Lifestyle: Gift guide for toddlers

As you have probably gathered if you've been dropping by here for a while, we are quite an outdoorsy family and spend a lot of time in nature where we can. 

Of course, we do also live in Britain and have to put up with a lot of changeable weather and even though we believe there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes, I do find that there are just some days so filthy that there is nothing for it but a mostly indoor play time.

We also do play a lot in between our outdoors adventures, and if I need to cook meals, clean or get jobs done. So we have quite a lot of toys. 

Whne I reflect on our situation just a few short years ago, we had zero toys! Moreover I had no clue what babies and toddlers liked to play with. 

After we had the Little Inspiration we went to a lot of groups, so that meant even months later we still had relatively few toys. Fast forward to now and we have built quite the collection. By the time our Baby Inspiration came along not long afterwards, we had plenty to keep them occupied. I even went along to a preschool closing down locally and bought a job lot of very cheap toys, but in different schemas like building, dressing up, imaginantive play, so I knew what young children their age would play with.

Having said that, you acquire a lot of toys and not all of them are equal in a childs mind. They have their favourites tried and true which they have played with every day of their lives, for example of the toy kitchen and shop. Cars also get a good workout and the mega blocks are the current favourite.

But without toy rotation the same things come out and the play can get stale. I try to go off their interests at that time and at the moment they love the following kinds of play.


All children love building I think. The power of imagination and possibility and then turning it into a realisation. Our building blocks, stickle bricks and the like get a lot of use. So when I heard about Geomagnetic Shapes from DanToys I just had a feeling they'd be right up our street.

It's a set of magnets and shapes/tiles which can connect to form all sorts of 3D shapes. The magnets are small which is not ideal for younger children, so mine are closely monitored when playing with them. However, the fun they have with them outweighs any issues. I also found they just enjoyed playing with the loose parts and making shapes on the floor.

Drawing and creating

We got a crayola mosaics set and it captured the imaginations of both the kids and they wanted to do them all there and then. There is something addictive about the tiny little sticky squares coming toegther to make a bright and colourful picture. It felt very sensory. Plus it comes with a set of felt tips which they can reuse for many times to come.

As a kid I loved my stencil sets and had spirograph so its been a pleasure to get a new set to play with and enjoy with the kids. Making colourful patterns and shapes is always fun.

Imaginative play

As I mentioned my kids love their toy kitchen and shop, and we often play cafes and make many pretend feasts. So a good long lasting tea set is right up there with one of their favourite things to play with. Kids love bright and colourful, and also something which can carry real liquid, as most cannot.

They can practice pouring skills, we make tea, smoothies and all sorts of potions with our DanToys tea set. I know it will last for years and be played with. When we have outgrown it, another family can have plenty more years of play.

Natural materials

We spend a lot of time outdoors digging in the  mud, growing veg and at the beach when we can, but most bucket and spade sets are made out of non recycled plastics and look pretty ugly. So this DanToyds Bio-plastics set really caught my eye. It's got that scandi look that means I love how it looks in my home, it's better for the planet and it's ruddy good fun to play with. We can not only build sandcastle but there's a watering can for nourishing our flowers and veggues.

Growing and picking

We love our allotment and spent a lot of time in lockdown teaching the kids about growing (and harvesting) and they have developed a love of nature which I'm proud of. 

To capture the last days of summer we have been pressing our favourite wild flowers and making necklaces and collage pictures out of them.

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