There are only a few weeks to go until Christmas and shops are busy, lists are being scribbled and (organised) parents are sneakily wrapping parcels and hiding them under the bed. If your children are anything like my seven-year-old, he will see something on TV that he has no prior interest in and ask for it for Christmas. All singing all dancing toys are often about as overstimulating as a strobe disco. We, I hope, are pretty measured in what we buy and like a lot of other things in our home we are trying to be more conscientious with what me buy.
Kids cost the earth.
Having an under one I am reminded of how many colourful beeping, battery-ingesting plastic toys children are given. The pile of garish plastic tat can get out of control. Toys are going to be another thing that will eventually end up in landfill. Babies develop quickly and so those first playthings are quickly grown out of, contributing to our throwaway culture. Rather than buying new we now tend to buy second hand, off Facebook Marketplace, Ebay or Gumtree. And, instead of the more popular plastic toys many parents are favouring wooden or handmade toys, a reminder of my own childhood years.
Sustainable, eco-friendly and FUN gifts.
Wooden toys are more commonly passed down to the following generations. In additional to parent’s environmental responsibility, buying eco toys can be considered a safer option. Plastic toys with small bits tend to break a lot more easily but wooden and organic rubber options are sturdier and more durable. Build up a wooden toy kingdom and be reassured that they are made from a lot less chemicals– European regulations and standards mean that they are a lot ‘greener’ than their plastic counterparts. There was a time when toys that ticked the ethical or sustainable boxes just didn’t tick the fun and exciting boxes, too. Not anymore! Of a high level of quality wooden toys have been known to inspire inventive, creative and imaginative play in children. They are often age-appropriate, gender-neutral and aesthetically attractive.
Welcome to Hape.
Hape is the world’s largest producer of natural material toys both innovatively designed and eco-friendly. Plastic parts are ensured durable enough to last for generations in order to encourage toys to be passed down rather than tossed out. Hape Toys represents the next generation of play and respect for the world in which we live.
The Wonder Wagon.
A well-built, stylish design perfect for boys or girls the multi-purpose wagon sits proudly in out living room storing toys whist being the perfect toy itself. Encourage children to push and pull items to build stability, dexterity and practice early walking! Made of good quality wood, a pull handle folds up conveniently and simply locks in place. Its rubber handles offer additional grip for new walkers. The toy is recommended for children 12 months plus but our month old loves it. Adding extra weight to the wagon does not affect manoeuvrability, but it does create more resistance which is great for building a child’s strength in both arms and legs whilst using it. The only downsides are it has no brakes and the wheels are fixed and do not turn. This is a toy that will stay in our family for years to come.
My First Xylophone & Piano.
My First Xylophone & Piano is a multifunctional shape sorting and musical instrument all in one game that is a very popular toy for little ones. You can play the xylophone by using the baton or by pressing puzzle shapes. With a star, pentagon, square, triangle and circle, there is a good variety and wonderful bright colours. For older children it helps them when learning the names of colours and shapes. Perfect for coordination, problem solving and fine motor skills finding where the shapes fit and slot them into the holes my daughter has spent hours playing with this toy.
The beaded rainmaker is a fabulous developmental sensory toy that is mesmerising with its vibrant trickling beads and a rush of soothing rain sounds. The slim lightweight design is easy for small exploring hands to hold independently. Beads in the primary colours of yellow and red move through the spinning propeller making it the perfect shake and rattle activity. Made of high-quality bamboo and ABS plastic I am perfectly reassured of my babies’ safety when the wooden top sneaks into her mouth! Not only for little ones, my seven-year-old enjoys making music with this and counting the beads!
Inspirational and planet friendly clothing.
Not Just A Princess is a beautiful, meaningful company creating girls organic clothing that smash career and gender stereotypes as well as raising money for Inspiring Girls International (organisation dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world). Gender-neutral clothing starts from age 6 months +, is soft, generous on size and the perfect present with messages which directly challenge the usual messages they hear. I love that on the website they share career stories of real women. The brand was created by an inspirational mummy herself after being disappointed at the range of clothing available for girls and how the messaging limits their beliefs about themselves and what they could be as they grow up. No more daddies little perfect princess in pink. They are available to buy here. Smash career stereo types for girls!
