With just under 100 days to go until Christmas, it’s definitely time to start planning if you’ve lots of people to buy presents for. I usually have some ideas around this time, although some of the family only produce their Christmas lists about a week out which is definitely my most detested time to go Christmas shopping – I prefer to rely on online shopping where possible especially when shopping in store means dragging round N and trying to keep him contained in a pushchair.
The Toadstool have asked bloggers for their The Toadstool Christmas wishlist to help determine who should be the first of their 2014 The Toadstool bloggers. Unfortunately I don’t really have time to spend playing with the fantastic toy food they have available on their website, so I’m pulling together N’s Christmas wishlist instead.
I do sometimes wonder about toys for N as he’s at nursery 5 days and week, and during the summer spends a lot of time outside. It means there’s not a lot of time for playing with toys. However, the toys we do have, he does tends to rotate round and rediscover, so I’m confident that the toys on this wishlist would remain played with regularly for a few years to come. A month after Christmas he’ll be 3 which means all those 3 years+ toys will (officially) be suitable for him to play with. That opens up opportunities immensely for fun and learning.
Who doesn’t like a railway? The OH doesn’t seem to have the patience to complete an exciting train track with N, and his existing tracks are fairly limited in excitement. So he would be really excited to find some interesting junctions, and bridges under the Christmas tree (I’d probably be even more excited, as I’m always trying to create fancy, interlocking tracks for him. We’re definitely fans of wooden railways, and Brio are some of the best available.
I love the fact that a train set is so versatile. Every time N gets the box out and starts building, it’s a different shape, and as he gets older, he is able to build tracks that join up – there’s a mathematical logical feel to building a train track as you need to be able to realise how to complete it, and which track pieces will work or not. Hopefully by N building railways, it will help him with logical learning and problem solving once he’s at school.
Of course, he loves being able to make train noises, negotiate with me over who gets which train and carriages and he’ll happily spend time alone or with someone else playing alongside.
His railway wishlist would need to include the Brio collapsing bridge and the magnetic action crossing, and for additional useful pieces, the Tidlo two curved switch train tracks. Ours to date, are all boring straights or curves, so anything to add complexity is essential for developing N’s skills.
These may all be small enough to put in his Christmas stocking as well – although they would be a lot better Father Christmas presents than would usually arrive on Christmas day.
On a similar theme (and almost harking back to my childhood marble run days), I think N would be enthralled by the Wonderworld Trix Track ball track (spin and swirl).
Where retro style was all about plastic and bright colours, nowadays parents (and therefore children) are falling back in love with wooden toys. They last a lot longer, look a lot classier and are often made from sustainable materials so better for everyone including the environment.
The Wonderworld ball tracks are again based on logic and problem solving, and N’s always been happy to try building things first before asking for help. I try to encourage this, as it’ll help him later in life. As well as hand and eye coordination, we could even use the Spin and Swirl to teach N the basics of science, which is always easiest when children are enjoying themselves through play. I’m not sure N’s seen a toy like this, so it would be something totally new for him to explore.
If he enjoys playing with this, there’s always the option to add more pieces and sets, to build an enormous run. It would need serious storage thought to keep all the little pieces together, but I’m working on that!
Next up is role play.
In recent months, N’s role play development has really been evident. He uses household (and the real) items to do tasks and activities he’s seen adults doing at home or round the farm, and it’s quite amazing how his imagination is coming on when you ask him what he’s playing. Wherever he goes to play, if there’s a kitchen, he’s over to it like a shot. The OH isn’t keen on the house being cluttered up with lots of stuff (not just toys, just stuff in general – and he’s fighting a losing battle), so a wooden kitchen wasn’t allowed, but N has a little play microwave, a baking set and then uses general kitchen equipment for his cooking experiments.
I think he’d love the Haba Pizza Allegro play set and game, so he could make up his own pizzas…hopefully that would encourage him to eat them in real life as he’s not that keen on them compared with other food.
This set has a lot of pieces to choose from, a real pick and mix set, and with the game it would introduce N to playing with a purpose so adding another side to his play. From my point of view, him forcing me to ‘eat’ pizza would be more interesting than the plastic fruit and veg he currently owns.
Finally, on the role play side of things, I’ve included some DIY toys. N likes to copy what his dad’s doing, and the other day was really interested in one of the lodgers at the farm who was doing sawing out the back of his vehicle. (No idea why or what for, but N was intrigued and kept asking me what he was doing). He’s also been doing some woodwork at his new nursery today…yep, with hammers and nails (and presumably wood glue as there’s no nails in evidence in the 3 painted pieces of wood he’s come home with). So I think some DIY toys would go down very well with him.
I’d also like to think that by encouraging him in learning about decorating and fixing things, he’ll be keen to help around the house when he’s older!
The toys we’d choose for the Christmas wishlist would be the Janod My Own Tool Box, the Janod DIY My Own Workbench, and the Haba Tack Zap on Duty. I love the idea of the latter which is for hitting the tacks with the hammer to create pictures and patterns in the cork board. N would love it, although might be a bit lethal on the safety aspect!
It’s a great toy to combine creativity, fine motor skills and general learning about fixing things. I think the 3 combined would be a brilliant ‘complete’ present for a pre-schooler.
You can see our full Christmas Wishlist over on Pinterest. N would be seriously over the moon if these items were under the Christmas tree, and I could see his dad and cousins also wanting to come over and play.
What would you be looking for from The Toadstool for your children this Christmas?
The final word has to go to N…here are his (extremely limited!) thoughts on Christmas.