Forget boring, outdated ideas about how to get children to learn. Natural fun-seekers, little ones are most comfortable learning through play, so toys which encourage new skills are perfect. If you are looking for a gift with a modern educational twist this Christmas, here is our selection of the crème de la crème of play and learn toys for each stage.
PLAY & LEARN PICKS FOR BABIES
There's no denying that babies change very quickly. One minute they are babes in arms, the next they've mastered sitting up and having their first tastes of food. With all of this growth, toys that nurture and support their development are spot on. A showstopper that will last them from the baby days until school is muro. The pop in toys, including a bead maze and light switch, are designed to give motor skills a work out. With a muro board or cube, you can pick static or portable play. If it's a little gift you are after, the Wee Gallery art cards are a perfect pick. High contrast black and white illustrations are ideal for helping babies to focus, place them on the floor during sensory play and watch them go ga-ga for the cards. If you want a toy that doubles up as nursery decor while they are tiny, the ABC blocks by Petit Collage are ideal. With letters on each block, they'll be able to use them for spelling and building when they get bigger.
PLAY & LEARN PICKS FOR TODDLERS
They may be passed the milestones of the baby days, but they are still learning every.single.day and that isn't about to change. As they begin to nail life-long skills like walking and talking, choose long-lasting gifts that will encourage them to use all that they have learned. The Kid's Concept toy train is a great pick for this stage, encouraging them up on their feet but pausing to stack too. We love that it makes a stylish playful feature in their bedroom as well. Every kid has building bricks growing up, but for modern toddlers, BiOBUDDi design the greenest bricks going, made from sugarcane plant waste. With shape, fruit or animal learning sets, they'll enjoy pointing out what they see while they play. Ever used the phrase 'Crocodile tears?' it's likely you have to describe your tot at some point. Even though they are still pretty young, they sure know how to turn on the water works. A book to help them understand emotions is Feelings by Petit Collage. Printed on FSC-paper, the board book uses tactility and bright colours to stimulate their senses, helping all that new knowledge to sink in.
PLAY & LEARN PICKS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
For preschool age children, learning toys which let them use their creativity and imaginations are ideal.
kapla is perfect for them to use alone but it will be a family favourite too - follow the instruction book inside for some pretty unreal constructions or be inspired to make your own. Shining the light on amazing people through history is a wonderful way to help kids learn about the past as well as aspire to things for themselves in the future. Because the Hollywood set aren't the only folk to rave about, gift them with the Little Scientist books, which describes a whole host of incredible figures from the science world through time. A true showstopper gift for preschoolers, this OYOY abacus is gold. Not only will it aid them in their numeracy skills - and who wouldn't want to say they learnt to count on a rainbow? But when some playful study time is over, it's a stunning decor piece, ideal for placing on a shelf in their room.
Like this? There’s more. Check out our full selection of present ideas in our Christmas gift shop.
Still not sure what to get them? Pop us a message on live chat, we're here every day from 8am-10pm and we will happily help you suss out the gift of their dreams.
Our IDEAS articles are based on our own experiences as parents & a need to find gorgeous, genuinely useful stuff for baby. That’s why you’ll always find our fave picks below our tips. Yes, we’re good to you ;)