WOODEN PLAY FOODS FOR IMAGINATIVE PLAY

Aside from our extensive and unique collection of wooden toy kitchen’s, we have some adorable offerings when it comes to wooden play foods, perfect for imaginative play. After all you cannot have a wooden toy kitchen without pretend food and cooking accessories.

Our collection of wooden play food includes play fruits and cutting vegetables, wooden crates of bread and cakes, fresh fish and eggs and dairy. They can all be mixed and matched, played with alongside any one of our wooden toy kitchen‘s. Our sets of wooden crates by Le Toy Van are not only designed for the Honeybee wooden market stall, they also work perfectly for kitchen play! All our wooden play food sets are designed to encourage imaginative play, introducing fruit and vegetables and healthy eating to children in a fun and educational way.Hape cutting fruit Our Hape healthy basics set contains all those vital ingredients for a healthy diet, combined with smoothing fruits and harvest vegetables, your child will soon learn to love their five a day! We even have a wooden sushi set for a more sophisticated pallet. Who says Sushi is just for adults?

We must not forget that with a wooden kitchen and play foods comes the requirement for those necessary cooking utensils. Wooden pots and pans, an apron and utensils set, as well as some other popular kitchen items like our Le Toy Van cafe machine and Le Toy Van mixer set. Here at Cottage Toys we love the idea of being able to create the ultimate children’s play kitchen. We even have a wooden fridge, the Hape gourmet fridge that matches our Hape Gourmet kitchen.

We understand that creating the ultimate play kitchen for your child can be expensive, so why not invite friends and relatives to purchase some of the smaller items and accessories and help spread the cost? This is a lovely idea and I’m sure they would appreciate the help in deciding what to get as a gift! There is nothing more satisfying purchasing a toy that you know will be appreciated and enjoyed.

We love hearing from our customers and are always happy to help with toy suggestions and gift ideas. You can always give us a call at the office or via the website on our chat facility. As a family run business, by parents for parents, we are pretty much always available to talk!

Love,

The CT Team x

 

DECORATING A NURSERY

When it comes to decorating a nursery it can be difficult to know where to start. One important thing to remember is not to get too carried away with lots of different designs and ideas. It’s also practical to remember that a baby is not going to be small forever, especially if you aren’t planning on having to re-decorate any time soon.

Before you begin, we suggest you decided on a style or theme. A good place to start is to pick a statement piece of furniture, like one of our Incy Interiors Rose gold or yellow cots, then bounce off this. The style of your nursery furniture can in fact determine the entire style of the room. Incy’s Ellie crib for example is elegant and stylish. It works wonderfully with pastels, pink and grey. We love how how it looks against a grey wall with pinks, cream and grey accessories. We also love the idea of a gold name plaque on the wall, which compliments the cot perfectly and adds that personal touch. incy Ellie crib

Our Ellie crib is not just for a girls nursery either. A dark grey wall with navy blue and brown accessories would look equally as stunning for a little boys room. Alternatively, for a pop of color, our limited edition Clancy cot, in vibrant yellow, would make a stunning focal point within your baby’s room.

When decorating a nursery it’s also important to acknowledge whether the room will need to be adapted once your child grows. Or perhaps it will be updated from a boys room to a girls room, or vica versa.  With this in mind we emphasize the use of a more under-stated color pallet. This means you can easily change the look of the room. Accessories are a great way of adding colour and theme, that can then be updated later on. If you do want something patterned or themed, wall decals are a great way of doing this without being permanent. We also love the idea of a beautiful rug. Edit.58 are great for sourcing totally unique, and equally as beautiful, rugs and runners. A statement rug, or ceiling chandelier work perfectly within a child’s bedroom, adding a touch of design and luxury.

As well as Incy Interiors, we are big fans of the eco-friendly New York based furniture brand Oeuf. Simple, modern and practical, with a grown up feel. Oeuf may be a little more expensive than other brands you can find on the high street, but the contemporary design will suit any room within your home. Oeuf will provide that longevity that you don’t tend to get with other styles of nursery furniture. Oeuf dresserTheir dressers for example work perfectly as a baby change station. We also love their toy stores and mini-libraries for all those wooden toys and books. Oeuf’s Perch bunk beds for older children are also stunning and really worth considering for larger rooms. We love the way they can be configured. You can even detach the bottom bunk and move it to a different room if you have guests.

