Floss’s Top Ten Toys – 18 months old. They’re in no particular order.
We like to shop from small, independent retailers. Most of our toys are from Yes Bebe where BUSY10 will give you a 10% discount on lots of their range – T&Cs can be found on their website.
1. Small World People
Floss has really liked Grimms Dwarfs and Grapat Nins since around 12 months old. The Dwarfs are the perfect size for little hands, soft and squishy. I often find Floss has one in each hand, just taking them along with her in her play, wherever she goes.
Recently, she’s started role playing with them; sitting them in mini chairs, putting them in bed, giving them food and drink. The Nins are little wooden people from a beautiful brand called Grapat that again are perfect little hand size. For her first birthday we purchased the Carla Set which has been immensely popular (to update you, Floss is now 3.5 years old and still plays with this set every day). We’ve also made little people out of socks and other things from around the house too.
Children love animals, espy ecially making the noises that they make. Floss has a collection of wooden farm animals from Lanka Kade that her Auntie L got her for her 1st birthday. She loves matching these up with pictures I laminated for her. We also have a lovely Lanka Kade Ark that we purchased on eBay. Sadly, it arrived broken in transit. However, the lovely lady selling it said that if we were happy to have a go at putting it back together then we could and she would refund us the money. Some delicate work from one of Floss’s Grandads means we now have a fabulous Ark that she loves to use with her animals – as well as being able to fit in the Ark herself! Animal puzzles are also a big hit right now as well.
3. The Rainbow
Now I know some people can’t believe anyone can spend that amount of money on a wooden rainbow. But, there’s a reason people pay virtually the same price for it second hand as you would new, it’s not just a wooden rainbow. It’s a beautiful, hand crafted work of art that I am so happy to have in our home. It brightens up wherever it lives. Yes, I’m talking about the Grimms Rainbow. Don’t believe me – just put Grimms rainbow into a search engine and you’ll see what I mean. Endless possibilities; hours of fun.
4. Loose Parts
What are loose parts? My description would be resources that have no set design or purpose that allow you the freedom to combine, move, manipulate, order and create in your own way; open ended. Loose parts are only limited by your imagination and in my experience children have amazingly, vivid imaginations. They can be anything from natural resources found outside in the garden to bought wooded or synthetic materials.
We have some beautiful Grapat loose parts that we all like to play with. Loose parts are a resource that often show me most what Floss is processing. When she learnt to crawl she regularly demonstrated that she was working on the transporting schema (schema – a pattern of behaviour regularly repeated, which help children make sense of the world), moving objects from one place to another. There’s been a subtle shift over the last couple of weeks to an enveloping schema, especially with her loose parts.
I am huge book lover and Floss is too. DadDad has never really been that into books before Floss arrived, but now it’s something they readily share together. DadDad spends a great deal of time thinking about the voices he’s going to be doing for characters. He tries very hard to get home from work most nights to be able to be there for bedtime. We love it when the three of us are all there, sharing stories together and enjoying snuggles; it’s a magic time. Lots of our books are charity shop finds and we love going to the library to see what treasures we can find. Floss definitely has favourites and she obviously likes certain voices that we do as some books she prefers DadDad to read and others me. It’s lovely to see her making choices and knowing her own mind.
6. The Kitchen
Children love to act out everyday activities that they see happening around them. Floss has a Little Helper FunPod which means she’s able to be at the right height to help me in the kitchen when I’m cooking and baking. It’s amazing watching her play with her own kitchen as she recreates activities that she sees and helps with. The kitchen is a real hub of our home and everyone gathers, shares food and chats away. It’s lovely to see how she replicates this in her own little kitchen – especially the social babble as she goes.
7. Stacking Tower
Wood, plastic, fabric – it doesn’t matter. Floss loves to stack, remove, re-stack and repeat. Now her motor skills enable her to stack these with much more ease than when she first started. It’s the understanding of adjectives, size and colour, which is beginning to develop. I’ve never been afraid to use a variety of language with young children as I’ve found they enjoy the sound and use of new words. Yes, the concept of big and small is important, but the use of huge, tiny, massive, minuscule, colossal, minute, humongous are all words that I would intersperse into our play when we are describing things that are big and small.
I’m going to call them the ultimate toy! Why? Floss loved them from birth and it’s fascinating to watch how her fine and gross motor skills are developing as well as social skills as she begins to engage others in her play with me. It’s a toy that almost everyone wants to play with at any age. Floss’s Great Grandma H is hard of hearing and partially sighted, but give her a bright ball and she will sit and roll a ball backwards and forwards with Floss for ages. Kick them, throw then, roll then, bounce them, hide them, decorate them, add paint to them, make them a ball run – the possibilities are endless.
9. Water Play
Bath time, tuff trays and bowls inside, outside – doesn’t matter where – Floss loves playing with water. Her favourite toys that we bought are a musical drum, flute and xylophone that are bath toys. However, give her a whisk, straining spoon and some jugs from the kitchen cupboard and she’ll happily entertain herself (and all of us) for ages. I can’t wait until we have our garden finished and I can have some more water fun outside with her. Do check out my blog post on Water Play here.
10. Peter and Panda – soft toys
Peter and Panda are soft toys that Floss absolutely loves more than anything in the world; if she could only save DadDad and me or Peter and Panda then we would be goners! Honestly, I’m not sure if it was a choice for DadDad and me about whether to save the other or Peter – it’d be a tough call. Floss had always woken in the night, but around 12 months her cousin Mr B (5 months younger) gave her Peter and since then she has (unless unwell) slept through the night. If she wakes up she finds Peter, gives him a snuggle and heads back off to sleep. Peter saved our sanity! Panda came along shortly after when I’d crocheted a Panda for a gift for someone. It was love at first sight and I quickly made a second panda to give as a gift. You can get the pattern from this book.