Since winning a fabulous collection of products in their summer photography competition last year (with our Where in the World is Jenny Woodenmum? blog that you can see here - it might inspire you to get creative with the kids in the holidays ! You should also check out the John Crane Blog (here) which is what inspired us in the first place), I am a total wooden toy convert and a HUGE John Crane fan. I've been amazed to see the extent to which, once you remove the flashing lights and electronic noises that pretty much all modern toys have, kids will instantly revert to creative play, making up stories and using their imaginations to really bring the toys to life. On top of that, wood is so much more resistant than plastic so the toys are really built to last.
I was therefore over the moon when the opportunity came up, via the Blog Match programme (see the badge on my sidebar) to try out their High Tea Shape Matching Game. I wasn't prepared for quite how lovely it is and, when it's not being played with, it's kept on the shelf as a decorative object because it's so pretty and perfectly matches Juliette's pink/purple colour scheme in her bedroom.
Both 6-year-old Juliette and 9-year-old Sophie immediately oohed and aahed about just how pink and pretty it is ! But Pierre wasn't put off in the slightest by the colour and immediately sat down, taking out the beautiful little cakes and trying to fit them back into the right holes.
But this shape-sorting fun was just the beginning. The little individual cakes are so realistic and detailed that Juliette couldn't resist using them in a Woodenmums tea party. (This is where I really kick myself that both cameras are currently charging, getting ready for our holiday next week - I've been scheduling posts so you won't even notice I'm gone !! - so I haven't got any snaps to show you, but I'll take some next time and add them to this post !)
They're great for little pretend tea parties, but also for creating a lovely baker's shop to play in, which is a great way of practising maths skills - adding and subtracting and even multiplication tables if you sit down and create a price list before you start. See ? All you need is a little imagination, even as a parent !
The maths aspect continues when it's time to put the cakes away, back on the pretty two-tiered stand. Each one has a number on the base which you need to match with the same number in the corresponding hole, so it's great for number recognition skills, as well as coordination and fine motor skills.
But above all, it's very beautiful, great fun to play with and perfect for imaginative role play. Which is what I always end up saying every time I review anything from John Crane !
The High Tea Shape Matching Set is available from all good toy stores including Dillon’s ToyBox – http://www.dillonstoybox.com/john-crane-tidlo-high-tea-set-825-p.asp - but keep your eyes open because there will be a fabulous giveaway coming up right here on my blog where you can win your very own.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £23.95
for more information : http://www.john-crane.co.uk/ / twitter @johncraneblog / www.facebook.com/johncranetoys
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