Storage brings us onto the next important factor of designing and decorating a nursery. Babies come with a lot of stuff. Whatever you are planning, we suggest doubling it. Built in wardrobes are a great idea as they can house clothes as well as toys and accessories depending on how you design the inside. Add shelving as well as hanging rails for e.g.  It may be tempting to invest in a children’s wardrobe but it won’t be long before your baby’s clothes have expanded considerably.  We also love the idea of a DIY changing station. take a vintage-style dresser and add a changing mat on-top.

Please visit our website to view our collection of Children’s nursery and playroom furniture. We also have everything you need to add those finishing touches. Wooden toys and sweet, soft, baby gifts, will add whimsical and traditional charm.

Love,

The CT Team x

TOP FIVE WOODEN TOY KITCHEN’S

Which are the top five wooden toy kitchen’s at Cottage Toys? And how do you decided which is the perfect style for your child? Well, we love every wooden toy kitchen that we sell, it wouldn’t be onsite if not. However, when it comes to which is the best, there are several key points to consider.

First up. Price. As a boutique toy shop, offering more unique and high-end toys, our prices may be a little more expensive that what you can find on the high-street. However, we do still cater for all different kinds of budget. Our Honeybake range for example, starts at just £59.95, for the Honeybake kitchen sink. What’s so lovely about this set is that you can start with one unit, say the oven and hob set, then add to it each birthday or Christmas, until you have the complete kitchen. This is also a great way or spreading the cost. For those wanting to indulge their child in the ultimate wooden play kitchen, we would suggest our Le Toy Van Honey kitchen. Honey kitchenAn adorable, traditional style, with gingham curtains and butler-style sink. This wooden kitchen also features an oven and hob and shelving on one side for all those cooking utensils and play foods. It’s one or our larger wooden toy kitchen’s and the play value is immense. It’s the perfect first kitchen for both boys and girls and will last right up until the age of 7+.

Secondly, let us consider design. All our wooden toy kitchen’s are chosen for their aesthetic appeal. We have some more traditional styles. But if you are looking for something a little more modern, our Sebra Interior wooden kitchen is a very popular choice.  If you love scandi-style this is the perfect choice for you. We also love the removable metal sink which is perfect if you child loves a little water-based play. It’s never too early to teach them how to wash up! Available in both grey and rose pink the Sebra kitchen is designed to appeal to both boys and girls. Our Bamboo wooden kitchen is the perfect offering for those looking for something a little more rustic. We love the simple, old-fashioned design. This also comes with three cooking utensils, pots and pan and a red gingham tea-towel. Another one of our more neutral wooden kitchens comes in the style of the Hape Gourmet kitchen in white. There is also a matching fridge freezer available until which is rather cool and unique!

Next, lets consider size. Not everyone has a large playroom for their child, dedicated to toys. In this instance it’s important to choose something that can be stored away when not in use, or that doesn’t take up too much room. The Honeybake sets are great as they are designed to be played with on a tabletop. This also reduces the amount of floor space required. We also have some smaller tabletop cookers from Hape and Le Toy Van. Both are more of a camping stove style and can be hidden away in a cupboard or drawer when necessary. They are just as fun to play with however! We love the idea of keeping one in the kitchen to be brought out and played with alongside mum or dad whilst they prepare the evening meal. It’s a great way to get involved in preparing the family supper and also keeps them busy!Tabletop grill

Longevity is also worth considering when you are deciding which wooden toy kitchen to purchase for your child. All our toys are made from high quality wood and will stand the test of time. However, the larger style kitchen will all last your child right up until school age, and beyond. We know seven year old’s that still love to play chef!

Last, and by no means least, it’s all about personal preference. This will ultimately be the deciding factor. Which of our wooden toy kitchen’s have you fallen in love with the most?

Our top five:

Le Toy Van Honey kitchen. £125.00

Sebra Interior Grey kitchen, £135.00

Honeybake oven and hob set. £65.00

Hape tabletop grill. £29.99

Bamboo wooden kitchen: £99.95

If you have any more questions or need some more advice on our top five wooden toy kitchen’s at Cottage Toys  (or any of our toys, furniture or baby gifts) Please do not hesitate to get in touch either via email, phone or via the chat on our website. We love to hear from you!

