This is a blog written primarily by Suzie Evans, stay at home mum to two little girls and owner of Toys and Games Ireland
It’s midterm and we have set our family a challenge to raise enough money to pay for a toilet to be built for a school in Uganda. Something that is seen as an absolute necessity in Ireland is a luxury for many children around the world! To make the situation even sadder, our family spends about the same amount on toilet paper every year as it costs to build a toilet for a family who don’t have one. We live in such an unfair world.
So, this week, we have decided to run a couple of fundraising events to raise the amount needed for a school in Uganda to build a toilet. It costs approx €275. And, the good news is that you can help at no expense to yourself!. Simply purchase from me this Wednesday (19th February), Thursday (20th February) or Friday (21st February) and 10% of the value of your order will be donated towards our toilet
We are purchasing our toilet through an organisation called Toilet Twinning (www.toilettwinning.org) where you can purchase a toilet block for a school or a refugee camp for £240 or a toilet for a family for just £60. When you decide what you want to buy, you can choose from a selection of countries you want it to be built in. You can also ‘twin’ it with a toilet back here in Ireland! A couple of weeks after you have paid, you get a photo of the toilet which you can hang with pride in your bathroom.
As a mother of girls, it hits me hard that girls are disadvantaged in other countries purely because they are female and there is no toilet in their school. Education is a key to beating poverty, as is health and hygiene. By supplying a toilet, we can help change all these for the better.
So, if you’d like to help us pay for a school toilet block, simply make a purchase from my website, and I will donate 10% of the value of your order towards our fundraising efforts. It won’t cost you anything extra. Why not stock up on a few birthday presents or buy that toy you have been meaning to purchase for weeks. If you place an order of €50, I will donate €5. If you place an order worth €20, I will donate €2. It doesn’t matter how big or small the order!
Thanks. I’ll keep you posted on how our efforts go.
Enjoy the midterm,
Only a few more days of school and then my girls will be off for a week. Although this puts extra pressure on me as I mind them and run my business, I’d choose it any day over rushed mornings, packed lunches and homework, so I’m counting down the days. This mid-term is different for a lot of schools. Some choose to take the full week off, while others only have 2 days. I’m so thankful that ours is a full week. I feel we all really need it.
Unlike the summer holidays, when my girls spend a lot of time out on the road playing with their friends or the Christmas holidays, when there are so many family events to go to, the February mid-term can have long days with little scheduled. I’m not sure what that means in your house, whether it means a trip to the book shop to buy a new book or a visit to the cinema. These trips can add up and make mid-term an expensive week. Although the toys I’m about to show you will cost money, I believe that they will be worth every cent as they can be played with over and over (and not just during midterm but in the evenings and at weekends) and they can involve the whole family or just the children. Here’s ten, that I’m happy to recommend.
- Little Cooperation
It can be hard to find a board game that pre-school children can understand and stay engaged playing but from experience, this one works. The games only last about 10 minutes (but can be played over and over) and there’s no reading involved, so pre-school aged children can play it without it being complicated or them needing help. Also, it’s a team-building game so instead of everyone playing against each other, everyone plays together and you either win together or lose together, so there’ll be less fighting. Check it out here. It is recommended by Djeco for children aged 2.5 to 5 years.
This version of the Beetle Game is the paper version. In the box, you will get a notebook with faintly drawn beetles, 2 pencils and dice. The first player throws the die and depending on what number they throw, they can draw over the corresponding body part of the beetle (so, for example, they might need to throw a 1 to get to draw the body). The aim of the game is to be the first person to complete their beetle. Lots of people can play this game at the same time and people as young as 5 can enjoy it. It comes in a little box, perfect for slipping into your handbag and producing when your child starts the ‘I’m bored’ lark!
Cluedo was one of my childhood favourite games and I taught my girls how to play it over Christmas. It’s as good as I remembered and they loved it too. They are 8 and 10 and both grasped how to play it quickly. It’s a murder mystery game where you have to figure out who the murderer was, what weapon they used and where the murder happened! This version is the travel version so it’s perfect for storing and yet equally as good for playing.
