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Toys for Kids Who Only Like to Play with Breakable, Expensive Grown-Up Things

Ah, grown-up stuff. So forbidden. So breakable. So irresistible. If messing around with mom's phone just causes trouble (for everybody), try one these kid-friendly alternatives for toddlers to teens.

Deena Campbell · 6 months ago

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Every parent loves seeing their kids exploring the world around them and trying new things. As long as “trying new things” doesn’t mean our Airpods end up in the toilet. 

No matter how many times you say “please don’t use my work laptop for your dinosaur dance party,” some kids only seem to want to play with breakable grown-up stuff. That’s why we’ve pulled together your guide to unbreakable, kid-friendly alternatives to those irresistible grownup toys-that-are-definitely-not-toys. Because things break, but if they happen to survive it doesn't mean we want kid fingerprints all over them.

Fisher-Price My Home Office

Fisher-Price My Home Office

Fisher-Price

If you can’t keep your preschooler's hands off your work laptop or headset, this 8-piece home office set includes a pretend laptop, fabric “apps” to attach to the computer screen, a miniature smartphone, and a headset for all those important kid business meetings. Also, yes, it’s painfully adorable. 

Fire Kids Tablet

Fire Kids Tablet

Amazon

Kids love to play on our phones, our tablets, and really anything with a screen that costs more than several years’ worth of their allowance. The Fire tablet for kids from Amazon includes a free 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives kids access to over 20,000 books, Audible books, movies, TV shows, music stations, apps and games. And there’s parental controls, so you can limit screen time. Really the only thing to break here is the educational goals you’ve set together. 

elle crée Martin Luther King Jr. Paint-by-Number Kit

Martin Luther King Jr. Paint-by-Number Kit

elle crée

Are tiny messy fingers leaving marks on your most cherished wall art? Have indoor ball games taken down some hanging photos in your living room? That’s why we’re into this paint-by-number painting kit —  kids can mess up their own paintings for a change. The entire project takes up to 5 hours to complete, which is just enough time to order a frame to hang it on the wall … along with replacements for all your other broken picture frames.

Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor

Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor

Peg Perego

How many times has your kid asked to ride with you on your ride-on lawn mower? Does three, four, or five times a week sound familiar? Now you can level up their playtime with a ride-on tractor just for them. The tractor wheels provide traction on grass, dirt, gravel, or pavement so they can get around with ease all over your backyard. There’s also a working FM radio that lets them catch their favorite jams while riding in style. Best of all, you can control the speed with the second gear lockout feature.

Jetson Flash Self Balancing Hoverboard

Jetson Flash Self Balancing Hoverboard

Jetson

Is your kid looking for more adventurous off-road rides? Now kids can ride in style and have music with them wherever they go — just like us parents, the original SUV warriors. This self-balancing hoverboard allows kids to reach up to 10 mph and travel up to 12 miles while a bluetooth speaker plays music as they ride.

Step 2 Wheelbarrow

Step 2 Wheelbarrow

Step 2

If your little garden helper needs their own tools to feel like they’re really digging in, this wheelbarrow is the perfect solution. The easy-grip handle and gardening tools allow kids to assist (but mainly get in the way of) mom and dad creating gardening magic. 

Fisher-Price Coffee Cup Teether

Fisher-Price Coffee Cup Teether

Fisher-Price

Kids mimic what we do, so it’s no surprise that our little ones love our favorite coffee mug. They want to grab it, drink from it and spill whatever is in there — hot or cold. Fisher price nailed it with this ​chewy, BPA-free teether — it really looks like your baby is drinking coffee, but what they’re really doing is exercising their visual, auditory, and tactile senses. Oh and also, being super-cute.

JBL JR POP Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Kids

JBL JR POP Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Kids

JBL

Available in six vibrant colors, this Bluetooth speaker features five hours of playtime — plus it’s waterproof and has a built-in multi-color lightshow! It also comes with a fun sticker set for kids to decorate their own, so they can finally leave your expensive speakers alone. 

Djeco Tea Time

Djeco Tea Time

Djeco

How many times do you need to say it, Aunt Mildred’s antique tea set is not for serving whatever concoction the kids have put together out of the fridge? There’s a better, brighter, sturdier way: This detailed wooden tea set stands up to whatever today's tea party is dishing out. The tea tray has a pretty pattern on it and the teapot sports a charming little bird — maybe it’s not Aunt Mildred’s Spode, but it’s still pretty cute.

Mindware Playful Chef Safety Knife Set

Mindware Playful Chef Safety Knife Set

Mindware

Older kids who have outgrown wooden pretend-food playsets and are eager to get their hands dirty in the kitchen need their own special, kid-safe tools to work with. Mindware’s specially-designed knife set is an exciting step up for aspiring young chefs — for when they’re ready for the big leagues, but not quite ready for mom and dad’s Wusthof knives.

Little Tikes First Washer Dryer

Little Tikes First Washer Dryer

Little Tikes

See, little kids don’t know that laundry day is the worst day of the week. They just see a big shiny machine making exciting thumping noises, and they want in on whatever that is. This kid-sized washer/dryer (complete with detergent bottle and little laundry hampers) lets kids imagine they’re running the big show themselves, while you imagine a world in which your family members actually wash and fold and put away their own clothes.

Melissa & Doug Get Well Doctor’s Kit Play Set

Melissa & Doug Get Well Doctor’s Kit Play Set

Melissa & Doug

We’ve seen a lot of play doctor’s kits, and this one takes the Golden Stethoscope: There’s a whopping 25 realistic-but-kid-friendly pieces here, including an ID badge on a lanyard and even a magazine for patients in the waiting room. This playset lets kids get hands-on time with all the mysterious (and maybe slightly scary) instruments they see their doctors using, helping children develop confidence at the pediatrician’s office.

Schylling Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone

Schylling Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone

Schylling Fisher-Price

Remember when grabbing for the phone in your parents’ hands meant grabbing an actual handset attached to an actual cord? Kids today don’t know how easy they have it. In fact, to be honest, they might not even recognize that this charming retro toy is a phone at all. But the shiny red plastic receiver, the wobbly little nose, and that satisfyingly clicky little number dial are all just as irresistible as ever — and just as interactive as your cell phone. Without the data charges.