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Wooden puzzlesSeriously, y'all...you can't find the awesome Playskool puzzles they had when I was a kid. So thankful I still have mine! My very favorites were The Rescuers and Pinocchio. I'm proud to say I've held onto those through growing up, moving houses, having kids, and moving a few more times. I always wanted more of them for my baby girl, but discovered Playskool no longer made many. Fortunately, I ran across some at Half Price Books several years ago and bought every single one! They last forever, and most of the characters and scenes are timeless.
One of the best gifts ever, by the way. And they are good for endless hours of entertainment. It is difficult to destroy these even when the roughest play. I like that both Lincoln Logs and Legos have plans that you can go by (to teach the importance of reading and following directions), but also allow for free play and imagination.
Lincoln Logs and Legos
Tinker ToysI think Tinker Toys are awesome. They can turn into anything and are a perfect toy for imagination and creativity. My little girl's favorite game to play with Tinker Toys was "art gallery"...she made "masterpieces" and then we would walk around and look at them and place bids. To show they complete flip-side of that, my boys love to make weapons and vehicles out of them. Creativity is where it's at, y'all.
Say what you want about Barbies and women's lib, but this girl loved Barbies. My daughter loved Barbies. Never once did I think I needed to have a waist as small as Barbie...or boobs as big. I just saw Barbie as a medium for my imagination. Barbies, like diamonds, are forever. While I did occasionally play He-Man with my cousin, action figures weren't really my toy of choice. But like Barbie, G.I. Joe and He-Man and Luke Skywalker are great tools of imagination. They are strong and brave and have lots of great qualities that I would love to see in my sons.