Posts in the toys category

A puzzle for Christmas

Puzzles are perhaps one of the defining toys - and joys - of childhood. We've all seen our kids absorbed in a puzzle of some kind, and it's gratifying to know that puzzles not only engage your children, but that they also learn through playing with them. Puzzles really go to town with brain development! They provide an opportunity for your child to engage with the world around them, improve their hand-eye coordination, and develop their fine motor skills. And for smaller children and toddlers, puzzles can help them develop their gross motor skills. Puzzles help them set goals, help...

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Messing about in boats

"There was a new world. Everything was white, and somehow still. Everything was holding its breath. The field stretching down to the lake was like a brilliant white counterpane without a crinkle in it." - Swallows and Amazons I only discovered the joys of Swallows and Amazons when my own boys were small, and we read the series to them. The books magically capture that joy and mystery of what it is to sail on the water. There's something almost primeval about the gliding of a boat over the surface of the water, powered only by a breath of wind....

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The gold at the end of the rainbow

The Irish, of course, are no strangers to storytelling. Their leprechaun stories often involve mischievous little people not leading the human protagonist to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In one story, a leprechaun grants a wish to a poor couple, who demand riches. The leprechaun is angered that they are so greedy, and tells them he has put their riches in a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Central Australian Aboriginal culture, of course, offers countless stories about the Rainbow Snake or Serpent, the all-giving Creator of the world. Most of them...

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Adult play is compulsory!

By Andrew McKenna Let's face it, who doesn't love a cable car? Small children, adults grinning stupidly, commuters at the bottom of the mountain ... James Bond. Some of my highlights from travelling overseas have been trips on cable cars. Valparaíso has a beauty. To be more precise it's a funicular railway, climbing up a steep hillside with the brilliant colours of Valpa and the sea beyond spreading below.  Another ripper was in Bournemouth, but this time I had the added thrill of taking my boys on it. They were wide-eyed with delight, and it remains one of the highlights...

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Creativity on the journey

Every child is born an artist. It is remaining an artist that is difficult. — Pablo Picasso. Every child seems to be born with a creative impulse. It's instinctive, as much a part of being human as is higher thought or longing to go home. Of course not all your little guys will turn out to be Picassos, but by nurturing and encouraging the art maker in your child, they will undoubtedly become more of a rounded human being. They will be better at seeing other points of view, be better at thinking for themselves and working out new ways...

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