Top 5 Types of Toys You Must Have If You Own Boys

Jan 22, 2011

Having been a mother of boys for over 16 years now, I've gained some insight into what they like to play with. Of course, there have been variations among all five of my sons. One loved action figures, but the next one was never interested in them. The younger ones have enjoyed trains and the train table but not fanatically. And there have been toy crazes that were mostly hype and a huge waste of money. This list consists of toys that have been played with consistently, passed down, found in every room and vehicle we own, fought over, and/or slept with (or hidden under a pillow because that's the best place for a boy's treasures).

Building Sets
Wooden blocks are nice to have but Legos are my boys' building block of choice once they reach about four years old. Any one who has a boy knows that you are required to own these small, multi-colored bricks of creativity (and pain, if you happen to find one on your walk to the kitchen at night). They can be educational and are great for quiet time. One of my boys will usually want to take his Lego creation with us when we go out and, inevitably, it will end up at the bottom of my pieces. I have sucked Legos up with the vacuum at home and the car wash. They have been rescued from under couch cushions, from the lawn mower, from babies, and from my mother's dog {both ends}. While there are specialized sets from Star Wars to SpongeBob, I recommend sticking with the regular Lego building sets. At least until your child has worn you down proven to you that he truly will play with the overpriced plastic nuggets.

Pocket-Sized Cars
Hot Wheels vs. Matchbox. I think it's the beginning of brand allegiance. Kind of like Ford vs. Chevy. My husband still has a handful of Hot Wheels from his childhood (that the boys are NOT allowed to play with) that have vivid memories attached to them. I do not recommend the race track sets and mega playsets. Too many pieces and they take up too much space. A good car rug works just fine. But don't make the mistake we did and let the boys get a car every time they are good at the store. Or tell family that "he's into Hot Wheels" when they ask what to get for their birthday. We have hundreds of little metal cars now. No exaggeration. Boys and wheels. The love affair never ends, it just gets bigger and more expensive. Just ask M1 who has already owned three Mustangs and a truck.

Army Men
For just a dollar or two, you can get a bag of green plastic Army men at a discount store and provide your little boy with hours of play. With those little bits of cheap molded plastic, he can wage mini wars across the landscape of your living room or under the backyard tree. Of course, if you want to spend more money and get toy soldiers that will stand up to a little more play time, go for the Toy Story Bucket o Soldiers. Army men with parachutes are a favorite!

Wheeled Transportation
This is a BIGGIE but can take many forms. Every age and stage has its own special mode of transportation. It will probably start in babyhood with a walking toy to help jump start their upward mobility. By the time your boy reaches toddlerhood, you will definitely want some type of ride-on toy for your little ball of energy. Sometimes, they are pimped out with a Disney theme or look like miniature trains or race cars. I prefer the classics, like the Radio Flyer to the right.

Some parents choose to skip the trike and go straight to the "big boy" bike. Levi just received his first real bicycle for Christmas. A 12" metallic red, Lightning McQueen bicycle with matching helmet and a bell. (Thank you, Mawmaw & Pawpaw. At least I'll know where he is.) He instantly fell in love and made laps through the house for the next week until he finally got to try it outside.

The next link in the bicycle chain is the 16"-20" BMX bike. Buy a helmet and make them wear it because they will be trying to imitate the X Games. And just when you think you've gotten used to the banged up knees and elbows, they will beg you for a mini bike. Start praying now.

Other wheeled instruments of destruction pleasure may take the form of roller blades, Heelies, scooters, and skateboards. I told you before...boys and wheels. Like a moth to a flame.

Merriam-Webster defines a projectile as "a body projected by external force and continuing in motion by its own inertia". These also take several forms. The most basic is a ball. Wikipedia says that it technically is a projectile but the term generally refers to weapons. Hello? They must not be remembering one of boyhood's favorite games...Dodge ball. A boy's fascination with the simple sphere is most evident in sports. Even a non-athletic boy will appreciate a basketball hoop to hang over his bedroom door. And be sure to always keep quarters handy while out and about because if there is a bouncy ball machine nearby, he's likely to spot it. 

I remember, as a first-time mom, five boys and 16 years ago, that my little boy was not going to play with toy guns. My husband laughed at me. My mother laughed at me (and she only had one sweet girl child). Papa Bear was already in the military at the time, but not yet in law enforcement. My feminine ideals were shot down by the time Mason reached preschool age. Unless you live alone on an island with no access to media, your little boy will most likely pick up a stick (or banana or Lego creation or play dough...) and pretend it's a gun. We do have rules regarding toy guns: no pointing them at faces and only "shoot" people when they are aware and actively playing along. As a mom, I don't allow toy guns that look like modern lethal weapons. Even with the required orange tip, they look too realistic. Since we do have real guns in the house (always unloaded and locked in a safe), I don't want my little ones to confuse the toy guns with the real thing.

I have one boy, in particular, who has two under-the-bed storage boxes overflowing with Nerf guns. He makes it a point to collect every new Nerf gun that comes out. Another favorite is the Western cowboy gun, although it doesn't technically fall under the category of projectiles unless it comes with sticky darts. And I can't remember a summer that didn't include water guns and water balloons. Of course, I can't leave out sling shots and catapults. Boys love projectiles so much, that if they don't have anything else available, they will fashion their own out of straws and paper wads. Yes, we're still working on restaurant manners.

Supply your boy with these basic types of toys and everything else is just clutter icing on the cake. You will have given them what they need to be creative, imaginative, and active, exercising their small and large motor skills. Just be sure to encourage their positive play and join in their fun from time to time.
Special note for the serious-minded: Hopefully, it doesn't need to be said, but I do not really believe that we own our children. I also do not advocate violence and understand that toy weapons are not suitable for every child in every situation. Parents should reserve the right to raise their own children as they see fit. :)

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 
-Psalm 127:3


  1. As a mom to 3 boys (and 2 girls), I wholeheartedly agree with your list (and the whole post :). My boys are 12, and their favorites are Nerf guns. And two of the boys spend hours playing with Legos.

  2. Oddly enough, my daughter enjoyed the pocket cars more than my son. :)

    Nice list!

  3. All nine of my sibs and I loved Legos, but cars and now Ripsticks are biggies too!

    Following from the hop! Please help me win a dream trip to Australia and LIKE my photo on Facebook!

  4. Great post! Good to know.

    I just found your blog through one of the Sunday Blog Hops! Have a fabulous Sunday.

    Amanda @

  5. I definitely agree! We have way to much icing in our house! LOL SImple is best! :)

    THanks so much for linking up at Swingin' By Sundays! I'm a new follower! Would love a follow back if you don't already! Hope you have an awesome Sunday!


  6. Check, check, check, check & CHECK!!!! Yup. I'm a boy-mom. :)

    And I like your view on guns & boys' relationship to them. We have pretty much the same rules here.

  7. I completely agree with your list!! A great wrap up of boy - toys :) Stopping by from HHH.

  8. You have it right! My son likes Legos, cars, trains, guns, bow and arrows, army men.
    I linked over from the Hip Homeschool Hop and am now following your blog.


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