We have officially entered “preschooler” territory here. So much has changed in going from toddler to preschooler. Some of that has come in the form of play. Some of the toys that she previously loved, she has out grown. They are no longer fun or challenging to her. But when the money’s tight, how are you supposed to replace a bunch of toys? There’s the obvious answer of shopping consignment and thrift stores as well as yard sales. As great of an option those, I want to get the most bang for the buck out of the toys we purchase. I don’t want to spend money on toys that will break quickly or will be out grown in a year. I’ve put together of a list of our favorite frugal toys for preschoolers. Some of them aren’t so much inexpensive as they are something that will last a long time, hence, frugal in the long run.
Legos are a big favorite here. My daughter plays with them by herself, with friends, and with her dad. They are great for being creative. I’m always in awe of her imagination when I ask her what she is making. Legos will last a long time. Even when she outgrows the MegaBlock version, they will be passed on to any future kids. When they are finally done being used, they will mostly likely still be in a good enough condition to sell.
Blocks are similar but she probably won’t out grow those for even longer.
We love our sandbox. It has provided hours of fun and entertainment. Like Legos and blocks, a sandbox also encourages creativity. From castles to muffins, most everything has been made in our sandbox. You can purchase a sandbox, make a wooden one if you’re handy, or you can follow my guide on how to make your own thrifty sandbox using a $10 hard plastic wading pool.
Pretend food is another one of those things that won’t be out grown soon. Preschoolers love to do pretend play and pretend they are grown-ups. Our toy kitchen and toy food help with that. With this, you have many options. We use the Melissa and Doug wooden pretend food. (I honestly wouldn’t recommend them as the paint has been chipping off since the day we got them. I would like to replace them with a plastic set.) A friend of mine has made her son pretend food using felt.
Crayons and scrap paper
This may not be a toy exactly but they are a frugal option for creative play. You can use coloring books instead of scrap paper. We certainly have our share of them. My daughter enjoys using the inside of cut open cereal boxes the best or large paper that comes as packing material. I also save the scraps of paper from when I only print one or two coupons. I take some of these and staple together as a little notebook to keep with us when we are out and about.
Fisher Price Little People barn
Yes, I realize this one is very specific. However, the Little People barn is one of the few toys that we have had since my daughter was one year old that is still played with constantly. We got ours used on a Facebook group for $10. Even if you have to pay full price, it is very much worth it.
Pom-poms, pipe cleaners, etc.
Basically, any random craft supply. My daughter likes to use pom-poms to play sorting games. With the pipe cleaners, she likes to bend them and make them different things.
Dolls, cars, etc.
These are more things that will last a long time. We have our share of dolls and lots of things with wheels, mostly tractors. These are always a favorite. We don’t have any fancy dolls, just a $5 one that has lasted two years and a few other ones as well. The cars and tractors are similar. We also have inexpensive doll accessories like a crib, stroller, bottles, etc.Check out these #frugal toys for #preschoolers. Fun without breaking the bank! Click To Tweet
These are our favorite frugal toys for preschoolers. Yes, some may cost over $30, but they will last for many years making them frugal in the long run.
Be sure to check out my post on frugality with toy rotation! Toy rotation is a great way to keep your child engaged in play without buying new toys.