My oldest grandchild is 8 years old. I’m sure she would correct me. She is 8.5 years old. About 7 years ago I decided to convert an extra bedroom into a playroom for the present and future grandchildren.
What toys to include in the playroom? I didn’t want a duplication of the toys that are in my grandchildren’s homes. I wanted special toys that they could look forward to playing with at Grandma’s house. And then there is the age appropriate angle. As the children grow up, the toys need to change. My grandsons have both pointed out to me that they no longer play with Dora Dominos. The girls are no longer “into princesses” – their words.
Alas, Thomas, the Tank Engine, now usually remains in his storage drawer. The boys are off to other interests. My favorite engine, Toby, waits with all the others for the few days that they are still in favor.
There are several toys that all the children have liked for years and still continue to play with. Every time they visit they play with these.
1. The play kitchen The kitchen is the center of activity in the playroom because it can be a home kitchen or a restaurant. There is a Melissa and Doug range top + dishes + pretend foods. But three additions to the kitchen make it special.
Miele microwave – This little pretend microwave has a timer and rotating turntable for small cooks who are preparing meals.
Drip coffeemaker – Push the button on this coffee maker and you hear the sounds of coffee brewing and dripping into the carafe. One grandson makes a special brew – chalk coffee, adding the chalk from the chalk board. We, of course, always request chalk coffee at his restaurant.
Stand mixer – The mixer is perfect for making pretend chocolate chip cookies and comes with a tray of the cookies. The wooden bowl also doubles as a salad bowl.
2. Rug – Years ago I found this rug at Menards. It has stood the test of time and sticky fingers and racing Hot Wheel cars for many years. Since it is 4X6, it is large enough that several children can set up a pretend city on the rug. They pick out locations for the school, the shopping center, the swimming pool, and the pizza place. They bring down Hot Wheel cars and Playmobile figures and sometimes Thomas or Percy to join in the action on the rug.
3. Wooden house – I found this play set at Tuesday Morning years ago. It has been a favorite. Originally I had to slide the pieces together to build the house. Now one of my grandsons has taken over that chore. The children like to “landscape” the house with the trees that come with the set. There is a swing and picnic table for the yard + plus a car for mommy or daddy to drive to work or to the store. Mommy, daddy, sister, brother, and the puppy dog all have fun together.
4. Chalkboard – I purchased a 3′ X 2′ magnetic chalkboard from a local office supply store, and it hangs on the wall of the playroom. It is the center of school activity. The children use it when they play school. There are colored chalks, magnetic letters, magnetic numbers, and magnetic animals to use on the chalkboard. Sometimes Grandma has to draw a line down the center of the board so brother and sister can each have a portion of the board. Woe to the one who drifts over the dividing line.
5. The final toy for today is one that surprisingly is still very popular. It is this snail puzzle designed to help small ones with numbers 1-10 and with putting puzzle pieces together. Each grandchild has gone through the learning process of counting and assembling it. One would think that it might be time for this to go into the storage tub, but not so fast.
This puzzle lives on the sunporch on a table by the door. When a family is getting ready to head out, frequently I hear from a grandchild, “Just a minute, I want to do the snail puzzle.” He/she does the puzzle, gives me a hug and is out the door with a smile.
There are a few other “great finds” for the playroom that I’ll tell you about another day. And, yes, sometime I’ll also share the “what was I thinking” purchases that never made the hit parade of toys.
Thanks for visiting today.