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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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#PlayPatrol : Number Fun

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 18-06-2015

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For our final Play Patrol mission with Bigjigs we were asked to choose something to test out and review. In light of Little Man starting school this coming September I decided to browse the more educational offerings as opposed to adding more toys to our playroom. He’s very good with letters and recognising them, and we have a wide array of books and posters and stickers throughout the house with them on, including the alphabet going down the stairs. What I wanted to do was improve his number recognition, look at his counting and basic math, and help his knowledge of time. He is really keen to learn to tell the time because so much of his day is structured by what time it is, for example he is only allowed to play Minecraft from 4pm – otherwise he’d be on it ALL day. With this in mind I selected a lovely bundle of number related items from the vast Bigjigs catalogue.

The most logical place to start was the popular Learn To Count set. The board comprises of the numbers zero through to nine, and they are represented by the corresponding number of dots. You also get ten tiles with the number written on, and colour coordinating rings of each appropriate number. Your child matches the tiles to the dots, and then pops the rings on the relevant stick. It teaches counting as well as matching up information, whether it be numbers or colours. I love this, and its one of those Bigjigs items I’ve had my eye on for a while now. Little Man is enjoying matching the tiles to the dots, and both he and Little Dude like to play with the rings, though to be fair Little Dude  mostly likes to try and eat them.

PlayPatrol-Counting-SussexMummy

To continue the counting and matching them we also got the Traditional Wooden Dominos. Dominos is one of those classic games and I’m surprised we don’t own a set already. There are many ways to play the game, but for now we are putting the double six domino down and leaving all the others faced down on the floor. We then take it in turns to pick a domino and see if we can place it. This is a great way to teach taking turns, and with each domino we pick up we are counting the dots and seeing they match. Each number of dots is the same colour – if there are six dots they are all red, five dots are all blue, etc – so again we can match up colours as well as numbers.

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Looking ahead to him beginning school and starting on expanding on his math skills we also got the Add & Subtract box and the Times Table Box. Both boxes contain square wooden tiles which are, as you’d expect, brightly coloured. On one side is a sum, and on the reverse is the answer. This is a great tool for learning, though its a shame the boxes don’t contain sums with higher numbers than 9. I think the inclusion of up to the 12 times table would have been beneficial as that is typical what is taught in schools. One of my favourite things about these two math boxes, as well as the dominos set, is that they come in sturdy compact storage boxes so everything can be easily packed up and put away for another day.

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The concept of time and telling the time was aided by the Clock In A Box. Little Man spends most of his day asking me “What is the time…?” “Is it nearly four o’clock…?” which can get a little wearing. He recognises what four o’clock looks like on our large wall clock but what I loved about the Clock In A Box was that it taught children to read the time in both digital and traditional forms. You set the time with either the moving fingers or using the tiles in the tray, and your  child matches the other clock. What is seriously lacking however is the 24 hour clock times. The digital numbers only take you to 12:00. Surely all digital clocks then go to 13:00, 14:00 and so on? Not this one unfortunately. A disappointment for me.

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To ensure Little Dude wasn’t feeling left out of this #PlayPatrol mission we also got him something to begin his number journey. My First Matching Numbers puzzle is a cute simple matching jigsaw puzzle. The base board features bright animal pictures. One snail, two – oddly fat – butterflies, three ladybirds and four bees. You get four numbered tiles and your little one has to match them up. Each bold number features similar patterning to each animal to help you on your way. This is a super cute little puzzle that keeps Little Dude entertained and most importantly occupied whilst Little Man and I tackle the maths sets he received.

PlayPatrol-MatchingNumbers-SussexMummy

Numbers are a massive part of life and I want both my boys to be confident in their ability to recognise numbers, to count and to do maths throughout their lives. These six wooden sets from Bigjigs are certainly going to help introduce them and support them in their early years of learning.

It has been an absolute PLEASURE working with Bigjigs toys during this year of Play Patrol, and in the previous year too. They are without doubt my favourite wooden toy company and one I will continue to support for years to come. Rumour has is that new Play Patrol operatives will be being sought this summer so do make sure you are following them on all their social media channels to be in with a chance of working with this wonderful company. Thank you Bigjigs – you’re the best.

