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May 08, 2008



My son is about to turn 3 (this month!!). I "hide" a few toys in the closet. That way when we have a rainy day or extra cold day or sick day and can't go outside to play, he has something "new" to play with.


A toddler style swing that can be hung from a porch or tree is good. Bucket and shovel. I would say a sand box but he is a little young. One of the small child slides could also be good. A LARGE ball for outside only play. A wading pool, I prefer the inflatable kind.

Jenny Raye

Absolutely the best thing I ever got at a garage sale was a hideously painted old (antique) iron bed. We're talking gold-fleck paint hideous--price $25. My dh took it to a local sandblaster and had all that nasty paint removed. He then spray painted it (his dad paints cars, so he was able to prime and put on several coats with nary a drip in sight)and it now resides in our bedroom. I LOVE it and it was truly the very best bargain I've ever found.


I just had my baby girl in March so I haven't really hit the yard sales yet, but I have discovered ebay for all sorts of baby stuff, e.g., baby bjorns, robeez, similac coupons!


I think you could rotate his toys in and out of play. And keeping something hidden in a closet is a great idea! That way you have something new for when he's sick.

However, I would think your most useful toys are art supplies. Perhaps not until he's a bit older, though. When I was younger, my mother let us fingerpaint with chocolate pudding. Yum, the memories.


For sure, the exer-saucer!!! Yes, they are big and plasticy but both my boys adored them. We bought ours new and paid WAY to much so I think it would be a great garage sale find. Also, I would look for "pushing toys", grocery carts & lawn mower come to mind. They will help him with his walking and gross motor function. I prefer the 2 handed pushing toys to the one handed for James' age range.They are easier and all that. Happy Hunting!

Sue J

Don't forget Thrift Stores too.
Some are horrid, and others have nice clothing and need to scout around. I have several that I LOVE to explore in.


My younger sister got a Little Tykes (or was it Fisher-Price) slide (the red/orange and blue ones) for her first birthday and we played with that thing for easily a 8 years. If you find one at a garage sale, snap it up.


You might go to and see if there is a group in your area. All items are free and it's a great way to donate or pick up baby items.


I would have to agree about the swing. I think that would be a good thing for him this summer. On the art supply front even though you would probably have to buy them new they have paints and crayons that are kind of egg shaped that only work on the paper so they can't make a mess. My two year old loves to color already so the egg shaped ones are good for little hands.


A sand table that doubles as a water table -- good for outside. BUBBLES! Kids love bubbles -- also good for outside.

I use craigslist for finding deals on baby stuff. For example, one time I got 5 prs of striderite & elefanten shoes for $25! They were practically new.
Thriftstores... ebay.

Have fun.


Look for toys that sound, animals sounds, transportation sounds, a radio, etc. Something simple for him to manage. Also simple puzzles, up to six pieces. Look for Legos, if you see any at a good price buy them even if you have to put them up for some years. Garden tools are great toys for summer, if you are doing some planting they love to help. For clothes I never bought second hand, did not like it for baby, but had a lot of hand me downs from friends and relatives, just pass the word around about that. Some people do not offer because they think you won't like it ... Target and Wall Mart have lots of clothes that are not expensive for everyday wear. Have fun and enjoy the day. Your baby is beautiful. We are at the college level and THAT IS EXPENSIVe. We never did the savings plans, you may look into that too, it is never too early to start.


Books. Lotsa books with lotsa pictures. If he rips/colors in/drools on them, you won't care because they cost like 25 cents each. And it is *not* too early to start reading to him. Plus it's fun to cuddle, point at pictures, and play all the parts.

Re pie: I think the Lunch Box (Wallen & Coldwater) pie may be even better than Bob's. Dare ya!


See if your area has a local Freecycle group ( Join it and check your email to get free stuff that other people don't need anymore. It's way easier than trolling garage sales, in my opinion! And... it's free.

Eileen Cook

This is off topic- but I have to say I placed my first order with Simply Socks. As with any new place I wondered how it would go.

I LOVE your yarn. It's luscious and the service was fantastic. ooooh I have to have more.


P.S. The Lunch Box closes at 3pm on Saturdays, so you better hurry!


Pushing/ ride on toys are great for babies from his age (getting ready to walk) until 2 or even 2½-3. Radio Flyer makes a couple of great ones - the Tiny Trike is adorable & the little ones love it. both my grandsons "rode" it for eons & now their little sister (18 months) is using it - the boys liked it so much that they would occasionally scoot around the house on it until they were 4 or so (even after having real ride on trikes): And even better altho for probably a shorter time period is the Walker Wagon ( This was our present to the baby & she used it from when she could just manage to stand on her feet with assistance until she was walking freely on her own. She still likes to push her "babies" around in it & rides in it herself if she can get one of her big brothers to push her in it. One really nice feature of this toy is that you can adjust the wheels so that they move freely or not so freely (so it doesn't go shooting away from a just beginning to walk with help baby). Both of these toys are very, very sturdy & I like that they are not made out of plastic but very solid with mostly wood & metal. They are a bit pricey but, if you have any doting grandparents who are looking for a nice BD present for baby James, one of them might be a possibility if you can't find one used. If you are planning on having more children, one of them would most definitely be a good investment - they will hold up much more nicely than the plastic ones. Another activity toy that my granddaughter loved was her jumperoo - like a saucer but on springs so the baby can jump instead of rocking. My daughter belongs to an internet group called Baby Names which is sort of a parenting discussion group (I think) & they frequently post things for sale or things wanted. If you belong to any similar groups, you might be able to post what you are looking for. Also look to see if there are any children's resale stores around you - there are a few in the Chicago area & you can usually get good bargains on baby things. You'd be more likely to find what you want in a more targeted venue than in going to garage sales. You might also check the Yahoo Groups to see if there is anything on there (I check out the KnitSwap group frequently - a similar group for baby stuff would get a lot of use I think & may well already exist.)


