I have recently been thinking about how we, as parents, can spend quite a lot on toys. I do gravitate towards toys that have an educational element to them but I have recently noticed how many toys serve no purpose and how they just waste away mum and dad’s bank balances.
If we took a step back in time then you can notice how every child used to just play with whatever they found; sticks, stones, trees, branches etc. This is exactly the same concept that forest schools offer, a natural environment to learn for children. We have gone full circle in regards to natural resources for children, with a lot of parents opting for wooden toys in particular now. I personally like the Montessori method and this provides similar principles.
Some innovations in regards to children’s toys has been positive though so we can’t forget about those:
- Board games. What better way to get some family time than with a game. Social interaction, thinking logistically, and not to mention maths and literacy will be thrown in somewhere. There’s always an opportunity for learning with board games/children’s games.
- Roleplay. Work benches, kitchens, shops, theatres. These all enhance children’s creativity and imagination so I for one welcome these!
- Ipads. Bit of a taboo subject amongst parents but I for one love some of the apps that are available on tablets for children. I did a review last year of kidloland and we still use it now; there are so many different games that build on different areas of learning and I think the app is fab. It’s also teaching them about how to use technology properly which in this day and age it is now a necessity to learn if you don’t want to get left behind! Obviously there should be limits put in place when using electronics but all in all I think they will continue to grow and will continue to enhance learning further. Even schools and nurseries have them now as technology has been incorporated into the British curriculum.
I have done a bit of crowdsourcing for this post and here are some opinions on toys overall from other parents:
Sarah: From an early age, my son has always loved the Thomas Take n Play trains. Even now at the age of 6 he will happily get them out and set up the tracks etc.
Emma: My son is three and he loves his wooden train track. He has other toys, fancy ones but every single day he will build a train track and get all his Thomas trains out. Just goes to show that the classics still work.
Natasha: LEGO. Generation upon generation cannot be wrong. Moose is absolutely in love with the sets he has as well as sets kept safely in their box by his (weirdly anal about this stuff) Dad. I think you have 2 LEGO camps; 1 type of person will keeps all of their sets in their boxes and the other type is a (normal) chuck it all in a tub and let your imagination run wild type. No batteries, no app necessary.
Jaymee: My three year old loves playmobil and Lego, my 5 year old loves animals! and my 7 year old is obsessed with his book which has a lock on it 🙂
Rachel: Toy cars. We have hundreds of them. All three of them play with them for hours and hours.
Éva: My son is a real little boy, he loves all the little trains, cars, buses. He loves his phonics bus (Vtech I think) and a wooden train set with tracks (this also doubles as daddy’s favourite toy!)
Zoe: My 6 year old has always loved Thomas the tank engine, Still now he will get them out to play with! My 2 year old also likes Thomas but his real favourite toy is toy cars, He will sit for hours playing & Using his imagination. As much are the new advanced toys are so much easier for them, it’s still nice for them to get toys out & Use their imagination & Use things from around the house to make roads & Garages.
Emma: My little boy loves his cooker and play food, he is always making random dishes for me an his dad! He even has a set of marigolds For washing up ??
Nicola: My 2 year old loves the happy land range from ELC. She talks to them and they go on some great adventures (have to check the washer before every load lol) but she also loves cars but her dad hates the fact they are and I quote ‘cheap crappy plastic that break’ luckily he has some from when he was a kid and she plays for hours with those too 🙂
Jennifer: My son loves Lego or any sort of construction toy and my daughter loves anything crafty. Although they both have tablets they prefer toys that they control and can use their imagination with.
Tracey: MY favourite toys OR my children’s favourite toys? They are really into their computer games, but MY favourite while they were younger had to be Playmobil! Difficult to break – unlimited imaginative play … and such a huge range! My son had a cable car that went between the shipyard and the dragon castle! Takes up a lot of space, but I loved watching them play with Playmobil 🙂
Kelly-Anne: My daughter love hers Happy Land toys, they are out everyday. She also has this doctors set, and we have to take that everywhere.
Louise: Beatbo! He got his for his first Christmas and still plays with it! It is very robust (he sits on it) and he has lots of fun dancing to the colours and songs!
Sarah: I love wooden toys for children. I like the natural style and feel, plus they are long lasting and can be kept for years. We have a beautiful train track and dolls house, both that I shall keep for the future. Plus they make a beautiful gift. Most new babies and 1st birthday presents involve wooden toys.
Mary: My 7 year old son loves to create his own world using trains, diggers, tractors and Lego. He has very limited interest in electronic devices and I’m more than happy for that to be the case for as long as possible. He’ll often recreate our days out adventures with his toys at home and will entertain himself for hours that way.
Victoria: My 2 year old absolutely loves the play kitchen and serving up pretend food for everyone, especially toast! My daughter loves crafty toys, especially aqua beads. They both love the iPad too or playing games on our iPhones. I do think electronic toys are important and we download educational games, but they would stay on them all day if we let them!
Louise: Lego is my 7 year olds favourite, closely followed by paper and pens. Personally I find the electronic toys expensive and whilst the children want them, they are always short lived and thrown aside. When they were younger, role play always won over any electronic toy.
Zoe: My 1 years favourite toy is the Leapfrog picnic basket, it sings & all the shapes match the plates etc. It has lots of different colours too & is good for intellectual development. However, I am a massive fan of the traditional wooden toys and much prefer these to the new plastic ones. We also like the good old famous pots & pans – Simple but effective.
Sophie: My 13 month old loves her wooden Noah’s ark (taking everything out!) And her puzzles (again, taking them all out the holes!) At the moment, she likes her noisy toys, but none of them are her favourites.
Helen: I like the wooden childrens toys. So many toys sing in that irritating generic American accent! I think they encourage the imagination far more. We have a wooden car loading lorry and it’s adorable.
Laura: My girls favourite toys are their baby Annabelle dolls. I would much rather see them role playing and using their imaginations rather than sitting on an iPad or playing with electronic toys.
Gemma: My boys (4 & 2) are into Lego and Duplo respectively – they will play for hours with it. My daughter (7) is very much into her soft toys, and she loves Tsum Tsums! I prefer them not to have electronic toys as such, but I’m not too fussy really – as long as they are happy and not fighting!
Joy: If we are considering games consoles as toys then the 3ds – I love how it is portable and brings the boys together with children they may never have ever met, or family they haven’t seen for a long time.
So what do you think of toys nowadays? What were your favourites? Do you children like the same toys you did as a child? And how do you think toys have advanced?
This post has been sponsored for market research by Innovation Company.