Do you know what worry dolls are? I hadn’t heard of them until a few weeks ago when Anya came home from school insisting that she needed a worry doll. I googled it and found out that worry dolls come from Guatemala and that they are tiny dolls that fit comfortably in the palm of a child’s hand. These tiny dolls are made to take away a child’s worries. Whenever your child has a worry, they can take the worry doll to bed with them, tell the doll their worry and place the doll under their pillow. The next morning the worries are gone because they have been taken away by the doll. Worry dolls are especially for kids but adults can use them too. I loved the idea so much – what a sweet and simple way to help your child with their worries.
I don’t think a home can ever have too many cushions. I’m a huge fan of cushions for bedrooms, living rooms and of course kids rooms. The more, the better. I went looking for some playful animal pillows/cushions that double up as cuddly toys too. So when they’re not decorating your home, they can be played with.
This collection of kids animal pillows are all so cute and stylish too, so while they’re ideal for a kids room, it would be fun to have one or two dotted around the living room to add a playful touch. I’m loving that quirky winking cat for my living room!
If you love a fun, fast-paced card game like us, you will love Rat-a-tat-cat. Anya was gifted this card game a little while ago and we are addicted! And the bonus is that this is a card game that helps with maths skills, especially addition.
Rat-a-tat-cat is a card game all about numbers and memory with the aim being to get the lowest total. Each of the cards has a number value and they are all either rats or cats on the cards. The rats are the dirty higher numbered cards you want to avoid and the cats are the cool lower value cards that you want to get. The player with the lowest total wins. It’s an easy game to get to grips with and has good mix of chance and skill so it’s not only the adults who can win. In fact we are so often beaten by Anya!
Each individual game lasts no more than a couple of minutes so the game is easy to squeeze in anytime and you never get a chance to get bored. But if you want a longer game which is always what we go for, you just keep totalling up scores to a set number like 100 or 150 and the first player to get this loses. The game is basically a pack of cards so really easy to take along with you on a trip away – great for plane or train journeys . It’s probably best for ages 6 years and up and is a fun way to sneak in a bit of maths too.
Rat-a-tat-cat is such a simple game, yet so addictive. And since its a card game that helps with maths skills in a really fun way, it just makes it even better for me. It’s won many awards but it’s not difficult to see why. My UK readers can find the game here and my US readers here.
Recently my friend Ana from Pinknounou shared a really fun way to teach maths and I had to share it with you. The idea – using lego bricks to teach maths! This is such a creative idea, right? I’m all for doing anything and everything to make maths fun so that our kids develop a love for maths from an early age rather than a fear of it.
Do you know dobble, the round card game? Anya was recently gifted this game and we love it for so many reasons. Dobble is a simple card game where you have to find the matching symbol between one card and another. Each card has only one symbol on it that matches every other card in the deck. It sounds pretty easy but dobble is harder than it looks. It’s all about being observant and quick! You can happily play with just two players but the more players you have the harder it gets to win.
December is a month where we accumulate far too much. Anya has her birthday and then a couple of weeks later it’s Christmas. Apart from giving stuff to charity, I also don’t let Anya open all her presents at once. Do you do the same or am I the only mean mama? I seriously don’t think any kid can really appreciate 10-15 presents in one go or even 5. So she is allowed to open the wrapping but not the gift itself. I keep them away and come a rainy day in January/February when it’s too cold or wet, she always has something to do. Last week on one such day she opened this beautiful coloured sand Djeco craft kit and she was hooked for hours.
Do you know Les Jouets Libres? I wrote about their beautiful games on the go ages ago and have been keeping an eye on their creations ever since. I spotted a new lacing and knitting toy of theirs when I recently visited Anthropologie and I liked the look of it for Anya. It’s a wooden sheep with holes that comes with a needle and organic wool from French sheep. The idea is to knit the wool on to the sheep and keep the sheep as decoration after. This knitting toy is a great introduction to working with wool because it’s not as complex as knitting, it’s more like lacing.
Anya has been showing a lot of interest in knitting and sewing so this sounded like something she would enjoy. At first she found it a bit tricky as the needle is not one where you thread it but instead you have to almost hold the wool in place. But that is what this crafty toy is all about – teaching patience and perseverance. It occupied her for ages and she persevered with great concentration. She didn’t quite follow the suggested pattern but that didn’t matter as it ended up being her own pattern. I am a big fan of toys like this that teach and challenge a child. Oh the concentration on her little face while she was doing it and sometimes frustration!
