This is a blog written primarily by Suzie Evans, stay at home mum to two little girls and owner of Toys and Games Ireland
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.
This week I’m highlighting some of the toys I sell that cost exactly €20. This has been inspired by the Ma’s on a Mission Christmas Toy Appeal. I’m not sure if you have seen their poster. If you haven’t, here it is!
They are asking Irish people to buy a gift for a child who won’t get as much this Christmas in Ireland. Once the gifts have been collected, they will distribute them according to demand to over 100 charities nationwide. The gifts are to cost €20 and are to be brand new. I am offering to deliver any orders that come in through my website, so if anyone chooses a gift from my range, they can use the coupon code ‘Masonmission’. This will take away the delivery fee usually incurred, I will put it into a gift bag and I will add it to any other orders that come in. Then, on the 16th November, I will deliver these toys to my local drop off point.
Those of you who are already familiar with my website will know that the vast majority of toys in my shop cost less than €20, so some may opt to put a couple of toys in the cart/gift bag. For those who want just one toy, here’s some of the toys I stock that cost €20.
I hope you have found this blog helpful whether you are buying for Ma’s on a Mission Christmas Toy Appeal or as a gift for someone you know. If none of these have jumped out at you, check out my full range of toys here
P.S. If you’d like me to put your order in a gift bag and deliver it to Ma’s on a Mission, use the coupon code ‘Masonmission’
Some of you may be dab hands and veterans at filling Team Hope Shoe Boxes but for those who aren’t and for those who just like getting some ideas, I thought I’d write this blog.
When you decide to fill a Team Hope Shoe Box you have to choose what gender and age you are filling it for. There are six categories to choose from:
- a boy aged 2-4 years
- a girl aged 2-4 years
- a boy aged 5-9 years
- a girl aged 5-9 years
- a boy aged 10-14 years
- and a girl aged 10-14 years
After you have assembled your flat-packed shoebox or wrapped a regular shoebox, you stick a Team Hope sticker on the top of the shoebox which indicates what category you have chosen. In each box you will put a selection of items that Team Hope call ‘The 4 Ws‘ (somethings to WASH with, somethings to WRITE with, somethings to WEAR, and some WOW things). If you are looking for more information on this, you can check out a blog I wrote last year here. Today I’m going to show you two different toys that might work in the WOW section for each category.
For a boy aged 2-4 years
For a girl aged 2-4 years
For a boy aged 5-9 years
For a girl aged 5-9 years
For a boy aged 10-14 years
For a girl aged 10-14 years
I hope this has helped give you some inspiration. If you haven’t yet got a shoebox, I sell the Team Hope Flat Pack ones. Now is the perfect time to fill one while the kids are off school for mid-term break.
Have a lovely week,
A lot of children love jigsaw puzzles and this should be encouraged as there are so many benefits to playing jigsaw puzzles for 3 – 5 year olds (and even older!) Here’s the main ones.
- Develops Problem Solving Abilities
The nature of jigsaws is that they should be a bit of a challenge. By allowing our children to face challenges in play, allows them a safe space to develop their problem-solving capabilities.
2. Develops Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor skill is the coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers. Jigsaw puzzles are perfect for this.
3. Develops Hand-Eye Co-ordination
Training your hands to do what your eyes see is something we often take for granted but as a child, if you can develop this it stands to you for when you have to do more difficult tasks, like catching a ball.
4. Encourages Concentration
We all know that most 3-5 year olds find it hard to sit still and focus. Having something interesting to work on will help them develop this very important skill.
5. Social Skills
Most jigsaws are completed with help the first time. This encourages social interaction between the adult and child or between two children., as they talk about what pieces should be placed where and work together on finishing it.
6. Builds up Self Esteem
When I child completes something difficult, it gives them a sense of achievement or pride and helps build up their self-esteem and self belief.
7. Develops Patience
Often pieces need to be tried in several places before they are correctly placed. This builds up patience and resilience in your child.
8. Improved Memory
The first time a child does a jigsaw, it usually takes a bit of time. After several goes, it gets quicker as the child starts remembering where each piece should go.
With this in mind, it’s important for parents and adults to choose the right sized jigsaws for the child. If too many pieces are given, the child will lose interest or be overwhelmed and playing with jigsaws can become a negative experience for them. If too few pieces are given, it’s too easy for them and they will get bored and not want to try it again.
So, what are the right sizes for children aged 3-5 years?
3 Year Olds – between 8 and 20 pieces
4 Year Olds – between 20 and 30 pieces
5 Year Olds – between 30 and 60 pieces.
This is just a rough guide. Every child is different and develops at a different rate. The key is to keep on introducing jigsaw puzzles that they can just about manage and sit down and help and encourage them as they complete their puzzle.
