I am a mom to four kids, two boys and two girls, ages 11 months to 9 years. If you name a toy, I probably have it.
But as all moms know, toys are not created equal. Some toys last for years. Others barely outlast the birthday party. And not all toys from our own childhoods are meant to be passed on to another generation. (I'm looking at you, Easy Bake Oven.)
When we moved into our new house in February, and I suddenly had space to unpack our toys, I found myself falling in love all over again with a few specific toys that I have come to adore. They are the toys I will probably not be able to part with even after my children outgrow them, the toys I will keep for my grandkids. They are My Favorite Toys.
To make this list, a toy must demonstrate the following qualities:
1. It must be attractive to both girls and boys.
2. It must be able to hold their attention for long periods of time (once they have attention spans longer than mine.) (Squirrel!)
3. It must foster imagination. This doesn't mean it can't have any bells and whistles. It just means it can't do all the play for them.
4. It must be able to withstand more than a decade of abuse from four children.
This will be an occasional series of posts that will come in no particular order. (Read: I'm not declaring one to be superior than the others. I can't choose one over the others. You can't make me!)
Today's pick? Legos.
Connor is a seven-year-old boy, which is Lego's sweet spot. And true to form, my son loves his Legos.
He started collecting Lego sets when he was four. I'm pretty sure his first Lego masterpiece was The Temple of Doom. He loves following the directions to build the projects. But even more, he loves to tear them apart and use the pieces for his own adventures.
(Remember this post?)
He also loves to tear apart the minifigs - Lego speak for people - to create new "guys." It's not uncommon for me to find Lego hands and heads rolling around under my couch.
I cannot speak further about this.
But it's not just Connor who loves Legos. Natalie has sequestered away a few of her favorite Legos -- mostly animals (dogs, horses and the like) along with a few walls and gates she can use to make a farm.
(She keeps her Legos in a repurposed grape clamshell. Because she's a nine-year-old girl who collects junk. But that's another post.)
Teyla, of course, wants to be just like her big brother.
(This picture is a few years old, but the same thing happens today. Connor leaves his Legos out when he goes to school, which is an invitation for Teyla to pounce. What happens when he gets home from school? I cannot speak further about this.)
And now, at 11 months, Kieran is turning into a Lego fiend.
(I took those pictures today. True story.)
At this stage, Connor has so many Legos, we had to buy a huge tub for him to store them in. Because Legos are technically a choking hazard for the toddler set, we keep the tub in Connor's bedroom right now. Which probably explains why he never goes to sleep before 10:00 PM.
But honestly, I'm OK with his staying up late when he is playing with Legos. (Don't tell him I said that.) Seven-year-old boys often have just two interests: Legos and video games. I'd much rather have him playing Legos for hours than sitting in front of his laptop.
Which is why Legos are one of my favorite toys.
For those of you who live in Minnesota, I invite you to join me at Lego Kids Fest in Minneapolis May 20-22 -- 175,00 square feet of Lego fun. Connor is already so excited about this, he asks me almost daily if it's May yet. ("Look out the window at the freakin' snow, buddy. Does it look like May yet?!?") It promises to be huge fun for any Lego lover. You can buy tickets through the Lego Kids Fest website -- or come back here in two weeks. I'll have a set to giveaway. (I know! Blogging is the best, isn't it?)