#PlayPatrol : Mission Three : Pirate Multi Layer Puzzle and Jungle Mobile

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 23-09-2014

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Little Man returned to preschool a couple of weeks ago. He’s doing three sessions a week and having his lunch there so he’s there for about four hours each time. We made the decision to change his preschool at the end of last term and we’re really pleased with where he’s going now, and he seems a lot happier. He’s also a lot tireder. I’m getting told what he’s doing each day and it sounds like there’s a lot of running around in the garden with his friends, as well as lots of fun and games and activities indoors. He goes on a Wednesday, Thursday and a Friday so by the time we get to the weekend he’s still pretty tired. I’m sure this will sort itself once he’s used to his new routine, but for now I like to keep Saturday activities fairly relaxed. He takes a trip to the local library with Daddy in the mornings, but we tend to try and do something a bit more chilled out in the house in the afternoon. Our latest Play Patrol mission looked like it would be a great activity for our lazy weekends.

He was sent the Pirate Multi Layer Puzzle. This is basically what it sounds like – three jigsaws layered on top of one another. Each one gets progressively bigger as you work your way up, and the finished puzzles fit together neatly in a tray.
We’re big fans of the pirate theme to this puzzle – Swashbuckle is one of Little Man’s favourite TV shows – and the three pictures are really good. Nice and bright, and with lots of detail so there’s plenty to talk about in them. I also think the addition of the small cutaway on one piece per jigsaw makes them much easy to remove from the tray layer by layer. I also think the puzzle is great value at just £8.99.

Unfortunately I have a few issues with the toy too.  The pieces aren’t traditional jigsaw pieces – they’re all random irregular shapes. I think traditional pieces would have been better, albeit larger than usual. I think the set would be more child friendly if the jigsaws were square – the curved top section pieces don’t fit quite as neatly and as flush as I’d really like. Finally the set is aimed at children aged 2 and over. 2?! I don’t think many 2 year old children would be able to complete these puzzles without a lot of help. Little Man is almost 4 and he found them tricky and got increasingly frustrated.

This is, for us, quite a disappointing toy from Bigjigs. The quality is what you’d expect from their range, but I think some adjustments are needed to make it as good as other items.

Little Dude had another lovely delivery however. He was the very excited recipient of a Jungle Mobile. Now he already has a mobile in his bedroom – a farm themed one which Nana bought for him – so we hung this mobile up in the new playroom. Its currently balanced a bit precariously by the french windows but I’m hoping to arrange a more permanent fixing soon.

The mobile features four jungle creatures – a lion, a giraffe,an elephant and a zebra as well as trees and plants and coloured balls. They’re all suspended from wooden bars and they spin and move nicely in the breeze. Again its another brightly coloured wooden toy – thought I am slightly confused by the bright purple elephant – and there’s a lovely amount of detailing on all the pieces. Its a beautiful mobile and one that Little Dude merrily stares at whenever he’s sat or led in the playroom.

Lots of positives from Mission Three, though a few negatives too sadly. Lets see what Mission Four brings.

#PlayPatrol : Mission Two : Carpenters Belt and Bruno Soft Plush Toy

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 04-09-2014

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Our back garden has been looking pretty chaotic for most of this year. The storms over last Christmas and New Year brought down five of our fence panels – we only have eight in total! – and the national shortage that followed meant it took many months for them to be replaced. For a long time they were laid flat in the garden, covering plants and grass alike. When they eventually got replaced in May of this year – don’t get me started on how long it took… – it wont come as much surprise to find that most plants were dead and the grass was pretty none existent. Shortly after the fence repairs were completed we had a conservatory built on the back of the house – oh and I gave birth in the midst of this too! – so the garden looks hugely different to this time last year. A redesign was undertaken by Nana and Pops and its all looking amazing to be honest. Living plants, a stumpery in one corner, and a nice new decked area. The grass is going to take a little longer to replace, but its getting there.

When Pops came round a couple of weekends ago to fit my decking who better to help him than Little Man, armed with his new Carpenters Belt from Bigjigs. His latest Play Patrol mission needed him to test out the toy with the help of another person – Pops rose to the challenge admirably. Lots of sawing and hammering and measuring and screwing went on in our garden as the decking was built and Little Man had all the right tools to lend a hand.
 The Carpenters Belt comes with a spanner, a hammer, a ruler, a screwdriver, some nuts and bolts, a saw and the all important belt to carry everything around in. All the tools are made from wood as you’d expect, and some of them feature brightly coloured details and branding on them. The belt has a clip to fasten it around your child’s waist, and is adjustable.