Charades is fun no matter what age but this version is suitable for children aged 4+ as the objects and actions that are to be acted out are in visual form as well as written form and they are objects/actions your child will know like a cat or tieing a shoelace. This is a fun game for the whole family.
This is another game for pre-school aged children up to about 6 years old. Every child is given a board with 4 items illustrated on it. 16 little discs are placed upside down and the children take turns turning them over and seeing if they match the pictures on their board. The first person to get all four discs from their board is the winner.
This box doesn’t just have one game but it has everything you need to play 50 different games! Some are as traditional as Snakes and Ladders and Ludo, while others are card games and games of skill. There’s weeks of fun to be found in this box of games.
This traditional game will have the whole family competing to be the first to fill a row or card. It’s great fun and very easy to play.
Not all games need several players to play. These boxes of sudoku games are for one person at a time, although there are 30 cards in the box, so 30 people could all play at the same time using a different card! They are aimed at children aged 6-10 years.
Chinese Checkers is a game of strategy where you need to move your pegs across the board to their new home before anyone else. Up to six people can play it at the same time and it’s recommended for children aged 6+. This is a beautiful wooden version that you’ll have for life.
Darts can be dangerous and yet so much fun to play. This magnetic dartboard takes away the danger as instead of each dart having a pointy tip, it has a magnet that will stick to the magnetic dartboard. It’s a simple but clever concept and great fun to play.
I hope you have found some inspiration here on what to do on a rainy mid-term day. If not, feel free to follow me on Instagram stories and you’ll see what myself and my girls are playing or maybe you’d like to view my full range of games, as I’m sure I have something to suit everyone!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you do purchase a game from me and you are active on Instagram. Please tag me so I can see how you are getting along, or review the game on my website, so others can be inspired by you.
Have a wonderful mid-term,
Over the last couple of weeks, I have blogged about STEM toys. My first blog explained that STEM toys are toys that encourage children to learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths through play.
Last week’s blog focused on fun STEM Toys for pre-school aged children. This week, I’m focusing on STEM toys for children aged 5-9 years.
A simple pack of playing cards can encourage STEM learning in multiple ways. Your child can try and balance/ stack them into a tower, learn some clever card tricks to play on friends or family or play card games with them. Although the term ‘STEM’ is relatively new, the games and toys can be as traditional and retro as when we played them ourselves as children!
2. Rattle Magnets – €3
Magnets teach children all about magnetic fields and what items are magnetic. We particularly love these rattle magnets as they are super strong and they are fun to gravitate towards each other and old apart.
3. Make your own Bubbling Lava Kit – €5
This little science kit usually costs €5.99 but it is currently reduced. In it, you have everything you need to make your own lava with lots of information to learn all about lava too.
4. Mini Games – Mazes – €6.50
Mazes are great for training your brain to solve problems and to look at the bigger picture as well as how to get there. I stock two types of maze puzzles for this age group. This pack from Djeco contains 30 different mazes and a pencil, so it’s perfect for bringing to a coffee shop or on an airplane. I also stock Dinosaur Dinners Mazes where the child has to bring the dinosaur through the maze to get to his dinner. The Dinosaur Dinner Mazes are on wipeable boards so they can be used over and over again.
5. Origami Airplanes – €7.50
Not only will this craft kit teach you how to fold a paper airplane, but it’s also a simple way to learn simple aerodynamics. There’s 20 airplanes and pilots in each pack, so they can be a great activity for a children’s party and you can race them after they have been made. They come in two designs.
6. Magic Show – Box of Tricks – €7.99
Your child will be able to wow all those around him/her with this box of tricks. Learning the tricks means learning how they work and perfecting their performance.
7. Connecta Straws – €8.49
Use these straws and connectors to make your very own shapes and objects. Great for imaginative play and creativity. Brilliant for putting symmetry and balance into practice.
