Archive for the ‘Wooden Toys’ Category

Who would live in a house like this?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
One of the most commonly asked questions we hear at PlayMerrily is the sizing of the different dolls house furniture. From BigJigs modern ‘whole house in a box’ furniture set to the more intricate and detailed Le Toy Van Daisylane range there is plenty to choose from to make your doll’s house a home.

Le Toy Van Daisylane Dolls House Furniture

Le Toy Van Daisylane Kitchen

Le Toy Van Daisylane Kitchen

 

The Daisylane range from Le Toy Van are sold as individual room sets. This is a massively popular range. The sets include smaller accessories and fabric detailing. The furniture style is more traditional, country cottage looking, with pastel hue colours.
 

 

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Dolls House Furniture

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Kitchen

Le Toy Van Sugarplum Kitchen

 

This range is ideal for smaller dolls houses or for starter sets, as it has the detailing of the Daisylane, but with fewer individual furniture pieces. The colour range is brighter than the pastel hues of the Daisylane sets , with more minimalist styling in the furniture pieces.

 
 

Selecta Dolls House Furniture

Selecta Dolls House Furniture Kitchen

Selecta Dolls House Furniture Kitchen

 

The selection of dolls house furniture and accessory sets from Selecta really fill a gap for ‘everyday life’ sets that are lacking in some of the others. (The Housework Set  is much more fun than real life!)

 
 

 

 

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

BigJigs Dolls House Furniture

 

A fantastic value set that includes all the main furniture pieces so that you can furnish your whole dolls house. All natural wood finish with coloured accents for each room.  This set contains the furniture only.

 

 

 

 

All theses wooden furniture sets are sized very similarly.  The sink unit in each set measured around 12cm wide and 9cm tall, so all furniture sets would be compatible in any of the dolls houses. Therefore any of the dolls house families or Budkins characters would fit with the furniture to bring your dolls’ house to life.

Throughout July we have a 15% discount on all Le Toy Van, including the Dolls Houses and furniture, so it’s a great opportunity to get that extra special birthday gift that will last a lifetime, or even (dare I mention it?!) be super prepared for  Christmas!

Roll up, roll up, get your market stands here……..

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

With the arrival of the rather lovely Le Toy Van Honeybee market stall we realised that making a choice between the fantastic BigJigs market stall and the all the food crates and market stand related accessories might get a bit difficult.

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stall

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stall

So, we have compiled a little ‘compare and contrast’ to try to help the decision making process along.

Both these wooden market stands are table top play styles. The BigJigs market stand is 52cm wide by 52cm tall whereas the Le Toy Van Honeybee stall is taller at 64cm but narrower at 40cm. The Le Toy Van stall has a pale blue finish with a red and white stripe canopy and comes with a canvas shopping bag and a crate with wooden apples and pears. The Le Toy Van stall can hold up to 6 Le Toy Van market crates on the 2 shelves snuggly. It can also hold 6 Big Jigs crates from the Healthy eating set of 4 crates set or 6 Melissa & Doug food groups crates on the 2 shelves. The Le Toy Van crates are sold individually and come lined with adorable ‘Le Toy Van News’ paper.  These crates include items not found in the other crates, such as the bunch of blooms flower crate.

Honeybee Market Stand

Le Toy Van Honeybee Market Stand

The BigJigs market stand has a natural wood finish with the requisite red and white stripe canopy. It comes with 2 empty wooden crates which you could fill with groceries. The Bigjigs healthy eating food crates fit on the BigJigs market shelves, 3 to a shelf with room to spare if they were arranged narrow end forward, as in the image.  You could also mix and match as the Le Toy Van crates will fit 3 to a shelf with space in between and the Melissa & Doug Food Groups crates fit 4 to a shelf snuggly. The extra space on the shelves is great for items such as the BigJigs wooden milk bottles in a crate or a boxed cake or gateau or you could arrange the crates so that the wider side faced forward and another crate could be stacked behind it. The shelves on the BigJigs market stand are deeper, allowing for more variety in your little market traders produce presentation.

