Here are a few favorites that fit the above criteria. You might consider adding them to your stash (and please share your own favorites in the Comments or on my Facebook page!):
Mega Bloks First Builders Build 'n Learn Table Plus Bonus Play Set
Fisher-Price Wheelies Loops 'n Swoops Amusement Park
This is a fun toy for all little kids. My son received it at age 3, and he and my daughter immediately started sending Wheelies down it. They still play with it daily (and it remains front and center in our very un-fancy family room). Hot Wheels and the ever-popular Disney Pixar cars usually work on it too. The music is cute and gets my kids excited, but you can turn it off if it doesn't excite you so much. Every kid who comes over makes a beeline for this toy.
Step2 Easel For Two with Bonus Magnetic Letters/Numbers
This easel gets a lot of mileage at our house. One side has a magnetic chalkboard, and the other (see above) is a magnetic whiteboard. I consider it a major bonus if each kid "works" on his or her own side so that they are sharing without really sharing.
Micro Mini Kick Scooter, Blue
My mom gave this to my son when he turned two. Before he could actually scoot on it, I let him run around pushing it in our basement. Now, at 4, he can actually scoot on it. My daughter, almost 2, likes to push it frantically around the yard like a little stroller or push toy.
I know dollhouses are typically considered "girl toys," but both of my kids like moving figurines around in my daughter's gigantic dollhouse. We do all kinds of games with ours, and it has been a hit for several months! It DID take my husband a longggg time to build it, but it is well-designed and looks nice in the middle of our living room.
One final tip: Rotate your toys. Even though I rarely actually do this, I still think it is good advice. My Shortcut: Even if I just move toys to different rooms, the kids notice them all over again and play with them more.
What are some of your long lasting toy favorites?
~Julia Arnold @ Frantic Mama
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