12 best classic toys: holiday gift guide

With six kids at our house, we’ve purchased (or have been given) a lot of toys, especially during the holidays.  Our very favorites are the ones that are tried and true–the ones that are high quality and last past the few weeks after Christmas, that hold up to a bunch of different kids playing with them, and those that encourage creative play and imagination. As a result, most of the toys in our house are on this list, and my kids love them the best.  They’re toys we can add to year after year, and they always make my kids letters to Santa. They will stand the test of time–through more than one generation. You can’t go wrong with any of the toys on this list of the 12 Best Classic Toys.

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Play Kitchen

We built the first kitchen we gave our twin girls as a Christmas gift years ago, and we still have it in our basement!  It’s very sturdy, and the kids have all loved it. We’ve since purchased a second set, because there was never enough room for all of the kids that wanted to play.  Of course we have to have plenty of food, and our favorites are canned food, and these wooden sets of pantry and fridge food. The wooden sets are so great–they hold up really well, and can handle lots of little hands over a long period of time.

Wooden Trains

I don’t know what it is about wooden trains, but my kids are inevitably drawn to them.  We will often come across a train table when we’re at the bookstore (Barnes & Noble has them in the kid section), at toy stores, and even sometimes a library.  It’s the first thing my youngest three head for (ages 3-7), and I literally have to pull them away.  Whether at home or somewhere else, they are always a huge favorite.


If I had a nickel for every Lego in our house…I would have a whole lot of money! Talk about a classic toy–my kids are playing with my husband’s Legos. All of my kids love Legos, but my twin 2nd grade boys are especially obsessed. We have Legos for every age group, and there are have been Legos under our tree for every single Christmas that we’ve had kids—even when my oldest was only 3 months old! Right now my boys are totally in to Star Wars Legos, they combine two of their favorite things!

Wooden Blocks

Blocks inspire and encourage creative play, and my kids could play with these for hours.  They don’t even realize they’re learning other things too, like shapes, sorting, and beginning math concepts.  They are truly a classic toy…one of the very best!!

Lincoln Logs

These bring back memories of my own childhood!  My boys like to build forts for their army men with their Lincoln Logs. It’s a playroom staple for us!

Tinker Toys

Build, build, build!  Tinker Toys have been a round for a long time, and I have a feeling they’ll be around for even longer.

Board Games

Playing board games is one of our favorite family activities, and we’ve been collecting them for a long time.  We have a huge list of favorites (find my list for kids 4-8 here), but some of our current ones are a lot of the vintage games like Sorry and Clue, but also newer games like Spot It, Ticket to Ride, King of Toyko, and Splendor. Games are great for kids to play together, but also for quality family time.  We always give board games as a family Christmas gift every year, and we love it!

Cardboard Blocks

I first discovered these cardboard blocks when my oldest was in preschool, and they had shelves and shelves of them.  They were one of the most popular toys in the preschool, and although they were well worn, they were in good shape. I knew right then and there I needed to get a set (or two…) for my own kids, and they haven’t disappointed!


This classic toy went out of production, but was brought back in 2012, so even more kids can enjoy it! I remember playing with it when I was growing up, and I we gave it as a gift to our kids a couple of years ago. It’s been a huge hit, and works for so many ages.

Baby Doll

You simply cannot get any more classic than a baby doll, and this one by Corolle has been a family favorite for years.

These aren’t technically classic, but they’re most definitely tried and true, and two of the most popular toys at our house.  They are played with SO much, and every single one of my kids loves them.

Giant Waffle Blocks

My kids love these so much that I’ve now purchased 5 sets, so they all can play at the same time.  You wouldn’t believe the things they’ve built with them, huge forts, rocket ships, teepees–the sky is the limit. The blocks are BIG, so it gives them lots of opportunities to build things they can actually play in.  This is hands down, one of the favorite toys in our playroom!! Small waffle blocks have been around forever, so I suppose in a sense these are a classic toy too!

Magna Tiles

We first discovered these a few years ago, and they quickly rose to the very top of our favorite toy list.  There is a bucket of them in our family room all the time, because my kids want them nearby so they can play with them at any time.  They work for a huge range of ages, and I’ll warn you now, if you have more than one child, you’ll need extra sets!

I love choosing toys for my kids, especially during the holidays, and I hope this classic toys list helps you find just the perfect thing!!

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