Gift Guide for 3-5 Year Olds

If you have a child this age (which you probably do, or at last know one, if you are reading this) you’ll know that they devour toys, games, activities. Finding gifts that engage them can be tricky so let us offer you some ideas based on our customers top picks in this Gift Guide.

At around this age many children show a fascination and fantastic skill with jigsaw puzzles as their hand-eye co-ordination and problem solving skills develop. Petit Collage have a stunning range of beginner and larger floor puzzles. With 24 large and sturdy pieces which are perfect for little hands. They are bright, bold and have detailed illustrations. Packaged in a keepsake carrying box with a soft cotton rope handle they are ready-to-gift and for little hands to carry. Petit Collage puzzles are made with recycled paper printed with non-toxic environmentally friendly vegetable-based inks.

Petit Collage Mermaid Friends Floor Puzzle
Petit Collage Mermaid Friends Floor Puzzle

SHOP PETIT COLLAGE

Smallfoot have an absolutely HUGE range of absolutely fantastic toys perfect for this age group. Do you have a little one that likes to play at being a grown up? Be a hairdresser, a dentist, a gardener and more!

Smallfoot Safe including play money
Smallfoot Safe including play money

This clever play safe comes with numerous 5-, 10-, 50- and 100-Euro bills, there are also pretend gold and silver coins as well as pretend gold bars made out of wood. The mechanical lock seals the safe and can only be undone when the right position is found, a little bankers dream!

 

 

Smallfoot Mailbox with Accessories
Smallfoot Mailbox with Accessories

Mail call! This yellow wooden mailbox is a real eye catcher and . A blackboard on the front of the mailbox can be individually labeled with the attached chalk. Four wooden postcards and letters complete this post set and can be thrown through the slot into the mailbox.  The active role-play in sending and delivering the letters stimulates children´s imagination and creativity. Now any child can slip into the role of a postman and fulfill their desire to ‘post’!

Orchards Toys have been creating colourful, educational games and jigsaws for over 40 years. Made in the UK their boards are 100% recycled and the paper they use is sourced from sustainable forests. They offer two piece puzzles suitable from 18 months up to puzzles with 150 to challenge the most experienced puzzler! Their games will bring together the whole of the family to make learning fun.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without some family games! Compact mini games, classics and originals will all become firm favourites.

Orchard Toys Mini Games Animal Families, Rocket Game and Old MacDonald Lotto
Orchard Toys Mini Games Animal Families, Rocket Game and Old MacDonald Lotto

Established in 2011 Indigo Jamm produce lasting toys that are designed here in the UK, using high quality and sustainable materials such as rubber wood. These toys inspire long lasting fun whilst encouraging development through safe play. Their toys often have a quirky or retro style to them and have designed a number of toys specifically for younger children with numerous lines suitable from 12 months plus.

Indigo Jamm- Flo the UFO
Indigo Jamm- Flo the UFO

Flo the UFO is really original and fun. It’s made from sustainable rubber wood and ply wood and comes complete with two colourful wooden aliens. Flo is sturdy and top quality making it ideal for play.

 

 

 

Indigo Jamm- Motorbike Micky
Indigo Jamm- Motorbike Micky

Motorbike Micky is ideal for little ones that love vehicles. Push, pull, roll and promote fine motorskills and hand to eye co-ordination! The biker is removeable and made from sustainable rubber wood and birch ply wood. We love Micky!

 

 

Indigo Jamm- Recycling Ronnie
Indigo Jamm- Recycling Ronnie

Recycling Ronnie is a wooden push-along truck. He has two removeable figures, a driver and a refuse collector, you can name those yourself! 6 pieces of recycling need sorting into the tipping and opening rear section. Here’s to your new friend Ronnie!

 

 

Hape DIY Dream House Furnished
Hape DIY Dream House Furnished

The Hape DIY Dream House allows little ones to create their own house of dreams. With brights colours and over 30 pieces of magnetic furniture just waiting to be positioned and played with. Empty picture frames are waiting for their own art work! At over 70cm high it’s the ideal size to move around and crouch down to peep inside. Pick your own family and accessories too!

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Gift Guide for Babies and Toddlers

Buying for Under 2’s can be very tricky, especially when you need to have ideas at the ready for friends and family. From rattles and stacking toys to noise makers and soft toys you can take your pick secure in the knowledge that everything we sell is safe and ethically traded. Enjoy this Gift Guide for Babies and Toddlers….

Haba cuddly gallivanting goose
Haba Cuddly Gallivanting Goose

Best Years Crochet Baby Dinosaur Toy- Blue Dippi Rattle
Best Years Crochet Baby Dinosaur Toy- Blue Dippi Rattle

Based in the UK, Best Years have been making toys for over 10 years and were the first to introduce knitted dinosaurs, still a favourite today! They care about remaining ethical all the way through their production process, from where they source their materials to whom makes the toys, currently- a network of fair trade cooperatives, artisans in Peru and disabled groups in Vietnam. All of Best Years toys are suitable from birth and safety tested to CE and EN71. All of their toys are also Machine Washable. 

