my kids' most used toys.
according to them, with notes from me.
At long last, the gift guide that at least a handful of you have been clamoring for. This is a list of items garnered from a sample-size of three, all related to me, so caveats abound. I can’t guarantee that the same things would be as well-used in your family as in mine, but no doubt these are the items in my kids’ possession—whether technically toys or merely toy-adjacent—that receive the most regular action. This is not to say that these are the *only* things my children play with, or that they have not received many other lovely and adored gifts that get regular attention and play, but these are the stand-bys, the workhorses, the never-forgotten, the always-returned-to.
When purchased new, some of the items on this list are spendy, but it’s helpful to bear in mind that in nearly every case these are items with considerable staying power, not only in terms of their ability to withstand heavy, regular play, but also to move through ages and developmental stages. Most of them we’ve had since Faye was an infant and others that are newer, I fully expect to be used just as long. In our experience, these are the kinds of things that grandparents and great aunts and other very loving humans wanting to give one special thing might appreciate being directed toward. Happily, they’re also items that are widely available in resale shops, on eBay, and at yard sales.
Notably, what is most used is not always the same as what’s claimed to be most loved. Silas’s immediate response when I interviewed my kids around the dinner table for this piece was to declare the aforementioned plastic spaceship at the foot of his bed his most used toy. It’s objectively only rarely played with, but no doubt his current fond feelings for it are real. Calder told me that “squishy things” were her favorite toy. Squishy things is Calder-speak for the fruit leather I sometimes cave and buy her from the bodega on the way home from school. We can chalk it up to her minimalist preference for comestible gifts, but really it’s a reminder that the littlest kids are happy with and game for just about anything. What they receive and to some extent what they end up valuing, is up to the grown-ups.
Without further ado—and with spaceship and fruit leather not included—here are the play things and art supplies that my kids themselves described as their most used. Their selections all ring true for me, even the last items on the list, which, in what certainly shows my own bias, I hadn’t even remembered to consider.