Sometimes I look back at photos of our home before Amelia came into our lives and it looks so tidy, there’s so much space and there’s not a brightly coloured plastic toy in sight. I look at those photos of our home and I don’t recognise it anymore because it’s not looked like that for a long time.
It’s overrun with toys, we’ve bought baskets and chests to store them but they spill on to the floor, on to the sofa, under the dining table and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those toys remind me of the fun we’ve had, of the cute and brilliant things she does when she’s playing by herself and doesn’t realise I’m watching her.
Sometimes as parents we feel like we need to buy ALL the toys, the most expensive all singing and dancing toys but, maybe unsurprisingly, babies and toddlers don’t care how much you spent on a toy. They’ll either play with it or they won’t and so far I’m finding that the simpler they are the more attention they get.
Some of the favourites toys in our house didn’t cost a fortune either; most supermarkets sell brilliant toys for only a couple of pounds and you’d be amazed that those are the ones your children will play with over and over again.
I’ve put together a little list of our five favourite toys that Amelia plays with almost every day that didn’t cost more than £20. I’ll price them and link them for you below:
We have two of these and Amelia loves them equally. One is from Vtech (currently on sale in Boots but normally £12.99) and it talks and sings as you put the rings on. The other is a wooden one from Wilko which they don’t seem to sell anymore but there is a similar one in The Entertainer for £6.40.
This was a gift for her birthday last October and she’s used it so much. We’ve misplaced a couple of the magnetic animals but they’re around in the bottom of the toy box somewhere. She loves to just sit and make marks on the pad. Such an easy way for toddlers to be creative without needing to have crayons or craft things to hand.
I will admit that Amelia prefers to throw the pieces around more than she wants to actually build the puzzles but if you sit and do it with her she will give it a good go.
We have a couple of different puzzles for her; one from the Peter Rabbit range in M&S (£12) a farm animals one that is available on Amazon (£5.49) and one by Julia Donaldson that also came with a book which is available in Waterstones (12.92)
Do you find that no matter how fussy your child is with real food they will pretend to eat all kinds of foods from a playset? Amelia will, she chew on her plastic carrot for ages but give her a real one and she won’t touch it.
Amelia was brought her play food set for her birthday and her favourite thing to do is tip it out and put it all back in the basket. She’s recently started to feed her dolly with her food too which is really cute. Our food set is from Waitrose/John Lewis (£12 including the basket). There are some other lovely sets at Early Learning Centre (£12.99) and there are loads of different sets available in Tesco (starting from £4.99)
Another strong favourite in our house but really only the circle is getting any love. I can understand this as the circle is the easiest shape but the ladies at her nursery assure me does all the shapes with their sorter so maybe she just doesn’t want to show me her skills at home.
Those are just some of our favourite toys and as you can see from the photos she’s been using some of them for months and still loves them just as much as she did when they were brand new.
Does your child have any favourite toys that didn’t cost the earth? Let me know in the comments below.