Recent Posts


I’ve spent a lot of time researching toys for Moses’ play area. Some of these I had already bought and then I justified the rest by counting them as Birthday and Christmas presents. I also had a decent amount of success finding some of them used on Craigslist. My goal was to buy really quality toys that could either entertain him or help him learn. It was also important to me that everything have a place so it would be organized and easier for him to clean up (instead of a giant toy bin) and in theory he would play with them more. So far we are very happy with the new play area–everything has been played with exhaustively and stayed pretty organized and clean. Here is some of what we ended up with.

1. Schleich Dinosaur Collection
Schleich is a German company that makes really beautiful animal reproductions. We started a dinosaur collection. (Someday I’ll do an animal collection to but this is a good start.) You can get them online or Target has a pretty good selection. We keep them in a clear plastic bin with a lid.

2. Puzzles
I like a lot of different wooden puzzles but I really love the Kid O Puzzles because they are so beautiful. Luckily Moses does too (proved by the hours he can sit being entertained by them). I also bought this puzzle holder
to keep all of them organized so they would have a place.

3. Musical Instruments
I brought a mini guitar home from Mexico for Moses and he became obsessed with it (always dragging it around the house with him). So I added to his musical instrument collection with a xylophone, a drum, and an accordion.

4. Ikea Train Set
Best $20 I’ve ever spent. This keeps him so happy and busy. This get stored in a clear plastic bin.

5. Stacking and Shapes
There are lots of toys to choose from in this category. We chose this, this, this, and this. We store these on an open shelf.

6. Blocks
Moses loves building blocks. I already blogged about these colored blocks but we also have a collection of vintage blocks I bought years ago, he still loves those too.

7. Play Food

8. Play-doh
I love it when my kids play with some of the same toys I played with when I was little. If I was ambitious I would have made it all myself.

9. Art Materials
This includes an Ikea easel and various things to paint and draw. (This is one of the toys we are saving for Christmas.)

10. Cars and Trucks
We have quite a large collection of these little wooden cars and trucks They run so smooth.

  1. Kathleen Frances

    December 8, 2009

    I'm a big fan of the train tracks too! I bought all of their sets and a few similar sets that work with the ikea ones. We now have a very large plastic bin filled with them. The girls love to dump them out and make all sorts of new interesting tracks. Very good choice!

  2. Chaucee

    December 8, 2009

    I think it's really important to buy wooden toys for children these days. The other toys aren't safe and just aren't as great quality! They break all the time. These wooden ones remind me of the toys I used to play with as a child : )

  3. Annabanana

    December 8, 2009

    we love ikea trains here too. i love that little accordion! What a great idea to add to our son's musical instrument collection.

  4. --r

    December 8, 2009

    what a great selection of toys!
    i'm a huge proponent of a small, but good, collection of toys. i'm a little worried at the amount of stuff we're bound to end up with after christmas!

  5. Virginia @ Where You Hang Your Hat

    December 8, 2009

    A great post! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Maryann

    December 8, 2009

    Would love to see a photo of your playroom as we are in the process of getting our boys playroom together.

  7. Bryan and Sarah

    December 8, 2009

    Thank you for this list! It's good to have recommendations that I can follow for Jessie.

  8. Kim

    December 8, 2009

    What a beautiful collection of quality toys. I have two little boys and this makes me want to pitch all their junk toys and start over!

  9. Anonymous

    December 8, 2009

    can you post a picture of his space? i have a 2 year old and am currently re-doing his room. would love to see how you are organizing all of his toys & books.

  10. mrs boo radley

    December 8, 2009

    Play-Doh and dinosaurs…the theme of my childhood.

  11. Anonymous

    December 8, 2009

    Great selection of toys! Any good toys that he loved at 1? Got a kiddo at that age, and am stumped for holiday presents!

  12. Becky

    December 8, 2009

    Jordan, I'm so pleased to see you mentioned Schleich! We love their toys also – but we're on the farm animal side of it. One of my best friends is actually one of the TWO American sales reps for the country – as you can imagine, she has a lot of clients nationwide, and they are coming out with some great new models!

  13. dandee

    December 8, 2009

    I've never seen those little cars before. They're darling! I think my little Oliver may find a few in his stocking, thanks to you.

  14. Pieter

    December 9, 2009

    Hey Jordan,

    I've gone online to see the size of the Schleich dinosaurs. Their website doesn't specify, but the Amazon page says they're 16cm high (the bracchiosaurus). It's quite small, do you know if they have bigger ones available? When I read your post I felt like I was 5years old again and now want to start collecting the dinos (but 16cm's isn't very big). Not quite sure if a 24year old guy (I'm slightly out of your demographic) having a dinosaur collection will be so appealing to women, but hey, I can always hide them under my bed.

  15. the dingbat (Adrienne)

    December 9, 2009


    We have the schliech (sp?) dinosaurs and they range in size. Most are small and hand held, good for a child's little stubby hand however they can get large. Expect to pay a hefty price for the bigger dinosaurs. +$30 for the large ones. With that said, we've collected close to the whole set over the 5 years of my son's life and they provide HOURS of entertainment and education. I really can honestly say he's a dinosaur genius.