Love,

The CT Team x

 

The Benefits of Choosing an Educational Toy – Part 2

The Benefits of Choosing an Educational Toy – Part 2

 

Contrary to popular belief, interaction with technology can be beneficial for children, provided the experience is educational and positive. Too much technology, however, can be detrimental to your child’s well-being, and it’s necessary to provide balance and stimulating alternatives for their play time. One of these alternatives is to introduce educational and attractive toys into your child’s environment.

These can be electronic toys, plastic toys, and classic wooden toys. Wooden toys are an optimal choice because they are durable and attractive, and they provide learning opportunities and challenges that your children need to stay engaged in enriching activities. Unlike electronics or plastics, they don’t cause illness from chemicals, headaches from screen use, or hyperactivity due to noise and flashing lights. They allow for calming, educational, and imaginative playtime.

Educational toys are superior to regular toys because they help children learn new concepts at younger ages. They also introduce learning before the first day of school, and they keep learning going after school hours and during seasonal breaks. Studies have also revealed that educational toys can help children develop cognitive skills and strengthen specific areas of learning such as math and language.

The benefits of choosing an educational toy also include:

  1. 1.       Educational toys encourage independent play.

Introducing your child to toys that require the use of their imagination is a good way to encourage them to play without the help of parents, caretakers, or other playmates. According to the National Toy Council, independent playtime gives children the opportunity to play without having to meet the expectations of others. It also allows them explore and learn how things work without the help of older children or adults, and it grants them the freedom to make their own rules. This is becoming increasingly important since more than 25% of UK households have only one child. Independent play encourages healthy skills and habits, and it provides parents with the space they need to get things done.

 

  1. 2.       Educational toys strengthen creativity.

Strong creative skills will go a long way in your child’s schooling and life thereafter. Creativity isn’t just something that can be applied to the arts – it’s necessary for children to be creative in scientific and mathematic fields. Creativity and the ability to think outside the box is crucial to problem-solving skills, and it will help your child excel in a variety of subjects. Creative people are also highly innovative and more likely to prevail when it comes to meeting goals and overcoming obstacles.

 

Summary

Toys can be alluring to children whether they provide educational value or not. However, it’s better to choose toys that offer learning opportunities to help your children grow up well-rounded and sharp. Educational toys promote creativity and encourage independent play. They also help your child learn new concepts before their first day of school and keep them learning after school hours. One of the most important benefits of choosing educational toys is that they give your child a head start in life. They allow children to learn things such as colors and numbers at very young ages, and they facilitate learning in a manner that is self-paced. These benefits all support skills that can help your child in school, at home, and in life.

 

 

 

The Benefits of Choosing an Educational Toy Part 1

You child’s early years are critical to their overall development. Even children in very young age groups require mental stimulation and can benefit from educational activities and toys. Puzzles, numbers, colours, and letters all provide your child with the mental stimulation he or she needs, and it also gives them a head start in learning. Some high-tech devices such as tablets and smartphones are being introduced to children at very young ages, and the use of technology for early learning can be beneficial to young children contrary to what many believe.

The downside to your child using these types of devices is that many of them don’t leave much room for imagination, and the same host of problems that face adults also face our children. These problems include the addictive nature of technology, issues with eyesight from prolonged screen use, and the inactivity and lethargy that technology promotes. Providing your children with toys that are without these qualities yet still educational is an optimal alternative. Wooden toys, for example, are all natural, encourage the use of the imagination, and provide challenges and learning opportunities to children of all ages.

When you’re a parent, the power is placed in your hands to make smart decisions that help your child grow up balanced and sharp. Not all toys are designed to help your children learn and develop healthy brains. While many of the toys kids find attractive offer no educational value, there are plenty of toys that are attractive and educational that give your children what they need to thrive.

The benefits of choosing an educational toy include:

  1. 1.       Your child will learn new concepts at a younger age.

The earlier you begin, the better off your child will be. After all, learning never hurt anyone. Providing an educational toy for your child to play with is a far cry from rigorous and stressful drills, and it doesn’t require any type of homework or testing. It gives your child the freedom to learn in a relaxed environment and it stimulates the use of their imagination. It combines learning with play and facilitates the integration of new information at a pace that works for your child.

 

  1. 2.       You child will begin learning before school and continue learning outside of school.

