7 Classic Toys All Kids Must Have

by RobertKeith

Everything old is new again and when it comes to kid’s toys, all the favourites from our own childhoods are experiencing a revival. What were your favourites?

Most likely they operated without batteries, flashing lights and obnoxious sounds and still managed to conjure hours of happy memories (and instigate sibling squabbles). Ever bought this year’s best and brightest gizmo only to discover on Christmas day that the manufacturer didn’t feel obliged to include the batteries? A rummage in the junk drawer for some obscure battery size through wails of disappointment has become a parenthood rite of passage in today’s technological age. Give the tears a rest and ignite their imagination by adding these classic toys to this year’s birthday and Christmas shopping list.

1. Wooden Blocks:

It doesn’t get any more classic than wooden blocks, from simple solid wood through to the brightly painted versions, they are a solid investment that have been helping children absorb basic math concepts since the 1940’s.  Although wooden blocks epitomise open-ended play and will entertain kids of pretty much any age, you might need to help get your kids started with a building project or idea to kick-start their imagination.

Kids playing with wooden blocks
Kids playing with wooden blocks

2. Lego:

Feels like these have been around since plastic!  Maybe they have, but the classic buckets of Lego are another amazingly versatile building block that encourages imaginative play and entertains kids of all ages.  As they hit their teens, forking out a bit for one of the Lego sets (like Star Wars, Minecraft and City) will see their eyes light up when they unwrap them.  Still a big kid at heart?  Pick up an Architecture set and reconstruct the Sydney Opera House or Trevi Fountain … with some help from the kids of course!

Wooden Toy Blocks
Wooden Toy Blocks

3. Play-Doh:

The official smell of childhood according to a study of people born between 1930 and 1980, this one is great on a tight budget.  You can Google a recipe to make your own with a few pantry staples or pick up the tried and true Hasbro dough in every colour of the rainbow.  Like Lego, this is another classic that now comes in a variety of inspired sets to guide creative play.  Remember churning out multicoloured snakes with the Play-Doh fun factory?  Share the wonder with a new generation … and try to keep it away from the carpet and couch if you can!

Play Doh
Play Doh

4. Toy Cars:

Always a favourite, the humble Matchbox car entertains through to their teens where the makes and models start to become more important than hitting the racetrack and orchestrating head-on collisions.  Tonka trucks are great for the sandpit, backyard or playground, motivating toddlers to get toddling behind them while still keeping bigger kids amused operating the finer features like towing, dumping, mixing and bulldozing.   If you are a true classicist, then there are some amazing wooden toy cars just like you pushed around or rode on as a tyke or you can grab a kit and assemble your own.

5. Playscapes:

Now that the toy cars are in the driveway (hopefully not literally), a playscape will encourage more creative play by giving them an interactive context.  Playscapes include carpeted roadmaps for toy cars through to dollhouses and toy kitchens or tool sheds for roleplay. 

6. Marbles:

Another budget buster, you can pick up swags of marbles on eBay or cough up a few bucks at a toy store.  The original competitive collectible, the object of playing marbles was always to ensnare the opposition’s most prized marbles for “keepsies”.  Whilst still an excellent use of your favourite Tiger or Swirly you can also invest in a marble run which will engage the whole family for hours, firstly in constructing it and then racing their marbles in it.

7. Art & Craft Supplies:

Art and craft supplies really are the gift that keep on giving, start with some basic age-appropriate supplies like crayons, paint and paper and add to their artistic arsenal as they grow older and show new interests.  Set aside empty packaging like egg cartons and cardboard boxes and see what they create.  The old adage that kids have more fun with the boxes than the toys that come in them is usually true!

Updated: 10/14/2015, RobertKeith
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