Whatever happened to old-fashioned wooden toys? Luckily, there has been a resurgence [and huge improvement] in that area lately, at least partially due to the recent "green" movement.
I don't even have a baby yet and I am already collecting these awesome toys. While I disagree with certain parts of the Montessori method, I definitely agree with their approach in regard to giving kids access to toys and objects that teach them practical life skills and enhance their creative sides. Plan is a green company as well, meaning they are environmentally conscious throughout the entire process of making their products.
The toys are also non-toxic, unlike almost all of the most popular products available for children today. They have so many great things to choose from but my favorites are probably the fruit and vegetables or the cooking utensils set. They're so cute and have got to be more practical and better at provoking children's creativity than all that battery-operated, light up crap.
Side note: It's so incredibly important to research everything before you even think about buying, using, or eating, and especially before giving it to your kids. Don't buy into the "my parents did this and I turned out just fine" BS, that's just something lazy people make up so they don't have to stop being ignorant.
Oh, I just remembered this adorable drum I must buy. I'm sure I'll totally regret it once my baby is old enough to hit it with the drumstick and it will probably be one of those things that gets "accidentally left" somewhere or stays at my mom's house for brief, occasional use. For now, though, it will look so cute in the nursery:
Anyway, check out Plan's website here. They are in tons of stores even here in Oklahoma so I get the impression they're everywhere now. I highly recommend them for all ages for educational fun that will surely last longer than any plastic toys. Not to mention they don't look so cheap strewn around the house.