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Top Toddler Toys – things my toddler loves

First off, exciting news if you didn’t already know! I am now a regular blog contributor for Breastfeeding World, so although I’ve been quiet here, I have been writing! You can see my first post here, and check out Breastfeeding World on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. Come and give us a like or follow! Lots of great posts about motherhood, shared daily!

Secondly, apologies for a quiet few weeks here. If you’ve seen my Instagram or Facebook page, you’ll know we’re about to move house! Incredibly stressful at the best of times, but even more so with a toddler who wants to ‘help’ with everything!

I thought I’d show you some of the things that Squid is enjoying playing with recently! He’s a few months off being 2 (HOW???!!!), so he is well away with imaginative play, which is so wonderful to watch.

So without further ado, these are our Top Toddler Toys of the moment! (I must add that all views are my own, I bought everything with my own money and I’m not sponsered by any of the brands or products I mention in this post.)

1. Egg Hunt!At Easter, Squid was treated to not one, but two Easter egg hunts, and since then, has asked regularly for me to ‘hide eggs!’ So I was over the moon when I found these plastic eggs in the reduced section in Tesco – they were only 37p for a pack of 6! Naturally, I bought about 90 packets (it’s the teacher in me!!) and we have spent many a happy afternoon, searching for the eggs in the garden. I’ve filled them with animals from our toy farm, stickers and even fruit, and Squid has just loved finding and opening them!

2. Cardboard Pirate Ship

I bought this nifty little pirate ship when I was pregnant, as well as a space rocket one. It’s essentially a book, which opens out to become a play mat for small world play, and then you can Velcro the sides together for it to become a sit-in pirate ship! It’s even got a little steering wheel, and Squid absolutely loves to sit and steer his boat! I got ours in Lidl, but I’ve found them here and here. It’s worth shopping around, though, as they were only about £7 in Lidl!

3. Bead Threading


Wow, this little threading set can keep Squid occupied for AGES. I love watching his little face, screwed up in concentration, often with his tongue sticking out. He loves to make necklaces with this threading set, and as well as being a great motor skill toy, it’s a good pathway to talk about patterns, as well as being a brilliant tool for counting. I also love shoving it in my bag for out and about – it’s saved us in the car and doctors’ waiting rooms many times! I found ours on eBay.

4. Small world wooden toys 

We spend so. many. hours playing with our growing collection of wooden small world toys, and I absolutely adore watching Squid’s imagination flourish. Wooden toys are so open ended, without any flashing, plastic adendments, and are so hard wearing too.

This little pirate ship was a car boot sale bargain and we love the cute pirate peg people. The dolls house is a carry case, which makes it perfect to take out with us. It was a bargain from Lidl, again! It came without anything inside it so I scored it for £5, and then I picked up the furniture in a charity shop the next day! This Melissa and Doug dolls house is almost identical, though more than double the price of the Lidl one (originally £14.99). This one from Asda looks like it could be a cheaper alternative!

Squid’s favourite small world toy has to be the Plan Toys allotment set, though, in the top right photo. It was in a flash sale on Amazon, so we got it for £4.79, and there are SO many parts. It’s not available at the moment, but this was the closest I could find – at 4x the price! It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the flash sales on Amazon, because you can really nab a bargain!

5. Story Sacks

Squid LOVES books. We read about 27,903 stories a day (well, it feels like it!), and I can just never resist those little arms thrusting a book under my nose as he plonks himself down in my lap for another book. Our favourites are all of Julia Donaldson’s stories (especially A Squash and a Squeeze!), Mog the Cat and any book to do with animals!

I love putting together story sacks to help Squid really get involved in a story. A story sack is literally a bag full of items to help a story come to life. This one was for the book ‘Farmer Duck’, so I used some puppets, and some wooden farm animals, to help us act out the story as we read it. Story sacks are super easy to throw together: I usually use toys and items from around the house! There’s loads of inspiration here and of course, Pinterest is your friend!

6. Dressing up!

Squid LOVES dressing up – any excuse to don a funny hat and he’s there! This is how we store our dressing up gear – on a children’s hat stand! It’s brilliant as it’s child-height and accessible, and easy to hang items on. Ours was a second hand bargain from a local Facebook page but I’ve found this one in Argos which would do nicely, too!

I pick up our dressing up things in charity shops and at car boot sales, making it cheap and easy! Squid’s favourite is his police officer hat – he says ‘Ello! Ello! Ello!’ when he wears it!

