In today’s techy world where all kids want to do is watch TV, the iPad, play Minecraft ( on said iPad) or play on their parent’s phone, it can be hard to get kids out of the house and back in nature. As a child I remember climbing trees, making tea for my dolls in our tree house, riding bikes with our local neighbourhood gang and exploring the local streams, mangroves, beaches and parks. We were constantly outdoors; back in the day, as they say!
But times have changed and on top of that parents are too scared to let their kids run and play outside like we used to do. I remember I would go off for hours, bike riding and exploring and these were the days of no mobile phones, so my mum couldn’t call me. If she was worried, she would get in the car and drive the streets to find me but I think that only happened once. I don’t know why we have lost that carefree attitude to life but it has meant that parents feel safer having their kids indoors than outdoors.
This month’s “Toy of the month” is about tape. Tape, I hear you say? That is not a toy?! Yes, tape, but not just any old tape, this is tape in the shape of a train track which you can stick to your floors – carpet, laminate or wooden floors to create a train track!!
One Australian online store that I keep coming back to for gift inspiration is the fabulous Finlee and Me. I love that it sells some of my favourite toys like Tegu wooden magnetic blocks, Kinetic sand, flash cards by the gorgeous Two Little Ducklings and I adore their Montessori toys too. But also available are on trend toys like Homely Creatures Dollhouse which I saw at Life Instyle in Sydney and is utterly fabulous! With a focus towards toys that are wooden, sensory and ones that harness a child’s imagination, Angela has found a niche in toys for the Australian kids market.
It is the little details that keeps you coming back. When you start doing a search through the site you realise how many things you have always needed but never found in the one website. Angela, the owner, a mother herself, has truly taken the time to research her products and find things relevant to the modern mama. I have been looking for a large wall decal for the days of the week so I can help to stay on top of all the kids activities, tick, yes, they have 3 different styles available.
They have loads of fab gifts for babies to kids as well as practical essentials for travel, nursery, preschool and bath time. So please check it out if you want some inspiring, unique, high quality toys that are affordable.
I have my eye on a few cool things for the boys like the following:
Tap Tap Hammering set: my son plays with one at school and thinks it is the best thing, apart from when another kid in his class tried to poke his eye out with the hammer! $24.95
This month’s “Toy of the month” are a fantastic set of sand toys called “Beach Stamps” which the boys and I have been super excited to try out. The fantastic Australian based online store Finlee and Me are the exclusive Australian supplier and they kindly sent them to us to review.
We have spent a few beach days testing them out over the last few weeks and I have to say they are an easy, fun and great alternative to your everyday sand toys of buckets, spades, diggers and balls.
Beach Stamps are designed and made in the USA by the Red Rooster Toy Company and they come in all different types and various variety packs, we tested out the “15 Variety Shapes” pack.
They are super easy to use and come supplied with rubber bands which you attach to the plastic stamp moulds with their easy to follow instructions. There are even spare rubber bands in case of breakage, although the rubber bands seemed very robust to me and not very easily broken.
At the beach:
As you can see from the photos we loved testing these beach toys out and what I liked most as a mother at least, is they are a great size for small hands. Also if you want an easy beach toy to pack for your beach adventures and let’s face it as a mum, you generally have about 3-4 bags filled with towels, lunch, umbrella etc; then these are a perfect solution as they don’t take up much room, but they provide hours of creative play!
H did try and put them on his feet as suggested on the back of the packaging but it wasn’t so successful, however, I think my eldest who is nearly 6 would have found it easy to do and a lot of fun!
Beach Stamps are aimed at 4+ according to it’s packaging but my nearly 3 year old loved them and had no trouble playing with them. As a 4 year old + you could go further with the type of play to be enjoyed, such as making up stories with the stamps or asking them to pick a certain colour to help with learning colours. But ultimately they are just a lot of fun and it is great to watch your children enjoy some creative play with them.
They are not too messy either for the child nor when cleaning up and there is not a huge amount of sand left in them which you cannot get out. They were nearly 100% clean after playing with them and popping them back in a ziplock bag. 10/10 on the mama radar!
We also had a play with them in our sandpit and I think they would work great with kinetic sand too which my eldest is dying to get for his 6th Birthday next month.
The shapes in our 15 variety pack where varied, ranging from a love heart, to a girl, a dinosaur, a smiley face, to a sailing boat, a penguin,a boy, a sun, a sheriff’s star as well as skull, cross and circle. For older children, I thought you could have fun playing games of naughts and crosses on the beach with the circle and cross stamps.
Using them in our sandpit:
Mostly what I loved about these set of sand toys, are the open ended play and the endless possibilities that can be enjoyed with these beach stamps. They would make a fab gift for a birthday and with the reasonable price, they could work quite well for a school birthday party gift as they hover around the $20.00 mark. They are perfect also for Easter or in the kids stocking at Christmas time. Or add them to a box of kinetic sand for the perfect gift for any boy or girl!
Ages: 4+ .
NB:- The packaging says 4+ but after testing them out, I think they are perfect for 3+.