Thursday, 30 September 2010

Toys for Toddlers

Today Toy Talk announce their winners of the 2010 Toy Talk Awards. I love choosing toys for my daughters and I am quite sad that they are now moving on more grown up toys. However, I think it is a testament to the wooden toys that I bought when they were toddlers, that they still play with them now. I want them to have toys that are stimulating, environmentally friendly, that aren't all pink, and that will last more than 5 minutes. So I have put together some of my environmentally friendly favourites for toddlers and preschoolers.

One of their all time favourites was the baby walker with wooden bricks. It won hands down against the very irritating flashing lights and sounds version from V-Tech. The walker was great for helping them take those first steps and they could also use their imagination to create alsorts from the bricks. This version is one of many available from Why Wood Works.

For my eldest daughter's second birthday we bought her first Brio train set and she loved it. Now she is nearly 8 and still enjoys setting the whole thing out, making cities and role playing. The great thing about the train set is that you can add to it over time and children can save pocket money to spend on a new train or other accessory. Available from Amazon and many other online stores.

I have to confess a love of Pintoy and Plan Toy. I am just a little sad that there is no more room in the playroom to add a Pintoy hospital or a Plan Toy kitchen set. However, the girls do have a Pintoy doll's house which has given them hours of pleasure rearranging furniture and acting out little scenarios.

As well as the big companies I think it is important to support small companies who are making limited numbers of toys. However, it is vital to ensure that any toys purchased have a CE mark and meet European Toy Safety Standards.

This tractor and haywagon from Toys For Children is a beautiful example of the type of toy that will last and become a family heirloom. The beauty of wood is that as it is handled it increases its beauty unlike plastic that is not meant to last.

I have often found with jigsaw puzzles that although my children love them, they can easily get damaged and once you have done them a few times the interest wears off. However, we bought a magnetic version of one of these wooden puzzles from Myriad. They can be used to build and make as many patterns as a child has the imagination for.

Finally something that I wish I had invested in. Ostheimer are a German company who have handcrafted toys for more than 50 years. They make a beautiful range of wooden toys that would look stunning in any playroom or bedroom. It is almost impossible to choose my favourite, but I think that this beautiful dragon just makes it to the top. Available from Myriad and Laughing Bear Toys.

So why settle for plastic make your children's toys something that are a pleasure to play with, and that will last for years. I know I am already planning to store all my children's toys for future nephews/nieces.

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