*disclaimer…I am pressing publish on the back of a shopping trip which has seen me purchase approx 1.2 tonnes of Duplo a.k.a plastic tat…you win some, you lose some!
I had very specific ideas of what life post-baby would look like (read about our breastfeeding and weaning journey here) and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that it did somewhat resemble a Dickensian idyll. I envisaged (through a hazy, dreamy, hormone-addled filter) the family gathered around a log fire, the baby calmly playing with a toy train (probably with led infused paintwork but let’s not spoil the fantasy). I think perhaps in hindsight I had watched one too many documentaries on how the Victorians invented Christmas (or possibly too many American Christmas films – I’m looking at you Miricle on 34th Street) and suffice to say I got something of a shock when Luna did put in an appearance. It’s like the opening credits of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding…a traditional image that then collides with the 21st Century and in this case, plastic, in all its garish glory! So while I harboured hopes that Luna would be content to sit and play with a toy train (and don’t get me wrong, there are many occasions where she is and does), the poor old railway really doesn’t stand a chance when pitted against a bright pink monstrosity with flashing lights and the sort of music that is enough to send even the most serene of us quietly loopy. That being said I am still a firm believer in the value of wooden toys to a child’s learning and development and I’m determined to prove that they can be just as much fun as their plastic counterparts. There are some truly beautiful wooden toys on the market that never fail to give me the warm fuzzies when browsing the toy departments. Here are my top five…
The London Bus
We have had so much fun with this London Bus from Early Learning Centre. It comes complete with eight little passengers helpfully colour coded to their seats. At the moment she’s having tremendous fun just taking things out and (haphazardly) putting them back in but as she gets older this is going to be great for developing fine motor skills and colour coordination. I’m also rather looking forward to the day we can set up a little village and pick up passengers along the way…I think I may have developed an over-fondness for this one!
Luna can crawl at approx 5 million miles per hour but is still a little unsure on two feet so my most recent purchase has been this beauty of a walker again from Early Learning Centre. Now I have to say, this was an absolute b**tard to put together particularly when you have an inquisitive 13-month-old on the loose. All those tiny screws and knuts are not conducive to an environment the Health Visitor would approve of! However, once assembled (with a large dollop of help from my mother – I was determined to prove to Mr.R that I could do it myself), this walker is an absolute dream. First and foremost, it’s sturdy and doesn’t run away with her and secondly, its just so much fun! It has little pots, pans & utensils, a shape sorter, turning cogs and clickable dials. There’s also a rather larger ‘oven’ compartment which allows her to play her favourite game of put everything in then take it all out again!
What could be more traditional than a set of wooden building blocks? These ones from Ikea are super simple but perfect for learning about shapes and practising balance. They have a handy design on the bottom so you can keep them in order which pleases the Virgo in me enormously BUT there is something decidedly odd going on with the colours – I kind of feel there’s not enough of some and too many of others and its all a little bit too chaotic for my symmetry obsessed brain to handle. Nevertheless, for the price this is a lovely start to what I’m sure will be an ever-evolving collection.
This was a birthday present from Luna’s Auntie & Uncle and is just beautiful! What is it with personalised inanimate objects? Even the mundane can suddenly become ultra desirable with the addition of a name or a bit of gold embossing! The pastel shades of this particular design are so pretty and as Luna gets older it will really help with hand-eye coordination (at the moment shes convinced she can get the heart shape through the cloud)! If you rather like the idea of wooden toys, something like this would make a lovely gift!
Galt Pop Up Toy
As wooden toys go this is so simple and yet so pleasing! As with the London Bus, you have the colour coded figures – perfect for developing colour recognition – which bob up and down on concealed springs! This never fails to raise a smile and a cheeky chuckle and her hand-eye coordination has come on hugely by slotting the little figures into their holes.
I really could go on and on with this topic as there’s just so much gorgeousness out there! On my list for Christmas is this gorgeous Nativity and in our local florist of all places, there’s a delightful ambulance which toddler Jessica would have gone crazy for (I can only assume toddler Luna will be equally as enamoured)! Do you and your littles have any favourite wooden toys?