Arrange a playdate with Melissa and Doug #TakeBackChildhood.
Melissa & Doug is a popular parent-recommended toy brand, trusted by mums and dads globally. Inspiring open-ended thinking during key developmental years Melissa and Doug promote child-led play and feel that the best toys are 90% kid and 10% toy. They believe the best playthings are often simple concepts that inspire children to use their imagination, be creative, curious and bold. Stocking a huge range of toys, we fell in love with their wooden collection as they are colourful, sustainably made and encourage learning and discovery.
This is such an engaging, clever creation! For a 9-month-old baby it is colourful and builds on fine motor skills. As Norah gets older it will be perfect educational toy for learning colours, numbers, animals and more! The six latches and locks are shiny and gold, snap, click, and slide, all different types and make a challenge for little fingers. It is solid wood, smooth-sanded and a decent size but not too large that it can’t be easily stored. The guide says 3-6 years and I would stick to that with unsupervised play as little fingers could get pinched if not careful
Deluxe Pounding Bench
This is the product to buy for kids who love to bang on stuff. The colourful pegs on the bench go up and down, showing their smiling faces on this solid wood activity bench. They are non-removable so no worries about safety, although the mallet is sturdy, so supervision is needed for younger children! It is not too heavy which I like. What I love about Melissa and Doug toys is that they are reasonably priced so there is no excuse to buy these products instead of high street plastic ones!
Green and good Gruffalo bath products.
The Good Bubble has created baby skin friendly products developed with you and your family in mind. Believing delicate skin deserves mild and caring formulations the beautifully made super fruit filled bottles of love contain ‘no nasties’. Not only is the brand cruelty free and vegan but it has just made steps in creating greener packaging too! With everything you need for bath time, the range includes bubble bath, hair and body wash, shampoo mild and gentle and conditioning spray. Why not buy some of the beautifully designed Gruffalo options perfect for stocking fillers!
ErgoPouch Australia, beautifully designed for sleep.
There are a couple of brands that are my ‘go to’ in terms of children’s products. ErgoPouch, an Australian owned company, is what we choose for sleep essentials. Perfect products for a peaceful night! Not only are the designs modern and stylish but the baby swaddles and sleep suit bags are practical and award winning, made from breathable, skin-friendly organic cotton Merino or Bamboo to improve breathability and temperature regulation. Each item is designed to last, with innovative features to help adapt to your growing baby.
The Cocoon ‘no origami’ baby Swaddle and Sleep bag is designed to be both easy to use and difficult to escape from, ensuring this product is comfortable and safe. The simple zip up design will keep baby snug and securely swaddled without the need for complicated wrapping. Selling in sizes newborn 0-3, and 3-12 months it retails at £39.99 and at 2.5 Tog is perfect for the Winter season. I love that it is hip friendly; the two-way zipper allows for easy changing and when baby is ready to transition to arms free there are handy poppers in the arm holes. An added reassurance? It washes well, maintaining its colour and softness.
Moving onto the incredible versatile ErgoPouch Sleep Suit Bag I think this is possibly the product I would most recommend to other parents. Converting from a Sleeping Bag to a suit with legs using the zippers, it makes the transition from cot to pram or car an easy one. It also means little walkers can get up and stay warm and cosy without the need for a troublesome dressing gown (no worries about slips and trips with the gripped feet!) Again, it has 2-way zipper for easy nappy change and the cotton fleece sleeves have fold over mitts for extra warmth. There are a good variety of styles with different tog ratings for different temperatures, short or long-sleeved options and a range of ages and sizes so children could be wearing their Ergo pouch from 2 months to 6 years!
A world FIRST why not invest in the beautifully soft Bamboo Joey trackable Comforter? Containing a child safe, low energy Bluetooth trackable device that can be paired with your iPhone you will never lose track of your little one’s most treasured
Do you love wooden toys or try and buy sustainable products and clothing for your children, have you got any favourite brands?
Note: We chose these products to be included in the guide and received them to review. All opinions are our own #AD.