I’ve been asked to attend a local parent and toddler group run by @Greystonesmomma and share about developmental toys for babies and toddlers. I feel slightly overwhelmed at the idea as I feel I’m not an expert in this field. I guess I have been doing research when choosing toys for the past five years for my website and having got two children through this age category, also helps! So here goes…
0-2 Month Olds
Although it may appear that babies this age do very little other than eating, pooing and sleeping, they are also developing and it’s never too early to play with your child. Read them rhyming stories or sing them nursery rhymes. You may want to hold and cuddle them constantly but it’s important for them to learn how to stretch out (after nine months of being in a confined area!). Having an activity playmat makes a nice soft space for them. As they grow older, they will enjoy the bring colours and dangling activities that these playmats provide.
2-3 Months Old
At this stage, your baby may start to grip things in their hands. It could be time to introduce some soft or wooden toys that their little hands can grip and old. I love these wooden hearts and owls. As your child grows, these can double as teething rings and they will enjoy watching the cause and effect of the parts moving when they move the toy.
3-4 Months Old
Your child’s eyesight is constantly improving and now they will be able to appreciate bright coloured toys and reflections. They will enjoy looking at themselves in a baby-safe mirror even if they don’t recognise that it’s their reflection yet.
4-5 Months Old
At this stage, babies start to learn cause and effect and they may start teething. These Squeakaboo toys are perfect for this age. Your child can grasp them and hold them. If they squeeze them, they squeak. If they shake them, they rattle. Different fabrics feel and sound different and there are lots of protruding areas for sore gums to munch on! They are also brightly coloured. A perfect sensory toy for this age.
6-9 Month Olds
By this stage, your child may be starting to sit up independantly. It’s good to encourage this by putting some simple toys in front of them that they can play with such as stacking toys.
9-12 Month Olds
Your child may now be crawling or attempting to move. To encourage this, it’s good to have a few toys that move, which your child can follow. Having a soft ball and some toys on wheels can do this. Also, your child’s pincher movement will be fine-tuning so they may be able to pick up items using their finger and thumb.
12 – 18 Months Old
During this time, your child might start to walk. Introducing push along toys or pull along toys at this age can be fun. Also, you could add to their collection of moving toys as they will now be able to fetch them themselves! Blocks are fun toys at this age, as are simple peg puzzles.
18 Months – 2 Years
Now that your child is this age, they may be showing an interest in scribbling. Make sure you have child-safe chunky crayons that their little hands can manage or chunky chalks. They can manage chunky piece puzzles and toys like shape sorters now too.
2-3 Year Olds
By the time your child has reached 2, their little imagination will have started to take off and they will love toys that encourage that, like dress up and play food. They will also start showing independence and enjoy problem-solving puzzles and music toys. Here are some developmental toys that they may like.
This is just a small selection of developmental toys for babies to three-year-olds. If you’d like to see my full selection, you’ll find them here. Or, if your child is three or older, I have a range for them too here!
Every child develops at different rates and every child has different styles of toys they like and don’t like. This blog is only a rough guide. I hope you’ve found it helpful.
It’s the National Ploughing Championships week when lots of boys and girls around Ireland get a renewed interest in farming. Of course, there are lots that are consistent in their love of farming and imaginative play around it. Either way, here’s ten cool farm toys that they might be interested in!
- Farm in a Tin – €13.95
This tin contains a felt play mat, a wooden farmer, a wooden tractor and an assortment of wooden farm animals. It’s easy to transport and bring out in a plane or coffee shop and then easy again to pack away.
2. Bruder – Ausa Mini Dumper – €15.99
Bruder make top quality farm and construction toys that look just like the real thing. This one is the Ausa Mini Dumper and it’s sturdy enough to be played with indoors or outdoors.
3. Melissa and Doug Farm Tractor and Trailer – €18.99
This gorgeously simple wooden tractor and trailer from Melissa and Doug Toys comes with a wooden farmer, a cow, a pig, two bails of hay and a plastic fence.
4. Tractor in a Tin – €13.95
This construction project is aimed for older children (aged 8+). It has everything needed to build your own tractor. Then dismantle it, put the parts back in the tin and take it out to do again over and over again.
5. Nesting and Sorting Barns and Animals – €22.95
This is a really lovely farm toy aimed at children aged 2+. It has six red barns of various sizes, each numbered a different number. Also in this set, are six wooden farm animals which a number on each. Put the correct animal in the correct barn and when your child is finished, they can be stacked together and put away neatly.
6. Shrinkles – Farm Friends – €6.50
This little set is perfect for a creative kid. Colour in the farm pictures with the colours in the packet. Then cut them out and pop them in the oven (with the help of an adult) for a couple of minutes. They shrink to become much smaller and thicker. Then put them on the counters, colour in the background picture and make your own play with your hand made characters.
7. Farm Observation Puzzle – €13.70
This lovely jigsaw puzzle has 35 pieces and features a cute farm scene. Around the edges of the puzzle are small items that your child needs to find in the main/centre part of the jigsaw. For children aged 3+
8. Bertie’s Tractor – €35.95
This high-end wooden tractor and trailer is made by Le Toy Van using sustainable wood. It’s just gorgeous and would make a very special gift for a little boy or girl.
