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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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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.

 

 

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.

Product Review: Pkolino Fire Engine Book Buggee

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-07-2012

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Books are very popular in our house and Little Man’s already epic collection seems to grow almost daily, so we are often on the look out for new ways to store them. Already owning the Tidy Books Book Shelf means that the book stash in the lounge is contained for now, and in Little Man’s bedroom we have a couple of stacking boxes with yet more titles in. Recently Little Man started carrying his books around with him and you often find them on the stairs or in the kitchen – I guess he just likes to be prepared! When Pkolino offered to send me a “book buggee” to review, I said yes immediately. Take a look:

The “Book Buggee” is a beautiful wooden truck decorated to look like a fire engine – you can also get it in orange, natural or to look like a princess crown. As you can see there are four slots at the back to hold your books, and it hold books of all sizes. There is also a section at the front – just in front of ‘The Gruffalo’ – where you can pile very small books or anything else your little one needs to take with him. Attached to the front is a length of white rope which your child can use to pull along the “buggee” wherever they go – something Little Man particularly enjoys. He can often be found wandering about trailing his Fire Truck behind him. Sometimes its empty, and sometimes there are a few books in there. I’ve also seen him use it to transport drinks and snacks, but the most popular use for it currently in our house is this:

I’m thinking that Milo The Monkey needs some kind of helmet…

You can read more about the Pkolino Fire Truck Book Buggee – and the rest of the brilliant Pkolino range – here, as well as locating your nearest stockist.