Little Man was swift to get to work, being a particular fan of the hammer that got a lot of use banging on the decking. There was also a lot of measuring with the ruler and some valiant attempts to saw the wood with his new saw. He wasn’t overly keen on wearing the belt – “Too heavy!” – but instead chose to lie it on the decking whilst he got down to business.

Overall I’m fairly impressed with this toy. I like the range of tools involved – your little one shouldn’t struggle to find the right one for whatever job they’re doing – and they are all well built. I am a little disappointed that the spanner and hammer feature no colour or detailing at all though – the rest of the set do so I can’t think why these would be left out. The tools are well sized for small hands – this set is designed for children aged 2 years and up – and the adjustable feature on the belt itself is very useful.
Whilst Little Man was bashing around outside Little Dude was getting to know his new friend Bruno in another guise. The Bruno Soft Plush Toy is the perfect size for cuddling, especially when its time for a nap.
Good doggy.

This Bruno features a rattle inside, and has the same textured body and colourings that Bruno Comforter did. In fact the first thing Little Man said was “Two Brunos?!”. Little Dude is big admirer of Bruno and enjoys stroking and grabbing the textured body. The rattling makes it fun for him to interact with too. If I was to change it just a little I’d make the arms slightly longer, but otherwise another great Bruno buddy.

Lots of fun with our latest mission – we look forward to #PlayPatrol Mission 3!

 

#PlayPatrol Finalist: Wooden Safari Animal Building Blocks

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol, Product Reviews | Posted on 29-04-2014

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Well here we are again. So SO proud to find ourselves a finalist in this years search for members of Bigjigs’ epic Play Patrol. We’ve had such fun for the last year “putting fun to the test” and playing with some great toys. We applied again this year as we thought it would be great to get Little Dude involved in the testing process when he makes his appearance next month – eeeek – as well as keeping Little Man entertained. I’d just like to thank George at Bigjigs for this opportunity and wish my fellow finalists the best of luck – those that are picked are going to have SO MUCH fun.

So on with our task – to review the Wooden Safari Animal Building Blocks. Aimed at children from age 1 upwards the set consists of 32 wooden blocks of varying shapes and sizes which have been painted with animal and jungle themed designs, and a drawstring bag to store them in. As you’d expect the pieces are brightly coloured, ideally sized for little hands to hold, and come with a wealth of options for stacking and arranging. So here’s a look at what you get:

wooden safari blocks sussexmummyAs you can see above its a really cute set and a great first building blocks set for little ones. Now Little Man is three and a half so technically not the target market for this set, but that didn’t stop him playing with it. He’s always been a big fan of blocks and stacking things, much preferring stacking blocks to building with Lego for example. I put all the blocks in the included bag and he enjoyed pulling them out one by one and starting to build a rather tall tower with them. He recognised the animal faces on some of the blocks and this once again has been another big help with his speech development. The set has provided lots of conversation with us talking about the colours, the different animals, referring to the trees and bushes and flowers, as well as pointing out one of his favourite things – the moon. There were lots of “Oh dears” when the tower inevitably fell over, as well as lots of “Fall down”.  His bedroom has lots of jungle animal wall stickers up so this set matches that beautifully, though I think we’ll be putting this away for Little Dude to play with when he’s a bit older.

As I mentioned this would make a great introduction to building set for any little one. If gives you the opportunity to make recognisable animals, build safari scenes, or just make a really tall – thought not wholly stable – tower. There’s also chance to talk about the different shapes and colours on the blocks, as well as the animals and safari life itself. The quality is just what you’d expect from Bigjigs and the paint used is totally safe for when your little one inevitably starts chewing on one of the pieces. As ever I just love the fact the toy is bright and colourful and visually impressive.

Keep your eyes open on Bigjigs’ Twitter (@bigjigstoys) and Facebook pages for the announcement of the successful Play Patrol members, and to get involved with some exciting opportunities that the team have lined up for this year.