7. Grimm’s 12 piece wooden rainbow 

This is our all-time favourite toy at the moment. I wanted one of these wooden rainbows since Squid was born (or there abouts!) and I ummed and ahh-ed over purchasing one, because they ARE expensive. In the end, we bit the bullet, and I am SO glad we did! We have more than got our money’s worth from this toy, and it’s played with as much by us adults as it is by Squid! It is the most open-ended toy we own, and has at some point been, amongst other things, a marble run, a farm yard, beds for babies, a tunnel, a race track, a tower, a bridge, a house, a telephone and unfortunately, within 49 seconds of us receiving it, the rainbow also became a canvas for Squid’s masterpiece – ‘Colin the cat for Ramra’…

Money well spent as far as I’m concerned, and we will be getting Squid these semi circles to go with the rainbow and help extend our play for his upcoming 2nd birthday!

You can get a Grimm’s Rainbow in lots of places, but they’re often out of stock so you have to keep checking. We got ours here, but other reputable stockists are herehere and here.

I hope lots of the above toys will be favourites for a while, as I think they have longevity in that they’re durable AND can grow with Squid as his play and imagination develops.

What are your toddler’s favourite toys at the moment? I’d love to know – plus I’m still looking for one more birthday present for Squid!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for cute pictures of my small boy, plus life updates and insights to my job as a teacher!

Love,

Squidmamma 🐙 x

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Story time: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!


Ahh. Bank Holiday Mondays. Every Brit loves them right? A free day off and all that. Not that it makes much difference to me – I work Wednesday to Friday so never have to go in on a Monday and anyway, I’m a mum. That’s a full time job right there in itself. 

But in the spirit of enjoying a ‘free’ day off with my husband, we took a stroll through a deep dark wood with our friends, Squid’s godparents. And what an experience it was.

I had wanted to see the bluebells in bloom for ages so we all trekked to a local wood which was full of them. Squid’s godparents have just got a new puppy so along the pup came too. Squid calls him ‘Bank’ so we’ll go with that. 


You know how the saying goes ‘never work with children or animals’? Well, yes. That. Never do. 
Three days off together really is just too long, isn’t it? Especially after 3 years of marriage. After a morning spent bickering over whose turn it was to change the small boy’s nappy, or whose job it was to replace the loo roll, we should probably have just stayed home. 

Nevertheless, we persisted. To the woods! I wanted some pictures of Squid, candidly frolicking amongst the bluebells. You know, like on Pinterest? So into the bluebells we went, as I ‘candidly’ placed my mini human on a log and asked him to smile. 


No such luck. Toddlers don’t have Pinterest. Squid wouldn’t play ball and looked, quite frankly, disgusted at the bluebells. I was beginning to feel the same way too. 


Squid wouldn’t stand with Bank for a photo either, and Bank wouldn’t keep still or look at the camera, so my Pinterest worthy snaps were out of the window!


Nevertheless, we persisted. You know I said ‘never work with children or animals’? Well, I have a third thing you must never work with: husbands. My husband and Squid’s godfather, let’s call him Bobby, insisted on throwing the tennis ball (meant for Bank, the pup) to each other, using a cricketing type throw, for the duration of this relaxing stroll. I think they thought they were actually competing in the Ashes, as our walk was complete with a running commentary of the precision of ball-throwing. Men and their balls… Squid tried to join in but I had to draw the line when the ball bounced off his head. 

Nevertheless, we persisted. Squid wanted to be carried, no, walk, no, be carried, which was excellent fun. Eventually, after another minor marital disagreement, Squid settled on daddy’s shoulders, holding on to his ears as reins and commanding ‘go go go!’ And all was happy and good in the world. 

And then Bank did a poo. And then Bank ate the poo. 

Why? Why do dogs do that? It must’ve been delicious, because he was sniffing the ground for more. More delicious poo! Yum!

Which got me thinking: there are SO many similarities between toddlers and puppies:

– Neither have a fear of danger

– Both want to be carried at every opportunity 

– They’re both unpredictable 

– Both have a tendency to do unpleasant things with their own faeces

– Both can be very easily clicker trained *

– Both are really bloody adorable (which is a good job. Because poo.)


After the poo eating incident we were all a bit horrified and so had to very quickly find our way to the nearest pub. 


I don’t think I’ll bother with the bluebells again. Can’t quite see what all the fuss is about, anyway. 
(Of course, though, I did gush on Facebook about the lovely afternoon we had, complete with angelic looking photo of Squid treading candidly through a blanket of bluebells… because you have to keep up appearances, right?!)

Catch me on Twitter and Instagram @squidmamma and on Facebook for daily Mama-baby-life-work-family updates! 
Love, 

Squidmamma x

*As Bank is just a pup and is learning the dos and don’ts of ‘walkies’, Squid’s godparents use a clicker, which they click when he does something good. Every time the clicker clicked, Bank ‘sat’ beautifully for a dog treat, which Squid gave him – so in the end, every time the clicker clicked, both Bank and Squid were there waiting patiently for the treat!