Last year my two daughters were invited to join a toy testing program for a popular and well known toy store. It was a super exciting challenge for us all.
Every year we as parents are hit with the new in toys and gadgets. One lesson I have learnt as the parent to two toddlers is the ‘new’ isn’t always the bigger deal.
Stop thinking new and think tried, tested and recommended by other parents.
All these toys are unisex or available in a range of colours to suit your child.
VTech Storio Animated Reading System
Storio is designed with educational activities made fun, teaching your child spelling, letters, numbers, word understanding and much more. Your child reads along with the audio story whist the system automatically highlights each word as it’s read in the story.
Children become very independent; the Storio reading system gives the child independence in a learning process.
Your child’s learning confidence will grow the more they play as Storio gives your child certificates for achieving tasks built into the system. You and your child can access these certificates from the home page menu seeing what they did so great. Acknowledging your child’s progress is sure to bring glowing smiles.
Parents can plug Storio into their own home computer and access a progress logs summary giving you further details of their achievements.
Play Dough Mega Fun Factory
As I set up the Mega Factory my first thoughts were how simple it appeared with not much to do, surely the children would get bored? I was wrong! It was very rare to see my daughters with only a 14 month age gap play together but they did both glowing eyes and big smiles for at least an hour. The only problem I had with this toy was peeling them away with the tears included in the process.
Load your play-doh into the factory, make sure your conveyor belt is turned on, and push down on the lever and away you go. As the play-doh runs along your conveyor belt your child starts to design their own toy and food creations by stamping down on the wheel then waiting patiently to divide those creations with the blunt on-board cutter before landing in your tray. All creations can be matched up with the included paper play sheet like a puzzle.
Encouraging fun, brain stimulation and creation.
The fun amazement on my daughters face as she switched on her Leaptop who greeted her with a personal greeting by her name was pretty cool.
3 very clever game modes will help your child to pronounce the alphabet and words whist teaching your child to recognise sounds, letters, objects, animals and noises.
Add a personal touch to your child’s learning by sending an email to their leaptop (this can be done from the original setup). When you child presses the envelope button they will be greeted with your message “Hi name, you are very special to me, love Mummy”, super cute! Leaptops friend, Scout will also email and talk to your child on a regular basis always referring to your child by their name, telling them of his day whist asking your child how they are, what have they done today, what are their friends names, etc.
Leaptop has a melody mode which can be personalised with a selection of tunes available from the software setup. I love the way Leaptop vocally teaches your child how to spell their own name “name let’s sing about you N-A-M-E, name” watch you child sing away as Scout does. My favourite is the alphabet song, I strongly believe this helped my 2 toddlers recognise their ABC in order, they always sing it now!
Leaptop is FUN and personal to any child whist totally encouraging learning and brain development.
Orchard Toys Puzzles and Games
Every puzzle and game from Orchard Toys has the child in mind 100%. The quality is superb and durable, just what you need for small hands.
These games are fun yet educational concentrating on the child’s learning and brain development. Encouraging thinking, memory skills, new words, colours, picture association and much more.
Find a stockist; my family are sure you won’t be disappointed.
Leapfrog tag junior
After an easy setup your book is ready to come alive with your child, they will just love this new way to read along with their own books.
Featuring many popular characters your child is sure to adore their new books exploring all the fun pages gliding ‘tag’ over the story and page scenes, learning new words and pictures along the way.
This neat little system brings pre-school education to the child.
A wide range of books is available. Each tag holds up to 5 stories, if you own more they are easily stored onto a home computer and updated on the tag via a USB lead.
Megablocks, Duplo and Lego will never go out of date; it’s a must for every child. A reliable toy brand that will last a life time, I couldn’t believe it when a family member pulled out a big box of Lego bricks from when I was just a little girl (that was many years ago)!
Bring hours of fun to any child bringing imagination and creative building to their play time.
There are so many sets available the only problem you will have is picking which one. One of our favourites is the Lego Big City Zoo. My daughter loves all the animals, we lived only minutes from the zoo but now she had her very own to build and play with. With creative play she builds her own zoo consisting of different plates, bricks, flowers, trees, rocks, bridges, flags, food, animals, zoo keepers and visitors. Once set up her imagination starts helping the zoo keeper feed the right food to the animals and helping the visitors around the park. This set has helped her recognise both the animals and sounds.
Another Duplo set has definitely been added to this year’s Christmas list.
VTech Kidizoom camera
If your children are anything like mine they want your camera. I looked around for something suitable for anywhere between £10-£20 but what I did find looked cheap, felt cheap and there was no way it would last my two toddlers so I took the plunge and spent out on the VTech Kidizoom camera. Digital, flash, fun, real and child proof, worth it!
VTech have just introduced the new Kiddizoom Twist which now includes a twisting lens. The kids will have fun as they explore all the fun features the Kidizoom has to offer including picture scenes that can be applied whist taking the picture (robots, teddy bears, under the sea and more), mini games, video/movie, voice recorder with some cool voice changing effects and photo editing for frames, effects and picture stamps.
Storing over 5oo pictures and an SD slot for more memory they are sure to have fun without the worry of the camera breaking. My children are always taking photos of the family and I have to say when their little hands are steady it provides some pretty good pictures.
Encouraging creative play, hand/eye coordination and imagination.
Moon dough/Moon Sand
Moon dough has many sets on the shelves all come complete with moulds for different tasks. AT first sight I was really unsure how much I would take to moon dough, it appeared messy and I couldn’t see how the sand would mould together. Wrong, it was so easy to hoover up and we were surprised how well the dough kneads together creating perfect shapes.
My daughter has the sweet delights set which keeps her entertained for a good hour blending her shakes up, pouring them into the glasses, creating treats in the moulds and decorating each shaker glass with various accessories.
Moon dough/sand is not sticky and any you manage to save after your child’s play time can be used over and over again.
It’s fun, it’s creative and yes it is messy but it’s so easy to clean up.
Aquadraw sell floor mats, mini mats and travelling drawing bag suiting every situation, perfect. Mess free colouring and drawing for all age ranges.
Coming complete with Aquadoodle pens just fill them up with water and you can get on with your house work without wondering if your kitchen walls have been redecorated.
Watch your child draw watching all the bright colours appearing like magic making any young artist smile.
The mats come in different ranges from the classic mat to more accessorised (cars, farm yard, princesses and more). The animal magic sounds mat got a big thumbs up from us providing a pen holder which could be slotted onto the round discs placed beside each animal around the mat bring each animal alive with their unique sounds.
A durable reusable drawing mat, every parent should buy one!
My children love being creative they never get bored of drawing, painting and making crafts.
Crayola is my trusted brand when it comes to creative activity that involves crafts, art and paint. For our younger children the washable Beginner Crayola products are perfect. I learnt the hard way with cheap crayons from a bargain store in the High Street that still sits marked on their drawing table to this day; I will never be unfaithful again!
The quality of Crayola wins over the price but as I shop online a lot and with many High Street shops stocking Crayola I always find a bargain to save a few pennies.
Offering a wide range of products and activities, your child couldn’t go bored.
Stuff their little stockings with Crayola!