#Play Patrol: Wooden Construction Set

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-02-2014

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Little Man has never really gotten into Lego. He’s had Duplo but he’d much rather stack blocks than stick them together. We have a supply of Lego in the loft ready for when he’s a bit bigger and hopefully he’ll warm to the idea soon. He can merrily sit piling wooden blocks on top of each other, building walls or towers, and then invariably knocking them over. Usually with an Angry Bird. He also likes to help Daddy when he’s doing DIY. Getting hold of one of Daddy’s screwdrivers or hammers and “helping” fix a fence panel or build flat pack nursery furniture. He’s been using his Drill Set from Learning Resources for ages and still loves it, but when I paid a visit to Toy Fair last month and had a chat with the lovely George at Bigjigs he suggested this construction set would be an ideal Play Patrol mission.

Bigjigs Play Patrol Sussex Mummy

This Wooden Construction Set comes in a handy bucket – perfect for tidying up time – and contains 50 pieces of wood and bolts and a wooden screwdriver. The wooden pieces are varying shapes and sizes – some are just lengths of varying size, others are curved, some are large pieces, plus there’s blocks to add dimension to your build, and a wealth of nuts and bolts. There’s even some wheels included. The kits comes with no instructions at all, its totally designed to give your child a free reign to build whatever their imagination comes up with. On one hand I love this. I want Little Man to use his imagination, to build wild and wonderful things. On the other hand, its a bit of a pain when your son desperately wants you to build the helicopter that is on the front of the bucket and baby brain makes it neigh on impossible! Thankfully Daddy came home from work and created it in no time – the benefits of being married to an engineer!

The construction set is very solid and robust, and stands up to use, building, demolition and rebuilding with ease. I love the chunky nuts and bolts, and the wooden pieces are clearly built to last. The colours are bright – as you’d expect from Bigjigs – and it is aesthetically a great toy to look at. Since the helicopter was built on day one its not been taken apart. The leftover pieces have been played with, but Little Man has spent a lot of time flying his helicopter around the house with lots of enthusiasm and wooshing noises.

I continue to be hugely impressed with the quality and variety of Bigjigs toys, especially after visiting their stand at Toy Fair. Once again I can only recommend this toy for any budding engineers or for children like mine who don’t do Lego but do like tools. A great choice George.

Christmas 2013: Hendon Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-11-2013

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Whenever we went to baby and toddler groups or toy shops there was always one toy that Little Man would make a beeline for. The kitchens. Generally always the ones that were that big that they’d fill my house and would look fancier than my own kitchen, but cooking and pressing buttons was always something that enticed him. I bought him a compact table top cooker from a charity shop in our village about eighteen months ago and its had lots of use. It came with a good stash of play food, and when combined with some new pots and pans he was set and would often bring us random meal combinations. Whilst I was at Christmas In July this year I spent a lot of time at the Plum Products stand where they were displaying their new indoor toys, to compliment their extensive outdoor range – some of which is occupying our garden, as well as Nana and Pops’. The stand out product for me was the Hendon Kitchen, and Plum were kind enough to send us one over to review.
The main thing that stood out for me about this kitchen was the colour – its not pink. SO many play kitchens – especially the quality wooden ones – are pink. Now believe me this has not stopped my Little Man from playing with them, but wouldn’t it be nice for someone to create one without the pink stereotype, assuming only girls want to cook? What I also love about this is its size. Despite incorporating a cooker top, a sink with taps, an oven and two shelves its surprisingly compact and takes up very little room in our already jam packed lounge. It is in fact the ideal height for my Little Man who plays with it loads, and randomly gets himself a drink of air from the taps during the day, or washes his hands, or even, on the really odd occasion, gives Teddy a bath in the sink.
I like the details too. On the end of the cooker there are three hooks to hang the included utensils on, and there’s a picture of a tea towel hung up too. There is a hot and cold water tap – they don’t move but Little Man is happy to press them and make the noise of water coming out. There’s two dials on the front which turn round and make clicking noises to control your oven, and there’s even a (fake) digital clock. The two spacious shelves are well sized and we’ve managed to cram plates and Little Man’s tea set on there so all his “cooking” items are together. I must get him some new cutlery for Christmas though, as currently we get to eat our meals with either a ladle or a teaspoon!
Could it be better? Yes. Whilst its a great little kitchen I’d make a few small changes. I would add a shelf to the oven itself – currently its just one huge space and more like a cupboard than a realistic oven. I’d also make the taps turn and click in the same way the oven dials do. I would probably also make the overhead shelf run the full length of the kitchen and perhaps add a second, for items like condiments and tins of food.
On the whole this is a brilliant little kitchen, and it was really easy to put together, even with the help of Little Man. At £70 it is also really well priced, with other wooden kitchens on the market for a lot more. Whether its for a little boy or a little girl I think this compact kitchen would look great in any lounge, bedroom or playroom this Christmas morning.