For many children, active, intentional learning doesn’t take place before the first day of school, and it stops the second the release bell rings. Kids often turn on the television the second they get home, or fire up the tablet or computer. As many parents can attest, these types of children typically stay glued to their electronic devices for most of the night. Providing an educational toy changes that pattern and keeps the learning and imagination going even after the school bell rings. It prevents unhealthy addictions promoted by technology, and it serves to keep your child open to learning and acquiring new information.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article where we’ll be discussing the additional benefits of choosing an educational toy for your child.

Back to school

Back to school, or more specifically, the first day of school, is an emotional and exciting time for both children and their parents. More often than not it’s the parents that are more upset about the prospect than the child. I know I am dreading it. My little girl is all grown up! 

Whatever you may be feeling it’s important to remember that this milestone is extremely important for your child as they

The best educational toys for babies and children.

So what are the best educational toys for babies and children? Are they really that important?

We all know a child’s development begins right from the moment they are born. Everyday life for a new baby is one of the most crucial elements to their growth and development. Be it that first smile, hand-eye co-ordination, or a babies first steps. Whatever the milestone, at Cottage Toys we have plenty of helping hands to encourage them on their way. All our educational wooden toys are chosen for their play and learning value.

Babies and children learn a very large percentage of early life through play, and that’s why Cottage Toys have such an extensive selection of educational toys amongst their offering. All our wooden toys for babies, for example, have learning elements. Our toy buyers are parents’s themselves, and we have many years of experience. We know just what toys are the best for a child’s development. Tried and tested, you cannot get better than that!

Many of our best selling educational wooden toys are bright and colourful and all are made with a purpose. Be it to help a toddler differentiate between colour and shape, letters, sequences or simple sounds and textures. The most traditional toys that every child should have in their toy box. Those toys that have been around for generations, include a set of wooden abc blocks, a wooden xylophone, a wooden drum, stacking ring and a traditional wooden shape sorter. We stock all of these, and many more! And the great thing about all our toys is that no batteries or cables are required. At Cottage Toys we believe in ‘Slow Toys‘ educational and role-play toys that are so much better for your children, that won’t break and are actually an investment for future generations.

 

GIFT IDEAS FOR BOYS

It is a well-known fact that all young children are attracted to brightly coloured toys, but it would sometimes seem that there are lots of toys that appeal to girls and both sexes, but not so many appealing specifically to boys, especially when it comes to younger children of pre-school and early years.

Luckily, however, here at Cottage Toys we have plenty of exciting ideas to solve this challenge for parents of young boys, and we have found a good supply of robust and exciting wooden toys just right to fill this spot.  An important feature of all our toys is that they are run on imagination – no batteries required!

Whatever their age, boys seem to be fascinated by cars, and trucks and tractors and it starts young. We can offer a selection of chunky wooden vehicles sets, that are just the perfect size for little hands, and like all our wooden toys, are hand-picked to combine quality, colour and fun. Just as importantly,they are all driven by boundless imagination.  There is lots of choice, from the Plan Wooden Car Set with three brightly coloured cars (£9.99), to the LTV London Wooden Vehicle set with seven vehicles (£13.50), or maybe the set of seven LTV Monte Carlo Wooden Sports Cars (£12.95), and more.

Going up a size, step aboard the Big Red London wooden bus. This traditional looking London Bus has authentic painted signs and other details, and the roof is removable to allow your child easy access to the inside. It comes with a bus conductor, Boris Budkin, and even has smart rubber wheels which help with grip going round corners or along those bumpy roads.

No child can resist the exciting sight and sounds of a fire engine dashing past to attend a call out. So a sure fire winner will be this fresh new design from Le Toy Van – the sturdy wooden toy fire engine set.  Robust and strong, and made of solid wood with a bright painted finish, this children’s wooden fire engine set comes complete with extendable ladder and a Budkin model fire-chief, plus fire-fighting accessories Goes perfectly with our Le Toy van car play mat. 

Hape Wooden fire station (44.95) consists of three storeys, and is appropriately painted red. On the ground floor are front opening doors to allow easy access for the Hape Wooden Fire Engine (sold separately).  To ensure the fire fighters can keep fit, there is a gym on the first floor, complete with a treadmill and bench press, and on the second floor there is a mess room with table for eating and a wooden bed for sleeping. Other accessories include a fireman’s’ pole and red wooden bell.  Of course, every fire station needs a control centre, and there is also a mounted GPS/ computer system for the firemen to keep tabs on all their emergency call-outs.

