When it comes to Birthdays and Christmas I love to spend hours trawling through “toy” sites trying to find the best gifts ever – educational/fun/long-lasting/independent playable etc. etc. I like to spoil my kids but in a minimalist sort of way. They have loads of toys (partly due to very enthusiastic grandparents!) and we rotate them every few weeks (the toys, not the grandparents!). Toy rotation is fantastic. It’s like Christmas day in our house after I’ve swapped the toys around! They get so excited to see old favourites reappear and play much better with the smaller number of toys on offer. My 2 year old does ask for specific toys now he’s older and that’s fine. I just swap out something he hasn’t bothered with for a while. Anyway, I could witter all day about the virtues of rotating toys but the point of this post was to introduce the top five toys that my 2.5 year old currently loves…
- Cup ‘o Tea Men £4 from Ikea – Might be an Northern Irish child thing but if there’s something that can be turned into a tea cup he’ll be there with bells on. From day one he turned them upside-down and served tea to everyone. Ikea call them LILLABO figures. Not a planned purchase and it annoys me a bit they’re plastic but pound per play these guys are winners!
- Our Sofa (Gumtree bargain if anyone’s interested!) – No, this 2 year old is not an aspiring couch potato (yet). Our sofa is a double-decker bus, space rocket, car or wherever else his imagination decides! The skies the limit – literally – we frequently go shopping on Mars! Sometimes it’s a trampoline though we try not to encourage that one too much…hey-ho!
- Box Drum (Free with 9 packs of baby wipes!)- this obviously started out life as a baby wipe box and I tried to make a Montessori-style object permanence box – he showed zero interest! Then he saw someone play a box drum and has never looked back.
- “Green” bags (few pounds from amazon!) – otherwise known as bean bags but you have to love the mispronunciation of a toddler! Anyway, we started out practising throw and catch and actually that worked really well. Much easier than catching a ball and he was so pleased with himself. However, they are now used primarily to feed the ducks in our living room. (Just to clarify we do not have ducks in our living room and the “green” bags stay firmly sealed at all times!!) Here’s a pic of our red and yellow green bags:-)
- “Walking Sticks”(free with wrapping paper). Also used to drop things down and play didgeridoo-style. Most recently used to build a “ladder” to access the loft (the sofa!).Anyway, I guess my point is that left to their own devices toddlers can turn anything into anything with a giant smile on their faces. It’s really incredible (and a bit scary) how their little minds work at this age. His imagination literally astounds me everyday – and to be honest I’m a little bit jealous!