Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Perfect Toy

I am in search of the perfect toy.  My vision of the perfect toy is a toy that is just right for my son developmentally.  This toy would require thought, with a bit of technicality to it, it would be non- motorized, but require muscle power to manipulate it.  It would be interesting enough to bring my son back again and again without calling him to it.  It would be a multi age toy requiring the strength of a 2.5 year old not an adult, the brain power of a 4 year old engineer, not an infant, and it would be a toy my son could play alone as he is curious or with another so he could communicate while playing.  Oh and add to that, not too flimsy and no loud noises, quiet noise is o.k.  Is that toy out there?  No! I attest to this because I have been searching for awhile now.

I am very dissapointed in the toys of this world.  I love natural toys, they are what I am drawn to, and would like my son to be surrounded by.  All hail the natural toy. I am with you on this one, but..... my son needs a little boost as do many other children of this world.  I have learned so much through the 1.5 years I have been with my incredible son.  I have learned I may have created a narrow view of what a perfect home/learning/developmental environment should be. Perfect is not real.

The thing is this world is not perfect.  All children do not develop the same, and some children need extra boosts to help them develop.  Some children, believe it or not, do not follow the "norm".  There is no norm.  So here it my new perfect.  Perfect is whatever my son needs to help him develop in a happy, healthy manner.  How he develops will direct my new perfect.

  I hate plastic, but thank you cookie monster pushy button thingy toy that helped my son graduate from occupational therapy when he came home from Kazakhstan.  Thank you really annoying Dora the Explorer pusshy button thing that my neighbor gave me because you helped my son learn what it means to take turns.  Thank you little plastic stacky cups that my sister gave me to take with me to Kazakshtan because you were my son's favorite toy, and organic lamb baby sorry, you are so perfect with your organic cloth and cute smile, you were tossed aside.
The little guy at his orphanage who learned to crawl from the enticement of these cups.

I would love any toy ideas that you all might have for us.  What is your perfect toy?  Natural, plastic (ick but the new perfect right!), whatever.  What has helped your child develop into the superhuman that they are today?  


  1. We loved this wooden tree with bees and flower beads that traveled around wires...you had to rotate the beads at the right time in order to get them to move. It taught my boy how to use a pincer grasp, rotate his wrist, and focus on one toy. We had it until he learned to jump (attempted "over") fell and injured his "gentleman parts." on the wire...great toy if you can find it in the box form with other fine motor activities. I think it's made by parents.

  2. City Sister- what a tragic end to the toy. It took me awhile but it came to me on the way to work that I know what you toy you are talking about. Our son had a similar toy and he loved, loved it. I agree, really great toy. Thanks for the suggestion. It was a hard one to pass on.

  3. http://discoveroo.com.au/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=6
    This is maybe nothing like what you had in mind but this a firm favourite with the boys at the moment. Little Monkey (2.5 months, and Monkey Boy just 5yrs along with their cousins (3 + 4) were all quietly and methodically playing with these...oh and me :-)
    Not particularly helpful coming from Australia though, but there might be something else in their product range that might give you an idea.

  4. Cityhippyfarmgirl- I like the toy you linked too. This might be a good one for him. I saw some toys that were similar but made of cheap plastic. This wood one seems promising. The little guy loves planes. Thanks for the idea.

  5. When I taught pre-school one of the favorites was a wooden marble maze. They can be truly beautiful, wooden, and have endless possibilities for building and rebuilding. Adult assistance can be needed to put together an intricate maze but even the littlest ones can put together a simple maze. (of course adult supervision is needed with little ones to avoid marble ingestion!) My boy LOVED for YEARS the wooden train track that he can put together himself and then run his little trains on. I know that they are available in the branded format after that train character but we got ours unbranded. It is now a FAVORITE in my kindergarten classroom. Again, endless possibilities and has lasted for years, through my own child, my pre-school, and now four years of kindergarten!
    I also have one plastic suggestions :) The all time favorite toy in kindergarten for the past three years has been ... bristle blocks!! I grew up playing with these and they are still great. They are super easy to put together and take apart and can now come with attachable wheels and propellers so kids can create vehicles as well as structures, super fun! My pre-school age nieces and nephews and even my two year old nephew were also successful at putting together and taking apart with these.
    good luck :)

  6. Yeah Anne. I love the idea of a wooden maze. Great idea. The little guy loves trains and has a set already, but rarely builds it on his own. Bristle blocks is another good idea. Plus you are one of my favorite kinder. teachers so I am all for it.

  7. So amazon calls it a marble "run" as opposed to maze which is another thing entirely (although it too looks kinda cool). Here is a link to one that is similar to the one my guy has.

  8. Anne- that is totally not what I was picturing. Thanks for the link. I think that seems like a great new toy for the amazing D. I might just have to get it. Thanks!

  9. It is pretty great. Much more constructive than a pre-built "marble maze". It encourages lots of experimentation and problem solving and is still enjoyed by my son 7 years after I first bought it!!