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Toys Books Play

Have a read of our Hot Topics articles all about toys, books and play ideas for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
 
  • Find out how to make your own homemade kids paints, dough, slime and toys for them to play with.
  • Have a look at the book reviews and tips on reading and writing.
  • Discover some of the benefits of playing, songs and music.
8 Ways to make story time fun

8 Ways to make story time fun

Toddlers and preschoolers have an attention span of around 10 - 12 minutes, and once it’s exhausted, learning and listening are no longer fun for them. So when it comes to story time mix it up a bit. Use one or two of these ideas for each book you read and make story time as fun and as interactive as possible.
5 Ideas for playing with young babies

5 Ideas for playing with young babies

When babies are young it’s often hard to know what will keep them entertained. However, just a few simple games, where you spend time together and interact with them will keep them amused for hours.
13 Ideas for toys on a budget

13 Ideas for toys on a budget

Kids are happy to just play and really don’t need big, expensive, brand-name toys to keep them occupied. Here are some cheap and easy things you can make at home to keep them amused for hours.
Why do kids have imaginary friends?

Why do kids have imaginary friends?

There’s evidence that children's imaginary friends are more widespread than ever. Find out why it’s normal, how make believe can affect a child’s development, adjusting to your child’s new friend, when should you be worried and how long will their imaginary friend be around for.
Teaching preschoolers the alphabet & letters

Teaching preschoolers the alphabet & letters

Being able to read is a vital life skill, so make the early stages of learning the alphabet as fun as possible for your preschooler. Preschoolers learn and develop best through using their whole body, all of their senses and their natural environments. You’ll find that most preschoolers begin to recognise letters when they’re about 2 to 3 years old, and are able to identify a large number of letters between 4 and 5 years old.
Make your own play dough

Make your own play dough

Play dough is easy to make and hours of fun for kids of all ages! It's the perfect sensory play activity they can do indoors and outside.
Kids birthday present ideas

Kids birthday present ideas

Not sure what to buy your kids for their birthday or for a friend's birthday party they're going along to? Our age-specific gift guide will give you lots of birthday present ideas on toys and activities suitable for babies, toddlers and pre-school kids.
9 Benefits of playing with clay

9 Benefits of playing with clay

Clay is very versatile and there are so many ways toddlers and preschoolers can play and experiment with it. Clay gives them the opportunity to be creative and learn about texture, shape and form whilst having lots of fun. Check out some of the other benefits.
Button battery safety for kids

Button battery safety for kids

Small silver round button batteries and lithium coin batteries look quite harmless, but they can be extremely dangerous if children swallow them, and can cause significant and potentially fatal injuries – in less than 2 hours! Find out how to keep your kids safe from the dangers of button batteries.
Gifts for your baby’s first Christmas

Gifts for your baby’s first Christmas

It may be re-assuring for those with new babies to hear that when it comes to your baby’s first Christmas, expensive gifts are not necessary! Many parents feel the pressure to buy the latest and most costly toys, but with everyone managing tighter budgets these days, parents are looking for cheaper alternatives.
Traditional nursery rhymes Part 1

Traditional nursery rhymes Part 1

When was the last time you sang a nursery rhyme? It may not have been since your own childhood or you may just be a little bit rusty, so here are the words to a few favourites to help refresh your memory and to sing to your own kids.
Traditional nursery rhymes Part 2

Traditional nursery rhymes Part 2

Nursery rhymes are an important part of a child’s development, helping them to increase their vocabulary and develop their counting skills. Check out our list of popular kids nursery rhymes and learn the words to sing with your little one.
Make your own tin can drums

Make your own tin can drums

Your kids will love these homemade tin can drums! They can be made from recycled materials and things you already have at home. Why not make a few drums using various sized containers and listen to the different sounds they make. Or put some music on and get your kids to drum along to the rhythm and sing along to the songs.
Make your own edible finger paints

Make your own edible finger paints

OK a bit messy, but lots of fun! Make your own edible finger paint for the kids. It’s cheap to make and safe to use and if there’s any left over, store it in the fridge or freezer to use for another day.
Make your own snow paint

Make your own snow paint

Make your own snow paint at home with the kids. Such a fun winter activity for toddlers and preschoolers that you can do inside when it's wet and cold. An easy paint recipe you can adapt for all sorts of snow and winter creations.
Make your own recycled trucks

Make your own recycled trucks

Recycling can be so much fun! Kids will love playing with these recycled trucks made from old plastic bottles or containers and other items you have around the house. Building recycled trucks comes with benefits too, getting kids to use their imagination and concentration skills as they come up with different designs.
Yoyo Shakers

Yoyo Shakers

These yoyo shakers are easy to make and a great way to teach your little one about music and different rhythms. Why not get a group of children together and play to the same beat or show them how to move with the rhythm and dance together.
Make your own toy sail boats

Make your own toy sail boats

These toy sail boats are easy to make and perfect for summer time. Kids can play with them in a paddling pool or bucket of water, or even in the bath before bed. They are great as an educational tool too.
Make your own recycled robots

Make your own recycled robots

With perhaps a little help from you, kids will have lots of fun making their own recycled robots with items you're recycling or already have around the house. Making recycled robots teaches kids about recycling every day items and giving them another purpose, instead of just throwing them away. It is also a great activity for using their imagination, concentration and problem solving skills.
Make your own musical instruments

Make your own musical instruments

Kids love creating their own music from an early age! Make your own musical instruments from things you have at home. Have a go at making small individual instruments or if you have room, why not create a musical wall in the garden!
The benefits of adventure play

The benefits of adventure play

Adventure play or imaginative play is all about giving preschoolers a wide range of resources and materials to have fun, experiment and build their own creations. Adventure play also comes with many benefits. Find out more about the benefits of adventure play, finding a location, materials to use and your role as a parent in adventure play.
How to make magic rainbow milk

How to make magic rainbow milk

Have a go at making your own Magic Rainbow Milk. Kids of all ages will love it! Magic Rainbow Milk is cheap, quick and easy to set up and if you do it outside (highly recommended!), there’s not too much mess to clean up afterwards.
8 Benefits of trampolining for kids

8 Benefits of trampolining for kids

Kids love trampolines! Not only are they fun, but when used regularly, studies have shown that jumping on trampolines offers many physical, health and educational benefits for kids too. Check out some of the benefits trampolines can offer.
Boredom busters

Boredom busters

Your kids have all the toys in the world, but still they cry, “But I’m bored ....”. Here are some great ideas which will have you fully armed for next time they think they have nothing else to do!

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