written by Laura @one.wild.family.life
One of my favourite things to do when giving gifts to my children is to put a few things together that fit under one theme. The Wooden Play Den makes this super easy for you by sorting toys into categories on the website and I’m going to showcase some of our favourite toys by theme here.
One topic my kids love is space – there are some amazing space toys and resources available but I like to mix and match with toys that are purely for play, and things that can be used to encourage learning and exploration of the topic too. We love the Tenderleaf rocket – it comes with a great selection of space vehicles and astronauts, and mixes so well with so many other space toys too. The Tickit planets are a great dual resource, perfect for space craft to land on, and aliens to explore, but equally great to aid in learning about the planets. Lanka Kade’s newest addition to their range includes a super space set, including a great alien and a UFO, a super chunky rocket and more. The freedom these toys allows children in their play means that they can create something different each time they play with these toys. As they grow, and interests develop you could add a set of Rhyming in Space cards from Kelly The Poet. A super fun way to learn about space and our universe. Space is such a fun topic to them explore with arts and crafts too, the idea of zooming off to the moon is so exciting that this theme is sure to engage your little ones.
How about the ocean, the mixture of amazing animals to explore alongside the magical ideas of mermaids and pirates is so enchanting to children. One of our most loved books is Yuval Zommer’s The Big Book of the Blue, and we really enjoy exploring different sea creatures and creating play and stories for each one. Something that engages children across the early years is playdough, not only is it a valuable tool for developing hand strength and fine motor skills it is great fun! Grab a pot of Little Munchkins play dough, some loose parts and create – make jelly fish with rolled out dough tendrils, or use your loose parts to make a shoal of fish swimming through the playdough ocean! The possibilities are endless! Include some wooden sea creatures, a piece of blue fabric and let your children lead you into the worlds they create, we absolutely love including the Yellow Door story stones to inspire some weird and wonderful tangents for our stories and play to take.
The final theme I’m going to talk about today is dinosaurs – a topic that captures so many little people’s attention. The sheer magnitude of some dinosaurs, and the impossibility of them in today’s world means that children can create stories and ideas without limits. Lanka Kade and Holztiger both have fantastic ranges of wooden dinosaurs. There are some great things to include in a themed gift – perhaps the new in stacking stones will help create great scenery for them to roam through, yellow Door bones are a great resource that cross over between play and learning. Perfect for size sorting, measuring, creating skeletons and more. The colourful Tickit eggs would make great dinosaur eggs – who knows what may hatch out of them! Yellow Door also have some great scenery – the hollow log, tree stump and cave are the perfect addition to a Jurassic world, alongside some green fabric, or a Wondercloth there will be hours of play for years to come.
One of my favourite reasons for themed gifts is the longevity – if it’s a topic your child enjoys it will provide inspiration and learning for as long as they need. Having a range of toys across a topic means that kids can play the same game every time, or create something new each time they play. Loads of these toys are great inside and out, and can be taken on forest walks, trips to the coast and gardens or parks to continue to provide stimulation and most importantly fun.