Me and You with Jennifer Griffiths: Toys. . . not the television

Another ‘Almost Christmas’ article, this time it’s toy ideas, and yes, I deliberately left out TVs, Ipads, phones etc. Because, if you can, if your kids will allow it, just take a moment to think if they need them, are they really going to miss out on not having a TV in their room, not having iPhone 13 when they are only seven years old?

Is this the year that ends the era of toys and play, the year when play stops and technology takes over?

I started to write about each age / stage and each toy, but realized it was going to be too long, so I suggested toys in “themes”.

You know how old your little one is, what stage they are at, so use your initiative and common sense too, remember that no one year old wants Lego and most five year old boys wouldn’t be particularly happy with a Peppa Pig swing.

The same goes for age and stage, for example, just because a puzzle says 100 pieces and an age from three does not mean your three year old will be able to do it, especially s ‘they’ve never done a puzzle before.

Also remember, it’s fine to say he will be able to do it in the summer, that’s six months from now, if he almost can’t do it now, and won’t be able to do it with a little bit of Don’t help don’t buy it or there will be tears, growls and growls from both of you.

Personal & Social – doll and teddy bear; to cuddle, feed, dance and play with or even just look cute while sitting on the bed!

Role play toys – like a tea set, a pram, a brush, a vacuum cleaner, a kitchen to prepare dinner – or a dinner for dolly!

Imaginative play – cars / fire engine / excavator, train with track or garage for cars – if there is a ramp even better. Or the Peppa Pig swing and slide, the farm, Noah’s ark, the bus with people to continue! Happy Land offers a wide range of early imaginative play toys. Or traditional dollhouse, rockets, mobile play sets, etc.

Animals – farm animals – maybe use artificial grass for the field. Animal figures to name, to match baby to mom later or add to imaginative play. Themed animals for older kids – boys and bugs, girls and sea animals.

Bricks And Block – mega blocks or wooden bricks to build and knock down and later sort out colors and shapes, or turn into buildings and tunnels. Of course, there are also lego, meccano, and magnetic construction toys.

Brain teaser – peg jigsaw puzzles (try just four pieces first! or shape sorters, stackers, a hedgehog-shaped fine motor jigsaw puzzle, or what about a Disney jigsaw, Horrible History or Impossible, or a maze game – remember the ones with a little ball or the puzzles you have to build or undo?

Cause And Effect Toys – for young children, to press buttons, push levers left and right, twist handles for noise / lights / new sights, wooden hammer bench or press and spin toy. Or maybe some loud toys, the xylophone, the drum and of course an old favorite, the laser zapper that makes that horrid noise.

Push and pull toys – dog on a rope, rainbow wheel, duck with a handle – defo for those who walk.

Outside – sit scooter, sit in the car, balance bike, bubble fish, pull and play cart or slide. Balls, for kicking, throwing, learning to catch or to throw through a basketball hoop. For the older ones, hula hoop, roller skates or Space Hoppers !!!

Special place – tent with cushions, maybe a garden house or even just fairy lights and veil to wrap around your bed?

Arts and crafts – big pencils and brushes, finger painting, maybe try some watercolor paints for your budding artist, or an easel. Plasticine sets, jewelry making, airplane building, wood car making – what does your child like?

Bath time – ducks or float boats, a bathing cart, smelly bath bubbles or even a jelly bath pack!

And finally, the rhyme that I say every year, buy me… and remember…

Something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read.

Something so I can play a game with you, something that helps me learn too.

Something to help my imagination grow, something creative to make or sew

Something for the inside, something for the outside and maybe a surprise that I can tell my friends about!

Everything does not need to have batteries or be plugged in,

The technology is great in small amounts, but it’s time to play with you that counts.

So this Christmas time, buy what I like and need, don’t go crazy and buy the shop,

Think about the things we can do together because it’s time to talk, sing, read and play,

Who builds my future every day!

Written by, on Facebook, Me & You @meandyoubyjenni in support of the Greater Shantallow Talking To Our Babies, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership. Phone 028 71358787 / Facebook; Talking to Our Babies /

Karl M. Bailey