Les Jouets Libres have a lovely range of eco toys and games and their range has grown quite a bit since I last wrote about them. We weren’t sent this knitting toy, we bought it because we liked the look of it and think you will like it too especially if you have kids who like to be crafty and enjoy a bit of a challenge. It’s sold as 4+ but I thought it more suitable for 5 or even 6 years. We ended up buying ours online from e-side.
I am very partial to toys that allow kids to play with them using their imaginations. I have pretty much stopped buying toys for Anya but I do make exceptions for toys that let the child make up different games and allow them to play without any rules, especially wooden toys. So when I came across these beautiful handmade wooden toys from Hungary, many of which are games, I knew that these are the kind of toys that I like to encourage in my home. When the ladies behind these toys offered to send Anya one, I wasn’t going to say no.
All the toys in Eperfa’s collection are inspired by nature and childhood games. The three mums who started this collection are from Hungary and were inspired by the Hungarian countryside where they grew up, played and had many adventures as children.
What I love most about the toys is their simplicity and because of it, the amount of endless imaginative play they offer. Take these wooden eggs that are a rolling game – you put the smallest egg on the floor, stand some distance away and roll the other eggs towards it. The player who gets closest to the smallest egg wins. We’ve had fun playing this game but Anya has also used these eggs for so many other things like making breakfast, egg hunts, drawing eggs – the list goes on. I also love that the eggs come beautifully packaged in a box full of hay, adding to the endless ways in which it can be played with. Similarly the fish puzzle in their collection is a beautiful puzzle of joining up the fish but the fish can be used to play with in so many ways.
I am all for wooden toys like these but sometimes they can cost ten times as much as the plastic ones. Luckily Eperfa’s wooden toys don’t cost the earth. They are very fairly priced especially as they are all handmade and hand painted. And for me, it’s always quality over quantity. Are you a fan of wooden toys?
When I was a kid, I remember visiting London for a holiday and my parents took me and my brother to Hamley’s toy store for the first time. It was like a dream come true. We were small, wide-eyed kids who couldn’t quite believe a shop like this existed. We had only ever been to small toy shops before, so to see this kind of scale was almost too much for us. Everywhere I turned, there were toys and games that went from floor to ceiling or so it seemed to me. Toys that I could touch and feel and smell! We weren’t allowed to buy much – we were each given a small budget but that didn’t matter. It was the looking, the exploring, the touching and the just being there that was the best part. I also think it would have been quite boring if we had unlimited budgets because where’s the fun in being able to buy everything.
Sometimes I think back on that experience and wish that all the brands I love for kids would be under one roof. These days I am much more in to the non-mainstream stuff which can sometimes be hard to find and almost impossible to find under one roof. While I keep dreaming about this fantasy shop that will probably never exist, I’ve discovered a virtual place that comes pretty close. It’s called Little Flea and it’s a one-stop place to discover some of the best boutiques for babies and kids.
If, like me, you like to look beyond the mainstream and seek out something that little bit more beautiful or unique for your kids then Little Flea is the place to go to. You’ll find familiar favourites like Bobo Choses and of course my very own ebabee shop too 😉 but you’ll also discover some very cool new lines like Little Indians (love them) and Magnus & Mouse. Little Flea isn’t a shop but the owner Anna carefully hand-picks and features gorgeous stuff for babies and kids which otherwise would be very hard to find. So it’s a great place to browse, discover and get inspired.
A little business tip – if you have a stylish small business or shop for kids then you too can get in touch with Anna and ask to be featured on her site. Anna is very helpful and approachable and loves the brands and products she features.
How beautiful are these wooden toys and decorations? I’m such a fan of simply designed wooden toys that can be used as pretty little decorations once they’re outgrown as play things. Both the sweet wooden cars and the stunning elephants wouldn’t look out of place in any space in your home like on a book shelf in the living room. Also all of these toys and decorations are handmade using natural materials like wood, cotton and felt.
If I had to do the whole baby stage again, these minimal goodies from Pinch Toys would very much be on my list. So pretty, don’t you think? But since I’m not going to be doing that, the next person I know who is having a baby is getting that little cloud and star mobile.
Ebabee Likes is a style guide for babies, young kids and their mamas. It’s all about inspiration, ideas and indulging yourself and your brood. It’s written by me ~ Nomita ~ a style loving girl from Mumbai who now live’s in London. Read More...