Christmas is a special time of year for most children – a season for which many wait in great anticipation, counting down the days until the festivities and of course the sharing of gifts begins! Parents and carers have choices when it comes to selecting gifts for children, they can opt for gifts merely intended to provide fun and entertainment, or for they can choose gifts which provide entertainment and support learning at the same time.
This year our choices for our children are more important than ever due to the unprecedented outbreak of covid-19 and the disruption that this has brought to our lives, in particular, to the education of our children. The closures of schools and nurseries has meant that young children and toddlers have now spent a large proportion of their relatively short lives under lockdown - the effects of this have had a knock-on impact on their education. By offering educational toys, children are being provided with an opportunity to learn at home as well as enjoy themselves.
The right type of gift should help children to build self-esteem, boost cognitive skills and stimulate creativity, as well as building strength and dexterity.
Babies 0 – 12 Months
From 0 to 1 year of age, babies are absorbing copious amounts of information from the world around them. By the age of around 3 months, give or take, they begin to display an interest in toys and their surroundings, often demonstrating a preference for gazing at bright colours, interesting patterns, and reflective surfaces. Cognitive skills at this stage are developed primarily through observation. Toys must be 100% safe and made from suitable materials with no sharp corners, and safe for the baby to put into their mouths - as with the arrival of new teeth, and the step towards toddlerdom, babies begin to put anything and everything into their mouths.
Teething toys provide practical engagement for babies – a time when teething can be irritating and distressful for babies. These ethically made wooden teething beads are strung together with a strong elastic cord and finished with soft water based painted pastel colours, helping to soothe and calm your baby.
12 Months +
At 12 months plus, children being to physically engage more with their toys through play. They are now able to hold toys properly and can learn to manipulate them and perform simple functions. Educational toys at this stage should promote interaction and be designed to stimulate the child’s imagination, encourage creative play and to explore and solve problems.
A 9-piece educational toy featuring a colourful wooden toy stacking set. This includes a variety of shapes to help introduce and refine shape recognition and enable children to build creative shapes and recognisable everyday objects such as toadstools and other garden objects. This type of toy helps to encourage manual dexterity and hand eye coordination – the perfect toy for little hands.
ABC blocks are a classic favourite for pre-schoolers, which encourages learning in a traditional way. These beautifully illustrated blocks help to assist in letter and number recognition as well as counting practice and language development and can also help to build dexterity and confidence. These blocks benefit from a colourful design which stimulates imaginative play and colour recognition. The blocks can also be played with like a puzzle in order to support alphabet learning, helping to strengthen motors skills, critical thinking whilst developing reading and counting skills.
Toys associated with nature have long been a popular choice for young children – this award winning bird house themed shape sorter features a bright and colourful design which assists in colour and shape recognition aiding both cognitive and language development, as well as pre reading skills, whilst stimulating the imagination.
A great toy for supporting cognitive development and colour recognition, the bright and beautifully illustrated gear set on the bees and flowers helps to stimulate a variety of senses and enables young children to understand the mechanism of cogs and gears, whilst sparking curiosity and other skills.
A fantastic toy for inspiring open-ended play, the rainbow tunnel toy helps to encourage hand to eye coordination and confidence as well as stimulating imagination and colour recognition.
Designed to build confidence in the early stages of walking whilst providing a development tool for toddlers to learn through play from. The attractive activity walker is decorated in the theme of nature – it features 12 different play activities and helps to stimulate creative and imaginative play.
Featuring a beautiful design inspired by the Andes Mountain Range, this stacking toy is perfectly scaled for toddler hands and comes with a handy bag making it easy to transport when out and about. Young children benefit from hours of fun but also learn about cause and effect, as the animals are stacked until they tumble – this in turn, also helps to develop dexterity, as well as helping with shape and colour recognition. The gender-neutral design is a wonderful way to encourage play between siblings and friends.
A tactile stacking toy of 3 happy wooden vegetables in their natural wood pots, which includes 6 interchangeable parts, designed to assist in the development of cognitive skills and coordination. These toys also encourage colour and object recognition, as well as language development.
