Toys That Go the Distance

Lego passenger train on tracks going around other Lego creations including buildings and aircraft

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Long Term Toy Investments

Lego train on track with magnetic Magna-Tiles construction in background
  • What: Toys that go the distance
  • When: 3 years and up
  • Why: Wide age appeal, multiple uses
  • Where: At home

We’ve been at home this summer (and what felt like every single day last summer in the middle of a raging pandemic) for several weeks now. Despite all the toys my kids have accumulated in over ten years, they keep returning to their favorites time and time again. Looking around my house, they can’t get enough of these top four types of toys, even though we’ve had all of them for years.

Magna-Tiles creation with Tsum Tsum figures inside

Magnet Tiles: No matter what brand you choose, these magnetic building blocks really go the distance. If I had to pick one toy and only one toy, these magnetic blocks would be my first choice. All three of my kids love them, and they’ve lasted from toddlers to almost tweens. They mix well with a variety of other toys, but still provide plenty of interest. And with expansion sets like glow in the dark and balls and ramps, the fun never ends.

Lego passenger train on tracks going around other Lego creations including buildings and aircraft

Lego: While I don’t love stepping on tiny little foot mines, these building blocks also bring hours and hours of joy to my kids. When they stay busy building, I stay happier getting other stuff done. Once you tame the pieces, the possibilities are endless. From the step by step creations to making their own miniature cities and more, these classic blocks have been loved by generations and all ages for a reason.

Pop up tunnel toy for young kids on furnit

Tunnel: This collapsible tunnel continues to surprise me. We’ve had it for years, since my youngest was a toddler, and yet it gets pulled out and enjoyed on at least a weekly basis. It costs next to nothing compared to the other toys on this list, and holds up very well. For such a simple item, they can find many ways to enjoy it, from crawling through, making it a ramp, and playing (torturing?) the family pets.

Child's Playmobil set up on fluffy carpet

Playmobil: All three of my kids have loved these toy play sets. The wide variety of themes make it appealing for their divergent interests. While my oldest at just shy of eleven doesn’t play with them much any more, the other two kids still enjoy them immensely. They have a higher price point than some other products, but the attention to detail and the way the toys hold up to lots and lots of play make them long lasting. I suspect some of these will also be handed down to future generations.

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