In advance of yard sale season, we've been going through a massive toy purge at our house. Our girls are getting older and it's becoming clear not only which toys they've outgrown (Little People), but which toys have staying power (Playmobil sets), which are only intermittently interesting (puzzles) and which can disappear without anyone even noticing (those poor neglected stuffed animals).
We've also brought two very small new playthings into the house. Remembering fondly my own childhood obsession with Uno, I purchased a deck of Uno cards for Z at Walgreens. Hands down, it is the best $6 I've ever spent. Not only does my 6 year old want to play every single day, Josh and I actually enjoy a quick card game or two against our strategic little Uno player. And since A knows her numbers and colors, she can play too, with some assistance.
Tegu is a socially responsible company that makes these marvelous wooden blocks embedded with tiny magnets. They sent me a $28 Tegu pocket set with a little woolen carry case (not much larger than a deck of cards) which I promptly slid into my handbag.
People, A gave up the iPod touch to play with Tegu blocks as she waited for her gnocchi to arrive at Jimmy's Place. And once again, the parent play factor can't be ignored. I love the little click the blocks make as they snap together into tiny wooden beds, desks, chairs and robots. The smooth wood surface is pleasant to handle, and with their perfect size and magnet attraction, the blocks are intensely satisfying to tinker with. They're pricey, but I'm tempted to buy more.