Le Toy Van wooden toys for children

Le Toy van wooden toys for Children are one of our best sellers, and it is no wonder. Leading the market when it comes to design-led luxury wooden toys, Le Toy Van have successfully created a brand of wooden toys for children and babies that is unrivaled. Made from the highest quality materials and finished in non-toxic paints, each one of their toys is designed with longevity in mind. As with all our wooden toys, Le Toy Van toys are created to provide hours of enjoyment for little ones. There is a real emphasis on imagination and development and their play value is second to none. What is also so great about Le Toy Van toys? They also appeal to parents!

We don’t know about you, but when it comes to our children’s toys aesthetic appeal is also a very important factor. There is nothing more unappealing than a garish plastic toy cluttering up the living room! We want our children’s toys to not only provide joy and entertainment, but they also need to look good within the home. This is just one more very good reason why we love wooden toys. Their childhood appeal and vintage charm are impossible to resist. Don’t you think?

Le Toy Van toys have a vast and extensive collection. Whether you are looking for a high quality, educational, wooden toy for babies or a top of the range wooden garage toy, Le Toy Van have it all. We especially love their Honeybake collection. Wooden play kitchens, the Honeybee Marketstall, and a vast array of wooden kitchen accessories will provide hours of entertainment. Their is nothing more heart warming than listening to your child’s imagination run wild. And what little ones doesn’t love to play chef? The Le Toy Van cafe machine and Le Toy Van mixer set are also firm favorites among children of all ages. We think they would make a lovely role-play inspired cooking gift.

The newest range by Le Toy Van, Le Toy Van’s Petilou is also another welcome addition to the Cottage Toys offering. Be sure to check out our best selling Petilou sensory shapes and the Petilou forrest stacker tower and bag. Another wonderful wooden toy for babies is the Noah’s ark wooden shape sorter. Babies will love to match the little wooden Noah’s ark animal figures to the correct shape cut out in the side of the Ark. It’s also a really adorable wooden toy for pretend play and your little one can play out the famous bible story.

So whether you are looking for a wooden play kitchen, wooden garage toy, Le Toy Van my first tool bench or simple a unique and fun wooden toy for babies, Le Toy Van wooden toys are definitely worth considering.

View our Le Toy Van collection here:

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A guide to toy safety – Part. 2

In part 1, we discussed about toy safety, this one is about what to look out for when shopping for wooden toys.
Follow a few golden rules, and you will be diminishing much of the risk to your child when selecting and caring for their toys:

1.    Always buy your toys from a reputable source. Whether an online shop or a traditional shop, buy from a trustworthy source where you know they take care about the quality of the toys that are being sold. Avoid the commercial chains that pump out toys in their millions. These companies can afford to settle any lawsuit for harm done to children and do so routinely, while sourcing the cheapest manufactured toys. They see it as a fact of life. That attitude doesn’t keep your child safe however.

2.    Never buy toys that don’t have a CE mark on them or their packaging. The CE mark is a commitment from the toy maker that the toy complies with all EU safety rules, which are amongst the strictest in the world.

3.    Choose toys that are age appropriate. Purchasing toys that are outside the recommended age, particularly those that are ‘not suitable for 0-36 months’ for children in that bracket is extremely important. Use your determination of your child’s skill and abilities when judging whether to buy a toy. If you don’t think they could use it correctly, don’t buy it.

4.    Do not buy toys with small detachable parts for children under 3 years. When choosing a toy, ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’, especially as with small infants, they are rarely capable of more than banging a toy off the floor. This is exactly what causes small parts to be broken off and swallowed.

5.    Read all warnings thoroughly and follow instructions precisely. Keep the instructions in a safe place for future use also.

6.    Supervise your child while they are playing with the toy. Any toy that is thrown can turn into a projectile that can cause injury and damage. Keep an eye on your child and demonstrate to your child how to correctly use the toy if necessary.

7.    Check the toys are still safe from time to time. Well-loved toys inevitably suffer wear and tear, so it’s important to ensure that your child’s toys are still safe after you have owned them for some time. It is also a good idea to check gifts and any second-hand toys immediately after they are bought and regularly thereafter.

8.    Teach your children to put toys away when finished using them. Easier said than done (we know!) but it definitely pays safety dividends in the long run. Accidents can easily happen if toys are left strewn around the floors.

We hope this helps. Of course if you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.