Review: Flexi Robots from Hawkins Bazaar

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 07-05-2013

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You may have noticed a new badge on my sidebar recently. Well I have become an “Official Hawkins Bazaar Blogger” which is really exciting for me. They have lots of great products in-store and online, and a lot of them are things you won’t find anywhere else. A great selling point for me. My first post for Hawkins Bazaar is a review of their Flexi Robots, who you may recognise from last years TV ads.

Available in six colours – pot luck which you get if ordered online however – these cute little wooden robots are perfect for small toddler hands. A simple design of wood and elastic, these figures can be moved into a range of positions by pushing their head, arms and legs into gaps in the wood. So simple, but so effective, these little figures kept my Little Man entertained for ages. At 12 cm tall they are a great compact toy. We received three from Hawkins Bazaar, and gave him one to play with. The other two are going to be put in the car for our journey to West Wales next week for our holiday amongst a selection of other travel toys and games. They are a great size to pop into your bag to keep kids amused when out and about, and they can even slip them into their own pockets or bags to carry themselves. I was really impressed with them, especially how they kept Little Man’s attention, but also their quality. A great pocket money wooden toy.

You can find Flexi Robots, Flexi Animals and the complete Hawkins Bazaar range online and at stores nationwide.

Bigjigs Play Patrol Finalist: Farm House Sorter Review

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 21-03-2013

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I was very excited and proud to reach the final stages of Bigjigs‘ search for members of their new Play Patrol. As one of the final 12 battling for one of just 5 spots we were sent a product to review as our final task. We received the brand new Farm House Sorter.
Shape sorters are something of a classic toy, one that I’m sure in some form or other every child owns. I know Little Man has owned more than a few in his life and they are a toy I’m generally a fan of. The premise is simple enough – you get a selection of shapes and a base unit with cut out holes in. You match the shapes to the holes and the shapes store inside. One of the reasons I like shape sorters is the fact that they are compact and the objective of them is basically to tidy up!

The Farm House Sorter from Bigjigs is pretty much what it says on the box. The ‘base unit’ is a wooden farm house. The ends are designed to look like the walls of a house and the top has a slate roof design, typical of traditional farm houses. Along each side you will find cut out holes in the shapes of things you’d expect to find on the farm – eight animals and a tree – and the shapes themselves feature the item on one side and then the name of the item written on the reverse. It all stows away nicely, with the “roof” removable for easy access and a carry handle so little ones can take it wherever they go.

From a parents point of view I think this is a great toy. Wooden toys are something I am very keen on. Yes we have plastic ones too, but only of the best quality. Wooden toys are long lasting and I can see this toy being used for many years to come. At the end of the day its not just a shape sorter. As well as improving hand-eye co-ordination and dexterity, it teaches animal recognition – Little Man is already pointing at and signing the names of animals he recognises – and can help with speech. If you clearly say the name of the animal as your child picks it up or puts it into the sorter they will eventually mimic you. It will be a great spelling aid in the future, with each word being written clearly on the reverse of the shape. Start simple with “Cat” or “Pig” and work up to the longer words such as “Horse” or “Chicken”. There’s a good range of animals featured, all of which you can point out on trips to a real farm, but I must admit I find the addition of a “Tree” a little weird. Trees are hardly farm specific. Surely another animal could have been thought of, or this strange ninth piece just eliminated all together.

