Recently, I asked readers on Facebook to share their favorite battery-free toys with us. Here’s a summary of the responses, and I think this would be a great go-to list for a gift guide, or if you’re looking for alternatives to TV to keep the kiddos entertained during cold Winter days! A big THANK YOU to everyone who added their favorites!!
Wooden Blocks — I love that so many of our readers said that wooden blocks are a favorite! One reader mentioned that they have had the same wooden block set for 27 years and it is still played with every week!! Highlights High 5 magazine has a neat feature called “Build It” that gives a fun block activity designed for kids ages 2-6, and we love that section of the magazine. My girls received this set from Melissa and Doug (now on sale at Amazon) as a Christmas gift and it has been played with every day since!
Play Cleaning Supplies — Kids love to play with water and pretend to clean! Among the pretend cleaning supplies listed by readers, a play mop, rags, a squirt bottle and a squeegee for washing windows were big favorites. My girls love their play laundry set, and playing pretend car wash! Nothing like some good clean fun!!
Play Kitchen & Pretend Food — Another big favorite, and understandably so, pretend food can be used for so many play scenarios making it very versatile. It’s great for playing house, grocery store, and restaurant, just to name a few! And what kid doesn’t like to pretend to cook?? Also, can I just say that play kitchens are not just for girls??? I can say that, right? Good, ’cause I just did! We made ours from an old folding TV stand and some felt, and we use felt to make lots of play food too.
Play Dough — For readers with kids ages 2 and up, playing with play dough was a big hit! We love getting out cookie cutters, muffin tins, and rolling pins, and sometimes make up our own homemade play dough. Lots of fun!!
Puzzles — While Emily was not a huge puzzle fan, Clara is LOVING them. For good prices on wooden puzzles, I love to pick these up at yard sales, Target, or Kohl’s (especially if I have a coupon).
Mr. Potato Head — Another favorite with our readers was Mr. Potato Head, and we think it’s worth mentioning because it’s one of our go-to “quiet time” toys, and I also love to bring it out for the girls to play with while I’m getting dinner ready.
Legos/Playmobil — I could totally relate to this being a favorite among readers because I loved playing with Legos when I was a kid and now my girls adore them as well! While we have yet to own any Playmobil toys here, the girls are friends with several people who have them and will happily play with their sets for loooong periods of time. Lots of imaginative play going on!
Train Set/Cars — Many readers mentioned train sets and cars as a favorite! Often when we visit the book store, besides reading lots of great books, playing with the train set is a big highlight of the experience. Combine these with wooden blocks, and you have yourself a day of fun!
Coloring — Yay for coloring!!! Need I say more?
Dolls/Dollhouse — I couldn’t list favorite battery-free toys without adding dolls to the list. Great role-playing fun! For a great gender-neutral doll house with a modern twist that promotes LOTS of creativity, check out this one, just $13.59 from the Museum of Modern Art. We LOVE it!!
Homemade Poi — Shared by a reader who is from New Zealand, this looks like a lot of fun!! To make the balls, they use plastic bags and some yarn to hold them together and swing them (see video below). I can’t wait to try this with my girls!
If you use the links provided to purchase any of these items, I will make a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you — thank you!!