Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Coffee Factory Kids

When bub was little I was like a kid in a candy shop when it came to buying toys, if I saw something I bought it. I was just so over the moon to be able to buy kids toys for my own child after years of infertility. Admittedly though I probably went a tad overboard and our house soon resembled a toy shop itself. Do I regret it? Nope, although living in a townhouse with limited space means we're now doing toy culls {when bub's not looking}. Has it stopped me buying more toys? Of course not. These days I'm just a lot more selective with the toys I buy.

When I buy toys now I'm quite discerning. I mainly look for toys that are educational and have multiple uses. If I get a toy that's multi-functional then it's basically like having a number of different toys in one, but it doesn't take up any extra space. Also, if toys are versatile it's much more likely bub won't get bored with them quickly, making them better value for money for me and more entertaining for her.

In the last few weeks I've added a number of toys to our collection to help bub learn through play. These are some of our favourites and some of the different ways we've been using them. To see how we continue to use them in the future follow me on Instagram where I share all our play based learning activities.

SORT AND COUNT CITY


The I'm Toy Sort and Count city is a super cute wooden city set incorporating vehicles, road signs, buildings and trees. Each piece is made from sustainable rubber wood and painted with non toxic paints and lacquer. As you can see from the photo bub was pretty keen to get her hands on it as soon as I opened the parcel. "Get scissors mummy, you need scissors, open it open it, see what's inside".


Each individual piece has a hole through the centre so they can be used for stacking on the wooden dowel towers or lacing. Each group of pieces {i.e. the trees, the vehicles} are also numbered so they can be used for counting as they're being stacked. They can also be stacked to make towers on their own and can be used for imaginary play as part of small world play or sensory tubs.


Bub is very much into imaginary play at the moment so we've mainly been using the set for that and I get her to stack them back up when we're finished. In the small world play above I used the trees from the city set with some wooden pieces from her farm in a tin set and some green playdough to combine sensory play and imaginary play to create a little zoo small world.

We've also created a re-usable mobile city by using road tape from Kmart on a piece of cardboard and then adding the wooden pieces from the sort and count city. This has been a huge hit as bub can set it up and pack it away whenever she wants and she can move all the buildings around wherever she wants them each time. We've had hours of fun visiting the shops, responding to emergencies taking people to the hospital and taking baddies to the police station. 



ACTIVITY BUTTONS


While I have a huge affinity for wooden toys, I also do appreciate certain plastic toys, especially educational ones. The Miniland Activity Buttons may look like just simple coloured plastic buttons, but they provide so many different learning opportunities. We spend a lot of time learning through play incorporating various resources to teach bub different skills while she's having fun, and these have been great for so many different activities.

The set contains 40 different buttons in 4 different colours. Each button has a different number of button holes from 1-5 with the corresponding numeral on the button to make number recognition easier. They also have the equivalent braille symbol on the button making them perfect for children who can sign and those who are vision impaired. The set also includes 5 lacing strings along with 12 different guide cards which can be used for lacing or practising patterns.


I love that the buttons are nice and big making them easy for little people to grab and hold. I also really love that they have different numbers of holes so they can be used for early mathematical activities as well as threading. I did a simple maths activity with bub using our Ikea wooden puzzle numbers where she matched the button hole numbers with the corresponding wooden number. They're also great for sequencing numbers from 1-5.


We've also been using the buttons to help develop bub's fine motor skills by threading them {and other items} onto spaghetti stuck in playdough. It was a great activity for working on hand/eye co-ordination as well. The yellow shapes on the right side are from the miniland abacus set {see more below}.


MINILAND APTITUDE SHAPE ABACUS


One of my favourite toys at the moment is our Miniland Shape Abacus. It comes with 100 different pieces, in 10 different colours with 10 different shapes in each colour, as well as the 5 column abacus. At first glance it may look like a simple counting tool, but we've used this set for so many different activities, it really is the most versatile of all the toys we have and great for learning through play.


One of the simplest ways we use the set is for colour sorting. when we first got it I put all the shapes and the abacus onto bub's table and let her play with it however she wanted and the first thing she did was colour sort the shapes onto the abacus. I have to admit my inner ocd was mighty proud of this! We've also used the pieces without the abacus to colour sort into coloured paint pots and added in tweezers for hand strengthening and working on fine motor skills.


