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Where do you get inspiration for toys and play?

There’s an avalanche of free material online about child development, but to the untrained eye it can be hard to separate the Galileos from the flat-earthers. And if you’ve ever googled ‘best toys for a two-year-old’ or ‘Christmas presents for a toddler’ you’ll most likely have come across a blog post whose recommendations are really just affiliate links for Amazon.

So what to do?

As you might have guessed, this is where we come in.

Our age guides

We’ve created three guides to play and learning: babies, toddlers and preschoolers

They’re free to download and easy to digest.

Here’s a quick summary:

The years before school begins should be full of unstructured play, time dedicated to exploration and fun. The approach is not complicated. You don’t need lots of theory.

It’s a three-step formula:

Pay attention + Ask good questions = Create interesting experiences

1. Observe your child. Notice the things that interest her and the activities she comes back to repeatedly.

2. Think about what she is doing and why.

3. Use your conclusions to help you offer a more interesting experience next time.

Children have too much stuff

Notice we didn’t mention buying toys or finding inspiration on Pinterest?

The truth is we need fewer ideas, fewer activities and fewer toys. Children have too much of everything. Too much stuff, too much scheduled time, too much stimulation. They need time to unwind, to be bored and to dream. It’s from this empty space that creativity and resilience arise.

If your children are used to a diet of television and instant gratification, it won’t be an easy ride. There will be complaints. But the end result will be worth it: self-starting children who make their own fun and never get bored. That’s a prize worth aiming for, isn’t it?

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