Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Our Favourite Toys {At Ages 3-5 Years Old}

I've recently been on a mission to declutter and organise our house, and in doing this, one of my main aims has been to sort out the boys' collection of toys. Due to a lack of useful storage in the main part of the house, we we finding that more than anything, toys were taking over every living space, from the living room, to the dining/playroom, kitchen and every bedroom upstairs too. I'm still very much in the process of working out the best storage solutions for the toys as well as planning a full re-organisiation of our former dining room into a playroom, which I will be sharing on the blog when it's complete, but for now, I thought I'd share a post about the boys' favourite toys; it always fascinates me to see what other families have in their toy collections and how they organise them too.
Of course, I can't include every toy they own, but I thought I'd share the ones which get the most use, which hold their imagination for the longest time, and which are the most open ended to encourage imaginative and self-directed play.

Currently we keep the majority of toys out in easy to access baskets on a small Kallax unit in the playroom. I find that if toys are categorised into baskets which they can see, the boys are much more likely to play with them (the toys within the baskets get rotated around so we switch up the toys every now and again). Once we decorate and re-sort the former dining room, we will hopefully get a larger Kallax unit so we can fit more baskets in, and store a collection of books with the toys too.

Ikea Kallax Toy Storage

Wooden Kitchen and Wooden Food Crates
The wooden kitchen sits in the corner of what was our dining room (now our playroom). It gets a lot of use, mostly from Luca who is 3, who likes to use it as a kitchen, shop and bakery. With the kitchen we keep a till, a basket of toy cleaning props, shopping baskets, a purse and a bag, as well as a tea set, wooden cake stand and his Melissa & Doug wooden food group crates.

Our basket of Duplo is brought out and used very frequently and is enjoyed in equal measure by both boys. It's more accessible to Luca (who's 3) than Lego and easier to manipulate, and they will often sit together and create vehicles, houses and towers together.

As the Lego table is based up in Freddie's bedroom, the vast majority of his Lego collection stays up there and is a toy they enjoy playing with when we are upstairs. He gets really creative with what he builds and it fires up his imagination through the stories he tells when he's playing with it.

Continuing with the construction toys theme, our Magformers are one of the most used toys in our house. They both love constructing different creations using the magnetic shapes and playing with them has definitely helped with their knowledge of 2D and 3D shapes. One time we even managed to construct a model of Lincoln Cathedral using just magformers. It was some pretty impressive teamwork!

Wooden Blocks
I always keep a basket of wooden building blocks out as they are so open ended and can be used in so many different ways. In all honesty though, the boys have never really jumped for joy at the wooden blocks, contrary to so many toy experts (and me!) singing the praises of wooden blocks. Nevertheless I thought I'd include them as we always keep them out and they are used for tower/house construction and in conjunction with animal figures and knights.

Vehicles are hugely popular in out house and these will always be found strewn around the house in all sorts of different locations. As well as the basket of small vehicles (which can be used in so many different ways, from colour sorting to counting to helping with spellings) we also have a larger tote basket full of larger vehicles they've been given as presents or hand-me-downs such as transformers, dump trucks and helicopters.

Our boys absolutely love a puzzle, be it a jigsaw puzzle, a wooden peg puzzle or a wooden sorting puzzle. We especially love the wooden puzzles with chunky letters or numbers which can be used for all sorts of different activities.

Lacing Beads
We have a set of chunky lacing beads by Wooden Toys of Oxford which also have letters of the alphabet on, numbers and dice markings, which I rotate around with other wooden puzzle games. Of course there are many other things you can use as a lacing activity such as pasta shapes, buttons or cotton reels.

Ball Collection
I kept finding random balls dotted around the house so I added a basket of balls into the toy collection, just so they're all stored neatly in one place with a few beanbags too. They can be used in so many different fun ways.

Animals & Knights
We don't have a huge selection of animals, but the boys do love their dinosaur collection which they will sometimes incorporate with the blocks, or I will set up a tuff spot with sand in for them to create a dinosaur world in.
As well as dinosaurs the boys enjoy playing with their collection of knights and dragons, and I find these figures really encourage lots of story telling and imaginative play.

Musical Instruments
One basket we've had consistently since both boys were tiny is our musical instrument collection. It contains maracas, a tambourine, small cymbals, some wooden claves, a little xylophone, some jingle bells, homemade pasta bottle shakers and a couple of cheerleader pompoms.

Wooden Toy Baskets
Melissa & Doug Wooden Food Crates
Wooden kitchen

Hopefully that gives you a little insight into what our most used toys are and how we store them. Our storage is by no means perfect, but I do find having them in baskets and on display makes them more accessible and therefore more likely to be played with. I will hopefully do an updated toy storage post for you all once we have sorted the playroom properly.

What do you find your children play with the most? Do you find some toys get constant use and others just sit there for months on end without being played with? If you have any amazing toy storage solutions or a playroom which works well, do comment below, I'd love to know!

Best toys for 3-5 year olds



  1. I love posts like this. At 5 our most played with toy is the 12 piece Grimms rainbow along with lots of small world things - faries, gems, cars, houses etc to make 'scenes' then dolls. I need to remember to get playdoh/magic sand/lego out more often after school to try to avoid the evening disappearing with TV.

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