"It is easy to get seduced by glossy catalogues offering colourful must-haves that actually have limited learning potential"
"Look for versatility, durability and longevity. Wooden toys are more expensive but buying cheaper plastic items can be a false economy"
"It is the role of the adult to plan how children will be able to use the equipment, rather than buying the equipment without a purpose"
"Wood is more sensory than plastic and more durable. Wooden toys retain children's interest for longer"
"The best resource for children is a knowledgeable and highly attuned adult"
"Invest in some high-quality items and then bulk out your provision with cheaper buys, natural materials and recycled items such as cardboard tubes and cartons"
Suggestions for resources:
- Cushions and mats for creating cozy spaces and defining different areas.
- Rocking Toys. I am cautious about having these indoors as a childminder due to the potential for squashed fingers underneath.
- Stackable toys - good old blocks and bricks.
- Sorting toys - rather than shape sorters, that can be frustrating for little ones, collect 'heuristic play' materials - a range of natural materials and various small boxes and baskets for the children to discover shape and space for themselves.
- Small-world play - small wooden cars, trucks and planes and very simple wooden people, as well as a plain wooden, open fronted house that can be many things.
- Role-play - go easy on the fancy costumes that limit possibilities and stock up om various fabrics, hats shoes and accessories that expand the possibilities of dressing up.
- Pullable and pushable toys - carts, trolleys, animals, wheelbarrows, pushchairs.
- Soft toys - not highly rated by the author of the article but I value the gradually expanding collection of very beautiful and life-like British wild animal soft toys that I have. They are used daily wither for play or cuddles!
- Dolls - a range of genders and ethnicities and fit for purpose such as hard bodied to go in the doll bath and soft bodied for changing clothes quite easily.
- Puzzles - simple is better, shape peg puzzles or those demonstrating size from largest to smallest.
- Mirrors - wall-mounted, infinity cube or hand held.
I'd love to hear your comments on this article and how you decide what resources to invest in!