Green Toys are great, and mainly suitable below the 3+ age range. Made entirely from recycled milk bottles, they're brilliant for role play and imaginative play. It's hard to pick a favourite because the children play with all the vehicles in the bath and sandpit, but I love the Rocket and Cookware and Dining set - both suitable for children aged 2+ and can even be washed in the dishwasher!
Orchard Toys have a huge range of games and puzzles for younger children and they're a brilliant introduction to turn-taking and rules of gameplay. They all encourage discussion and social interaction and expand your child's vocabulary - and they're great fun! The Who's In Space? puzzle (£7.50 age 3+) is still favourite since last year, and the Can You Guess? Game (£11.75 age 4+) is a much newer favourite.
TinyMe make absolutely gorgeous and practical items which make superb gifts. They cost more than alternatives, but the quality is superb and the personalisation is really second to none, nothing is 'off-the-shelf', it's all made especially for you. The TinyMe wooden name block puzzle comes in a beautiful felt slipcase, is suitable from 18 months and starts at £22.
The Doodle Bear is a surprise hit in our house. We have the Magic Glow Doodle Bear (Around £25 age 3+) which uses not only a washable marker, but a light pen. Both of my boys love it and it's constantly in the wash!
The Hexbug Aquabot might seem a strange one to put in a collection of toys for younger children, but actually it's suitable for age 3+ and if my 4 year old hasn't broken it yet, then it's a great thing. Far less delicate than it looks, and great fun in the bath, we reviewed the Zombie Aquabot which glows-in-the-dark too! Around £8.
Books are a perfect gift for children of any age, and some of my favourites for this age group are from The Little Tiger Press. Two we've read a lot recently are Touch And Feel Story Books, which have gorgeous flocked sections that my children like to stroke as I read to them at night - it's very relaxing and calming....Priced around £7-£11
LEGO DUPLO used to just be for little ones, and now it has some more 'grown up' sets that your bigger children will be happy to play with. The Batman range is excellent and my 4 year old is more than happy to put down the little LEGO and play with this. The Batcave Adventure set costs £39.99 and is suitable for children aged 2+.
LEGO have a great range called Juniors, which are based on larger pieces and don't have tricky builds or lots of small pieces that tiny hands can't quite press together or pull apart. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, and they build is instantly recogniseable, so small children are immediately rewarded and can see what they're building.
Designed for children aged around 4+. I haven't yet reviewed any on the blog and I really should. They're an excellent bridge for a child moving from DUPLO, and can be incorporated into any other regular small LEGO once your child progresses. The LEGO Juniors Digger shown retails at £9.99.
My final recommendation for younger children is a Drumond Park game that my boys both love. Pumpaloons is great fun and we got most use from ours in the garden in the Summer, but it's a great game for parties and games nights as it gets everyone moving! Age 4+ and around £20.
Some giveaways featured within review posts may now be over - for all of my current giveaways please see my giveaways page. All prices shown on this page were correct at the time of posting.
No-one gave me added incentive to include these items. These are my pick from the reviews I've done this year....