Toddler Fun and Play

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Ava is currently 2 years and 8 months old.

A couple of months ago we started noticing how her curiosity and interest in a lot of things were developing rapidly. She communicates very well now and she's very interested in interactive and creative play. With the rate she was learning, she eventually outgrew her toys, about 70% of them - most of which were made of plastic and battery-operated.

When Ava was still a newborn, we used to go to Numa along E. Rodriguez to get some of our nursing stuff. That's where and when I actually noticed how cute wooden toys are. But at that time Ava was still too young and I haven't understood its advantages. At the same time, we received a lot of gifts from our families and friends and they were all wonderful which Ava loved playing with. But as I've mentioned earlier, she outgrew most of these toys and playtime has turn into chaos. Something needs to be done

It was only a month ago when we finally decided to ditch most of her toys. We knew that changing our play environment as well as our materials will definitely catch up and hopefully sustain the needs of our ever-growing tot. I researched about toddler activities that are fun but will be a great learning experience at the same time. That’s when I stumbled upon the How We Montessori website. The simplicity of the Montessori approach was interesting and are very similar to the activities that homeschooling families do. I am totally open to the idea of homeschooling Ava if our family’s setup will allow it when it’s time for her to start school. We'll where we'll be in the next years to come.

For the meantime, let me share some of the activities that we are currently doing in rotation. 

Creative Building

Having a set of wooden blocks is definitely a must-have for every curious toddler, even babies. We have an Ikea set and a basic block set which I’ve had (actually a Jenga set) since college. These pieces in different geometric shapes and forms highly encourage imagination and creativity.

Mula Building Blocks with Wagon, Ikea

Aside from building and creating simple to more complex forms, there are a lot of other activities that you can utilize them.

DIY Shapes and Colors Sorting Board

One of which is sorting and matching. I did a DIY matching board where I traced the blocks that we have already and painted using the corresponding colors so we can match both shapes and colors. If you have a basic wood finish, it will do and you can just match shapes. Also one way of using them is identification and/or difference between big and small if you have the bigger collection of wooden blocks.

Puzzle Solving

Animal Puzzles, Daiso
Shapes and Fractions Puzzles, Daiso
Alphabet in Small Letters, National Bookstore

Earlier on, we found out that Ava loves puzzles. We started with the typical set of cardboard pieces, which includes sets of 2 pieces, 3 pieces, 4 pieces and 5 pieces. Remember my post about Japan Home Center? Well, as you all know, there are other similar stores, one of which is Daiso. A few months back, they started selling different wooden toys, these chunky animal puzzles included. The edges were fairly smooth, paints are still intact (3 months and still counting) and without any funky smell.

Animal Kingdom

DIY Animal Cards
Safari Animals Set, Toys R Us

This is one of those first activities I learned from How We Montessori. I just downloaded matching photos from the internet, edited in Photoshop then printed on a matte photo paper. Ava loves matching and identifying those tiny animals. We also make animal sounds while playing with them. We are starting with the safari animals and the farm animals. Later we can progress to the more complex ones like dinosaurs, etc.

Matching Numbers and More

Another matching activity we do is through our wooden easel which has a magnetic whiteboard on one side and a blackboard on the other side. I would draw up the numbers and letters and Ava with stick the magnetic numbers and letters to the corresponding drawing. I would’ve gotten an Ikea easel but it’s a bit expensive when purchased locally. After further searching, I found Oh Baby’s smaller version which I also got at a much cheaper price. Turned out a better buy for us because we did not have that big of a space for the Ikea and Ava does not seem to be interested with writing just yet.

Wooden Easel, Oh Baby Ph

Hand and Eye Coordination

A skill I haven't mastered until now that's why I'm encouraging Ava to practice! :)

Mula Bead Roller Coaster, Ikea | Hape Fix-It Tool Box, Raptor Concept Store

We have this Ikea maze set, also gifted by Papi. Sometimes, when our little ball of energy gets excited, she bangs or pounds on things. So we finally got her this Fix-It Tool Box by Hape. Aside from hand and eye coordination, these toys highly encourage fine motor skills as well.

Counting Sticks 

DIY Color Tubes | Wooden Pegs, National Bookstore

This is a DIY and a variation from the spindle box. Ava already knows how to count basically but she can’t associate it yet and do actual counting. And looks like she will learn to do so through this activity. Doing this activity did not cost me a peso because the materials I used were already part of my craft items. The round cylinders were from the cores of our tracing papers and white papers in the office so they are thicker than the usual tissue cores. Wooden sticks were from National Bookstore if I remember correctly.

Pretend Play

This is probably our favorite play, we both love it! :)

Hape Gourmet Kitchen, Raptor Concept Store | Vegetable Cutting Set, Toys R Us

Even before I started exploring wooden toys, I already saw the Ikea wooden kitchen set during one of the group buys in one of my Mama groups. Ava was just a newborn then, but I knew I was getting her that Ikea kitchen set. Same with the easel, this kitchen set was way too expensive to be purchased locally. It took me a while to find an alternative but luckily I ended up with this Gourmet Kitchen Set from Hape. I found Raptor Concept Store’s page and immediately called them to inquire. We went to their store/showroom along E. Rodriguez and got this set on sale! :)

Young Mindz Cutting Sets, Lazada

Now our play times are more fun and interactive, still a little chaotic but definitely better than how we used to. Batteries not included!

With out little tot's attention span, these activities will usually take 8-10mins. We are also starting to teach Ava to do just one activity at a time before proceeding to the next one so she can focus more. I’ve got a few more pieces of toys and materials but it turned out Ava was not interested with them just yet so I decided to just save them for later use.

Quite a lengthy post but I hope the long read was worth it!

Finally, sharing my discoveries of some stores and other sources where you can get wooden toys.

Brick and Mortar

Toys R Us - Wonderworld Toys, Melissa and Doug, Imagination Toys
Rustan’s Department Stores - Wonderworld Toys, Melissa and Doug, Mother Garden, Boikido
National Bookstore - Wooden Puzzles, Melissa and Doug
Fully Booked - Melissa and Doug
Chibi Momo, Century City Mall - Mother Garden
Numa, E. Rodriguez - Wonderworld Toys
Raptor Concept Store, E. Rodriguez - Hape, Boikido
Youji and Me, Greenbelt 5
Daiso - Robinsons Magnolia, Robinsons Galleria

Online Stores

Oh Baby Ph - Account set to private, you need to follow

1 comment:

  1. Always love reading how fellow moms discover meaningful play and especially Montessori-inspired play!