Storytelling, reading stories and acting out known stories has quickly become one of our favourite pastimes as a family since Ellie arrived. Her love for books, nursery rhymes and everything literature has brought out a passion in me I haven’t had since I stopped reading a few years back.
Every night Ellie asks for a minimum of 3 stories, one read by me and two read by her Dad. She seems to obsess over certain ones for a while before going back to others but she listens intently until she is able to join in and pretty much tell the story herself. Recently we have been encouraging her to “read” books to herself, I know this is something a lot of EYFS children (reception/aged 4-5) can struggle with when learning to read and I want her to be able to use the pictures and tell the story in whatever way works for her. She has started reading stories to her favourite soft toys and loves flicking through the pages.
More recently she has been obsessed with acting out the traditional tale “The 3 Little Pigs”, she runs around building each house and waiting for the big bad wold (usually me ¬_¬) to come blow the house down. Her imagination is incredible and she will use whatever is around her to pretend. I recently aquired some masks from a teacher at work who doesn’t need them and it made me wonder what else was available to really help Ellie’s imagination and storytelling develop through her love of stories and play.
I came across a lovely lady called Sian who runs her own small business StoryProps.
Sian is an EYFS teacher and has used her knowledge and passion for learning to create props that children can use when reading or telling stories. StoryProps provides handpainted items that help to ” develop a young child’s communication, language & literacy skills, and creative & imaginative development whilst increasing a love for stories, rhymes, characters and books ” (taken from the StoryProp website) and I completely agree. Each item is beautifully handpainted to a great standard. My favourite is the Story Spoons which are perfect for enabling Ellie to create her own story around the characters. I can’t wait to order a set!
Follow StoryProps on Instagram and Facebook To purchase your own set of wonderful StoryProps whether they are spoons, stones or cubes then head on over to their Etsy Shop 🙂
For as long as I’ve been buying toys for Ellie I’ve been aware of the discussion between parents as to what is better for babies/toddlers/children wooden or plastic toys. Now I’ve always been on the fence I suppose because honestly, Ellie has her fair share of plastic and wooden toys. I have always tried to make a conscious effort to buy wooden toys where possible but found they are usually more expensive than plastic and in Ellie’s eyes they aren’t as colourful/exciting/playable as the plastic toys are advertised to be which has made it difficult to be as wood friendly as I’d like. We are two parents who are both on a Teaching Assistant wage (which I have to tell you really isn’t great…) and living penny to penny each month. Sometimes you just have to accept that what you want isn’t always achievable and that’s okay. I’m not here to judge, every parent does what they can to get through each day right?
Here are my 5 advantages to choosing wooden toys from my own personal experiences!
They are DURABLE. Ellie is a tough cookie and she likes to play rough, as do most toddlers I would assume. Wooden toys are long-lasting and they don’t break easily meaning no little sharp bits on the floor. Ellie loves being outside so having her wooden toys means I can clean them easily too.
They are SAFE. Plastic toys usually carry toxins and chemicals that you wouldn’t want near your babies/children. Wooden toys are safe to play with, don’t have chemicals and are usually painted with non-toxic paint which makes them perfectly safe to be gummed, licked etc by those playing with them. Wooden toys are designed not to break easily so there won’t be able broken pieces lying around with sharp edges.
They encourage OPEN PLAY – whether this is imaginative play or real-life skills, the possibilities with wooden toys are endless. Without the constant electronics and noise, the wooden toys encourage children to use their imagination to build on the play. The toy might be a dinosaur but the child must know how to make a noise like a dinosaur or stomp like a dinosaur themselves. As the child’s imagination builds so does their play. They start to include real-life experiences and scenarios in to whatever they are playing with.
They develop KEY SKILLS such as hand eye co-ordination, problem solving, reasoning skills and fine motor skills. Wooden toys can be made in all shapes and sizes making them perfect to develop the skills children need to hold a pencil. Poor development in these key skills at an early age can cause issues in later life.
They are BEAUTIFUL. Their natural colour means they can be transformed in to any colour and anything a child dreams of. They can be monochrome to support babies development or bright and colouful to grab toddlers/childrens attention. They are timeless!
In the past few months I have treated Ellie to a few toys that I know she would get a lot out of. We became brand reps for a fantastic small business; Timber Tots who create and hand paint wooden animals. With so many different animals to choose from I found it so difficult choosing which Ellie would like most of all. I decided to show Ellie and let her decide…which she didn’t. She wanted the bear and the lion and the elephant and the giraffe and the dinosaur and the unicorn….and she continued until I took the phone away!
I decided that as she loves singing and nursery rhymes I would order her the 5 little ducks set and a green “Rex” dinosaur to start with. She has had so much fun singing, counting, matching the numbers and re-enacting Gigantosaurus. The possibilities have been endless, they have made me think more about encouraging her to learn through her play and let her explore things I wouldn’t have usually thought of. It’s far too easy to put the TV on and give myself 5 minutes to sit and enjoy the peace…that turns in to an hour because I just need to get these jobs done…and then before I know it she hasn’t played much at all.
I love how colourful and sturdy the timber tots toys are and I was impressed with how big they actually were. Although I am only a brand rep for three months I know I will be making regular purchases and building Ellie’s animal collection up as these are toys she will play with for years.
We’ve used our wooden toys in so many different ways and I am loving trying out things we’ve never done before too. We’ve used them when reading stories, playing outside, with small tuff trays and I have some amazing new ideas for our new order when it arrives.
We’ve even had fun singing nursery rhymes, Ellie loves singing and whenever she sees her 5 Little Ducks set she starts singing and playing with them.
Disclosure: I am a brand rep for Timber Tots but have not been asked to review or post about our items other than share pictures on Instagram. All views and opinions are my own. I have paid for all the toys we have (except the 5 little ducks which was a gift from the owner for joining their brand rep team!) HOWEVER I do have a fantastic 10% off code for anyone wanting to purchase their own. Just use RAINBOW10 at checkout…You’re welcome!!