29 Sept 2022

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: Toys . . . not television

Is this the year that ends the era of toys and play, the year when play stops and technology takes over?

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: Toys . . . not television

Another ‘Christmas Nearly’ article, this time it’s ideas of toys, and yes, I have deliberately left off televisions, Ipads, phones etc. Because, if you can, if your kids let you, just take a moment to think do they really need them, will they really miss out by not having a TV in their room, not having an IPhone 13 when they are only seven years old?

Is this the year that ends the era of toys and play, the year when play stops and technology takes over?

I started writing about each age/stage and every toy but realised this is going to be too long, so I’ve suggested toys in ‘themes.’

You know how old your little one is, what stage they are at, so use your initiative and common sense too, remember no one-year-old wants Lego and most five-year-old boys would not be particularly happy with a Peppa Pig swing.  

The same goes for age and stage, for example, just because a jigsaw says 100 pieces and age from three years it does not mean your three year will be able to do it especially if they’ve never done a jigsaw before.

Remember, too, it’s all well and good saying he’ll be able to do it in the summer, that’s six months away, if he can’t nearly do it now, and won’t be able to with a bit of help don’t buy it or there’ll be tears, snotters and grumps from you both.

Personal & Social - doll and teddy; to cuddle, feed, dance and play with or even just look cute sitting on the bed! 

Role Play Toys - such as tea set, pram, brush, hoover, kitchen to make dinner - or dinner for dolly!

Imaginative Play - cars / fire engine / digger, train with track or a garage for cars - if it’s got a ramp even better.  Or Peppa Pig swing and slide, farm, Noah’s ark, bus with people to go on! Happy Land offer a great range in early imaginative play toys. Or traditional dolls house, rockets, play mobile sets etc. 

Animals - farm animals - maybe use pretend grass for the field. Animal figures to name, to later match baby to mum or add to imaginative play. Themed animals for older children - boys and bugs, girls and sea animals. 

Bricks And Block - mega blocks or wooden bricks to build and knock down and later to sort colours and shapes, or make into buildings and tunnels. Of course, there’s lego, meccano and magnetic building toys too.

Puzzles - peg puzzles, (try just four pieces first! Or shape sorters, stackers, spike hedgehog fine motor puzzle, or what about a Disney, Horrible History or Impossible puzzle, or a maze game - remember the ones with a little ball, or the wooden puzzles you have to build or undo? 

Cause And Effect Toys - for younger children, to press buttons, push levers left and right, turn handles for noise / lights / new sights, wooden hammer bench or a press and spin toy. Or maybe noisy toys, xylophone, drum and of course an old favourite the laser zapper that makes that awful noise.

Push and Pull toys - dog on a rope, rainbow wheel, duck with a handle - defo for those just walking.

Outside - sit-on scooter, sit in car, balance bike, bubble fish, pull and play wagon or slide. Balls, to kick, throw, learn to catch or throw through a basket ball hoop. For older children hula hoop, roller skates or Space Hoppers!!!

Special Place - tent with cushions, maybe a garden house or even just fairy lights and voile to go around her bed? 

Craft - chunky crayons and paintbrushes, finger paint, maybe try water colour paints for your budding artist, or an easel. Playdough sets, jewellery making, aeroplane building, wooden car making - what does your child like?

Bath Time - ducks or boats to float, dolly to bath, smelly bath bubbles, or even a packet of jelly bath!

And to finish, the rhyme I say every year, buy me … and remember …

Something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read.

Something so I can play a game with you, something that helps me learn too.

Something to help my imagination grow, something creative to make or sew

Something for inside, something for out and maybe a surprise I can tell my friends about! 

Everything doesn’t have to have batteries or be plugged in, 

Technology is great in small amounts, but it’s time to play with you that counts.

So this Christmas time buy what I like and need, don’t go mad and buy up the shop,

Think of the things we can do together,  because it's time to talk, sing, read and play,

Which builds my future every day!

Written by, on Facebook, Me & You @meandyoubyjenni to support the Greater Shantallow Talking To Our Babies, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership. Telephone 028 71358787 / Facebook; Talking To Our Babies / 

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