I was inspired by Design Mom's post about vintage toys. I love old toys and I have a little vignette of old toys in my playroom (get it? playroom? toys?). The toys go back as far as the 20's and include dolls and little cast iron (I think) military figures.
It's a great way to use and enjoy some of those old toys that belonged to your parents or grandparents. You wouldn't let your kids play with an antique doll, but it doesn't serve a purpose in a closet either. By decorating with them, they live again and remind us of our loved ones who came before. If you didn't inherit any old toys, find what you like on eBay or at antique stores. I don't think any of my old toys is especially valuable, but they were family pieces, so they are valuable to me. Look around and ask parents or grandparents if they still have a favorite toy from their childhood. They will be flattered that you want to preserve a part of their past.
At Overton's baptism brunch a few years ago, I pulled out all of those antique toys to place in the center of the dining table. I'll look for a photo of what I did and will try to post later. It really seemed appropriate for a brunch about celebrating a new life.
The blocks on eBay are so sweet and can easily be found at antiques malls and would be great to scatter on a table. The tin soldiers would make a great purchase for a boy-themed shower or brunch. The paper mache lamb is pricey on eBay, but if you are lucky enough to find one in the attic, pull it out!!