But it’s also important to know that toys comply to safety regulations. At the end of this article are some practical checks to ensure the toys you buy are safe – I’ve extracted my points from a longer article The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). My summary is based on buying toys from toy shops in Ireland.
I am 20 years running Mimitoys and 23 years as a mum, I would like to share my experience and observations about the age and play value of toys.
# A lot of our wooden toys in the role-play, pretend-play categories for example such as puppet theatres, dollhouses, kitchens, workbenches, etc…are suitable from 3 years from a safety point of view,
However children up until the ages of 8, 9 and even older have amazing imaginative and creative skills that can be explored through playing with any of kids toys sold in Ireland.
# Games and board games have a recommended age, but let’s not forget to consider what children like, their abilities and interest.
Our Rummy Number Game for example is suitable from the age of 7, it’s all about working out combinations and logical scenarios. I play it with my 13 years old and 15 years old. We love it.
#Some skills-toys like lacing, threading, balancing games often have a recommended age 3 years+. These toys are really fantastic to develop pencil grip, fine-motor skills and concentration amongst other skills. Therefore in my opinion, these types of toys start at 3 years but are relevant up to 7 years of age. And it’s Ok to buy a toy like that for a Jr or Sr infant.
Djeco is one of our favourite brand and is really unique in its designs, quality of materials and attention to detail.
Adults buy our Djeco beads kits and painting kits. The quality of the materials, the original designs and the concept make them a do-able project that will be started and finished within a reasonable amount of time. Plus, anything achieved is something to be proud of, that can be offered or framed.
Below are photos of a framed Djeco Puzz’Art Elephant, that a customer has kindly emailed me. They have used it as a present to a friend.
With the following comments – “Thought you might like to see how the Elephant puzz’art worked out, first we glued it to a deep framed canvas & then my 15yr old used dabber sponges & painted around then gave it a clear coating. Our Indian friends loved it as they so much missed travelling home.” Linda from Limerick (Jan. 2021). Stunning
My youngest is now 15 years old and the toys we still find in our house are a box of Kapla 200. When enough is enough with the phone, I just empty the box on the table and see what happens…amazing, Kapla is like a magnet.
We are not builders or engineers in our house but we just like to the touchy feely sensation of the wooden planks and the free flow of stacking!
The Number Rummy Game I mentioned earlier, I have always played cards with my grandparents and that brought me back to playing Rummy with them. It’s easy to set up with easy rules. I actually like the fact that, for this game, we need a bit of silence to concentrate. It’s nice!
I suppose what I am trying to say is that when we pick educational toys, let’s appreciate what it does, what it encourages and develops. Children play naturally, they’ll know what to do…and they’ll learn all the time.
Practical parent actions to ensure the toys you buy are safe:
# Look for the CE mark – this is a a manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with safety regulations and safety standards in the EU.
When buying from a shop or online, check that the CE mark is mentioned and read or ask questions about the manufacturers or suppliers.
# Buy from a reputable retailer, someone you trust, someone who offers advice, shows knowledge and interest in their product range and has a returns policy.
# Once the toy is bought, make sure to read all instructions before use.
# Check if there is a warning mark about the age as some toys may have small parts not suitable for under 3 years old.