When it comes to entertaining the kids, parents will pay for anything. Well that’s rather handy as we have found the best toys for idle hands…
When the time came recently to overhaul the ‘unwanted’ and outgrown toys in Boo’s life, I did so with respect. I’d watched Toy Story, I *know* that toys have a life of their own – but most important of all, it signalled the end of an era and start of toddlerdom.
This of course meant new toys – queue a truckload of brightly coloured, smiley faced, plastic friends who have recently joined our family.
One-year old’s need lots of different stimulation and toys to aid their development, co-ordination, speech and fuel their imaginations. But they also serve another purpose too, and that’s to keep children distracted during times of need. And oh there are many, right!
So, without further ado, here’s the top five toys for all those sticky situations you’re going to find yourself in with a toddler.
All the toys are under £25 and suitable for both girls and boys.
Best for when you want to paaaaarrrrtttty (but not with a hangover!)
Tomy Jumbo Jamboree, RRP £19.99
Babies and musical toys – they go together like hangovers and the in laws! However, Tomy have come up with this rather ingenious little toy that my son has become somewhat obsessed with. And it’s easy to see why, it’s brilliant fun and the toy he always goes to. And while it produces lots of sounds, they aren’t loud or annoying. Jumbo Jamboree has been expertly made to come apart and offer five individual musical instruments.
There’s a drum, a xylophone, a trumpet (oh my god, my son LOVES this, it’s actually hilarious), a kazoo and rattles that remind me of an early maraca that Bez might use! It’s probably one of the most entertaining toys we’ve ever had and provides endless fun for all the family (seriously, the grandparents love it). So I have to give top marks to Tomy for coming up with such an all-round fun-machine, especially as it helps fuel his creative side.
Best distraction toy, for when you’re cooking dinner…
Skip Hop Rocking Owl Stacker, RRP £18
Go ahead judge me, but in times of need, I need to put Boo down in his playpen and get on with dinner. A toy that always keeps him occupied for the 11 minutes it takes to cook some al dente pasta (why’s it always over or under cooked these days!) is the Stacker Owl toy. In the time it takes to rustle up some yellow food, he will have managed to disassemble the entire toy, play with it, chew it and discard the rings. This is a toy he does move quickly on from, but it always makes him smile and seems to help with teething too.
Best for when you’re trying to have a nice meal and he’s being a little bugger!
Tomy Fix ‘n’ Load Tow Truck, RRP £11.00
You finally made it out of the house, your toddler is actually wearing his hat and gloves and you’re on time for your lunch reservation with your friend at Pizza Anonymous. You’re winning. That is until food arrives and the little one decides to kick off. Quickly you rush to your emergency bag to produce the world’s best distraction toy.
Now I’ve been through a few of these, and have become quite an expert on what’s needed. You want to avoid toys with batteries, toys that are noisy and toys that have lots of pieces easy to lose. Which is why I love the Fix N Load tow truck.
It keeps those over-active little hands and warped little mind of his occupied for just long enough to wolf down my pepperoni special without indigestion. The truck is robust enough to withstand being dropped, as well as engaging enough to play with for a good amount of time. It has three parts, but doesn’t come apart too easily to lose the pieces. And while it’s quite a basic toy, for the purpose of lunch dates, it’s a new staple in my bag.
Best for when Mummy and Daddy really need to SLEEP
Lamaze Rainbow Glow Rosie Cot Musical Toy, £21.99
Back in the day the 3am Club was something that happened in Shoreditch on a Saturday night. These days it’s the mandatory wake up call from Boo, grrr. So, I’ve employed Rosie the glowing lizard to help send him off into a warm, fuzzy slumber. She has a soothing lullaby that automatically switches off after 15 minutes, although it can be quite loud, so I tend to have it slightly away from the crib. Alternatively, you can just use her glowing light, which is a great distraction when he wakes in the night, I think it’s reminiscent of being back in the womb. And because it’s Lamaze they’ve thought of everything. Lots of soft fur, a tail that wraps around the cot, and lots of little bits he can chew on and tug at. A lovely toy, suitable from birth.
Best for lots of smiles (and bingo wings)!
Tomy’s Sort and Pop Spinning Top Octopus, RRP £15.99
The words ‘Such’ and ‘Fun’ were made for this spinning crazy toy. If they did game-shows for kids, then surely Mr Octopus would be the central star of the show. Push his head down, watch him spin and follow the shapes as they whizz around and fly out. Amusingly, it surprises Boo every time! As well as helping co-ordination skills, it encourages parent and child play together, and it’s a fun way to bond. Also, it didn’t pass me by that pressing his head repeatedly can actually be a bit of a workout for the bingo wings, although after a few goes you tend to tire of having to put all the pieces back in the shapes. A fun toy, but one you’ll play with lots of times throughout a day, rather than for long periods at a go.
And there you have it. Fabulous toys for idle hands! But hang on, there’s more! Read our top tips for milking maternity leave, here >>>