety of magnetic blocks! We have a set of magnetic tile blocks, a magnetic ball and rod construction set, and a small set of Tegu wooden magnet blocks.

As the girls have gotten a little older we have also added a set of Plus-Plus blocks and a set of colorful Legos to their block rotation.

Vehicles

road rug mat

We have a “road rug” mat that we spread out on the playroom floor when the girls want to play with their cars and create a city. They enjoying playing with this wooden vehicles and traffic signs set, and a set of wooden professional characters.

Arts and Crafts

Our girls spend a lot of time doing arts and crafts projects at the table, and we love this double-sided tabletop easel. We bought this easel companion art accessory kit to go with it, and it includes paint cups, paint, paintbrushes, a paper roll, chalk, an eraser, and a dry-erase marker. Everything they need to use their easel for hours!

They also enjoy making creative original designs, and this giant art jar includes some of their favorite crafting items, like craft sticks, google eyes, buttons, glue sticks, glitter glue, and more! It’s a great gift set. We use this 6-drawer storage cart to keep craft supplies organized, with a drawer for construction paper, one for stickers, one for stamps and ink pads, etc.

Sometimes they prefer to color in a coloring book, and our favorite is definitely the Color Wonder coloring books! We have a set of Color Wonder markers, and they don’t mark on anything except the special paper, which also comes in a blank refill paper set.

Fine Motor

shape sorter

When they were babies, they loved to play with this classic set of large plastic stacking rings and a shape sorter. They soon progressed to a smaller wooden stacking ring set.

Matilda (age 2.5) currently works on her fine motor skills by playing with a Mrs. Potato Head toy, stringing large wooden beads, twisting together large nuts and bolts, and making pictures out of large dot buttons.

Mabel (age 4.5) currently enjoys animal lacing cards, making jewelry out of small pop beads, and practicing buttons, laces, and zippers on a dressing skills board.

Both girls also love doing fun experiments using this tong tool set, including tweezers, scoopers, and droppers.

Puzzles 

puzzles

We enjoy having a variety of puzzles, and we use this small puzzle rack and this large puzzle rack to keep them organized. We have a variety of small peg puzzles (letters, numbers, colors), 12-piece puzzles (farm animals, pet animals), 24-pieces puzzles (ocean animals and safari animals), and 48-pieces puzzles (mermaids), all stored in the puzzle racks.

We also have a variety of floor puzzles. They enjoy connecting together this long alphabet train puzzle and this number train puzzle. We also have a large USA floor puzzle, and a fun “look and find” observation floor puzzle, where you get to assemble all the pieces, and then look for the images shown around the border hidden in the larger puzzle image.

Instruments

instruments

We have a few instruments for the girls to play with, and their favorite is definitely the wooden ukulele. They love to sing and strum the strings! We all get lots of entertainment from this tap and pound xylophone set, with balls that can roll down and make music. They also enjoy making sounds with their simple tap-a-tune drum set, large rainmaker stick, and maracas set.

Sensory

play doh

The girls enjoying sitting at the kitchen and playing with various sensory textured toys. Their favorite is definitely classic Play Doh, but they also enjoy colorful play foam and these rainbow water beads. Mabel’s big wishlist item this year is a DIY slime kit!

Gross Motor

We like having a few indoor gross motor toys available for the girls to play with since we don’t have a yard. Sometimes they just need to move their bodies! They love to practice yoga or gymnastic moves on a fold-up play mat. Or set up a sleeping mat for their baby dolls, as pictured!

ball pit

They also love to crawl through a tunnel and ball pit set. This was a gift to Mabel for her first Christmas, when she had just learned to crawl. It has grown with the girls over the years, and they love hiding out in the tent to play or read books. The tunnel and tent both collapse and store flat.

boxes and a cash register

One of our very best “tidying with kids” tips is to take time to go through your own inventory of toys. Consider the big toy categories that your kids enjoy, see if there are any holes missing, or additions that could meet their new developmental needs. But despite all of our best efforts… in the end their favorite toy will probably always be the box!

_______________________________________________________________________

This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission for purchases made through these links with no additional fee to the customer. We only link to products we use and love! Thank you for supporting our blog! 

for pinterest

Thanks for pinning!

More from thetidydad.com

   tidy up arts & crafts   

December 2, 2019

Toy Inventory

About me

Hi, my name is Tyler Moore. My wife and I live with our three young daughters in a 700- square-foot apartment in New York City. I began my tidying journey when an early-30’s crisis invited me to reflect upon, challenge, and change my patterns of daily living. I quit my job as a school administrator, returned to teaching, and started Tidy Dad to help others tidy, simplify, and find joy in their lives. I firmly believe the tidying process can transform your life. I’d love for you to join me in exploring ways that tidying can make room for what’s important in life. 


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