It’s something I used to believe to be true about children. With having kids comes all of the stuff that goes with it. But about a year ago I made several changes and one of those was minimizing the amount of stuff in our home, including our children’s stuff. I now believe that it’s a complete myth that children need a lot of things. You know the saying, “I don’t even know why I buy toys”? Well, it’s true! Children don’t really need toys. What they need are ample opportunities and tools for open-ended play. Sometimes that’s a hair brush, and other times it’s a set of wooden blocks.

Either way, I’m here to share with you the things we kept in our playroom. Everything else that didn’t meet the criteria below was given away. Keep reading to see my playroom essentials: the only toys your kids need.

Playroom Essentials: The Only Toys Your Kids Need


When I was going through my girls’ playroom, I knew I wanted to keep the things that allowed for open-ended play. Anything that encourages my children to get creative, think outside the box, and use their imagination belongs in our playroom!

Most of this list is stuff we have sitting in our playroom right now, so hopefully you find it useful when putting together your own play space!

01. Doctor Set

My littles love pretending to be “doctor”. We also have a baby doll and some baby doll supplies that allow them to be imaginative. Imaginary play is one of my favorite things to do with kids because so much learning and vocabulary exposure goes on during that time.

02. Book of Poems (Books in General)

Books in general are a play room must, but I find that children typically aren’t exposed to poems until they’re school-aged. I started reading poems to Gracie and she really loves them. This book of Nature Poems is adorable!

03. An Art Cart

Art supplies are a great open-ended tool to have in your children’s play space. I usually put white paper, construction paper, kid-safe scissors, glue, and these non-toxic crayons. For babies, this non-toxic finger paint is great too!

04. Picasso Tiles

These Picasso Tiles are Gracie’s favorite toy right now. They’re magnetic and plastic building blocks. She builds houses for her dolls, rocket ships, garages, etc. She loves them so much, and they are extremely affordable on Amazon.

05. Kinetic Sand

Kinetic sand is so fun because you can let your children go to town and don’t have to worry about a mess. We keep ours in a little tub and Gracie knows to keep it in the tub when playing with it. She’s built mountains for her doll house characters, and even writes letters in the sand. It provides hours of play time for children of all ages.

06. Musical Instruments

Exposing children to musical instruments early is very beneficial. Musical instruments allow children to experiment with rhythm, tempo, and understand that they can create music with them! It’s much different than just playing music for them. It’s not the most peaceful thing, and if you prefer you can keep them hidden. This way when you don’t mind having noise you can let them play with them, but if you need some quiet they’re away too.

07. Wooden Blocks

Wooden blocks provide hours of entertainment! Developmentally they’re great because they expose children to balance, gravity, and geometry. As they maneuver the blocks to create different structures, they’re being exposed to so many useful motor skills.

08. Art Supplies

Here are my favorite non-toxic crayons (I wish they didn’t have beeswax in them, but I’ve yet to find one that’s non-toxic made without beeswax. If you have a rec, I’d love to hear it in the comments!) and I love this non-toxic and edible finger paint for babies!

09. Wooden Puzzles

Gracie loves puzzles. We always have a few in the house for different age groups. The Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles that Gracie has outgrown were passed down to Norah and now Gracie has a few new 100 piece puzzles. They’re fairly inexpensive and last quite a while, so they do have a place in our playroom!

10. Wooden Open-Ended Doll House

Boys and girls both love playing with doll houses. “House” is a classic activity that my students played all the time when I taught Kindergarten. It allows them to work through conflict, invent storylines, and be imaginative. Gracie’s favorite thing is when I play the daughter and she gets to be the mommy. She thinks it’s hilarious!

I like this wooden open-ended doll house because it’s gender neutral and allows for lots of creativity.

11. Wooden train track set (not pictured)

Gracie loves being a little engineer and putting together the train tracks in several different formations.




I hope you enjoyed this post about playroom essentials: the only toys your kids need! Thank you so much for reading!

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