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My Favorite Toy for the Past 3 Years!

Every time we went to the neighborhood park, my then 2 year old son would play "Ice Cream Store".  He would set himself up behind the little window under the play structure and start serving ice cream.  Pieces of mulch served as the ice cream AND the money and we would play over and over again.  Sometimes my older son would drag giant branches over to the little window that would be REALLY BIG ice creams.  This play continued all year, at every playground we would visit (come to find out, they all had similar little windows). 

So when it came time for me to decide what to get him for Christmas, I started looking for a little ice cream play set.  Little did I know that this toy I bought would become everyone's favorite toy (and therefor MY absolute favorite toy).  Not only did my 2 year old love it, but he and his 4 year old brother played with it together for so long that Christmas morning! And then we took it to our extended family's Christmas that evening and the older cousins also all took turns playing with it.

Here's why I love it so much:

  • All ages of kids love it and play with it for a good chunk of time. I eventually took it to my play therapy office and found that boys and girls from toddlers to middle schoolers love this set. (I actually bring it back and forth from my house to office since it's in demand in both places.)
  • It is well made and self-contained.  Let me be clear-- I have a conflicted relationship with toys.  I don't want any more stuff in my life, but I deeply value and prioritize play. This set stores all the wooden pieces inside it's little box-- a huge perk for me!
  • It encourages relationship and playing together -- siblings take turns ordering ice cream and making the orders.  And then they switch off.  It's more fun to get someone else to play with you!  If you are looking for a toy that will help you kids connect with each other, I definitely recommend this one. 
  • When a parent and a child play with this set together, it reinforces eye contact, positive attention, and following the child's lead.  These things reinforce confidence, connection and self-worth in kids! (Learn more about this in my free mini-course on promoting positive mental health in kids.)
  • It reinforces social skills of taking turns, following directions, and ordering from a menu.  Kids are just having fun, but play is the work of childhood, and so much learning happens in play.

Ultimately I love this toy because kids love it.  It's so worth the money (which I actually spent almost double this price a few years ago-- still worth it!)

If you're trying to brainstorm good toys to get your kid, I suggest a toy that expands on a pretend play theme they return to often. Repetitive play often signals they are processing something and the toy can help them master  it on a deeper level.  It's likely they will love the toy and get a lot of play out of it!

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