Besides the multitude of changes that occur when you have your first baby, one of the ones which creeps up on you quietly is how suddenly you rather choose to spend money on your kids than yourself! Well in my experience this is the case - my single friends can't seem to understand my change in priorities (toys vs shoes)!!
What one does find once you have kids is how many things there are to spend your money on all in the name of your children - the marketing companies really know how to tug on your heart (and purse) strings when it comes to your cherubs! Too often we end up believing the ads and falling for every new toy or gadget out there.
One thing I have realised in the 5 years I have been a parent is that I now will always rather choose quality over quantity when it comes to my kids - esp with regards to clothes and toys! In today's world it really is important to also remember to be as "eco-friendly" as possible when it comes to our choices and this is very apparent when it comes to buying toys for our kids...
With Christmas around the corner I'm sure many factories in China are being kept in business 24/7 making mounds of plastic rubbish (and the related packaging) to swamp our shops and homes. In my past experience (and who could resist the cheap prices?) these toys never last more than a few days (hours??) before something breaks and/or the novelty wears off.
Recently I decided that in future I will be sticking to toy choices that promote the following:
learning through fun,
have a few uses,
"eco-friendly" (if possible)
You might think this is quite a lot of thought to put into toys but if you do some reading you will find that one of the main ways in which kids learn best is through playing and toys are a big part of that. The right toys of course! Also like most moms I really do want my kids to have the best in life and this means toys too! I know that cost is a big factor, one way around this is to only buy toys for birthdays and Christmas (or other holidays) and not small, silly things throughout the year which all add up - not only will you then have a bigger budget for the present but will have taught a few valuable life lessons too such as patience and budgeting! Also you could ask family members to contribute to a really lovely, long-lasting gift such as a wooden train set or pretend shop with wooden food! These ideas will give you hours of fun!
Slowly I am now collecting a lovely collection of wonderful wooden toys. I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity of reviewing a few toys from one of my favourite toy shops - Timeless Toys.
I have a son of 5 and a daughter of 18 months and like most kids they always appreciate a new toy, so when I visited the shop to select my toys I kept in mind their ages and stages.
The first on my list was the 7 in 1 Activity Center from the I'm Toy range - this is an amazing multi-purpose toy suitable for a wide age range. Once I had seen this item nothing else compared! The Activity Center has proved to be very popular with my kids - and what makes it unique is that there is something for both of them to play with at the same time. The triangle shaped center has 7 different activities - a abacus, a chalk board, a white board, a art easel with paper roll, a shape sorter, a clock and a wonderful alphabet board with both upper and lower case letters and cute little animal and pictures to represent each letter - especially great for my son who is doing Letterland at the moment and loving learning his letters! So far the favourite has been the chalk board - both kids, the letters for my 5 year old and the bright colours of the abacus for my 18 month old. I'm looking forward to discovering how to work an abacus - I don't think we have the right idea in this country - the Chinese kids are amazing on them!! This is a brilliant investment toy - it will last you for many years through many children's ages. I envision my daughter will still be playing with it when she is 8 or 9 and teaching her dolls "school school" which was definitely one of my favourite games as a child!
The other toys which I selected were a cute little "pet" kaleidescope, which is a very simple design but works really well. All you do is twist the actual wooden shape when placed next to your eye. My son has loved discovering all the different shapes and colours it reveals! And this was a very reasonable price too - a fun stocking filler or party favour.
For my daughter I got her a little wooden food fruit set which comes with a knife you can "cut" the food with. The fruits are bright and sturdy - perfect for little eyes and hands. And the fruits are all ones she is learning to say - banana, pear, strawberry! I'm hoping to build this collection over time so we have a few more foods for our play cooking!
Timeless Toys stock an amazing variety of toys from well known, international wooden toy brands including "eco-toys". One of their eco-toy brands - the I'm Toy range - is currently on promotion and available at 15% less and selected toys are even marked down by 40% off until the end of October! Why not do some advanced Christmas shopping now or send the link to Granny??
Next time you're shopping for a birthday present for your own child or a relative or friend why not try to buy something that will last longer than their childhood - I'm planning on keeping some of the wooden toys I buy for my grandkids to play with one day!! Now that's "eco-friendly"!
Eco toys - good for the environment and your child's imagination!
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