Friday, November 13, 2009

Toy Review: Boy Toys

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This is a review for toys that are stereotypically for boys. I know, girls can play with them, too. Kaitlyn does. But when you think boy toys, this is what you think of.

Little Tikes Tool Bench

Age Range: I am unsure. We gave it to Brayden when he was 1.5 or 2.

Review: This toy doesn't get played with all that much. It has had its moments, but it has not been a toy of lasting value. The kids love the tools, but not the bench.

Buy Again?: Probably not. We got it on Black Friday and it was only 5-10 dollars, so not bad, but it pretty much just takes up space most of the time. Of course, as I type this, he is playing with it in independent playtime. Who knows. I can't find it on Amazon, so here is a picture of it:

Tonka Tow Truck

Age Range: It doesn't say on Amazon.

Review: This is a fun toy. Boys like trucks, and they like to do lots of different things with trucks.

Buy Again?: Yes. I don't think there is anything overly spectacular about this particular tow truck...I am sure any brand would be fine. We have an older version, but here is the new one:

Tonka Dump Truck

Age Range: 2 years and up

Review: Brayden loves dump trucks. They are fun to fill up and dump out.

Buy Again?: Yes. Again, I don't think there is anything spectacular about this dump truck over other dump trucks. I like that it is plastic for inside use. We have a metal Tonka dump truck for the sand box. I like the lighter, softer one being inside.

Home Depot Tool Box

Age Range: 3 years and up

Review: This is a favorite of both children. Children love to mimic their parents. My husband is always working on something, so Brayden and Kaitlyn like to get the tool box out and follow him around and "help."

Buy Again?: Definitely. This is a top favorite toy.

John Deere Tractors

Age Range: depends on what you get

Review: Brayden has a variety of tractors. He has plastic ones made for younger children and cast iron ones for older children. He loves tractors.

Buy Again?: Definitely. This is a category we usually add to once a year. John Deere Tractors

Playskool Wheel Pals

Age Range: 1 and up

Review: These are my favorite trucks for little ones. They are soft, so if (and when) your young toddler smacks himself in the head with them, it doesn't hurt as much :) Also, they are water friendly, so they are safe from drool on to the bathtub.

Buy Again?: without hesitation. There are a lot of sets available (and a range of sizes). Here is one set:

Matchbox Cars

Age Range: I don't know exactly. You probably want to wait until your baby is done putting everything in his mouth at all times.

Review: These are fun cars. They are nice because they fit into small places. You can also buy one for less than a dollar, so it can make a great stocking stuffer. Adding just one new car to a collection can make the entire collection seem like new.

Buy Again?: Yes, and we do :)

Matchbox Cars

Tonka Trucks Mini Vehicles

Age Range: probably 2 and up

Review: Brayden got these from my husbands parents. He really loves them. Be warned that they are super noisy (does anyone else's parents get a thrill from giving their grandkids noisy toys like ours? :) ).

Buy Again?: yes, but maybe wait until there is no newborn in the house :)

Small John Deere Tractors

Age Range: 2 and up--these can be more fragile, so make sure your child is not destructive

Review: Brayden loves these. We have found them at our local farm supply stores. They also once sold a set at Wal-Mart (I am not sure if they do still). They are small, which is nice for taking them with you places. He also has fun with them at home.

Buy Again?: Yes. We add to this each year.

Cars and Trucks

There are more random cars and trucks that he has that he enjoys. A variety is fun.


Age Range: At least two. A two year old might get frustrated. Somewhere between 2 and 2.5, they are able to do it.

Review: I love the train sets. They have been purely timeless. Both Brayden and Kaitlyn love these toys, and spend countless hours playing with them. As a younger child, they play with the track you set up. As they get older, they start to create tracks themselves.

Buy Again?: Most definitely. This is one of those things you add to over time. There are a lot of ways to go about this. This is what I would do if I could do it over again. I would first buy the Melissa & Doug delux train set if I could afford it at the time. If you can't afford it, go for the figure 8 set by Melissa & Doug. Then I would slowly add favorite engines from Thomas and get Thomas accessories (Engine Wash, clock tower, lumber yard, etc.). The tracks do not need to be anything special. The Thomas accessories are nicer than the Melissa & Doug ones, as are the engines. But as for don't need anything spiffy. Oh, I should mention that we like the wooden railway stuff, so this is all wooden. Thomas and Friends and Thomas Destinations

Train Table

Age Range: after you get the train set

Review: Here is our train table story. We found one at a garage sale for $10. We didn't think we had room for it, but you can't pass that up! So we brought it home and set it up in Brayden's room. It was nice, but it really just took up too much room. We decided to take the top off and set the track up on it and slide it in and out from under Brayden's bed. This worked well. When we moved, we were able to fit the train table in Brayden's room very easily. The children play with the train set a lot more with the table than when it was on the floor. It isn't necessary, but it is easier and more comfortable to play with trains when you aren't crawling around on the floor.

Buy Again?: Yes. I would of course spend $10! But if we hadn't found that deal, I would definitely say it is worth the price of buying new. There are a lot of options, so I am just linking to tables in general. Ours has drawers underneath, which we love. Train Tables

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Anna said...

Thank you so much for all your toy reviews! I never thought I would have so much fun researching and buying toys.
I just read in the December issue of Parents magazine that there was a recall on the Little Tikes Workshops and Trucks (The picture shown was the workbench). They are recalling it b/c of plastic toy nails that can be a choking hazard. It says to call 1-800-791-2737 for replacement nails.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Anna! I will have to give them a call.

Kristy Shreve Powers said...

I'm wondering if others of you have kids that love collections of little figures. My 3.5-year-old will play for over an hour with a collection of cars, knights and dragons, mythical beasts, animals for his ark, sea animals, insects, dinosaurs, or pirates... Now that he's older I'll let him play with up to three collections at a time together (limiting the number of pieces, though.) When he was 2 years old, maybe even earlier, he would play by lining up figures. He had chunky wooden animal blocks for his ark when he was that age, and now he's graduated to realistic little animal figures and his little brother gets the animal blocks. The Safari Ltd. Toobs of toys are VERY popular at our house: The smaller ones (~10 figures) can be found for $8 at our local hobby store. I would say they are just a little too expensive to buy unless you have a child who loves little figures, like my son, in which case the cost per play is incalculably small! He's had the knights and dragon toob for over six months and plays with them on average once a day. (By the way, Safari Ltd. products are lead- and pthalate-free and they say the toobs are for ages 3 and up.) I don't work for Safari Ltd., I promise, it's just that these toys will keep my son busy for half the day. :)

Becca said...

Just thought I'd mention that Caleb got his train set at 16 months (mostly because dad REALLY wanted one!). But surprisingly, Caleb has loved it from day one and always asks to play with it.
We got one engine that was battery powered, so he would watch it go round and round and he would roll the others around on the table (too young to keep it on the track). Over the past 3 months, he has learned how to connect them, roll them while on the track, push them under bridges and into garages. It's really been a great toy for motor skills I think.

Plowmanators said...

Kristy, Brayden is just starting to get interested in figurines. I will look into those!

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Becca! Kaitlyn loved them at that age, too...but couldn't keep them on the track and would just get frustrated :) A battery opperated would be a good idea before they could push it around on their own.


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