Check out this list of the top ten best toys for young children to play with together– from babies to elementary age!
I am asked often about what kinds of toys we buy for our kids. Because who wants a bunch of toys that don’t get played with, or an abundance of toys which will overwhelm all the living spaces in your house?
Umm, no one. Yet that tends to happen, doesn’t it? And with Christmas coming, I want to help you make a plan for what goes on the wishlist this year.
The beauty of this list is how VERSATILE these toys are! Every item on this list encourages open-ended play, which basically means that these toys can be played with in limitless ways.
Even better is that every item on this list can be played with by babies all the way through elementary age kids!
That’s a big deal, friends. You can have two or four or six kids and still appreciate the times when they can sit and play together, everyone engaged and no one playing with toys unsafe for their age.
In our house, we have four young kids (including a baby) who spend most of their time at home and who, given the choice, prefer to play altogether. So I have been deliberate about keeping toys around that are good choices for all of them.
Less is more, and choosing fewer toys that all the kids can enjoy just makes good sense.
I have compiled a list of the top ten toys for young kids– toys which can be enjoyed by multiple children across multiple ages.
All of these toys are great investments (many of ours were purchased for our oldest child and have carried through the years), and (almost as important) can be put away neatly when not in use (no big, noisy toys here).
Top Ten Best Toys for Young Siblings
*These are toys for babies through elementary. It’s not a list of every toy your children (or my children) will want to play with. Of course, supervision is important for babies with any toy.
1. Wooden Blocks
Wooden blocks are classic for a reason. We have our set for at least five years and they are still in great shape. Blocks can be used to make zoos for model animals, forts for solders, to prop up marble runs, and countless other ways.
Every child (boys and girls!) should have a set of wooden blocks!
We have this set from Melissa and Doug. The blocks come in a wooden box, which can then be repurposed after you just dump the blocks in a basket or drawer when finished. 1,500 reviews on Amazon and 4.9 stars…just saying.
We LOVE Zoobs! They are great for my baby to hold and play and chew. And they are great for my older children to play with. When we go out of town and only bring a handful of toys, our Zoobs come with us.
I have friends who have told me they have hundreds of Zoobs which their older kids play with often. There are basic sets and then there are extension sets like S.T.E.M. sets, inventor sets, RC sets, and more.
Zoobs are one of the best options on this list for open ended toys which are safe for all, portable and versatile, and can be fun for years.
3. Bean Bags
Bean bags are easy to make at home with fun colors and prints. This set from Learning Resource is a good option if you would rather buy than make.
I’m always surprised at how many ways my kids think to play with bean bags. They definitely belong on a list of toys for young siblings!
My kids played with magnatiles today. And yesterday. And the day before. And, well you get the picture.
Everyday they come up with a new way to build. A new design for a house or car or jet. A new use for the colorful tiles they are so fond of. Even my two-year-old is getting good at constructing with them!
Magnatiles may seem pricy, but if you’re going to spend money on toys, why not spend it on toys that can be played with over and over again? Or, do what we did and ask both sets of grandparents for magnatiles for Christmas one year.
5. Kitchen Toys
Play food, pots and pans, tea sets, utensils– another kind of toy that is great for all young kids and never becomes outdated.
You don’t need a play kitchen for kids to have kitchen toys to play with. Kids can “cook” just as well on the floor, and tea parties are best held on a blanket spread out with everyone gathered atop. Moreover, every mom knows that a spoon and a bowl make excellent baby toys!
I like this tea set because it’s gender neutral. And these pots and pans are a great “real life” option on Amazon, though ours are similar from IKEA. Melissa and Doug have play food for a great price, but I will say that my kids are typically just as happy cooking with marbles or beans or whatnot.
Duplos are a great precursor for LEGOS, but they can also be enjoyed by older children too. If you have children of multiple age ranges, having a set of basic duplos could be a great option for them to play together safely.
Starting with a basic box of duplos would encourage kids to create their own projects and would give everyone enough blocks with which to work. Once you have basic blocks, there are countless sets to choose from to add to your collection.
I have three boys and a girl. And yet there are plenty of times when all my kids are playing together taking care of baby dolls. They push them around in a stroller, feed them, change their diapers, and so on.
Caring for baby dolls is a timeless playtime. And again, keeping things simple is great. One basket of baby items is enough for all of my kids. A stroller, a few bottles, a few blankets, a cradle, and doll carrier or ring sling.
8. Animal Figures
Is your child interested in dinosaurs? The ocean? Bugs? There is an animal figure for that.
Schleich makes wonderful, great quality animal figures that can be fun to play with for years.
9. Forts & Play Houses
You can buy a fort kit, make one with sheets and blankets, sew a felt playhouse, or put together your own fort-building kit as a fun gift.
However you do it, playing in a fort/house/hideout is a great way for your children to enjoy the company of their siblings and stretch their imaginations.
10. Play Scarves
(This is the one item on the list that I would recommend more careful supervision with a baby, since even though babies would enjoy playing with the soft material, you would want to watch that they are safe).
Play scarves are on so many lists as toys which inspire creative play. They can be used to make costumes, forts, bags, and more. A set of colorful play scarves would be a great gift idea for young children!
These scarves are an affordable option with good reviews. My best friend has them and loves them, and they are on our wishlist this year too.
What would you add to this list?
If you like this list or think it might be helpful to others, would you consider pinning or sharing it? Thank you!
Jennifer Bly says
These are great suggestions! Schleich are favourites around here. We also have a great set of wood blocks. I feel open-ended toys are always the way to go with young children.
Your point: “less is more, and choosing fewer toys that all the kids can enjoy just makes good sense.” So very true!
Thanks for sharing!
Alison @ Tickling the wheat says
I love this list! We have a lot of the items on it, but I’ve never thought to use play scarves! My toddler will sometimes raid my closet and parade around in a scarf and heels as she drags my purse around, but that’s a great idea to use them for forts! And yes, my son has nursed his baby. 😉
I love to see my boys taking care of baby dolls, and it is always so cute when they try to nurse them! (Though at 6 and almost 5, they have pretty much figured out that won’t be in their future and they’ve switched to bottles).