Toy of the month – February 2014

Orchard Toys – Giant Road Jigsaw Puzzle and Playmat

I have to say we are HUGE fans of Orchard Toys in this household. We cannot get enough of their brilliant puzzles and games which are well designed and stand up to test of toddlers and kids playing with them day in and day out. We do take care of our puzzles but I have to say these are fantastically made as they don’t easily bend and are sturdy and strong.

I also love that Orchard Toys are designed and made in the UK.  It is so rare these days to find large toy companies that still produce in their country of origin and I love that Orchard still do! It certainly shows in their products.

The Giant Road Playmat Puzzle is a fantastic multi-functional toy that is not only a giant floor puzzle but it can also be used as a play mat and racing car track. This is quite an unusual puzzle, in that in using the 20 large puzzle pieces provided, there is not just one way to construct the puzzle. Instead it has been so cleverly designed that there are  multiple ways to build the puzzle, which means you can have a different track or street scene every time. You can even build 2 small puzzles if you need to appease 2 children! The design on each puzzle piece are of a busy town and its streets reminiscent of a London street or busy high street in England.

We use this puzzle over and over again and it can be set up for a number of days to allow full play capacity. We all help to build the puzzle together in the design we decide works for that day and then the fun really begins!  My boys just love racing their cars around the puzzle track. They get out their Hot Wheels cars, Playmobil, wooden peg dolls and cars and we make a whole town scene which we then make up little stories for the cars to add another element to play time.

There are fantastic every day activities included on the puzzle, like people crossing the road, elderly people feeding pigeons, physically disabled people in wheel chairs, people carrying groceries, school children crossing the street, an icecream vendor, people walking their dog, and construction workers working on the roads. There is so much to look at and so many different scenes that can be used to create a multitude of stories and help to educate children about everyday life as well as to create imaginary situations.

This year Orchard Toys brought out an addition to this puzzle, the “On the Farm” Giant Jigsaw Playmat puzzle which I viewed at the Spielwarenmesse in February.  This is a 14 piece puzzle that comes with stand up characters that you can use to add to this Giant Road Puzzle. They also have the Giant Town Puzzle Playmat which also can be used with the Road and Farm giant puzzles. All 3 puzzles are an amazingly creative concept in giant floor puzzles which you and your children will enjoy spending hours of fun constructing, creating and playing.

Ages 3 +

Included: 20 pieces in a sturdy carry case

RRP £13.95.

This is a great toy for: problem solving, construction skills, creative thinking, gross motor skills, and imaginative play.

This is not a sponsored post.

 

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Toy of the month – January 2014

Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker:

Oh how I have admired and adored this little rainbow stacker from Grimm’s Spiel  & Holz Design. I love colour and I love rainbows and this is the perfect match in my eyes!

If you have ever had the pleasure to touch a Grimm’s product you will know that they use matte paints to ensure that the child still feels the organic nature of the wood/grain. They want to ensure that the child understands the connection between nature and environment, unlike plastic where it is hard for a child to visualise where the product originates.

The Rainbow stacker is iconic, so much so that it has become the symbol or logo behind the Grimm’s company. It has been copied more than I can think of but it can never be truly replicated, as their manufacturing and painting process is unique and means that no one stacker is exactly the same.

Both my son’s absolutely adore this toy. Although it was brought for my youngest son’s 2nd Birthday, my eldest son has had a lot of fun with it as well. He loves making it into tunnels and race tracks for his cars. My youngest son likes to stack them up or make little houses for his pebble people or Sonny Angel’s.

It comes in 3 different sizes with minimal packaging and  small instruction sheet. We have the medium size. I wish we also had the large as there are so many possibilities of play with the larger model but it came down to cost. The larger one was about €50.00 and this one was about €24.00. Unfortunately my husband was with us at the toy store when we bought it and he freaked out at the cost of the large rainbow stacker! Such a shame as it would have been a fab addition to our playtime. I can tell you as a result, I now do a lot more online shopping!

Grimm’s is a family owned business based in the Swabian hills of southern Germany.  The company has been producing toys since 1978 and they are made from sustainably sourced FSE wood from various European mills. All their products are designed at their factory in Hochdorf, and they manufacture their toys in Germany and Bosnia. However, all products go through the German factory for final quality control to ensure the highest specification for each product is adhered to.

I have had the absolute pleasure to meet some of the Grimm’s family at the Spielwarenmesse (world’s biggest toy trade fair) in January this year and the love and passion they have for their work is clear.  Each toy that you are buying from Grimm’s is one made with love, passion and dedication. This is how all toys should be created, not for profit but for the love of the design and the happiness it brings every child.

Ages: 12 months + 

RRP €24.95 

Great for: construction skills, gross motor skills, imaginary play, and hand and eye co-ordination.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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3rd Birthday Gift Guide

3rd Birthday Gift Guide: 

3rd birthday gift guide KGT

1. Scribble Book by Herve Tullet   2. Maven Doll   3. Kiko+ Gatcha Gatcha Wooden Gumball Machine by Kukkia    4. Sonny Angels   5. Seedling Paper Doll friends   6. Crayonbox Lego crayons   7. Rock and Pebble Apple and Pear house   8. Micro Mini Scooter   9. Struckla and Peach masks   10.Tiger Tribe Kit Pax Rocket Ship   11. Twig Creative wooden camera    12. Press Here by Herve Tullet   13. Melissa and Doug Easel accessory kit   14. Make a portrait by Shusha toys   15. Superhero peg dolls by Made by Layla   16. Melissa and Doug Easel

What happened…

Hi and welcome! You may have been here before but it all looks a little different this time around? Well have no fear, it is still Kids Gifts and Toys but in a new and improved site.

So where to begin…my name is Liz and I started blogging in earnest back in January 2014. I had a great little blog at this same site that I had built up over the past 9 months filled with brilliant ideas for Kids birthday gifts, Kids fashion, Kids rooms and more. But about 3 weeks ago, I killed my site. All completely accidental but through a hapless and stupid mistake by me, as a result of my site being hit by a Spambomb attack,  I lost everything.  It was the second time I was hacked in a matter of weeks, bad luck some might say, or I may have been specifically targeted for no apparent reason or it may just be and this is the likeliest of cases that my site was just so weak in terms of security that it made it an easy target for hackers. So I did some research and I hope that my new site is much stronger and more hack proof than before. Only time will tell… So first things first if you ever think of starting a wordpress blog, make sure it is secure in terms of random passwords, and updated/backed up regularly!

Why? Because I thought I had backed up my blog but I can’t seem to find the back ups anywhere. So secondly, if you are thinking of starting a blog, always back up, back up, back up, back up,  your content and site!!

This all happened less than 48 hours before the removalists were due to arrive to pack up our lives to ship it back from Germany to Australia. Great timing huh! But they say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

To be honest, I don’t think I have had time yet to process the fact that I have lost hours and days that I have dedicated to my blog this year, that I will never get back. I am beyond gutted but I don’t want to just give up and give in. I could just stop blogging and be done with it. Move on and get a real job you say?! But I honestly love what I do too much and for the first time in my life, I am enjoying my work and following a teenage dream of being a writer.  I don’t want to be defeated as it is certainly not a philosophy I would teach my 2 boys so instead I am going to come back better, sleeker and more hack proof than ever before.

Stay tuned for a new website launching very soon and I hope you will join me for Kids, Gifts and Toys, take 2!

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