CLICK HERE TO SHOP BEST YEARS

 

Babies LOVE to make noise and Hape have a huge selection of instruments suitable for even the smallest child. Hape is guided by the philosophy that the future belongs to our children and creates toys that inspire play, learning and exploration of the world we live in. From the best selling and forever loved Pound And Tap Bench to Percussion Sets baby can find their rhythm in their own way!

Hape Instruments Featuring: Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano, Baby Drum and Beaded Raindrops
Hape Instruments Featuring: Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano, Baby Drum and Beaded Raindrops

 

That's Not My Baby - Fiona Watt
That’s Not My Baby – Fiona Watt

Usborne have been publishing the very best in board and sensory books for baby’s and toddlers and the ‘That’s Not My’ Collection are must-haves. Why not start a gifting tradition this Christmas?

 

Also available are gift sets featuring a delightful soft toy!

 

SHOP ‘THAT’S NOT MY’ AND OTHER ACTIVITY BOOKS

 

Grimm’s are a family owned and sustainably managed manufacturer at the foot of the Swabian Alb, which produces natural, high quality and safe wooden toys made to officially certified standards. In product development, they are guided by the principles of Waldorf education and other educational approaches, such as Montessori.

Grimms Toys have a huge selection of toys that are just perfect for babies and toddlers:

Grimms Bead Grasper Natural
Grimms Bead Grasper Natural

Graspers are available in Rainbow, Pastel and Natural colourways and made from  maple, cherry and beech wood with a non-toxic plant based oil finish. Little finger are naturally sensory, what a true gift to be able to put these graspers in their hands and allowing these first sensory experiences to be with natural, hand crafted wooden toys. Grimms graspers are also popular with older children who still enjoy their calming and grounding feedback.

Grimms Large Conical Tower
Grimms Large Conical Tower

The classic stacker with 10  trade mark Grimms rainbow coloured discs! With the large Conical Tower the children can sort, stack and build. Through play little one’s develop eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills and colour sorting. Made from lime wood with non-toxic water based colour stain. Beautiful to display in a nursery too!

 

 

Grimms Rainbow Turtle to pull along
Grimms Rainbow Turtle to pull along

When babies have learned to walk then love to pull things behind them especially if they can load  all their favourite things on top. The Rainbow Turtle has 10 blocks which can be used as building blocks and a puzzle too. This gorgeous turtle is 24cm and made from lime wood with a non-toxic water based color stain and non-toxic plant based oil finish.

 

Le Toy Van create traditional wooden toys with a modern feel and high quality. They focus on role play to help promote early learning and imagination development in young children. They ensure they use natural materials including replenishable legal quality smooth rubber-wood. All of Le Toy Vans toys comply with rigorous  safety standards and are hand finished to achieve a unique look each time.

Le Toy Van 4 Piece Sensory Tray
Le Toy Van 4 Piece Sensory Tray

This fun sensory toy features 4 pieces to stimulate different senses and skills: sight, sound, touch and dexterity. Each piece is made with solid rubberwood and water based colours,to sort into the matching tray. Shape and colour recognition develop logical thinking. Discover them all with this multi sensory toy.

 

Grapat is a small family project built on the premise of letting children play, at their own pace and in their own time. They are inspired by the sacred and complete immersion of child like play when new worlds are created with rules unique to that moment and time. They believe in nurturing the safe space children create when playing and provide natural material without instructions. The finishes are made with waxes and oils of vegetable origin and it is made following traditional processes.They use thick soft raw materials and natural dyes which leaves the wood veins visible through vibrant coloured waxes and oils with a slight shine.  All products are home made and hand painted with great care. While some small parts might not be suitable for the very youngest of children they have some great toddler friendly items. Check out Tinker Trays for an ideal play companion.

Grapat Bowls and Balls, Grapat Palos, Grapat Nins, Rings and Coins (Natural)
Grapat Bowls and Balls, Grapat Palos, Grapat Nins, Rings and Coins (Natural)

 

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Le Toy Van – Brands at Yes Bébé

When I first think of Le Toy Van, I think of the egg shell blue, and the retro vibe they’ve got going on.

Le Toy Van was founded by the Le Van family here in the UK in 1995. Their family has over 150 years of experience in the toy industry, giving them them a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what kids love. They were inspired by the understanding that children have small hands but big imaginations, and all their products have stemmed from this.

All the materials for their toys are sourced sustainably in keeping with their passion to encourage a love for nature. They have very rigorous programmes in place to ensure this.

The beautiful toys are all hand finished in their workshops by talented craftsmen. Le Toy Van pride themselves on creating non-gender toys so that they encourage imagination and creativity in both boys and girls.