I wasn't smart with my first round of daughters but the youngest has been 98% clothed by thrift stores, yard sales and what I can sew for her. Her toys have come largely from the same places, having gotten rid of the older girls' things before she came alone. One of E's favorite things to do is 'go thrifting' and she's only 8!

I second the swing and riding toys. Costly new, next to free at yard sales most of the time. A water and sand table would be fun with him next spring so watch for one this summer, along with a sandbox and picnic table. He may not eat at it much but it will prove handy for messy craft adventures outside at some point.


The best things to look for are old pots and pans for banging, tupperware for putting asst toys in and arranging them (my niece did this non-top from 1-2), and duplo and lego blocks. The best part is all of them can go through the dishwasher to get cleaned.

Elizabeth D

Well, I loathe yard sales, because there's always something that looked irresistible and causes bad "morning after" regrets. . . so I don't do them. BUT -- a friend was an expert, and when she found not one but two easels, she passed one on to me. They seem to crop up pretty often, and every kid should have one. She kept the plastic Little Tikes one that she thought was much nicer; I got the wooden one with a blackboard on the back. Hold out for that kind!


Let's see, anything by Fisher Price and Playskool. Those Flintstone cars are good. And if you can find a cheap kitchen, those are good too. Even for boys. Dump trucks for playing in dirt. And any books you can find, even if they seem too hard for him. If it has pictures, he will love it. Plus they will be a bit worn so if he happens to rip a page, its not a big deal. This way he can be taught to love books. I used to hate it when my sister would buy the really nice books but not let my nephew look thru them because she was afraid he'd mess them up. Blocks, like those MegaBlox. Great for stacking and putting together. And they are big enough if he puts them in his mouth, he can't choke on them. Save the legos for when he's 4.

Sandra D

Don't forget thrift and second hand stores. I'm not a mommy, but plenty of friends are. And several shopped those kinds of stores for their kids. Most kids don't stay one size long enough to even start to put wear on lots of clothing, and you can get nice items for a fraction of their "new" price.

B. Rickman

A sand box compete with bucket, shovel and lots of trucks with front loading buckets on them. A car that uses his feet to drive. A little red wagon that mom can pull him in when she takes walks. A big plastic ball he can roll in the large yard you have. A Johnny Jump Up. Daddy's sholders. Sunshine and wind in his hair. A dog that is about his age. Another brother or sister (beleive it or not, this is REALLY valuable for an only kid). Some would say I should not suggest that, but, from experience, you will be much better off and so will he.



Duplo (now) and Lego (3-4 years +) are great to stock up on if you can find them, plus they're easy to clean too. Wooden train track is fabulous too and usually the different sets will match together.

It's not a toy, but you could make James his own photo album (use one of those 'brag book' type albums which are inexpensive and easily cleaned) and put in photos of family, friends and places. Great for encouraging conversation.


There are so many good garage sales around the Ft.Wayne/New Haven/Woodburn area this time of year. I have found and sold lots of kid things over the years.
I guess the best stuff is usually something old that people don't know is valuable. Depression glass and old pottery. I got an antique sock darner for a quarter right around the corner. Same lady had a huge hank( about 20oz) of Australian merino wool for a dollar!


I'm late with these comments, but as a mom of one 8-yr.-old and 4-year-old twins, I have to tell you -- find a twins' group in your area and go to their sale. I think in general, they have at least a fall and a spring sale and you can get really amazing deals. They've got everything -- clothes, cribs, pack n plays, highchairs, toys, etc. I've even seen bikes. It's worth checking out.

I wish I'd have known about these sales when my oldest was born, but I only did the second-hand stores for his clothes. For my twins, it's been hand-me-downs and second-hand stores and then these twins' sales for "bigger" ticket items (exersaucers, high chairs, extra pack n play, and winter coats). Good luck! I love finding a bargain!


I'm just surfing knitting blogs this afternoon and I ended up here. (Even though I read that this is not a knitting blog anymore, but a mommy blog.)
I've just whisked through the previous comments. Katy and Abby have both suggested that you try Freecycle. Freecycle is "free stuff" that is offered by people who have no further use for it, but is too good (i.e. usable) to put in the garbage. And they don't want to go through the bother of having a yard sale for whatever reason.

Abby provided a general URL for Freecycle - I went further and found a group in Fort Wayne - see .
The rules sound rather frightening, but they are just to say that is not liable for anything that happens - so you should take sensible and reasonable precautions - when you acquire the free stuff.
Maybe there is one that is set up at a place closer to you, but you seem to be still close to Fort Wayne, since your move.

Freecycle is great! Of course you don't always get what you want, but nothing is sure about yard sales either - and they cost you money.
(My last acquisition was six pairs of name brand knitting needles! Which cost nothing except for an e-mail or two.)

Happy knitting; happy freecycling; and happy mothering,



If I had it to do all over again, I'd only buy a few simple, basic toys. Those are the items with real play value. The less a toy does, the better the entertainment and educational value. When a toy does all the thinking for a child, they quickly lose interest. Our house was cluttered with too much, and most of it was ignored after a week or so. One special doll or stuffed animal, a good ball, a very well made set of blocks, Duplos, a Brio train, a few chunky wooden vehicles, a solid riding toy... This is the stuff that children never seem to grow tired of playing with, because these items stimulate their imaginations. Top it off with an age appropriate library and plenty of lap reading time, and you will have a child who is much happier than one who has "everything". I just wish I'd learned this lesson much, much sooner!

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