BigJigs Wooden Market Stand

BigJigs Wooden Market Stand

Some fantastic market accessories are the Le Toy Van Honeybake weighing scales or the BigJigs wooden scales for weighing out customers fruit and veg, the Haba Net Shopping bag, or the BigJigs collapsible shopping basket  in a range of colours, just perfectly sized for little hands to carry home their purchases and the BigJigs wooden cash register for essential money role play.

Haba Play Food Net Shopping Bag

Haba Play Food Net Shopping Bag

Le Toy Van Honeybake Weighing Scales

Le Toy Van Honeybake Weighing Scales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market stand or shop role play are fantastic ways to introduce your child to money, weights, food and imaginative conversation. These beautiful markets stands are the perfect backdrop to hours of versatile, imaginative play in a home or school setting.

 

Best of British!

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

With red, white and blue bunting proudly hanging from homes, street parties planned in towns and villages across the nation and a summer of hosting the Olympics in our capital to look forward to, it is a great time to celebrate all things that that are quintessentially British.

So, to join in with the Jubilee spirit here at PlayMerrily, we have pinned up our virtual bunting, donned our inflatable crowns and put together a little collection of our favourite British inspired toys for your enjoyment.

Le Toy Van have long provided us with fantastic wooden toys but the London Bus with driver has been massively popular and what could be more iconic than a big red Double Decker bus? For younger ones the BigJigs London Bus Shape Sorter is a lovely option with 20 wooden animals to hop aboard the sturdy wooden bus.

BigJigs London Bus Shape Sorter

To upgrade your dolls house simply add James the Royal Guard and Sentry Box for an instant Buckingham Palace! Will the Queen leave her residence and give a regal wave to the sightseers? With the Budkins Heart of London Gift Pack you will have all the characters you need for a Royal Jubilee Celebration. Although, I actually think Mrs Davis, the teacher is a better candidate for HRH than Queen Alice, or is that treason?!

Royal Guard & Sentry Box

For London sightseeing tours you can always hop aboard the train and visit the major sights with the John Crane City of London Train Set or there are plenty of London Vehicles to travel in.

City of London Train Set

For an easier way to see the sights you could always use Alphabet Jigsaws lovely London Skyline Wooden Jigsaw, a fantastic chunky wooden jigsaw for younger ones to enjoy the major sites of the capital city.

Big Bus Floor Puzzle

 

 

For an Olympic Games theme in your own home, try Orchard Toys The Animal Games Jigsaw or Bus Stop Game for when the typical British summer downpour strikes.

 

 

 

Djeco My Picnic Hamper & Accessories

Of course, come rain or shine, we Brits love a picnic and Djeco’s Toy Picnic Hamper or the John Crane picnic tea set are lovely role play toys to enact such an event with eager dollies. And what could be more British than a lovely cup of tea? Perhaps even with a crumpet and cake on the side? Delightfully provided by Bigjigs wooden play food range, choose from Tea for Two or Tea Time Treats or skip straight to the cakes for high tea with lovely cake stands ranging from pink and pretty to Honeybake 3 tiered to classic and simple

 

Honeybake 3 Tier Cake Stand

I think we even have reason to sneak in our new little collection of Holztiger wooden animal figures, especially the lovely Bluetit, Hedgehog and the adorable fawn who all epitomise the English countryside.

Holztiger Fawn

Whatever your plans, enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend!

The benefits of toy wooden food play.