8. Gift in a Tin – Mini Breakdown Truck – €9.50
This fun construction kit comes in a handy tin so you won’t lose parts and you can build it over and over again. It is recommended for children aged 8+.
9. Build and Paint Your Own Solar System Mobile – €9.50
Learn all about our solar system and planets through this fun craft. If you’d prefer not having to paint your solar system mobile, I also stock a glow in the dark version.
10. Grab and Go Connect4 – €10.75
This fun game of strategy and placement is great for both adults and children. This version is the travel version so is slightly smaller than the original version.
11. The Science of Colours and Light – €11.50
This fun science kit teaching children all about light and colours. A basic introduction to both with crafts to make to help understand and put into practice.
12. Gift in a Tin – Castle in a Tin – €13.95
This wooden construction kit is recommended for children aged 8+ as it involves concentration and fine motor skills to complete. It’s great fun to play with and comes in a very handy storage tin.
13. Gift in a Tin – Build your own Butterfly Nectar Feeder – €13.95
Using the materials in the tin and the instructions you can build your own butterfly nectar feeder and watch butterflies and bees frequent your garden.
14. Compendium of Games – €14.99
This box of games contains over 50 games to play, many of which include dice (number recognition, addition, etc) and card games.
15. Bingo – €14.99
Bingo is a great family game that is fun for everyone. It helps develop number recognition and order.
16. Melissa and Doug – Secret Decoder Kit – €15.99
This kit comes with invisible ink pens, a wheels code, a seek and find lens and three workbooks to figure out codes and puzzles. Perfect for this age group. I also stock a travel version here.
17. Scratch and Discover World Atlas – €20
Learn all about the world and where everywhere is using this scratch art atlas.
18. Marble Run – €36.99
This wooden marble run is fun to build and play with. Construct in in multiple ways and test it each time to see if the marble will move from the top to the bottom.
Ok, I think that’s enough for one blog! If you haven’t found what you are looking for, take a look at my full range of toys and games for this age group here.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Enjoy the rest of your day,
Last week, I blogged about STEM Toys and gave a brief explanation. If you don’t feel like reading the full blog here and just want to skip ahead to today’s blog, I’ll remind you what STEM stands for.
So, STEM toys are toys, games, kits and crafts that encourage learning in these areas. Often we don’t know we are learning these areas as we are not in a classroom with a teacher but pre-school children can grasp the basics of these from free play at home or in their child care setting.
Here are ten great toys that will encourage STEM learning in pre-school aged children:
Play Money helps children understand the value of money and how to use it. During play, they will ‘charge’ and get ‘change’. By choosing the euro currency, your child will get familiar with what our money looks like. This set cost €5.99
2. Stick by Number Mosaic Pictures
Anything to do with number recognition is great for this age. That’s why I’m happy to recommend the Djeco Mosaics as brilliant STEM toys for pre-school aged children. Your child needs to stick the correct coloured sticker onto each number on the page. The stickers are raised foam, so they are easy for small hands to manage, and the pictures aren’t too complicated. Not only is this great for their mind, but it’s also great for their fine motor skills, so it’s a win-win activity. I stock two types of these – The Elephant and the Snail Mosaics which cost €9.90 and Dinosaur Mosaics, which cost €9.99. Each box contains two pictures to complete and lots of raised stickers.
The challenge from this activity is to find the matching shapes and colours to make the same pattern as on the board. It’s an early introduction to shapes and patterns and again, it’s great for your child’s fine motor skills. This gorgeous wooden set from Melissa and Doug Toys costs €18.50
This is similar to the Pattern Blocks and Boards only instead of having wooden shapes, you get wooden sticks of different lengths. The aim is to replicate the image on the cards using the right length sticks. It’s great for children who love problem-solving and figuring things out. This set of Eduludo Sticks costs €16.95
Magnets are great fun for all ages and you are never too young to enjoy them. This Junior Magnet Set comes with two large horse-shoe shaped magnets with a north and south pole on both. It also comes with two magnetic balls and two magnetic stars to experiment with. It costs €7.
