When my son was younger, I felt like I had to buy stuff to aid multilingualism. In retrospect, a lot of it was unnecessary. My son doesn’t care much for board games or flashcards. He never liked stuffed animals. So here is a list of things I bought that were worthwhile. (though this list is probably most useful for sons, particularly my son! Use as a guideline.)
At least one doll or stuffed animal as a keepsake. Take photos of your growing child next to it. Keep it in a place of honor.
Blocks–little boys never tire of building and watching them all fall down
UNO cards memory, etc. A few games for us. Your child may love board games, in which case you will want to buy more.
Tricycle, bike–of course
Educational place mats–these are hard to get in Japan. I get mine from the states. I love them.
Posters/calendars–little bits of the target language here and there. You can create your own posters.
Onbu baby carrier–not being Japanese, I used a stroller–a lot! But I wish I had carried my son on my back like japanese moms often do. It is a really good thing. Not to say you won’t need a stroller, but onbu is so nice
Legos–my son, and most kids, love these
Play plastic food. Can be bought as toys r us. Good for pretending to cook and eat.
Trains/cars–little boys love these
Paper and crayons. My son never cared for coloring books
Sticker books–my son definitely went through a sticker book phase. Kept him busy on trains. I bought from Liebam http://www.liebam.co.jp/sb_regular.html At that time, only this company sold these style of books. Now you can get similar books at 100 yen shops–they are not as good as Liebam but much cheaper.
Dvd’s I had lots of these. Now there is new technology, and I am not so sure they are necessary anymore.
Books. I personally only bought books in english. It’s better to get quality books. Often the books based on movie characters are of extremely low quality.
As you can see, a lot of these items don’t relate directly to any one language. you use language when you throw a ball to your child or zoom a car with him or her. That gets your child headed down the path of multilingualism.
If I left any important items out, please let me know in the comments! I probably did leave stuff out, imhalf writing this blog post and half watching the Transformers.