Monday, May 7th, 2012

With four children who have been busy strewing our home with toys for 14 years now, we think we are pretty good at knowing what toys work for kids. One type of toy that ours have come back to time and again over the years is our wooden toy food. The opportunities for imaginative play with it are huge – restaurants, home corner play, cooking, picnics, making nurseries for their dolls, shops, cafes… you name it, my lounge has been host to it. Over the years it’s undoubtedly the basket of toys that has spent the most time being mixed in with other toys too. The dolls certainly spend a lot of time eating very well indeed but it works beautifully when turned into stew with wooden maths blocks, added to building blocks to make Faraway Tree style lands, used with plasticine to make cakes that can be cut along side the toy ones or served up as part of our home educating life when we need to do some work on healthy eating and food groups. I’ve even used to to model for still life drawing on occasion.

A year ago our youngest daughter was a very lucky girl indeed when she got a wooden play shop for her birthday. Shop play is brilliant for kids, especially if you take the plunge and add some real money into the game. Nothing teaches quite like doing and endless hours of totting up costs and change, drawing up price tickets and restocking the shelves did wonders for her maths and her writing. It sits next to a matching wooden cooker which gives her loads of opportunity to mix and match games so they involve cooking and food play with money and writing games.

Recently we ran a competition over on our blog to give one lucky winner a picnic full of wooden play food from BigJigs. I adore the BigJigs stuff – not only is it excellent value and good quality but it has real diversity. There are meals, there is healthy food, often made so it can be cut and sliced and there is the all too essential cakes and biscuits too. There are no calories in wooden biscuits so I am quite happy to have those served up to me! Given the competition had over 100 entries, I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one to like these types of products for my children!

I’m really proud of the diverse selection of wooden toy food we have on PlayMerrily and love that we dip into different brands, materials and prices ranges too. I especially love the soft fabric play food from Haba, which really ticks a box from me. It’s incredibly delicately stitched, making it seem like a craft product in many way, with lovely colours and some really novel ideas too.

I know I ought to be liking salad… but you know, these just really appeal!

With the weather set to be wet for sometime, you could probably do worse than planning for some carpet picnics. If you need an incentive, Haba and BigJigs have a full 15% off in May across the entire range. If you’d like to join us for our next giveaway, do follow us on FaceBook and/or Twitter.

BigJigs Toys hit the spot for families.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

One of the top wooden toy brands of the century is BigJigs Toys, lovely people who have brought together and designed a perfect range of wooden toys that cross into every possible corner of the traditional toy market. From wooden toy food to their own wooden railway system, baby toys, the signature jigsaws they were originally known for and beautiful playsets, they’ve now started to move into other toys and distribute new brands too. What I love about BigJigs is that the family behind the business is so evident and takes such care over design and decisions to bring new ranges on board. They are a brand I truly love working with and so I was delighted to have the chance to get some bloggers to review their toys too.

Anne-Marie is one of our top reviewers on our websites and regularly takes a look at new toys for us to test them out (frankly, she’s a loyal enough customer to keep our family in baked beans forever if required!) and they tried out the new BigJigs Roadway Zebra Crossing Set. They liked what they saw and hopefully Anne-Marie will use her special ‘friends’ account on PlayMerrily to add to their collection!

Over at Freckles Family a little boy with a train driver daddy sniffed out a toy parcel and got to work becoming a train man himself. He pronounced himself very satisfied with the BigJigs Figure of 8 Train Set and the photos are gorgeous – it looks like he was in heaven with his trains :)

Over at Smiling Like Sunshine there is another review of the same set. They also liked the set and, having had occasion to try out our customer service after a fault in another toy, pronounced themselves pleased with us!

I’m more than a little in love with the small boy in the special demonstration vlog over at Something Blue. He’s ready to show you just how easy it is to use the cutting fruit set which is a permanent best seller from BigJigs. Way to go small boy :) All the BigJigs wooden play food is brilliant but the cutting sets are just the best of all I think.