6. Building Blocks
Learn all about construction with a simple set of wooden building blocks. I stock a brightly coloured set that contains 100 blocks in a bucket with a lid for €33.99 and a linen bag that holds 100 natural wooden blocks for €30.99
This simple but fun game will help your preschooler recognise numbers on a dice and remember which parts of the beetle they can get with each number. The aim of the game is to be the first person to complete the beetle but it’s the luck of the dice that determines this. This fun game costs €7.99.
8. Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw Puzzles are great STEM toys are they encourage your child’s mind to figure out what piece fits with another piece. Choose a puzzle with as many pieces as will challenge your child without them becoming disillusioned and give up. I stock lots of jigsaw puzzles here
Any kind of bead sets make great STEM toys as children decide what patterns of bracelets or necklaces to make. Deciding a pattern and order and figuring out shapes and sizes are great preschool maths activities. This little set only costs €5.75
This wooden boat will teach your young child all about balance as they figure out how to place all the blocks in different combinations to ensure the boat stays balanced. It costs €18.95
So, there you have it – 10 fun STEM toys for preschool-aged children. If you haven’t found something in the toys above but you want to keep looking, check out my full range of educational toys for children aged 3-5 years.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Have a great week,
Have you heard the term ‘STEM Toys’ before? Maybe it’s just me since I’m in the toy business, but I’m hearing it pop up all the time! STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics so STEM toys are toys, games, and crafts that encourage children to develop their knowledge and understanding of these subjects. These educational toys are fun for children to learn and develop skills through play. In the past STEM toys were often marketed more towards boys but there has been a huge shift in this so that now most STEM toys come with gender-neutral packaging.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on blogging about age-specific STEM toys but in today’s blog, I just want to explain what they are and show off my top 10 STEM toys from 2019.
- Crystal Growing Experiment Kit
These kits have everything your child needs to grow their own crystal. It’s a fun science experiment with dazzling results. Available in two different colours, this kit is a great introduction to science and geology for children aged 10+. It costs €8.75.
2. Wooden Marble Run
Often kids don’t realise they are learning as they are playing and here is a prime example. Constructing a marble run is basic engineering as your child figures out how best to get the marble from the top to the bottom. The great thing about marble runs like these is that the blocks and shoots can be arranged in lots of different ways to get the same result so every time it is played with it teaches your child to think of different paths. This marble run costs €36.99.
3. Putty Peeps
Putty Peeps stimulates children’s creative and sensory skills. Each small tub of putty comes with a set of two eyes so that children can mould their putty into small characters. Available in metallic, change color, magnetic and even a kit to make your own batch of putty peeps, with explanations on how to mix colours to get the desired colour. Prices range from €5 to €14.99
4. Glow in the Dark Solar System
Learn all about our Solar System and planets and make your very own model for your room with this glow in the dark set. It costs €9.99
5. Build your own Breakdown Truck
This handy little tin contains all the metal components and tools needed to build your own breakdown truck with moveable parts. Also available in the same range is a tractor and a mini digger. It costs €9.50
6. A Galileo Thermometer Science Kit
This science kit has all you need to know in order to build a basic galileo thermometer! Perfect for a child who loves to know how things work and enjoys making replicas. It costs €14.99.
7. Craft Caddy
This box contains so many craft materials that it will get little minds thinking of making unique masterpieces. It costs €13.99
8. Magnet Set
Learn all about magnetic fields and test materials around your house with this magnet set. I also stock a junior version for younger kids. This set costs €7.50.
9. Eduludo Stick
This kit comes with 12 double-sided cards with images to replicate with the 48 different length wooden sticks. Great for figuring out spaces and shapes. It is recommended for children aged 5- 8 years. It costs €16.95.
10. The Science of Codes and Riddles Kit
This large science kit is perfect for kids who like maths and solving codes. It includes four experiments to make and perform and is recommended for children aged 6+. It costs €11.50.
