AD – this is a paid advertorial with Jaques of London but all thoughts are my own.
One of the most difficult things I’ve found about being a parent is working out what to buy my daughter to help her development. Nappy changes – easy. Feeding schedules – nailed it. Clothing – no problem. Play time – hmm. In the past, I hadn’t spent a lot of time around babies, so I had no idea what toys are suitable for what ages, and it’s taken quite a while for me to get the hang of buying toys for young children.
We travel quite often, and now our baby V joins us on our adventures. Packing for a baby is challenging enough, but you can’t possibly take a baby on holiday without taking a few toys for them too. That adds an extra layer to the difficulty of buying toys – toys for travelling need to be interesting, sturdy, lasting, and also small enough to be easily carried in hand luggage, or slotted under a car seat. Plastic toys, or soft toys are easily damaged, so I much prefer to take wooden toys away on our holidays.
This year, my baby turns 1, so I wanted some good quality toys for 1 year olds that we could bring with us on our travels. I have a couple of great educational toys from Jaques of London, which I think are the perfect options for families with toddlers who love to travel, but would definitely be welcomed as a birthday or Christmas gift for anyone. The toys arrived packaged in the most beautiful printed boxes, tied with a black and gold ribbon, and I don’t think it would need any further wrapping. I love the Union Flag design – it feels very British, and that the packaging is mostly recyclable… the ribbons, I’ve kept for some sensory activities. Inside each box is a little card from the person who packed it, leaving a lovely personal touch – thanks Emma and Charlotte for packing ours.
The first toy I picked for V was the Shape Sorter. She already has a little picnic basket one, but it’s chunky, plastic and only has four shapes – boring! The Jaques of London Shape Sorter on the other hand offers her so much more opportunity to learn with 13 different shapes to play with. I’m pretty sure each shape is hand carved too. The cube is small, sturdy and could fit into hand luggage. Though the cube isn’t painted, each of the shapes are painted in different colours, with the name of the shape printed on it too.
V took to this toy instantly, and plays with it a couple of times a day. She’s slowly getting the hang of pushing some of the easier shapes into the holes, but quite likes dropping the shapes into the open box and taking them back out. I’ll take that! It’s definitely a toy that a curious 1 year old could fall in love with.
The second toy I picked for V was the Hammering Bench. I thought she might work out how to play with it quite quickly, but think it’s more of a toy for 2 year olds. Her first instinct was to yank the brightly coloured tubes out of their holes and bash them together. She’s already nailed the skill of hitting the tubes with other tubes, so hopefully this toy will help her boost her coordination.
The Hammering Bench is small, and easily fits into a backpack. The tap tap tap might be a little annoying on a flight, but its great for passing the time in an apartment, still a great toy for travelling. If anything, it’s quite theraputic for adults too – both Dan and I had a go at tapping (using the hammer though) and ended up distracted for a full five minutes.
If you sign up to receive the Jaques of London newsletter, you get a huge discount on purchases. The website is packed with similar toys that ignite a huge sense of nostalgia. I’m transported back to my early years education, to colourful drawers full of blocks, or beads, or animal figures. These toys are ideal for travelling with toddlers, but there are fantastic wooden games which are more suited to adults and older children too, like dominoes, cribbage, or chess. How else do you pass the time when your toddler is in bed on holiday?
That being said, Dan and I are due a holiday chess rematch some time soon…
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