If you've ever walked into the bright happy space within the walls of any kindergarten, then you'll understand the simple joy the charm and appeal of educational toys can bring.
In years past I have loved dropping my kids off to kinder and not just because I'd be free of them for a few hours! More, the thrill of the opportunity to watch my preschool-aged child engage with the enticing educational playthings is what would motivate me to linger a bit longer before departing. Happy memories are made of this kind of thing for children and parents alike.
The smells, textures and materials of educational toys are enthralling and I am very selective about the toys that come into my children's lives, especially in these very early years. Fact of the matter is, little kids naturally gravitate towards and engage best, with the simple and the interactive - toys that invite tactile exploration and enhance imaginative development. That means buttons over batteries, wood over plastic and interactive play over passive play.
We're so happy to have been introduced to child.com.au.
Child.com.au is Australia's educational superstore and they specialise in playthings and learning aids for children of all ages (up to fifteen years). They don't stock your average plaything either. Each item has been considered for its educational merit, aesthetic appeal and because it offers something unique to young learners. It's a great place for parents to shop for something really special.
My little Miss has just turned three and we were scouting for toys that were both educational and beautiful which would also really last and be enjoyed for a very long time. Around this same time, we were invited to explore child.com.au, so the timing was perfect! We couldn't have been happier with the choices available to us for this very important little person (with some keen hobbies to entertain!).
Child.com.au has thousands of items in their online store and thankfully I was able to search by brand, age or by interest which made honing-in on some great choices even easier. One of our favourite brands for the toddler age group is Melissa and Doug so I knew I would be selecting a thing or two from the large range available under this brand.
As soon as I spotted this adorable Vacuum Up Play Set it was in my online cart! Celeste has been asking for a vacuum for some time now and this beautiful wooden one was just so gorgeous I knew instantly that she'd love it. I made the right choice with this one. (The alternative was a garish plastic thing we'd seen elsewhere which used batteries.)
This sweet sweeper actually works and comes with 6 wooden play pieces which collect inside the vacuum: A pretzel, a diamond ring, a Bandaid, breakfast O's, a coin and a peanut! My girl just rolls her clickety-clacking vacuum over her wooden 'trash' and the vacuum collects the pieces inside its rear container. (Plus a few 'bonus' toy items on occasion which are lying about our floor!)
There's a play dial to turn up the suction and the vacuum is perfectly sized to the three plus age group. Celeste is loving the real action of this wooden vacuum and enjoys the to-and-fro of collecting her items from the carpet. This toy is an absolute winner and we highly recommend this if you're in the market for a toy vacuum too. The toddler age group absolutely love mimicking the everyday world of grown-ups which makes this just so cute to watch as my child trails me with this toy when I really am vacuuming!
Slurp! The Melissa and Doug Vacuum Up Play Set retails for $59.99 on the child.com.au website. A full list of extension activities are listed on the box to help make play with this toy even more educational as your child grows. This vacuum works best on low-pile carpets but does a good job on floor boards too!
Food is one thing all toddlers love to play with! I was totally thrilled to spot this Melissa and Doug Sandwich Making Set and knew instantly it was a had-to-have for the Birthday girl.
Included in this entirely wooden play set is 17 pieces of sandwich and burger making fun. There's a red-checked tray for chopping, slicing and storing plus a wooden knife. Little ones can stack and stick together a sandwich or burger filling of their choice. Each food piece features a strong Velcro dot at its centre. Kids can then slice and dice their creations. The knife saws apart the different food groups with a realistic-sounding fresh crunch!
This toy, (apart from being a super-fun tactile experience) develops fine motor skills, colour matching skills and teaches all about healthy eating. Again, the experts at Melissa and Doug have included extension activities on the base of the toy's crate to keep your child entertained for ages. It's a winner! This one is priced at $39.99 and comes with a recommended age of three plus.
Lastly, we chose the Melissa and Doug Abby and Emma Magnetic Wooden Dress-Up Dolls. Remember the joy of playing with dress-up dolls as a kiddo? These are by far a big improvement on the paper ones I enjoyed.
This huge set features two chunky wooden gals and an entire fashion wardrobe of mix and match fun.
The dolls come with stands too, so after dressing them they can hop about and play in whatever way your child desires. Prop them in a dolls' house, on a shelf or play outside.
There's a huge choice of clothing and accessories to mix and match with a whopping 56 items to choose from. There are hours of play in this box and any child would find this a joy. My toddler certainly plays long and hard with this one. Priced at $39.99.
My little shoe-obsessed daughter especially loves choosing footwear for her new friends!
Child.com.au offers free shipping on all orders over $99.90 and by signing up for a free account, you can score 20% of your first order. Child.com.au has all the major toy brands in stock that offer children the best quality play experiences such as Sylvanian Families, Galt, Crayola and Mobilo.
If you're struggling to find quality toys for your kids this Christmas that are both heirloom quality and educational, then this is the place to visit. They're a new favourite of ours.
*Disclosure: Six Little Hearts was gifted a voucher to shop at child.com.au in exchange for this feature.
All opinions expressed are those of this blog's Author.