Being Mrs C and co took a look at the BigJigs Rail Farmyard Crossing set and train. Already a traditional toy lover and an owner of BigJigs Rail items, they loved these additions and Mrs C waxed lyrical about the thoughtful design of all the products we sent them :)

It wasn’t until I saw a Sam’s Steel Works out of the box that I really understood what a clever and sophisticated toy it is. The Cheetah Keeper describes it perfectly so pop over and hear what she has to say. This particular toy always makes me smile though and illustrates the family nature of BigJigs perfectly. I speak weekly to Sam who now deals with the day to day running of the company (and who a friend of mine knew in nappies in the days when the jigsaws were made in their garage!) and the Tom from the Timber Yard toy is his little brother – I’ve met him too!

I love the post from MummyBird about playing with the BigJigs Wooden Cash Register. There have been a lot of similar games in this house over the years and it always makes me smile to see toys being used mixed in with real money and household items. A perfect blend of pretend and reality I think and a brilliant way for children to learn!

Twinsboys and their dad fell on a BigJigs Roadway set over at Tales of a Twin Mum and devoured it whole by the look of things. Sounds like it was a huge hit and had lots of play value to keep the boys entertained. (Who had most fun I wonder!)

Bloggomy took possession of a Roadway Roundabout and had plenty of fun. It was pronounced an ideal starter set for a young man just getting into things with wheels!

We’re incredibly grateful to all our bloggers. If you have a blog and would like to review for us, join our Facebook Page or get in touch via Twitter.

Budkins from Le Toy Van – why I love them…and why you will too.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I have a special little soft spot for the Budkins characters from Le Toy Van. Perhaps it was the hours spent getting to know each one of the little wooden dolls house characters, huddled around me expectantly so I could accurately describe them for the website that did it……Whatever it was, I can happily say that they are not difficult to become enchanted with. Budkins dolls are a perfect handfull size of 10 cm, large enough for the fantastic individual detailing that they are renown for, but small enough for adventurous dolls house play.

Wooden Toy Police Van Set

Wooden Toy Police Van Set

The range of characters is enormous, to call them ‘dolls house characters’ seems unfairly restrictive, from farmer, farmers wife and stable hand to historical Budkins like the great Henry VIII. Far from being limited to a pretty classic dolls house, these characters all have Le Toy Van buildings or vehicles and even playmats that would complement their theme. Abdul the pirate Budkin , for example, is most happy when plotting the course of his ship, the Barborossa and Josh, the patient would struggle to get to the hospital if an ambulance wasn’t there in his hour of need.

Budkins Dolls Gwen the Witch

Budkins Dolls Gwen the Witch

All the Budkins characters are made from sustainable wood with fair trading at every stage. The arms and legs are bendable for posing the characters and are strong enough to stand. Their hair is woollen and their fabric clothing has wonderful detailing. The Budkins fairies or princesses have the most wonderful dresses and headdresses with layers of silk and chiffon looking fabric and sparkling sequins hidden in the layers.  Archibald the Archer and the knight characters even have realistic looking armour and chain mail.

Budkins Dolls House People - School Girl

Budkins Dolls House People - School Girl

The wonderful quality of the Budkins characters is their flexibility in play. Pair Amy the schoolgirl with the teacher Mrs Davis, or help her board the wonderful red double decker bus to take her home from school. She may pass a construction site on her way and wave to one of the workers, CharlieBilly the Cowboy on the other hand would be happier in Rattlesnake Wooden fort after an disagreement with Indian Chief Bearclaw at the Cherokee Tepee. Whatever era of history or fantasy ignites the imagination of your little storyteller, be it Medieval, Viking, Roman or Hammer Horror you can be sure that there will be a cluster of friendly little Budkins ready to help act out a tale.

Le Toy Van - Three Wishes Castle

Le Toy Van - Three Wishes Castle

Through September, all Le Toy Van has a fantastic 10% off at Play Merrily, including the Budkins characters. Take advantage of this great discount to add to an existing collection or start planning for Christmas gifts that are sure incite delight and creativity.

The John Crane range expands! 15% off this exciting range of unique and engaging toys in September.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The John Crane range at PlayMerrily has always been held in high regard. The quality and uniqueness of the toys and games have always received positive feedback, so we have been delighted to expand the brand and include  GoGo, Pintoy, Branching Out and Tidlo.

