Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What's in your toybox?

When Z turned 1, she simply wasn't that into her toys. She liked baby dolls and would happily spend 10 minutes throwing blankets over them and shouting "night-night," but that was about it. Books were her thing.

Now she loves toys. Which means I love yard sales. So if you're in the market for a birthday present for a 1 or 2 year old girl, here's Baby Z's top ten indoor toys list--ranked roughly in order of how long each toy will keep her occupied.

10. IKEA train set
With help, Z can build a track and push the train cars along it. But the real triumph is building a circular track and sitting in the middle of it. I've heard this is compatible with the much pricier BRIO set. Under $15

9. Plastic milk jug and wooden clothespins
You know, you can drop the clothespins inside the jug, dump 'em out...and start again. This low-budget toy nearly always starts a fight when multiple kids are at my house. Total cost: about 50¢

. Megabloks
Don't tell the brand manager, but we call them Legos! Purchased for 75¢ during the neighborhood block sale.

7. Washable Crayola Markers
Check out the back-to-school sales going on now. They can be had for $1 or $2 a box. Z has been known to create works of art on the back sides of PowerPoint decks.

6. Play-Doh
You can make it yourself, but $3 worth lasts us 6 months if we take care of it.

5. Baby Doll Stroller
$9 at Toys R Us and worth every penny.

4. Little People house with people and accessories, circa 1983

The little people do a lot of going to bed, eating breakfast (Weetabix) and "going food shopping at the store." Cost: $1 at a yard sale

3. Cardboard box, large enough to climb inside


2. Mommy's Purse
Stocked with a cell phone, a wallet with "moneys," Kleenex, lip balm and--once a month or so a "noodle" [Tampax], this is a helluva toy. Technically free, but that means I'm combing the house for my lipstick and worrying that a co-worker will get a call like this: "Hi! I'm talking tel-phone! How are you doing? I got Mommy's phone! It's mine!"

1. Naked plastic baby

It can be diapered, bathed, kissed, hugged, fed and put to bed. It can go for walks in the doll stroller (see #5). It can go for rides in the doll carseat/swing (not rated). It is not allowed in the crib. It's name is Z.