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Sheer scarves and soft balls and stuffed animals for basically age 0+ Now M is big enough to enjoy some blocks and heavier balls. We have a huge set of really nice plain wooden blocks from her granddad and I think we will be using them for many years. DH is excited for her to be old enough for Legos but that is a few years off.
The weirdest accidental toy that has been a HUGE hit is a set of suction cup star/flower decals that I bought for the tub/shower floor to make it non slippery. Well they sucked at that so were sitting in a small pile on the tub corner while I got around to getting rid of them. M found them and became obsessed! She stacks them up in a neat stack, lines them out on the floor and jumps from one to another, and puts her stuffed animals on them. She always wants them out. Anyway it is funny that one of her favorite toys is not actually sold as a toy lol.
From about 7mo -14mo lil G loved wooden spools in an empty puffs container, baby food lids dropped into a formula can and tupperware/measuring cups
From 1yr we colored with markers and played with sensory bins.
Some favorites right now at 23mo are cars and improvised ramps, really anything with wheels and simple stacking blocks. He also loves my old fisher price record player.
I'm really frugal and can't spend money on new toys, so we get a lot from the thrift store and make our own quite often.
Some of my best thrift store finds for him were:
Marble run (and water beads or marbles)
bingo chips and magnet wands
Boggle is a great game for little ones b/c they get the fine motor putting the letters into the little tray, fun to shake and make noise and letter recognition if you keep it simple and only talk about one letter at a time.