Welcome to the third instalment of the Frida Be Mighty gift guide!

Here is a selection of toys that I am sure children would be delighted to receive and will enjoy all year round. It’s not an exhaustive list but I hope it will give you some ideas.

Choosing toys

Before we begin, I wanted to share some of the things that I consider when choosing toys for Frida:

  • How does this fit with her current interests and developmental needs?
  • Materials. Natural materials – wood, silk, wool, cotton, metal – are often more pleasing to the senses than plastic or synthetic materials. However, there are many plastic toys which are wonderful, so I don’t discount them altogether.
  • How the toy can be used. Is it open ended? Will it be used in imaginative play? Can my child project their own stories and feelings onto it?
  • How it fits with my values. Wooden swords, knights, or soldiers? Make-up sets? There’s no right or wrong choice, but I think about the messages my gifts send and if these are consistent with our family values.
  • Can I find it pre-loved? Especially when it comes to plastic toys. Children don’t mind and it can be kinder to the planet – and my pocket!
  • Can I buy it from an independent website where I know that the person or team running it will have put real care into deciding what to stock? (My favourite UK stockists for ethical toys are Little Acorns To Mighty Oaks, Conscious Craft, Myriad, BabiPur, and Mama Owl.)
  • How was it made and will it last? Where possible, is the quality good enough that I can imagine passing it down to grandchildren?
  • I am also aware of white supremacy in toys. What does buying a toy “teepee” or head-dress say about the sacred items of that culture? How is ethnic diversity represented in play-sets?

Remember that the most important thing to focus on when choosing a gift for any child is… the child! No matter how many beautiful gift guides you read, or how many times you see a toy on someone’s Instagram feed, remember who you are buying for and what they love. If the aim of gifting is to bring joy, then the focus must be on the child we are gifting to rather that what we desire buying or making.

With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite toys for young children:

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Toys for gross motor play

Scooter. Frida has a 3 In 1 Micro Scooter which she was given for her first birthday and has grown brilliantly with her, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the steering. For older children I would go straight for a mini Micro with an adjustable height of handlebars.

Balance bike. There are so many options out there!

Luggy basket. These are on the pricey side, but I included them as ours gets so much use. The picnic baskets are so sweet too – I’m thinking of one for Frida’s next birthday.

Wobbel board. Fun for open-ended gross motor play. I’m always grateful for ours on dark, rainy days.

Trampoline. If we had more space in our garden Frida would be getting one! For now, she has to make do with our bed…

Sheepskin rug. Perfect for a new baby to lie on next to a mirror, observing their movements. Great for an older baby who is sitting, and a lovely addition to a chair or floor in a toddler bedroom.

Crawl-through tunnel. Brilliant for infants who are just starting to crawl, for playing peek-a-boo, and for imaginative play. Can be used indoors or outdoors.

“First” slide. Frida has a very small slide which she was bought for her first birthday and it was a great gift – small enough that she could play on it without us hovering over her, and for her to feel a sense of accomplishment. It was also small enough that if we wanted to it could easily have been brought inside our home.

4f7a5402-4498-4397-be9a-583c23169b8c

Toys for small world play 

Wooden figuresHolztiger and Ostheimer do gorgeous stylised wooden figures including a wide range of animals, dinosaurs, fairy tale figures, human figures, trees and bushes.

Plastic figures. Schleich and Papo are favourites for quality realistic plastic animal (and dinosaur) figures. Schleich also make play sets.

Doll-house dolls. I love Grimms, Ambrosius (who do a darker-skinned family set) and Plan Toys (who do a range of skin tones and styles).

Doll houses and furniture. There are so many options to choose from, and my favourite Grimms doll-house furniture looks like it’s been discontinued. There are many styles and price points for sale here.

Playmobil. There are so many sets and styles, so it’s easy to find some which ties into your child’s interests. Frida’s grandparents have ordered her this set for Chanukah which looks so fun and can be filled with water.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Toys for pretend play

Dolls. I love soft Waldorf dolls such as Nanchen (sold here and here), Frida will be getting one for Christmas this year. For more realistic Montessori-friendly dolls, choose a hard-bodied plastic doll. You could also team them up with a doll sling (my friend Jess makes gorgeous made-to-order ones).

Kitchen + play food. The IKEA one is a classic for a reason, but this Plan Toys one is gorgeous. If you want to buy something of heirloom quality, this kitchen looks wonderful as does this one. Pair with wooden or fabric food, or real groceries.

Doctor set. I love this one, but you could also put together a real one with plasters, bandages, and a real stethoscope. I also really like this vet set, and this animal care set.

