MU Picked · Toys To Inspire Self Play

Natalie Gentile's daughter Ramona on our first date! More of this cutie on  King Kidlet's Instagram .

Natalie Gentile's daughter Ramona on our first date! More of this cutie on King Kidlet's Instagram.

Likely because Bodie has had one on one attention for most of his first two years, he's still quite accustomed and expectant of a constant playmate.  While I relish that I'm his favorite human in the world for as long as that lasts, I've spent much of the second half of this year expanding our activity set to inspire more independence.  The idea of Bodie being able to occupy himself for a whole fifteen minutes with intermittent check-ins still feels like a reach so I called on Natalie to pull this list as we prepare for vacation.  As a reminder - Natalie Gentile went from nannying a pair of little ones to teaching in a New York City preschool to becoming a mother and founding a Brooklyn based business called King Kidlet.  Based on her experience in classrooms and at home, she compiled her favorites to inspire self-play.  You can shop her whole list below or see more in M.U. Picked.  


Moon sand While I’ll admit this activity can be quite messy, moon sand is an activity that keeps little hands happily occupied and minds actively stimulated. 

Eco-dough A classic sensory activity with an eco-spin! This play dough will keep your kids engaged for hours and while it’s not edible, if it does find it’s way into your toddler's mouth, you can rest easy knowing it’s made with all-natural and non-toxic ingredients. 

OMY Coloring Placemats Whether it’s at home or on the go, keep your children busy as bees with these adorable and detailed coloring placemats. 

Make A Face Kit With endless combinations, this toy promotes self-play while it also nurtures social and emotional development. 

Sorting toys It’s often the simple toys that make for the most creative play. This sorting activity is the perfect educational toy for young children and the oversized tweezers add a new level of difficulty as they grow. 

OMY Wall Stickers Stick, unstick and repeat! This activity is perfect for those long, cold winter days especially since they can be used on both walls and windows without leaving any marks behind!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Stamps I love this stamp set for its variety and how well it lends itself to storytelling. Preschool-aged children can get lost using these stamps and their imaginations to create mini works of art. 

Tall-Stacker Pegs This fun and versatile educational toy can be used for sorting or stacking all while fostering hand-eye coordination, fine-motor and math skills. 

Rock & Pebble Cross-Stitch Save this one for a snow day! This super cute cross-stitch rabbit is perfect for introducing a new skill to your preschool-aged children. 

Written by Natalie Gentile, a mother, founder of King Kidlet and contributor to the Mother Untitled community.  Here are her related toy picks and favorite things for easier winters.