Pintoy Medieval Castle With Mound

Pintoy Medieval Castle With Mound

The fantastic 15% off this month is a great opportunity to invest in a future Christmas or birthday present. This amazing wooden castle from the Pintoy range is the absolute ultimate in castle play, including a mound for elevating the castle and providing a dark and exciting dungeon.

Pintoy Classic Wooden Sink & Stove

Pintoy Classic Wooden Sink & Stove

If medieval fortresses aren’t for you, the wooden kitchen range just might be. From realistic dishwashers (don’t you just love that sliding plate stacker!) to classic all in one utility islands. Although my absolute favourite has to be the retro chic Tidlo red kitchen station with it’s cute silver and white tile splashback detail and towel rail.

Pintoy Doll's Bunk Beds

Pintoy Doll's Bunk Beds

The Pintoy range includes wooden dolls furniture and accessories that have been designed to be as realistic as possible. This pretty wooden dolls bunk bed even separates into 2 single doll beds. For your emergency vehicle enthusiast the Pintoy Fire Engine or Fire Station are sure to impress. The fire engine has extending and rotating ladders, hoses and removable roof and the fire station comes with all the accessories your little firefighter will need for emergency role play.

Pintoy Fire Engine

Pintoy Fire Engine

The GoGo wooden toy range is one of the most exciting educational ranges I have seen. The wonderful Happy Birds sequencing toy is a perfect example of this. The classic educational sequencing and matching concept is combined with quirky little bird characters to be built up using a little perching branch and magnetic wings, head and tail.

Florist Sequencing Educational Toy

Florist Sequencing Educational Toy

The great theme that occurs throughout the John Crane range of toys is the educational value disguised through play. The High Tea Shape matching cake stand from the Tidlo range is a fantastic example of this. The attention to detail on the little cakes and the doily patterning on the cake stand will delight any little hostess and the numbers on the base of the cakes and cake stand encourage matching and sorting.

High Tea Shape Matching Cake Stand

High Tea Shape Matching Cake Stand

It’s a Wonderful World! Save 15% on Wonderworld in July at PlayMerrily Toys

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The Wonderworld range is known for it’s environmentally friendly and beautifully designed wooden toys. The range is vast, from child sized kitchen appliances that offer realistic and imaginative role play opportunities to stimulating baby and toddler toys which provide little ones with oodles of exploration. The best selling Rainbow Sound Blocks epitomise the brand, unique and imaginative and totally child focused.

Wonderworld Wooden Cooking Centre

Wonderworld Wooden Cooking Centre

Within the Wonderworld range is the fabulous Miniworld, a collection of chunky rubberwood vehicles, ideal from 18 months onward. Sturdy and bright, these vehicles have hard rubber wheels and are satisfyingly heavy enough to roll along a smooth floor, but light enough to be carried around in little hands and completely robust to stand up to all sorts of play.  As well as the popular classics such as the Miniworld police car and Miniworld rubbish truck, new additions to this popular range include a fun and bright yellow school bus, which is great for role playing new experiences and the fantastic fire station and fire engine.  This fabulous chunky self contained wooden toy makes a great gift for young emergency vehicle enthusiasts!

Wonderworld Miniworld Fire Station

Wonderworld Miniworld Fire Station

For a very first vehicle, Wonderworld have created a range of adorable baby vehicles suitable from 12 months. Cute and chunky with friendly ‘eye’ headlights, moving parts, wooden wheels and beeper sirens. The baby tow truck has a special bolt locking system on the wooden tow crane arm which allows it to attach to the front of any of the other baby vehicles and tow them when they have broken down. These vehicles are great for encouraging basic motor skills such as pushing and manoeuvring whilst playing. Just don’t forget to make the ‘brumming’ sounds!