Of course the abacus kit is also great for learning different shapes. The set includes a circle, triangle, diamond, octagon, pentagon, flower, square, star, rectangle and trapezoid in each colour. Bub knows most of them except the trapezoid and she likes to call the octagon a hexagon, but to be honest I'm pretty impressed she even knows that much at almost 3yrs old. To work on shape recognition we've used the set to create patterns and she's also sorted the pieces by shapes on the abacus itself.



The set also comes with 24 different activity cards which include various different stacking patterns that can be made on the abacus with the different shapes and colours. We haven't even gotten around to using these yet as we've been having too much fun coming up with other ways to use the pieces. I do love that the guide cards include simple and complex patterns though which means the product will continue to grow with bub as her understanding and skills increase.

As you can see we've already had hours of fun with all of these toys and I'm sure we'll have many more in the future. I got them all from Coffee Factory Kids, an online kids boutique which launched in October 2015. It'ss named after the iconic Bushell's coffee factory in the owners home town {pretty cool way to name a business if you ask me, and it probably helps that most parents are drawn to coffee}.

Coffee Factory kids specialise in educational toys as well as unique baby gifts. They stock a range of puzzles and games, books, kids decor, soft toys, wooden toys and toys for imaginary play. They've kindly given me a special discount code for all of you too, simply use the code FINDINGMYSELF at checkout when purchasing from http://www.coffeefactorykids.com to save 25% off*. I'm actually putting in an order for some more goodies for bub's birthday {all very necessary purchases of course!}.

Does your house look like a toy shop too?
Do you appreciate versatile toys as much as me?

Toni x

*25% Off discount code is valid until 31st July 2016.

Disclosure - I was gifted the products shown above for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review. We loved our educational toys from Coffee Factory Kids so much that we're purchasing more to add to our ever expanding collection.

Linking with Jess

24 comments:

  1. These are simply gorgeous! And would not only be good for your own kids, but would make a great gift too xx

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    1. Oh yes there are soooo many things on her website that would make awesome gifts.

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  2. Wow these look so versatile and educational!

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  3. These toys look awesome. So educational and fun at the same time!

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    1. Yep I'm loving doing learning through play activities with her because she doesn't even realise she's learning because she's having so much fun doing it all.

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  4. I would be very tempted to make purchases if I was still caring for my little grandkids. These are of awesome quality and you are doing SUCH a great job engaging her with these early learning and developmental activities. Go you! Denyse #teamIBOT

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    1. Thanks Denyse! Sometimes I think I might go a bit overboard with all the activities but I have a real passion for it and she enjoys them all, plus its really fun playing with her each day. Definitely want to be an early childhood teacher when she goes to school.

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  5. These all look fabulous! My youngest's 4th birthday is coming up soon and he would love some of these.

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    1. We have a 3rd birthday next month so I'm getting 2 more things for her that I know she'll love. It was hard to stop at 2 things though, there are so many cool products.

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  6. I love the sort and count city. That looks awesome.
    I'm also marvelling at the idea of road tape! That is very cool! Think we might get some of that before the school holidays.

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    1. Road tape is the bomb, I was so excited when I found it at Kmart. Also super happy I had the foresight to put it onto cardboard so it was re-usable because she got to the rest of the tape the other week and destroyed all that was left on the roll! Although its only $5 so I guess its not a huge loss really.

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  7. These are great. We have a few [cough] toys around here. I do try to slant towards educational now. I am of to check them out with this great discount!

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    1. It's totally justifiable when they're educational ;)

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  8. Toys have changed heaps from when my kids were really young.

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    1. They seem to change all the time. It never ceases to amaze me the things toy companies come up.

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  9. Looks great! I always like to find a new online toy store, and lovely photos as always xx

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    1. Thanks Lauren. I do love finding new toy stores too.

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  10. Wow these look great! I haven't heard of this brand before now and will be heading over to the website to have a browse :). Thanks for sharing your review.

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    1. I only discovered them recently myself. Be warned there are lots of cool toys ;)

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  11. Oh, these are extremely educational and great for sensory play! I didn't know Kmart had road tape. I'll have to look into that because we love making mini cities.

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    1. The kmart road tape is awesome and so cheap.

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  12. Those are super cool toys. I went overboard with toy buying when D was little too, but I've slowed down now as his likes have changed.

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    1. I'm sure I'll buy less as she gets older, especially when she goes to school and isn't at home as much. At least that's the plan lol.

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