Not sure what to buy for your child or your friend's tot?
Here is an extract from an article I wrote for an NCT newsletter. All toys are available at www.nctshop.co.uk (all profits go to support the work of a national charity). Prices right at the time of posting. There might be sales in January.
Sneezy (£27.99) has a squeak in his nose and crinkle ears/wings. One hand rattles, the other squeaks, a mirror hides in a pocket, a flower pops out of another, a bell rings in his tail! Whoozit (£7.99) crinkles, rattles, squeaks and has a mirror hidden under its nose.
Double-sided activity centre (£39.99) One side has six different activities, a mirror that shows the under patterns of the spinner, a squeak, knocker, twirl and happy face that lights and plays music. The other side has buttons to press that cause the flower to spin, the frog to pop up, plus levers make noises and four musical instrument buttons that play Bach. Attach to the cot or play on the floor. Age: 3-24 months. Suitable from birth, the Winkel (£7.99) comes in handy when your baby is teething, which can start at around three months. It’s BPA free, easy to hold and soft to chew. Chilled, it makes a soothing teether.
Wooden baby walker (£34.99). In brightly coloured wood with rubber rimmed wheels, it comes with 24 shaped and coloured blocks. This updated version of the traditional walker is very stable, giving toddlers confidence while they learn to walk. Sidney School Bus (£10.99). Award-winning friction-powered shape sorting toy, complete with six shapes and driver. Age: from 12 months.
Katie’s Camper Holiday Friends (£22) Sturdy, friction-powered toy full of features inside. Everything packs away neatly for easy storage. Or Flip ’n’ Tip Fred (£27.99). Sturdy truck that promotes ‘green’ thinking. Friction powered with tipping loader and other features. Stack ’n’ pull Dinosaur (£14.99). Stockable wooden toy.
From two years
Ark (£24.99). Includes Mr & Mrs Noah with six
pairs of animals and one pair of doves. Animals
and figures can be stored inside the ark. The top
half of ark attaches to the base with magnets. Not
to be used in water. Crocodile name jigsaw (£8.99). Teach your child to spell their name! Letters can only be put together in the correct order.
From three years
Oldfield Farm (£44.99). The wooden play base includes barn with loft and
ladder, animal shed, farmhouse, pig sty and fences. The roof panels attach with magnets. Farm Animals are sold separately and include pairs of cows, pigs, lambs, chickens and ducks. This toy is still popular with kids up to nine years of age. Danny’s diving adventure (£10.99). This bath toy is suitable from 18 months but my three year old (and other toddlers at the preschool) is still enthusiastic about water play! Open the boat to discover the secret cabin inside and use the spring loaded diving board to shoot the figures into the water.
Wooden wondersIf for you plastic is not fantastic, here are a few more wooden toys from the NCT shop.
- Rattle (£5.99). Made up of colourful beads and bell, it will keep your baby amused. Age: 6 months plus.
- Push-along seal or butterfly (£13.99). Push along the seal and watch the ball spin. Or you can go for a butterfly and flowerpot alternative. Age: 1 year plus
- Sorting cage (£14.99).Push the shapes through the corresponding holes into the wooden cage. Age: 18 months plus.
- Rolling slope (£34.99). A retro looking toy for car-mad toddlers. Age: 2 years plus.