Dressing -up sets. Have fun putting together your own dressing up box from thrift store finds – hats, scarves, accessories. Dress-up outfits can often be found pre-loved as children grow out of them.

img_9299-1

Open-ended toys

Playsilks. These are so versatile and great for any age. They can be used for dressing up, or as a base for imaginative or small world play, or as the background for a nature display…

Grimms. There’s a reason why Grimms toys are so popular, they are beautifully made toys which can be used by all ages. Some of my favourites include the large rainbow, the friends in cups, the stacking boxes, the  gorgeous mobile home and the many different stackers including cave and waves. Similar in style to Grimms is Radua Grez which looks just dreamy (but expensive) and Gluckskafer which is slightly easier on the pocket.

Natural blocks. These are great for open ended play, as they can be used for building and for small world play.

8fc14160-f8de-4353-91e3-1e578e7fccb1-1

Toys for loose parts play

Grapat sell amazing sets of loose parts for loose parts play (lots of them can be found here).

Gemstones. Beautiful and tactile, these are perfect for children once they’re past the mouthing stage! We always pick up a few whenever we go to the Natural History Museum.

Natural treasures. Pebbles, conkers, pinecones. These could be gifted in a tray or a box.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Vehicles

Train sets. Brio are the best reviewed for amazing train sets,  but IKEA also sell cheaper versions in case you’re not sure if they’ll be a hit yet.

Trucks. Fagus are amazing quality, and this Plan Toys truck is amazing though expensive.

Ramp racer. This looks really fun for little ones!

For little hands I love this horse on wheels and this truck.

3e8206ea-0c2a-46f5-bf43-0543d2ce0b63

Toys for building

Wooden blocks. For bigger budgets Grimms sell amazing building sets including the large pyramid and 1001 nights. For smaller budgets, this set looks amazing.

Magnetic tiles. I am such a fan of these I have written a whole blog post on them!

Lego. The classic toy. We will definitely be getting some for Frida in the future.

img_8796.jpg

Toys for babies

Rainbow bead grasper. Such a beautiful toy for babies – a sensory delight.

Mobile. There are just so many mobiles out there that I didn’t have time to go through them all! A simple design which could be hung anywhere would be a winner though.

Soft baby. At 7cm these are ideal for babies who are just beginning to grasp.

Pop-Up Toy. A classic toy, which Frida played with for a long time, and one which I have gifted many babies. One of our all time favourite toys, and very reasonably priced.

Nesting cups. A great gift for a younger baby or toddler, and can be used for imaginative play as they get older. Again, this is one of my go-to gifts when buying for a new baby. Frida still plays with hers daily at two and a half!

Soft ball. A beautiful felted ball to engage the senses, this would be used for years.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Puzzles and games

Object permanence box. A wonderful gift for a baby. You can see Frida using hers here when she was 10 months.

Simple peg puzzles (shapes three circles / circle). Brilliant for older babies as an introduction to puzzles.

More complex peg puzzles (shapes / farm animals / wild animals vehicles). Good for older babies and toddlers.

Shape sorter / shape sorter / imbucare box. Young children love posting, and shape sorting is great for their hand / eye coordination.

Two piece / multiple piece puzzles. Great for younger toddlers who are just starting to learn about how puzzles work.

Jigsaw puzzles. There are so many to love! We especially like the Ravensburger frame puzzles

Magnetic fishing game. A lovely game which encourages coordination and fine motor skills.

Bird Bingo.A classic! We have learnt so much from ours. There is also a Bug Bingo as well as ocean, cat, and dog versions.

Where’s My Piglet? A beautiful matching game with adult and baby animals to match. When children are older this can be played as a memory game.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Instruments

(When choosing instruments, make sure that they sound beautiful as well as look good! Pretty wooden instruments which sound bad aren’t worth the money in my opinion.)

Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks sell a really beautiful selection of instruments for all ages (we love their Decor Glockenspiels) as do Conscious Craft, who sell fun looking bird call whistles for children age 6+.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration for toys to gift and share with the young children in your life. If you enjoyed this guide, don’t forget to check back later this week where I’ll be sharing some of my favourite practical life materials for young children. 

{This post may contain some affiliate links at no cost to you. You get great recommendations, and I get a tiny percentage of any affiliate orders paid back to me which helps to support this blog. Win win!}

Posted by:Eloise R

One thought on “Frida Be Mighty Gift Guide: Toys

  1. Hi Eloise!
    I absolutely adore your blog; so glad to have stumbled upon it!! I too have been embarking on nature and play-based, waldorf and montessori-inspired homeschooling adventure with my young daughters. I love all the extra touches of love and beauty you add to your daughter’s childhood:)
    Also, what brand is/where did you find the wooden dollhouse/animal barn in your first picture? It is so lovely; and we are looking for one to go with some ostheimer figures.
    Thanks!
    Maria

Leave a Reply