I always feel the pressure at this time of year. Its Jake's birthday and Christmas within 4 weeks of each other, and we have to buy for the whole forthcoming year. I always aim to buy toys that will last, have multiple uses, and that allow open ended play and creativity. From the last 3 years here are some favourite basic and traditional toys that we love or want for 1-4 year olds.
Stacking cups are great for babies upwards. Use for stacking (building skills), learning about colour and size, balancing, putting in and out, as cups (for a tea party of course!), pouring, scooping, sharing...
Scales - there are lots of different types, but I love this for its multiple play possibilities. Learn about weight, balance, quantities, counting, colours. The scales can be used with other objects, and the stacking rings used on their own too.
Teach time and counting puzzle. Jake has always loved numbers and clocks. This is a puzzle, counting and matching game, and moveable clock to start teaching time.
Pattern Blocks - Jake is about to get these for his 3rd birthday; I know he is going to love them, he would have loved them last year too, but used them in a much more abstract way I imagine. Tangible shapes are great for recognition and these allow for pattern making with the boards provided, but also shape matching, free patter making, colour sorting and lots more...
We have an easel, but it is not as fantastic as this! I love this one, it is magnetic for letters, numbers and shapes, plus a white board, chalk board, has letters and numbers for copying, and a clock to play with too! Easels just call out to kids to be creative too. A must have for any play room.
Another one for babies upwards. Wooden building blocks allow for creative building; whether it be towers, city-skapes, train track accessories, shapes, patterns, houses, forts.... the list is endless. Wooden blocks also teach more about balance and gravity as they don't connect like lego or duplo. This set comes in a pull along box - love storage!
A garage and cars; a winning toy for girls and boys. I really like this wooden set for toddlers but you can get loads of chunky cars for babies or realistic model cars for older children. Equally good are train sets of course...
Megablocks, duplo or lego (depending on age and ability) are essential in any child's lives! They teach construction skills, dexterity, build fine motor skills, aid creativity and imaginative play.
Alphabet blocks - as with wooden blocks you can build and create, but they also help with letter and word recognition, help with pre-reading and writing skills and are just lots of fun.
Wooden farm - playsets are great for babies upwards. This particular set is lovely as the pieces are chunky enough for babies, but detailed and versatile enough for older toddlers. Plus anything that comes with its own storage is a winner with me!
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