Petilou

2017 was an exciting year as they expanded the Petilou range, which translates as ‘little wolf’. These toys are designed for 12 months up and are painted with water based paints so they are safe for chewing and mouthing. The petilou range has been very popular with parents, nurseries and, most importantly, children. The star of the show is the sensory shape tray, which is perfect for the exploring nature of babies and toddlers. The range includes soft, but inviting colours and a lovely smooth texture. It is perfect for gifts too as most prices are under £20.

Classics

The classic range from Le Toy Van is just something I love.  There’s something for every child, from playing shopkeeper to repairing cars in the garage. Their dolls houses are something to be treasured, with 3 stories and even loft space! You can go on epic adventures with the Barbossa ship and pirate budkins Arrr! And who doesn’t need a spot of afternoon tea with this gorgeous tea set, this one is a favourite of my daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In future articles, I will go into more detail about the different ranges within Le Toy Van, so watch this space!

And in the meantime, view our collection here.

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Discover Montessori

Discover Montessori friendly toys!

Author: Carine Robin

I’m Carine, a Montessori teacher and psychologist, my mission is to help families to embrace the principles of the Montessori education to help their children to grow and fulfil their own potential.

I run a parents and toddler groups based on the Montessori principles and I support parents through workshops, locally and online.

At Montessori-family, we believe that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, his/her needs and his thrive for independence.

I will be the official Montessori expert at Yes Bébé consulting on the website, blog and facebook group.

First, What is Montessori Education?

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been used for over 100 years in many parts of the world.

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.

The principles, or foundations, of that method are:

  • Observe your child and follow his interests, offer activities and an environment that support his/her needs
  • Encourage your child to be independent in every day life and provide child size tools, real objects and breakable material when suitable.
  • Provide an orderly environment, your home is your child’s first “classroom”
  • Less is more regarding toys and rotate what you offer to your child
  • Prioritising natural material to refine the 5 senses
  • Allow freedom within limits: freedom to move, freedom to choose, freedom to say no within the limits of safety and the limits of the society you live in.
  • No rewards and no punishment as it’s proven at being non effective.

Specifically, when choosing toys, you can also follow those guidelines:

Maria Montessori didn’t design toys. However, you can follow the Montessori principles while choosing toys.

1. Real material and tools

Children want to be included in our daily tasks and need real tools to help toward their independence. Toys cleaning set or toys gardening tools are not as useful as the realistic with real material ones. So avoid the fake pretend stuff and give them child size tools that works instead.

Gluckskafer Broom with Natural Horsehair
Haba Nutcracker
Goki Wheelbarrow
2. Reality based toys and books

While choosing a book, a puzzle or any other kind of toys, choose those that are realistic, maybe with real pictures. Avoid the cartoonish animals, the character based toys and such. Especially if your child is under 3 and even until he reaches 6 or 7 years old (when imagination based on fantasy appears naturally)

Fauna North European Birds Puzzle
Hape Emergency Vehicles puzzle
3 Natural material

For the sensory aspect, privilege natural material. For babies and toddler who still mouth everything, it’s important to choose safe material and you can be reassured that everything on Yesbebe is safe!

4 Open ended material

For discovery, exploration and making play scenarios (children do this spontaneously with anything), provide open ended material such as blocks, natural items, boxes, balls…

Magic Wood 70 Creative Blocks
Pappoose Rainbow Balls 3.5mm

 

  1. Pretend playWhile it’s always best to offer the real experience (Cooking with your child instead of pretend kitchen), a bit of pretend play is great too (also because children like to play scenarios, like to replay what they have experienced already and like to repeat again and again). Children can pretend play without any specific toys but if you offer pretend play toys, privilege reality based ones (farm set, doll house, train tracks, …)

A farm:

Le Toy Van The Farmyard

A doll house:

Hape All Seasons House – Fully Furnished

Realistic figurines:

Hape Happy Family – Asian

 

6. Skill

If you choose a toy to “teach” a skill, it’s best if it does only one thing at a time. For example, a shape jigsaw with 3 different shapes of the same size and the same colour. It’s difficult to find these kind of toys outside the specific Montessori material shops so best advice is to find the simplest ones or to simplify them. They should be self-correcting so the child can check his work without asking you (Like in a matching puzzle game, the pieces that go together are the only ones that fit together)

In this Grimms sorting game, children will sort by colour:

Grimms Small Sorting Game

In this one, the child will sort by colour at first, and can understand that they are more of one colour.

Hape Counting Stacker

The natural Grimm rainbow will allow the toddler to stack by size. However, it’s also an open ended material and many children will use this activity in various ways.

Grimms 6 Piece Natural Tunnel

A simple shape sorter, with only 3 shapes, perfect to start with

Hape 1-2-3 Shape Sorter

This 2 pieces puzzles from Orchard are self-correcting, only the pieces that go together fit together

Orchard Toys Jungle 2 Piece Puzzle

 

I hope you have enjoyed those recommendations and I will be back soon with more information about the Montessori education.

Please check out my site to find out more about Montessori!

www.montessori-family.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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