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Toy Box Essentials

Are you just getting started on your parenting journey? Or are you a veteran who wants to change up the way play happens in your household. 

It is often said the more active a toy, the more passive the child has to be. Meaning that if a toy does all the work for them, entertains, lights up, moves, makes noise, the child can just passively take it all in. Whereas if you present a child with a passive toy, they have to be active with it, manipulate and move it, add sound effects, tell stories and engage their imaginations.

It's not all about how much you spend on toys, what brand they are or what they are made of. It's about being mindful in your choices of what you provide for your children. 

  • I have put together a list of play items I would recommend. I am not going to specify ages as the joy of open ended items is that they work for multiple ages, aside from hazards in terms of choking let your children explore the toys and marvel at what they do with them and how it changes as they grow, develop and mature. 

Mirror-  https://playitforwardnz.com/products/acrylic-mirror-tile

Stacking and nesting cups- https://playitforwardnz.com/products/tiny-bio-play-cups

Treasure basket- heuristic play is a whole blog post in itself. But put together a basket of items for your baby or toddler to explore. Loose parts, kitchen items, natural treasures etc.

Stacker- A stacker of some description is an essential developmental tool. It is great for fine motor development, hand eye coordination and problem solving skills. We have a few on the website:  https://playitforwardnz.com/products/stacking-teether
https://playitforwardnz.com/products/stacking-tree
https://playitforwardnz.com/products/tree-top-stacker
https://playitforwardnz.com/products/rainbow-stacker

Ball or Balloon Cover- a ball or something that rolls and moves is an essential. We love our balloon cover as it is easy to store and balloons are great for young children as they move a bit more slowly making it easier to learn to catch, throw and kick. The balloon cover removes the risk of balloons popping so brilliant for babies right up to older children. https://playitforwardnz.com/products/balloon-cover

Animals- children often love animals, especially ones they see in real life e.g. pets and farm animals. We love the range of wooden Lanka Kade animals that we stock. But you can also get great plastic animal figurines if you want to use them in water. https://playitforwardnz.com/collections/animals

Blocks- blocks are an absolute staple of the toy world. There is so much you can do with them. It is personal preference what kind of set you want in your home. 

Art supplies- mark making and creating is such a huge part of childhood and provides so much scope for expressing themselves and skill development. We have a huge range of items specifically created for young children. https://playitforwardnz.com/collections/art-supplies

Small world play- this is a huge part of childhood in which children can act out and work through ideas and concepts from their real life. So supplying them with figures of people and animals, vehicles etc can really help with this. They can utilise their wooden blocks to create houses or a city, or perhaps a barn for the animals. You might like to add a train set or dolls house to their play as you observe them and their interests. 

A doll or soft toy- excellent for practising nurturing and caring for others (great if they have a sibling on the way), companionship and role play. We love these babies, they are able to be dressed and undressed, a great size and represent a variety of ethnicities. https://playitforwardnz.com/products/basket-of-babies

A basket or bag- transporting is a play urge that all children will want to explore at some stage or another and a bag or basket is perfect for this. 

Puzzles- again there is so much to say about puzzles that I will share with you in an upcoming blog post but is it so important to provide your child with puzzles. The types of puzzles they will need and enjoy will change as they grow. https://playitforwardnz.com/collections/puzzles

Games- So much learning occurs when playing games, numeracy and literacy skills but most importantly social skills. Learning resilience when it comes to winning and losing and following rules are all huge learning curves for children. https://playitforwardnz.com/collections/games

Role Play- Providing items for role play is important. Children often start by playing out things they observe in their every day life, such as domestic duties, shops, cooking. Keep it basic by providing open ended items e.g. pieces of fabric rather than specific costumes, tools that can be used for different settings. https://playitforwardnz.com/collections/role-play

Musical instruments- https://playitforwardnz.com/products/natural-jingle-stick 
https://playitforwardnz.com/products/box-shaker
https://playitforwardnz.com/products/rainbow-maracas

Construction- we have already talked about blocks but it is great to provide different construction materials if you can. I love magnetic construction materials https://playitforwardnz.com/search?q=smart+max&options%5Bprefix%5D=last- we have some magnetic tiles coming to the website soon. I also love Duplo for under 5's it can be manipulated in a different way to other construction materials. 

I hope this was helpful for those of you looking to start your toy collection or wondering where to next.