So, as you can see, STEM toys include a huge range of educational toys, games, and crafts. I hope this has given you an understanding of how broad the term is and yet at the same time has helped you visualise some examples of what can be included. Next week I plan on blogging about STEM toys for pre-school aged children.
Thanks for taking the time to read,
Happy New Year. I can’t believe we are now in 2020. Time is moving so fast these days that I’m finding it hard to keep up. I’m a task-focused person and I love lists and completing them. Hence this opportunity to write a short list of business goals for 2020.
I guess my ultimate goal is to make more sales in 2020 and somehow convince Irish shoppers to shop from me, a small retailer instead of sending their money to multi national, foreign toy shops and sellers. With Brexit fast approaching, it’s hard to know how it will affect business for me but I’m hoping that consumers that in the past shopped on British websites might consider looking at more local, Irish ones.
So, here’s my 3 business New Years Resolutions:
- To become better at using Instagram by posting better Insta Stories. Instagram is somewhat new to me and I feel I haven’t fully grasped how to use it well. Not just to spam people with boring posts and photos but to fully engage with people and post up stuff that will interest them. This is quite daunting for me but it’s a good challenge. What I’d love to do is a course on Instagram for business. Have any of you done this or heard of a good one? If you have, please send me recommendations by commenting below or by private message/e-mail. If you’re not already following me in on Instagram, you can do so here.
2. To become better at using YouTube for my business. I realise that lots of people like to actually touch the products they want to buy so they can feel quality, weight and details. You don’t get this experience when you shop online. I want to help bridge that gap but showing more details in video product reviews. I’ll embed the videos I make on my product pages to help consumers getting a better feel for the products they are viewing and they can view all my videos on my You Tube channel. This is also just a skeleton at the moment and needs a lot of work. I’d also love to do a course in this area, so like above, if you know of any that you are happy to recommend, please let me know and if you’d like to see some product reviews, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
3. Use as much Recycled Packaging as Possible. I already do this but I’ve decided not to buy bubble wrap in 2020 so orders will now be protected with recycled cardboard and brown paper. I have some padded envelopes that I will use but I don’t plan on restocking once they are used. If your order comes with bubble packaging, be assured that I’m just re-using packaging that has come to me in orders. I will try as much as possible to re-use the boxes that come into me (but I’ll cover the branding on the boxes so little people can’t guess the contents, in case it’s a surprize). I think this will be the easiest resolution out of the three, for me, although it will be more time-consuming.
Here’s hoping that by this time in 12 months, I’ll be able to put a little tick beside each of these three resolutions.
Thanks for taking the time to read and for supporting my business. I wish you and your families a happy and healthy 2020.
PS. Don’t forget to take a look at my January Sale. I’ve lots of discounted toys and games which you won’t want to miss out on.
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to let you know last minute delivery information.
If you want your toys before Christmas, order them now but please don’t order them after 12 noon on Friday 20th December as it will be much harder/pretty impossible to get your order to you on time for Christmas!
Most orders placed will get delivered within 36 hours of ordering as I use GLS to deliver my orders. When I have packed your order, I’ll send you an e-mail with your tracking code so you can find out where your order is on www.gls.ie. If your order hasn’t arrived within 48 hours of receiving my e-mail, please check this website. Often couriers leave orders with neighbours, if you aren’t home. If your order says ‘delivered’ but you haven’t received it, click on the signature box to see who signed for it. This box requires you to put in your postcode, however, it doesn’t recognise Irish eircodes, so instead put in your county and you’ll be able to see who signed for your toys and games.
Here are some last-minute tips if you are ordering from me this week:
- If your house is hard to find, then feel free to write directions in the comments box at the checkout. I’ll stick these to the box for the courier to read
- Or, get it delivered to someone you know whose house/business is easy to find.
- Make sure you include the eircode in the address
- Make sure that the phone number you put on your order is one that the courier can ring if he’s finding it hard to locate you.