At the age of 2, children are officially defined as toddlers – during this phase there is much to be learnt through play. A wider range of vocabulary may be achieved with exposure to a diverse collection of toys relating to everyday life and objects. Toys can offer structured activity for the 2 plus year old, as well as helping to improve balance, coordination, problem solving, creative thinking and balance.
A fantastic introduction to early learning through play, this 6-sided activity cube is an award winning, multi-sensory toy featuring a colourful numbered design which stimulates the senses and sparks curiosity.
The Le Toy Van motoring and construction toys have won over 15 awards so far, these sets are designed to encourage pretend play and creativity whilst helping children to improve their hand-to-eye coordination skills and have fun at the same time.
An iconic set of 7 London vehicles which includes a black taxi, double decker bus, a police van, an ambulance, a fire engine and 2 sporty cars.
The American counterpart to our London collection, the New York Set features 6 iconic American wooden vehicles including a 10-wheeler articulated truck, school bus, yellow taxi, fire truck, an ambulance, and police car.
Both sets are designed to provide entertainment and to encourage interactive and social play, as well as refining motor skills in a fun play environment.
A favourite for many children, this set of 6 wooden ice lollies features a colourful design and inspires learning through play, whilst encouraging creative play, language development and social interaction. It comes complete with a wooden holder and is presented in a colour window box.
This birthday cake has 6 segments per set which come complete with 6 candles - this toy can be played interactively to help develop turn-taking and social skills. It can also be used to encourage counting practice as parts of the pieces of the cake can be added or taken away.
The charming retro-style red vintage phone features written digits and a realistic spinning wheel which encourages number recognition and counting practice. The gender-neutral design means it can be enjoyed by all and it is a great way of inspiring creative story-telling and scenario play.
By age of 3 years the child is moving out of the toddler phase -their development, both physical and emotional, is significant as the child becomes increasingly independent. The 3 plus year old is learning at a rapid pace and the role of play is essential to this phase and the child’s educational development. Toys which stimulate and encourage social development are extremely useful, such as dolls houses, kitchens etc. These toys can be played interactively and used to reinforce turn taking and other social skills. Operating or building toys can help to build hand to eye coordination, develop dexterity, strength and spatial awareness and planning skills, as well as offering entertainment.
The award-winning Mixer Set encourages imaginative play and creative storytelling, it can be played with interactively or individually and provides a good introduction to baking and its associated ingredients.
The Doctors Set is a universal favourite for pre-schoolers – the vintage style, award winning toy offers a child sized doctor’s medical bag, filled with wooden instruments and bottles providing hours of fun, whilst helping to develop social skills, speech, creative story telling and turn-taking skills.
This multi-award winning toy helps children to improve their numerical skills whilst offering lots of fun, the card machine is a gender neutral toy which inspires social and imaginative play to keep your child busy.
The Wooden Farmyard offers a finely detailed wooden farm which can be played individually or interactively, to help to develop turn taking as well as social interaction. The playset includes a large barn and hay loft which includes a milking parlour, stable and a pigsty.
A multi-award winning toy, Sophie’s Wooden Doll’s House is an all-time classic, providing the perfect toy for young children. The house can be played with interactively or individually, inspiring imaginative and creative play whilst refining coordination skills. This type of play also helps to encourage speech and language development, as the fully painted and decorated house is full of detail for children to spot and discuss.
This is the largest in our range of dolls houses and is truly magnificent, offering 4 floors, there is plenty of space for play, both individually and amongst siblings and friends. The award-winning Palace Dolls House encourages long term creative play and refines coordination in a fun environment.
For hours of endless entertainment, the Mayberry Manor is a 3-storey dolls house which comes complete with stairs, attic windows and chimney stacks. It assists children in the development of coordination in a fun environment, whilst promoting social and imaginative play.
Oven & Hob
The Oven & Hob is available in both pink and blue and comes with a wide range of bright play accessories with inspiring details. It is designed to stimulate long term creative play, whilst assisting in social and speech development.
How We Can Help
Le Toy Van is a well-established family organisation specialising in the design and manufacture of ethically produced wooden toys to provide children with entertainment and imaginative play whilst supporting their developmental phases. We offer a wide selection of different toys, for more information visit our collections or get in touch with the team today.