9. Farmyard Peg Puzzle – €14.99
This large wooden peg puzzle from Melissa and Doug is designed for very little children. It has 3 pieces to put in and out and each of them has a super chunky handle which little hands can manage.
10. Fold and Go Barn – €42.99
This handy carry along wooden barn opens up so your child can sit and play with the contents. Then close it up and put it away. Inside the barn, there’s seven durable animals and a folding pen. Great for imaginative play.
If you haven’t found anything that takes your interest here, maybe you’ll find something in my farm toys section of my website. I’ll be adding 5 more farm toys to this section this week too so keep your eyes out for them!
Now that the children are back in school and the evenings are getting dark earlier, it’s time to take out the Board Games and have some fun as a family. Here are 10 Family Board Games which are great fun to play.
- Ludo – €9.50
This is a game for 2 to 4 players where each player is racing to get their four counters home before the other players do.
2. The Beetle Game – €7.99
The dice determines what part of the Beetle’s body you have. The aim of the game is to be the first player to have a complete beetle.
3. Charades for Kids – €14.99
This version of Charades is suitable for children aged 4+ as the items/actions to be acted out are in picture form as well as written on the card.
4. Scrabble as Gaeilge – €45
If improving your Irish and practicing it is something you like doing as a family, this version of Scrabble is just what you need.
5. The Yes/No Game – €10.49
The aim of the game is to be quizzed but not to answer with the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It takes a lot of concentration and skill to master this game and is great fun in the process.
6. Chinese Checkers – €29.99
This game is suitable for up to 6 players. The aim is to move all your checkers across the board to the opposite triangle. However, if you use strategy, you can block others in their journey to beat you!
7. Tintastic Bluff – €5.99
This little travel game is great fun to play at home too. The aim of the game is to be so good at lying that you convince others that you are telling the truth. Recommended for ages 8+
8. Kersplatt – €19.99
This game is a little bit like Ludo but your counters are moulded by you out of play dough. Instead of dice, there are cards telling you how to move and if you get a Kersplatt Card you can splat an opponent’s counter.
9. Chess in a Tin – €13.95
This gorgeous wooden chess set comes in a handy travel tin. The board folds out.
10. Scribblehead – €19.99
This game a is Pictionary with a twist. Instead of drawing the picture on paper, you need to draw it on the whiteboard attached to your forehead for your team to guess.
I hope you can find something here that will suit the size and age of your family. If you missed last week’s blog on Card Games, you can find it here.
Have fun playing games with the ones you love the most,
I’m a huge fan of card games – they are great fun, they usually make me think and they are easy to carry around and produce at airports, coffee shops or just to take out and play with the family. What I also love about them is that they usually are cheap games to play that can be played over and over again.
Here are my ten best selling card games on www.toysandgames.ie
- Are We There Yet? – €5
This fun game is designed to be played while travelling in a car. It’s quite hard, so is recommended for children aged 6+.
2. Guess my Name – €6.50
This is a card version of Guess Who, where each player has identical cards but have chosen to be one of the characters from the card. Then, they take turn asking questions in order to figure out which character their opponent is. Choose between a purple pack with female characters or a grey pack with male characters. Each pack contains 30 cards and 2 pencils.
3. Danger Mouse Card Game – €6
If you are a Danger Mouse Fan, you’ll enjoy playing this Secret Agent Card Game. It’s quick to learn, easy to play and hard to put down. Recommended for children and adults aged 8+
4. Grabbit – €12.50
This is a really fun fast-moving game where you pass around the cards until you have a set and then you attempt to grab a rabbit without the other players spotting you!
5. Card Holder – €5.95
This is not a card game but it’s an absolute must for any families who play cards together. Have you noticed how younger players just can’t hold multiple cards in their hands and often end up placing them on surfaces nearby hoping everyone else won’t look and see what cards they have? This is the solution. It’s a springed holder and it’s easy to slip cards in and out and see them all at once.
This is a fast-moving card game for children and adults aged 6+. The aim of the game is to be the first to get rid of all your cards and not to be left holding the Miss Trunchball card.
7. Playing Cards – €1.50
You can play so many different games with just one pack of playing cards.
8. Matching Flags Card Game – €4.50
Place all the cards face down on a table. Then take turns to turn over two cards in an attempt to find two of the same. Each card shows one of twenty-seven different flags with details of each country. The winner is the person who has collected the most pairs.
9. Where’s Wally Card Game – €5
This memory game is suitable for children aged 3+ and features characters from Where’s Wally!
This game is different from all the other ones featured here, in that it’s so much bigger and it can be played by one person on their own. Select a card from the pile and then figure out what wooden magnetic pieces you need to copy the image on your card.