Toys Worth the Aesthetic Sacrifice

While we'd love a home full of wooden toys and beautiful objects like this elephant walker- what we actually have is a home with some of those pretty toys and some of those brightly colored plastic toys like the one below:
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When we first had our daughter a cousin showed up at her baptism with a car full of plastic toys for her. Large ones...that talk and sing. We didn't want to seem rude, so we took them and housed most of them at my parents' home until she was older. Now, two years later- this Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Home still gets a lot of use. My daughter used it to pull up on as a baby and learned to identify alphabet letters. We've used it as the entryway to forts, and it's always the first thing playmates head for when they come over- no matter how prominently I've set out the wooden blocks or elephant walker(shown above). So- for those reasons, it's become a beloved part of her play space and I'll be (just a little bit) sad to see it go when the time comes.

What toys or gear have you found invaluable even though at first you weren't thrilled to welcome them into your home?

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