The Chronicles of Narnia, Audiodrama on CD
When Anakin was about 8, we bought him this radio theatre CD set. We thought it was a good deal back then at about $30. Now I see you can get the 19-CD boxed set, 22 hours total, for less than $20. That's crazy cheap. And hours of entertainment for the entire family. Ages 6 (depending on how sensitive your child is...some content is scary) to adult.
I've mentioned the most played-with toy in our house before...the over door basketball hoop. This SERIOUSLY gets played with EVERY DAY. All ages. My 3-year-old can shoot and make baskets and the bigger kids play some pretty serious ball with it. If you do a search for "basketball hoop door" you'll find a LOT of options. Ages 3 - 12. (Although my teens still play with it!)
SET is one of the best games out there. I recommend it when I lead teacher workshops and those who are familiar with it always sing it's praises. Basic concept? Lay out 12 cards and look for "sets"...a set comprises 3 cards in which all the characteristics are either completely the same or completely different. But there are many characteristics and therefore, many possible combinations. Some sets are very simple, others very complex. Kids as young as 6 can play...and sometimes beat!...adults. Any number of people can play. I've used it in homeschool co-ops before, spreading it out on a table so kids can look for sets as other kids are arriving. It's an awesome family game and is wonderful for developing mathematical skills (like looking for patterns). But it's so fun that no one notices that they're learning. Ages 6 to adult.
Fisher-Price Crazy Combo Horn Set...
While this is no longer made, you can still find it cheap on Ebay. I bought ours years ago at a garage sale. It has been played with a TON. A couple months ago I considered buying another one because the two youngest were constantly fighting over it. They use it in the way it was intended, to build and play their own unique instruments. But Anakin had a whole 'nother agenda. He'd pop pieces together to make his own toy gun. That toy has seen a LOT of use! Ages 3 (or younger...I don't think the parts are too small, but not sure?) to 7 years old.
Lego Mindstorms NXT...
Two of my kids spent 4 years in organized Lego Robotics. They used the LEGO Mindstorms NXT on an almost-daily basis. Our NXT was sponsored by a local company, thankfully, but we would have considered investing in one ourselves if we hadn't had that support. They grew tremendously through the Lego Robotics program. Highly recommend it. Our two younger kids will likely do the program as well. Ages 10 to adult.
Settlers of Catan. If you aren't familiar with Catan or haven't been bitten by this addictive game yet, it's well worth checking out. Over the years we've added the 5-6 player extension as well as Cities & Knights. Ages 10 to adult. (I think our kids played at younger ages with help.)
Quadrilla Marble Railway. I don't actually know anyone who owns one, nor have I touched one personally. I just think it looks very cool. ;) It's what *I* want for Christmas. :) LOL. Ages 3 - 12. (Although it's ME who really wants it!)
Other "most played with" toys in our household:
- Legos!!!!!! (age 3+)
- Playmobile (age 3+)
- Fisher Price Little People, vintage (I realize that they were taken off the market for safety--choking--reason, but if kids are supervised and/or older, they are a great toy. Lots available on Ebay. My kids did not tend to put toys in their mouths and enjoyed them from ages 3 to about 8 or 9.)
- Balls (all ages)
- Playdough (all ages, with supervision)
- Bubbles (all ages, with supervision)
- Wooden Puzzles (toddlers)
- Dolls (all...my big girls still have their collectible dolls)
- Art Supplies of all kinds (all, Lizzie especially loves Polymer Clay, ages 8 to adult)
- the OUTDOORS!
I'll post more if I think of them. What toys stand the test of time at your house?