Bee’s Favorite Things

I get a lot of emails asking about what I keep in our home, the types of toys and books and activities that sprinkle our days. And I will first say this: although I am a minimalist, I am also a peacemaker. If it overjoys Bee’s uncle to gift her a thirty pound stuffed Minnie Mouse to display in our living room, and if said stuffed Minnie Mouse delights Bee, then welcome to the sofa, Minnie. Please don’t leave your cheese between the couch cushions, but otherwise, make yourself at home.

Indeed, there are things you don’t choose for your kids – items that are gifted with love that, sure, aren’t your style but are made tasteful by sentiment. The handmade outfits from grandmother, the battery-operated push toys, or if your child is anything like Bee, the plastic army men she perpetually steals from the nursery at church. (This child has very sticky fingers, word to the future.)

For everything else, we get a choice. And while she’s still tiny, I choose to surround herself with a small handful of beautiful, well-designed toys that we both love to share. Here’s the list!

1. We still dress Bee in pajamas 98% of the time, but this is the softest tee known to man and Bee loves the little face on it. It’s darling when paired with pretty much anything, but the ensemble she always chooses is her dotted cardigan and star-printed leggings. Complete with metallic sneakers. Girl’s got style.
2. Bee loves all books and isn’t yet to the stage where she wants to read the same story over and over and over. This means she tires quickly of the same-old, and also means we frequent our local library a ridiculous amount of times. Still, this particular book is part puzzle, which means it had serious staying power until our dog Bernie stole each and every cardboard piece and shredded them to make a nest. If you don’t have dogs who are magnetically drawn to cardboard, this one’s a great investment.
3. Stacking is a main event around here, and these silicon cups provide endless entertainment. They’re safer than glass, and are more challenging than plastic because the silicon sticks a bit when nested. We fill it with snacks and then she plays with a set of empty ones (they nearly always somehow end up in the bathtub by the end of the night).
4. Bee started taking an interest in crayons at an early age, but only preferring to watch us color for her, specifically requesting a variety of animals and favorite people. Now that she’s into doing it herself, we’ve spent many afternoons at her office desk, crayons in hand. (Note: Her first set of crayons was these, and as a direct result, our dogs are still excreting rainbows. Therefore, the most recent addition to the craft drawer is a set of these, which are dogproof and much more enjoyable for Bee to stack in her cups. Win/win!)
5. Bee’s got a thing for stuffed animals and especially loves this super small version she can tuck into her pocket or take in the car for outings. “Tiny mouse,” she calls him.
6.  Bee doesn’t quite get imaginative play yet, but she does love to organize things and carry them around in containers, i.e. purses, bins and bags. This breakfast set is nearly always nestled into something she’s toting around, and she has a specific affinity for the toast. (Bernie prefers the sausage, which has been hidden in the depths of his cage for months.)
7.  Bee received this bee push toy as a gift from a family friend and loves pushing it around, i.e. driving the dogs crazy. When she’s finished, she pulls the wood stick apart from the bee and twirls it like a baton during dance parties. The fun does not cease with this one.
8. Blocks and blocks and blocks galore. We’ve built towers on every surface in our home, and when she’s tired of her blocks, she starts moving and stacking furniture. (The kid’s some sort of architect or something.) These are our favorite.

 Other daily highlights, not pictured: kitchen tongs, photo albums, the dogs, the dogs’ water dish, Annie’s crackers, my wallet, Pim, anything Goofy-related, the Roomba, balloons and lip balm.

Tell me, what do your littles love? We’re always on the lookout for new, exciting goodies!

  • Love this post, Erin. My daughter, now 16 months, is a huge fan of the book “Moomin’s Lift-The-Flap” and the little animals by Hape “Qubes.” (Seriously, look into these- they are darling.) Oh, and also, hotel size shampoo and conditioner bottles. :)

  • We are all about shape sorters and puzzles in this house. They also make for interesting things to stack and organize.

  • Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance is current favorite book (you MUST read in rhythm, with appropriate animal noises and lots of movement if she’s sitting on your lap), along with a fisher price on the farm lift a flap book. He loves a variety of little “people” toys – 3 pirates, 2 superheros, 2 kids and a dog from mega blocks, another kid and a dog, a random dinosaur, 2 tub frogs – that he’ll sit for 20 minutes sorting and lining up and knocking down and lining up before chucking them all across the room. Puzzles are good, and anything that makes noise. = )

  • Just ordered the Alaphablocks book for my son. I’ve been wanting it for a while but it was sold out for the longest time on Amazon. Thanks for this list! You were a great resource while I was pregnant and I’m having fun reading your recommendations for baby toys, etc.

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