Wonderworld Baby Fire Engine

Wonderworld Baby Fire Engine

Take advantage of the 15% discount this month to purchase one of the larger Wonderworld toys. The Wonderworld Modern Dollshouse is a fantastic wooden doll house, modern enough to be realistic, classic enough to stand the test of time. This Dollshouse comes complete with furniture and a doll family and the roof and front panel can be opened for easy access whilst playing.

Wonderworld Modern Dollshouse

Wonderworld Modern Dollshouse

New Roads! Great new range of Wooden Roadway from Bigjigs

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Bigjigs range of Wooden Railway have been hugely popular, and it’s easy to see why. The wide range of buildings, accessories and trains that are compatible with leading train track brands, mean that a train set can easily and affordably be updated and expanded to create unique and imaginative routes.

So we are very excited that this design has now extended to a wooden roadway system that can either link up to a railway using a level crossing, or be used alone to build towns and cities.

BigJigs Wooden City Road & Railway Set

BigJigs Wooden City Road & Railway Set

The superb attention to daily life that we have come to love from Bigjigs is evident in the smaller accessories such as the parking spaces set and the zebra crossing set, which not only make the roadway realistic, but also provide a great role play opportunity to talk about road safety with children.

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Parking Spaces Set

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Parking Spaces Set

A roadway set can be started fairly simply with the most basic set, My First Roadway which is a fantastic toy for a toddler, who will love the chance to slot together the road pieces to create a transport system for the small wooden cars to be pushed along. The Figure of Eight Roadway Set includes people, wooden houses and the all important bridge for wizzing the cars down!

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Figure of Eight Roadway Set

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Figure of Eight Roadway Set

As well as roadway sets, this range also includes roadway pieces in a variety of sizes, for extending existing sets and a selection of bridges and tunnels. The Countryside Bridge is particularly fantastic for running a railway under which can later meet the road at a level crossing for a really large and imaginative road and rail track, the design of which will stretch and encourage a child’s (and parent’s!) imagination.

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Countryside Bridge

Bigjigs Wooden Roadway - Countryside Bridge

Great new wooden jigsaws range! Alphabet Jigsaws

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Having seen a lot of jigsaws pass through my house, having sat on the floor and endlessly assisted children in finding and slotting in  pieces, I was pleasantly surprised to find that when the new Alphabet Jigsaws range arrived, I was struck by it’s uniqueness. Putting the beautiful range of designs and ecological ethics aside for a moment, a really great feature of the Alphabet Jigsaw range is that each jigsaw comes with its own cotton drawstring bag so tidying up is easier and storage is much longer lasting than a cardboard box, which inevitably ends up squished and covered in Sellotape.

Alphabet Jigsaws Map of Europe Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Alphabet Jigsaws Map of Europe Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

I was instantly drawn to the solar system jigsaw which features happy little astronauts, rockets and all the planets, named and bearing the initial letter of their name as a fantastic way to introduce the concept of outer space and start an interest in the solar system.

Alphabet Jigsaws Solar System Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Alphabet Jigsaws Solar System Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Each Alphabet Jigsaw is hand cut from carefully sourced, sustainably grown wood and hand painted using paints that are child safe and non-toxic. Therefore each puzzle is individual and really a work of art. This can clearly be seen in the Sun and Moon Jigsaw which has the most delightful attention to detail in the creatures featured in it. The Map Jigsaws are a great geographical teaching tool for older children. Choose from either the smaller, regional Map of UK Jigsaw or the larger and more complex Map of the World Jigsaw.

Alphabet Jigsaws Sun & Moon Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Alphabet Jigsaws Sun & Moon Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

The shaped jigsaws are great for encouraging little ones into educational jigsaw play.  There is a great range of numbered of alphabetical jigsaws ranging from the simple but charming Numbered Elephant Row jigsaw to the 26 piece  Alphabet Wooden Horse both brightly coloured and inviting.

Alphabet Jigsaws Construction Set Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Alphabet Jigsaws Construction Set Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle


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