Well, we had Little Man's birthday party on Friday. It went really well - he got a little nervous a couple of times with all the people around, but overall he had a great time. He was also such a good boy all day, I was so proud of him! He didn't touch his cake, but loved the mini ice-cream cone we gave him.
One of the things I was a little nervous about was the presents he would get. Unlike some other people I know, I haven't been able to stick with all wood toys - it's really difficult to find them in our small city, we've gotten way too many gifts that aren't wooden, and they're so expensive. I have, however, made a really attempt to stick with more "classic" toys - even if they are plastic - and continually purge all the noisy, button-pushing type stuff we get (although luckily not much so far). Right now his toybox basically consists of: a rubber ball, stacking cups, shape-sorter blocks, stacking rings, a few stuffed animals (including the In the Night Garden ones, which he loves to make kiss one another), some little cars and trucks, a big mega-blocks dump truck (which I expect might become an outdoor toy in the future - dumping rocks and dirt, etc.), a tonka fire truck (no buttons or noises!), a bead thingy from Ikea, a pop-up toy, some wodden puzzles, a wooden race car, a keyboard/xylophone, and a real ukelele. The only newer style noisy toys he has is a guitar (and at least a guitar is supposed to make noise!), the car wash fridge magnet set, Elmo Live (which he loves to hug and kiss lol) and his mater ride-on. When my mother-in-law bought the mater ride-on I was kind of upset - I wanted him to have a more traditional, non-noisy one... but really, he loves it. He still rides it like crazy and pushes it everywhere, but he loves to push the buttons too. Interestingly, he doesn't push the ones that make car noises or talk that much - he just like the ones that play music, and he likes to dance to them, either on the floor or while he's riding. So seeing how much he loved that, and how I'm still OK with how he likes to play with it, I'm trying not to be *too* strict about the toy issue, but trying to keep a bit of a handle on things. Really, looking over the above list, I think I've done a pretty good job so far. My sister's list for my niece at this age would have included a lot more small plastic junk, a few big noisy pieces, a ball tent... her house was basically overrun. All of Little Man's stuff fits in a rubbermaid bin with a couple of the bigger toys sitting on the floor next to it - all in one little corner.
Anyway, I think we ended up fairing out OK at his birthday. He really got mostly outdoor toys. My mom got him the classic Cozy Coupe (which we have the floorboard in to use as a kind of stroller for now), and we asked my father-in-law to get him a sand/water table. My aunt got him a pool and my uncle got him a bubble lawn mower. He got some books and clothes and we got him a wooden peg-pounder (which he loves!) and a growth chart for his room. We're also ordering him a nightstand and a few other things for his room (recently renovated) from Ikea. My brother got him a remote-control school bus designed for toddlers, which he also gets a big kick out of. The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the Little Leaps video game system my sister got him - but luckily, it needs a DVD player to work, and we don't have one - we use Big Man's Playstation 3 to play DVDs, and Little Leaps doesn't work with it. So it will stay at my Mom's house for Little Man and my niece to use there.
We also did OK for Easter. We got him a new small bulldozer truck, baby crayons and a big pad of paper, some new books, and a few summer clothing items. He got some other summer clothes from various family members, a great trucks book from my father-in-law, and some outdoor beach toys (buckets, shovels, sand molds, etc,). My mother got him the Little People plane and my brother got him a small Little People car - and he loves them both ... I think most toddlers love the Little People stuff. And that's it.
So between his birthday and Easter, the only new additions to our indoor toys were the wooden peg pounder, remote control bus, a little truck, and the Little People plane and car. I'd already done quite a bit of purging in the last few weeks, so it worked out pretty well.
I was already thinking of posting about this when I came across this post at simplemom about classic toys. It really got me excited about things to get for him as he gets older. I've got a list now of things I want to think about getting him. Luckily, our family is pretty good at asking what we want/need for him, so I should be able to get their help in getting some of this stuff eventually. Most of this stuff we wouldn't get for a few years, but it's nice to have stuff in mind so we can plan out what to get for different occasions and what to save up for. So here's my list:
- beanbags - these I want to get soon, he loves throwing things and playing catch so I think he'll really like them
- wooden blocks (like the Melissa and Doug ones she links to)
- wooden train set and a train table
- car mat (I'm pretty sure we'll have lots of hot wheels-type cars when he gets older)
- kitchen, wooden food, cash register, apron, chef's hat (he already likes to play with my niece's kitchen, so I think this will be something he'll like when he's older)
- dress-up stuff (I want to start now collecting things for this - capes, old costumes, swords, etc.) and would love to get this cool mirror from Ikea to put near it
- craft stuff - hopefully eventually I'll have a shelf in a cabinet in our front room (once all the 2x4's and gyroc are out of there) with some bins for craft stuff - popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, etc. - and eventually would like to get him an easel or craft table.... I also like the idea of adding real "office" stuff as he gets older (stationary, postage stamps, date stamp, name stamp, etc.)
- mailbox/mail set - my brother got a post office set when he was younger, and we all played with it, it was a great toy
- bongo type hand drums
- bug catching stuff for outside
- and of course Legos
For those of you who have kids, how are you dealing with the toy issue? Are you getting overrun? Any other ideas of great classic toys?