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Top tips for toys that won’t be quickly discarded

Hi there! Miranda here. For those who don’t know me, I’m the owner and founder of Happy Planet Toys and I’m also a mum to three little boys.

There’s no doubt that at this time of the year, there are plenty of us trying to come up with gift ideas for little ones – wanting to find the perfect toy that they’ll love, but won’t break easily or be quickly thrown away, which we all know is terrible for our planet.

Which is why I wanted to share some ideas for classic, quality toys that won’t be quickly discarded by your little ones. These ideas are based on my experience with my children, and also a number of my beautiful mum-friends, who kindly gave me their suggestions too, all for boys and girls up to 6 years of age. These are the toys that our kids just love – they have inspired hours of play time, and have been great investments. While they may not all be eco-friendly toys, if they’re well-made and loved, they’ll stay out of landfill for longer, and could be passed on through generations of children.

This piece is not sponsored, so I won’t mention any brands. It’s just some great ideas from a bunch of lovely mums. So here we go…


1. Good quality wooden blocks

This was easily the most popular suggestion. The benefits of open-ended blocks are endless, and they have provided my boys with hours of entertainment. And as they grow, watching the complexity of their creations increase is just amazing. Here’s Teddy creating a complex structure just a couple of weeks ago, and he’s now 6! 

2. Wooden train set

Our wooden train set is so loved. All 3 boys have gone through train ‘phases’, and we’ve loved building our collection of tracks, trains, and towns over the years. Just be careful to find a brand that is generic enough to be compatible with our brands so you can build your collection.

3. Baby dolls

Dolls are wonderful to encourage a sense of nurturing, and encourage creativity and role playing. The advice from one mum who’s girls love their baby dolls - choose light weight, as they’re easier for little ones to hold and manipulate.

4. Good quality, big trucks

Kids LOVE trucks, there’s no doubt about it. My boys are obsessed, and our big toy trucks have been another great investment. Along with other mums, I recommend large-sized trucks, and invest in a high quality option, with lots of functionality so they tip, twist and twirl like the real thing!

5. Playdough accessories

This is a really simple, inexpensive gift idea, but can be brilliant. I’ve always found playdough a brilliant ‘quiet’ activity, and especially great in helping kids calm down and regulate their emotions. So we always have a stash of playdough handy, and have a big bag of accessories that they can explore with – like cookie cutters, moulds and safe cutting tools.

6. Ride along car

This recommendation is for a specific type of ride along car – it has a roof, and door, so kids can climb in and out, giving it more functionality than basic ride along cars. There are a couple of options out there, but Little Tikes is one of the brands that makes this type of car.

7. Gardening set

Little ones love water play, and getting their hands dirty outside, so a gardening set is a lovely option to help them explore nature, and get them involved in gardening. Again, look for light-weight options so young children can hold and use them easily.

8. Play kitchen

This is another brilliant option to encourage creative play and role playing. Our children have spent hours creating elaborate ‘meals’ as well as hosting dinner parties, tea parties and more!

9. Bath toys

I wouldn’t be a good business owner if I didn’t throw in a recommendation for bath toys. We’ve often found our children developing some wonderful creative games in the bath, so why not give them toys to support that creativity. And our eco-friendly, Australian toys are some of the best out there! (Yes, that was a shameless plug!)

I hope this has given you a little toy inspiration as we head into the festive season. And I hope yours is a merry one!