My shop will remain open over the Christmas season, although I will not be dispatching any orders that come in from 21st December until I resume work again on Monday 6th January. I will be working reduced hours over these two weeks, so please be patient if you do message me.
Now all that is left to say is a huge thank you for shopping with me this past year and supporting my small Irish business. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Last week I blogged about stocking fillers that cost less than €2.50 and I got a massive response so I thought I’d follow up with a blog about wooden stocking fillers. A lot of people prefer to buy wooden toys, not just because they are kinder to our environment but also because they are have a nicer texture and are generally more durable. It can be hard to source affordable wooden toys so I thought I’d take this opportunity to show off 10 lovely wooden toys that cost less than €5 each.
- The Pick Up Sticks Game – €3.99
2. Lacing Beads in a Tube – €3
3. Catch the Ball Game – €3.50
4. Jacob’s Ladder – €4.20
5. A Wooden Sailing Boat – €2.50
6. A Flexi Robot – €4.99
7. A Yoyo – €2
8. Gepetto’s Penguins Wooden Puzzles – €3.99
9. Unicorn Pencil – €3.99
10. Pterodactyl Pencil – €3.99
11. Baby Tooth Keepsake Box – €3.50
12. A miniature Wooden Picture Book – €3.15
13. A Wooden Bracelet – €1.50
14. A Wooden Castanet – €3
15. A Wobbly Fairy – €4.99
I hope this blog has flued your imagination of what kind of wooden toys are available and affordable. If you haven’t found some that suit you, why don’t you check out my full range of wooden toys?
If you’d like to read my blog from last week showing off a range of Stocking Fillers that cost less than €2.50, you can read it here:
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.
We are coming to the end of National Science Week. Have you done anything to mark it? As a family, we watched the RTE programme ‘What Planet Are You On?’. It was brilliant. Very inspiring and now we have a long list of things we want to change in our home to reduce our effect on Climate Change.
Personally, I love how broad ‘Science’ is and how many different things it includes from biology to electronics. It’s never to early to enjoy science and there are so many science toys out there that encourage learning at the same time. You’ll find my full range here.
In the meantime, here are 6 very popular kits that are selling really well at this time of year.
- The Bubbling Lava Experiment – €5.99
2. Savage Storms Science Kit – €18.49
3. The Science of Forces and Energy – €11.50
4. Make your own Slime Kit – €4.99
5. Make your own Galileo Thermometer – €14.99
6. Electronics Set – was €49.99 but reduced to €29.99 for Science Week
This is just a small taster of what I stock. If you’d like to see my full range you can check it out here.
Enjoy the rest of the week,
It’s the time of year again when people start wondering what Santa might bring in their stockings. Santa’s elves have been busy already purchasing some really fun and inexpensive toys for boys and girls in Ireland. Here are 20 very popular stocking fillers that cost less than €2.50 each.
2. A Finger Monster – €1.50 in various colours
3. 10 Glow Sticks /Glow Bracelets – €1.50
4. A pack of Playing Cards – €1.50
5. A Wooden Bracelet – €1.50
6. A Flying Ring – €1.99
7. A Ladybird Yoyo – €2
8. A Paper Sword – €2
9. A Whoopee Cushion – €2.50
10. A Dinosaur Slime Egg – €2.50
11. A Secret Morse Code Kit – €2.50
12. A Unicorn Hatching Egg – €2.50
13. A Wooden Sailing Boat – €2.50
14. A Magnifying Glass – €2.50
15. A Compass – €2.50
16. A Sticky Slug – €2.50
17. 6 Fake Moustaches – €2.50
19. A pair of Safety Scissors – €2.50
20. A Moody Squeeze Face – €2.50
I hope this blog has helped you get some ideas of what Santa might be putting in stocking this year. If you are interested in buying any yourself, don’t forget that delivery is only €2.50 on orders over €35, so it might be worth buying a couple of bigger toys too.