    Jordan- we also had that accordian. It's fun for the first few weeks and ever since I've wanted to break it. I'd recommend it for an older child like someone 5+ and since you will be having a baby soon I'm just warning you that it is INCREDIBLY loud. Not that loud toys aren't fun but this thing will make any new baby scream. We finally had to give it away as my good natured baby couldn't stand to hear older brother try to play it. Liken it to fingernails on a chalkboard for a baby's sensitive ears.

    Fabulous list!

  16. Michelle

    December 9, 2009

    ooohh, I want that dinasour collection for myself!

  17. SeeSaw Designs

    December 9, 2009

    love wooden toys for the tots – really drawn to the fruit.

  18. jordan

    December 9, 2009

    We've owned the accordion for about a month and haven't minded the noise. 🙂

  19. youngmi

    December 9, 2009

    what a fun (and pretty) set of toys! i love those blocks! and i'm a huge fan of melissa & doug play food sets. i wish i had an excuse to buy them so that i can play with them myself 🙂

  20. Kate

    December 9, 2009

    Homemade playdoh gets moldy really quickly! So sometimes it's better to go with the store bought stuff!

  21. Emma

    December 9, 2009

    I love this list, and am also very inspired to go through and cull my two-year-old's toys…. But what's your contingency plan for the gifts Moses gets for birthday & Christmas?? I can't seem to steer my mother-in-law away from licensed toys no matter what I do.

  22. Brandie

    December 9, 2009

    I love the play food! I wish I hadn't already bought my niece's Christmas present … I got her felt food from Etsy but this looks a lot more fun and interactive. Maybe for her birthday …

    Merry Christmas to you!

  23. Elise

    December 10, 2009

    Love Plan Toys. We are in the process of collecting the Plan City (train) sets – one for birhtdays and one for Christmas each year – for our 3 year old. I love that it is not just a train set but roads, airport, garage, etc. Plus all his vintage Hot Wheels (his dad's from the 70s) and Cars cars can use the tracks.

    Another good addition to the wood food is a shopping cart (Plan Toys has a beautiful one and Target sells a metal one). My kids love to serve meals with it and roam around the house transporting things.

    Thanks for the list. I may have to go back to Target before Christmas to pick up some Schleich animals. I've always eyed them but haven't splurged yet.

  24. Aimee @ Smiling Mama

    December 10, 2009

    I'd also highly recommend a harmonica as a wonderful instrument for kids. Our 4yo has had one since he was about 2 and really enjoys playing it. Plus, amazingly, it always sounds lovely (unlike when he bangs on the piano!).

  25. Christine

    December 10, 2009

    Simple toys really are the best. My favorite toy when I was a child were cardboard 'bricks' from Ikea. They could be used to build anything!! Barbie didn't live in a pink, plastic dream house, but rather a huge brick mansion.

  26. c jane

    December 10, 2009

    Jordan you are a good woman for posting this. I was really short on Christmas ideas. The train especially will be perfect for my suddenly train-obsessed child.

    I have to say though, I have the Doug and Melissa instruments set and have found them all extremely disappointing, mostly because they don't produce quality sound, mostly just hollow wood-on-wood connections.

    Or maybe I am just not getting the point?

  27. c jane

    December 10, 2009

    I just want to add, that I would love and welcome the noise. I want him to really get into the joy of producing sound.The wooden toys just aren't doing it for me. I want to start a band.

    I might just buy that accordion.

  28. Jen (Pink) Williams

    December 11, 2009

    I would love to see photos of Mose's playroom. I'm thinking of downsizing my home office and sharing it with my son as his playroom. We just don't have the space for a separate playroom. Your toy list is so inspiring! I'm all about quality over quantity. LOVE the dinosaurs!

  29. Art of Dealing

    December 16, 2009

    This is one of the best toy lists I've seen in a long time. If you're looking for another great site purchase wooden learning toys you should check out moolka, I stumbled upon this site when I searched for HABA toys.

    I love the Schleich toys. They're so detailed and wonderful. I'm planning on purchasing a lot of their toys in the years to come for my son. I'd rather he have a few quality toys than a lot of flimsy toys.

Comments are Closed

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. My San Francisco Apartment: Living Room

    […] A few notes and sources: The Ikat Settee is from HSN | Bright Painting by Michelle Armas | Other Artwork is a print of Paul’s or from thrift stores | Yellow Chairs are from Craigslist but were reupholstered in yellow velvet | The dressers and green side table are from Craigslist and the Thrift Store | The Coffee Table is from Ikea but we painted the silver legs brass | The brass lamps are from Craigslist |The patterned table lamps are from Anthropologie | Vintage Persian Rug is from Craigslist | Corner desk unit is from Ikea but we painted it | Toy shelf is from Craigslist (for toy sources go here.) […]

More Recent Posts