Sunday, 30 November 2014

Favourite toys: Christmas gifts ideas

Today's post is about Finley's favourite toys, as I thought it may be helpful to some of you as Christmas presents ideas. We own all the toys and materials in this post and none of the links are affiliate.

1. Makedo kit. We have the Makedo kit for 3 and it is not an exaggeration to say that Finn uses it daily. This would be my safest, go-to idea for any child aged 2+. All you need is some recycled
materials such as cardboard, plastic trays, lids... and the child can build whatever they want using the safe saw and pins. Adults also enjoy joining in the building so it's a great family activity. Have a look at this post to see some of our creations.
2. Finn received his first Duplo as a Christmas present last year (when he was 2) and they have been played with every day since. I can't praise Duplo enough. Imagination, fine motor skills, developing patience, dealing with frustration when things are not going as planned, early maths concepts... so much to say about the little bricks. If you buy a set, make sure it contains some sort of wheels!  Finn's favourite thing to make has long been "digger-planes."
3. Realistic animal and dinosaur models such as Schleich, Papo or Collecta. Those are so detailed, with realistic proportions and colours, that they really are a pleasure to observe and manipulate. We have an ever expanding collection of dinosaurs, wild and farm animals that is used often in block play. They are also used in early science activities, for example leaning about habitats and sorting animals according to their characteristics (does it fly, walk or swim?)
4. Dancing/juggling scarves. These are much cheaper than play silks as they are made out of nylon. They are so versatile that they make an ideal addition to any child's toy collection. We have given them as gifts several times and all children have loved them. Finn uses them for dancing, dressing up, making dens, ties them together to make one long rope, as beds and blankets, skirts... These scarves have been in very regular use since he was about 2 years old.
5. Colouring puzzle. We bought this puzzle recently and I can't say it's actually one of Finn's favourites yet as he's a bit young for it (it is aimed at children aged 6+). I think it is perfect for Montessori in the home though because of its sensorial appeal. At the moment we only take apart the outer ring of pieces and Finn enjoys putting them back on, matching the colour shade of each piece to the ones already on the board. He is very attracted to this puzzle and the way the colours merge into one another. I can imagine him becoming increasingly able to complete more of the puzzle by himself as he grows up.
6. Chime bars. We went for chime bars instead of the traditional Montessori bells. At this stage, we like that notes are colour-coded. The quality of this set is excellent and the sound is very enjoyable. The great advantage of chime bars over a metalophone or xylophone is that each bar is removeable, multiplying the uses. For example, Finn and I play a game where I take two bars out, space them out quite a bit, and play a very simple tune, just three notes, for him to copy. It would be a lot harder for him if the bars were too close together and if there were too many bars. We are very happy with our choice of first musical instrument and Finn enjoys playing these immensely.
What are your children's favourite toys? What do they play with most often?

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