So far, I've been very lucky in my kid's-toy-finds at Goodwill. It probably helps that I go there fairly frequently, but I've been fortunate to find everything from brand new Melissa & Doug puzzles that are still in the package, to a hand-made wooden train made by a local artisan. All for just a couple dollars. My most recent acquisition is this vintage Playskool Village from, I believe, the 1960s.
It's a container of blocks that one can put together in endless combinations to build a town. It originally came with a mat that had roads and such printed on it. This set lacks that, but it seems like a replacement would be easy enough to make. I was absolutely enthralled by the blurb on the side of the can:
Because building an "urban renewal" is exactly what I want my children to do. When I brought it home, Steve asked if there were, perhaps, blocks to represent a ghetto that could be gentrified for said urban renewal, but, alas, there is not. All that aside, I still think it's a pretty solid activity. I have very fond memories of my own set of blocks and building houses and bridges out of them.
We've talked a lot about the type and quantity of toys that we want our kids to have. There's just so much out there. Too much. I really want each item to be chosen deliberately and with care. To be well-made and to encourage open-ended creative play. To be beautiful items that they will want to pass along to their own children.