I love that the roof comes off to allow instant access to the shapes but also the effort which has gone into designing the lid so it looks like a roof and the way it attaches to the house. This toy has a great aesthetic appeal to parents and children alike. The farm house will look great on a shelf in a child’s bedroom or playroom. It looks like a quality toy because it is a quality toy. The design team have obviously put a lot of thought into how it looks and that is abundantly clear. Each shape is a different bright colour so this toy could also be used to teach those. I love the handle. Its nice and sturdy perfect for toddlers to use. Little Man has already wandered around the lounge proudly carrying his new farm house. The handle ensures its carried upright too, so there’ll be no pieces scattered all around the house.

The Farm House Sorter is suitable from 1 year plus and is available now from the Bigjigs website.

 

 

Review: Wonderworld Toys at DKL

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 08-01-2013

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I am a huge fan of wooden toys. Whilst I do love getting Little Man plastic toys like Happyland and WOW Toys, the wooden ones are always going to last that little bit longer – though Happyland and WOW Toys are a very close second! Little Man has a few wooden toys around the house, and he got a great wooden garage and set of cars this Christmas from his grandparents. We were also lucky enough to receive a couple of wooden toys from the brand Wonderworld which were sent out by DKL.

The first was a wooden Police Car. This was an immediate hit as Little Man has just become fascinated by anything with wheels – hence the garage this Christmas. Its a great size for a toddlers hands and he drives it all round his bedroom, and quite often throughout ours.
The figure is fixed which is ideal because otherwise he’d be out and under some furniture never to be seen again. There is a hinged flap on the back which you can lift up and put your prisoners in – we often find Happyland figures hanging out the back! Its a nice sturdy little vehicle which I think is a great addition to any little boys toy collection.

Next up was a set of Rainbow Sound Blocks. Now I must admit to being a little unenthusiastic by these when I took them out the box. Yes they looked very bright and colourful, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that Little Man would be all that impressed either.

How wrong was I. They were out of the frame within seconds and he has barely put them down since. He doesn’t use the frame they came in – that’s just a handy place for me to store them on the rare occasions we manage to tidy up! – but he spends ages stacking them up, knocking them down, and looking through the coloured perspex. He shakes them around and makes a noise and if you’re really lucky he dances to the beat too. Most mornings during the Christmas break involved him running into our room at 7am, dragging the nearest parent out of bed – generally Daddy, thankfully – and leading them into his room just so he can show the blocks to them. Within minutes he’s back in our room dragging the next parent down so they can see them too. He is fascinated by them. A great sensory toy which has provided Little Man with literally hours of entertainment.

You can learn more about DKL and their toy ranges at their website or by following them on Twitter @DKLToys

Rainy Day Play: Big Jigs Toys

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 25-09-2012

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I think we can officially say that the summer has ended, and somewhat abruptly at that! Its been a fairly constant downpour here for the last few days making going outside to play a little tricky. Playing indoors doesn’t have to be dull though, and it certainly doesn’t need to mean hours plonked in front of the TV. How about letting your little ones use their imaginations?

Cup of fruit tea anyone? Piece of cake? How’s about a biscuit?

These sets from Big Jigs are just adorable. First up is their “Tea For Two” set. This is made up of two plate, two cups, two cupcakes, two biscuits and two halves of a ham sandwich – this is held together with velcro so can be taken apart and put back together. Next is a box containing six additional cakes – chocolate, Victoria sponge, a custard slice and three more cupcakes. It also comes with the fetching checkered tablecloth you can see. Finally there is a box of tea bags. This for me was THE cutest thing ever. Four wooden teabags with strings attached and small labels indicating their flavour.

Wooden toys are brilliant, and these are just gorgeous. They are so well made and the detail which has gone into decorating them is exquisite. My Little Man loves to have little tea parties and if Mummy is very lucky she gets invited too. The cakes look very realistic and Little Man can often be found sucking on the end of one. Thankfully the paint used is child friendly so he’s in no danger. He sets it all up himself and even pops teabags into the green cups. I’m currently trying to teach him “Cheers” but he just laughs at me at the moment!

This is a beautiful toy for both boys and girls for indoor play, but also for picnics in the garden with friends or teddy bears. These are going to last a very long time, and I can see Little Man, and Mummy, getting many years use out of them.

You can find these sets, as well as many other additional cake items and imagination toys, on the Big Jigs website where you also be able to find details of your nearest stockist.