The Toadstool, the online home of ethical, educational, unique and fantastic toys is running an amazing blogger competition to get the chance of being one of the first Toadtesters in 2014. The challenge is to make a wishlist of what items from The Toadstool, you would like to find under the tree this Christmas.
So I set the kids loose on making their fantasy wishlist and you can see the full list on our Pinterest board here. We've picked out some of our absolute faves and explained just why we would love to have them here:
1. The Worry Doll that eats all your worries
Ever since D received his Biff Sorgenfresser, our family has totally fallen in love with these special characters. With their zipper mouths they can 'eat' your worries so that you don't have to worry anymore. D has his Biff (who he has renamed 'Zippy') and just tonight he said something really special that shows just how great these toys are:
J desperately wants one of his own and has been asking for Sorgenfresser Ernst. We won't add him to our wishlist as I have a feeling that Santa may already have bought him one... as well as a Sorgenfresser Saggo for Miss T. Which is just as well as even she was longingly looking at the Sorgenfressers on The Toadstool website:
When D took Biff into school, his classteacher wanted one to replace her 'worry box' that the children used. So we bought her one and she was the envy of the school as the other class teachers wished they had one too.
Mum and dad would very much like our own so Sorgenfresser Bill and Sorgenfresser Flint (the pirate!) have been added to our wishlist.
2. How I do love that Puppy in the window!
J has the adorable Maud n Lil Cubby bear already and has written about him here so when he saw the Maud n Lil Paws the Puppy, he immediately wanted that too!
Although J is now 9 years old and technically over the age range that The Toadstool toys are aimed at, he has always had a particular attachment to cuddly toys and so any cuddly toys arriving in this house are always well loved and looked after for many many years. So it definitely would be a case of 'a dog is for life not just for Christmas' if Paws the Puppy was to come and live with us.
Whilst I let the children pick out their favourite, I spotted some fabulous toys from Plan Toys that are available from The Toadstool (and if you are reading this before Wednesday 4th December, then make a note in the diary - there's a Toadtest Plan Toys Twitter party 8-9.30pm with the chance to win some plan toys). There is also a lovely competition on right now if you pop over to The Toadstool to find out more about Plan toys, but be quick as it is closing soon!
The Plan Toys eco-dolls house is just amazing. I thought that Miss T (aged nearly 20 months) would love it and she would play more and more with it as time goes on. It is also something that her brothers could join in with so they could all play together with it as they love looking after her and playing with toys with her. And how fabulous to have windmills and solar panels on the house so that children can get used to seeing renewable sources of energy that will hopefully be the norm in the future.
I think Miss T would also love the Plan Toys first camera. She is always posing with a big smile whenever the camera comes out so it would be lovely for her to have her own toy camera to role play with.
The Plan toys frog puzzle is also perfect for her current age and stage of development. It looks chunky and robust and not too tricky to put together. It is not a flat puzzle but rather a 3-D toy that is put together as a puzzle making it great for little hands to hold and lots of fun to do.
One final Plan Toys toy chosen by mum is the Tie-up shoe. These days so many children don't learn to tie-up shoes because of the Velcro shoe options available but it is an important skill to learn as they grow older. Even at 9 years old J is unable to tie-up shoe laces because he has coordination difficulties linked to his Aspergers. I think a toy like this would help build his confidence in learning to tie shoe laces without having the frustration or time pressures of doing it for real when you are rushing out the house.
4. How about HABA?
There were a couple of the HABA toys that really caught the kids attention and they get my full approval too as I think they would really help all three of my children to collaborate and work together (which is something that doesn't always happen!)
They really liked the HABA domino building blocks and the HABA wooden ball track and construction set.
I always think it is so important to think not only of a child's age but also their ability levels, interests and stage of development (which is different for each child), and I think these choices that J and D made really reflect this. Whilst they may appear to be 'too old' for these types of toys (J is 9 and D is 7), I know that actually these toys would really meet their learning and development needs as well as their interests as they have a particular fascination with things that roll and things like dominoes that are built up and then topple systematically over.
5. And finally...
There are a few other items on our Pinterest board wishlist but I just wanted to finish by giving a special mention to these two things.
I picked out the Marionette Jester Puppet as I thought it would make a great gift for our very own joker Joshua. If you follow The Toadstool on facebook, you will already know that J sends over some of his fave jokes for The Toadstool to match up with their toys. As we already have a lovely wooden play theatre, we thought this puppet would allow J to perform some of his jokes to us with his jester!
And our very own Brilliant Chef D picked out this HABA playfood fish with removable 'bone' because (in his own words) "I like the fish because I want to be a chef when I'm older and it is a food. It comes with a bone and I like bones!"
This is our entry into The Toadstools Blogger Christmas Wishlist Competition. You can find out all about it here!