My Favorite Low Cost Toys & Accessories

Since I have 4 kids from grade school age, on up to high school, I’ve had lots of experience with different toys and playthings designed for kids.  We’ve had toys and things that the kids have really loved but we’ve also had several toy or kid related products have hardly been used or played with. So I wanted to create a list of some of the things we’ve used as a family that we really liked and enjoyed. This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the toys out there, but it’s a list of things we feel really good recommending to you.

Plastic Pit BallsThe first one I wanted to share with you is a pack of 200 pit balls by Click N’ Play.  We’ve found these work great with the little kiddie pools as well as with inflatable structures. These are BPA free so if you have little ones that might be slobbering or trying to suck on these it’s ok. While these certainly are not a nutritious snack, you don’t have to worry about chemicals the same way you might with other plastic balls.

They’re super cheap and super fun. We’ve used different types before these and found that if you go to cheap, the balls aren’t as durable and can get easily crushed. They you’re having to replace them all the time. These are more durable and we haven’t had any problems with balls getting crushed unless you’re being super hard on them or trying to destroy them.

They’re such a simple product but they can add a whole lot of fun if you start thinking about ways to incorporate them with other toy type things or structures you have. We’ve even used them for throwing type games where someone will toss them over a volleyball net and try to get them into various buckets to score points. Again, such a simple product but they’re a staple around our house now 🙂

Peg Perego John Deere Gator HornAnother product that’s been a blast for younger kids to play with is Peg Perego’s John Deere Gator Horn. We attached ours to a Peg Perego tractor and the kids loved it! They’d ride all around honking the horn and just having a blast. It’s such a little thing but it really helped the kids have more fun when they’re riding around because it gave them something else to do and look forward to using. They’d honk to try and scare birds away or honk to to let us know they were coming back around.

This is one of those accessories that while by itself, isn’t that exciting to play with. But when you attach it to a kid vehicle to play with, then it’s a hit! We’ve found this to be durable as well. It’s held up to lots of use and honking without any problems. Although you will need to have or get a vehicle to use this with (unless you wanted to get creative with other ways you might use it), we consider it a must have with the vehicle our kids use now.

Now if your kids love BRIO like ours do, then your kids may really like the BRIO play table. Now when I was a kid, I played with BRIO all the time! Besides Lego’s, it was one of my most played with toys. And we had this large flat area in the kitchen were I could spread everything out and take over the room with all my train tracks. It pretty much made the area unusable for anyone else, but I sure had a lot of fun!

BRIO Play TableWhat’s nice about this table it it helps get the track off the ground which we’ve found to be a really nice thing. By bringing your BRIO adventure up and off the ground, it allows you and your kids to have something that’s easier to walk up and play with. If your kids are able to stand then we found it becomes a great thing for them to build their BRIO train tracks on while giving their creations a little more protection.

One of the problems we’ve found with building track tracks on the ground is that it’s easy for kids (and parents) to accidentally know something over when trying to walk through an area. But when you use this table, it helps prevent that from happening. We also love it because you have some space underneath the table you can use to store other toys or more trains and track tracks and so forth.

This is another item that had we known how much we’d use it and love using it, we would have got this for the kids a lot sooner!

Barbie Glam ConvertibleIf you have any Barbie fans in your household, I think we have a Barbie vehicle they’re sure to love! It’s the Barbie Glam Convertible and my daughter’s just LOVE this car! My girls love the styling, the pink color, the glitter on the outside. It is a snug fit for your doll, but definitely works great.

And while this is a stand alone product, meaning a child can just use the car by itself. It also makes for a fun accessory to a Barbie Dream House. Because the Dreamhouse come with a car yet it has a garage, so it makes for a great addon if your thinking of getting that already.

Out of all the different Barbie toys and accessories we have purchased for them over the years, this has been the most played with. And it has made the Dreamhouse more fun to play with as well because they love parking the car into the garage and then taking it out again. It’s nice seeing a toy they got for Christmas getting used over and over again as that’s not always the case.

Step2 New Traditions Chairs for KidsAnother great product the kids and I have loved using are the New Traditions Armless Chairs by Step2. These are geared toward younger kids but we’ve used them for reading or learning time and then the kids love using them when they’re playing house. They also have a play kitchen they like to use the chairs for when they’re serving each other creations they made in their pretend kitchen.

And while these don’t cost that much, they’ve been super durable and we haven’t had any problems with the chairs breaking or cracking. We actually ended up getting several of these because they’re the perfect size for younger kids and when they have friends over everyone loves using and sitting in them. They’ve even the perfect size for playhouses as well! I consider it a must have for the playhouse because the kids are able to spend more time and have more fun in their play house because they feel like they have somewhere they can sit.

These chairs have been another product for the kids that has been such a great value. We’ve gotten so much use out of them and considering how affordable they are, they’ve been well worth it.

Now if you have an outdoor play structure, I found that most of them don’t come equipped with bucket seats for the little ones. After shopping around and even trying a few different ones, I found one that we really like. It’s made by Swing-N-Play and it’s a high back, full bucket swing.

Swing-N-Play High Back Full Bucket SwingThere’s several things that made this particular bucket swing a winner for our family. First, it includes 2 snap hooks which allow you to interchange it with other swings in your playset. So for example, if you have two standard swings and you would rather have one standard and one bucket swing, then you could unhook one of the standard swings and hook up this bucket swing using the 2 snap hooks. It’s super easy to do.

I also like that this bucket has a higher back which helps to prevent your little guy or girl from falling out of the bucket swing. The chains are also coated which means you don’t have to worry about little fingers getting pinched by the chain anymore. And the bucket swing is SUPER durable.

It’s been out in the snow and rain and heat and it doesn’t have any sign of falling apart anytime soon. So we absolutely love it! It took us a few tries to find one we really like but this bucket swing is a winner for sure.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book

Then for the older kids, something we have gotten so much use and learning out of is this Discovery Book which is to help you get the most of our your LEGO MINDSTORM EV3 Robotics. And wow, has this book been helpful! First, let me clarify by saying I am in no way a robotics expert. I had zero experience with this kind of thing starting out and it’s not necessarily something that’s easy for me to pick up and figure out either.

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery BookAnd that’s where this book comes into play. It really breaks everything down and makes it all much easier and simpler to understand. You have something to follow along with and before you know it, your kids are diving into robotics and having a blast!

So if you already purchased a LEGO MINDSTORM robotics set (and maybe you’re stuck as to how to use it), or if you’re looking to get one I can’t recommend you getting this book strongly enough. It gives you so many different ways and possibilities to program robots with that it will keep your kids busy for a very long time.

I’ll continue to add more to the list as I come across more products we love, but be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have any favorites that you and your kids really enjoy!

Lance Gross
 

I'm happy to answer any questions I can for you. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment below and I'll respond as soon as I can :)

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