Heart shaped wooden shape sorter - *£19.99 from The Canterbury Toy Shop
Some of you may know Ashleigh from 25 to 30 (and if you don't you should, go say hi!) Ashleigh owns a toy shop called The Canterbury Toy Shop and to me she is essentially my very own Willy Wonka of toys because the first thing that happened when I saw the website was that I sighed. An actual deep, longing and meaningful sigh. You see, I'm a big lover of toys as I feel all are educational in some respect but I am an even bigger fan of non-gender specific (read: pink and blue plastic and bedazzled segregated toys for one gender or the other - I'm looking at you Early Learning Center), old fashioned style toys like the kind I would play with in the late eighties and early nineties. I had a wooden shape sorter and I can tell you that shape sorter survived until I was 20. Amelia had a plastic shape sorter...that lasted three months.
So yes, while I am rambling I do have a point. I became truly enthused when Ashleigh asked for my details and said she was posting out a little surprise for my two year old daughter and it popped up on my doorstep a few days ago. The first thing I did was tear off the brown paper packaging and show Amelia who sighed. A girl after her mama's heart. After snapping a few photos in our garden of the shape sorter before the packaging was off and Amelia looking distinctly messy after helping me to garden a little, she promptly told me to go away and shut herself in the playroom with it. I think she liked it.
Let's get on to the product itself, shall we? It's essentially a solid wood heart shaped box with cut outs in the lid designed for the water based painted shaped blocks to slot into. These blocks come in a host of colours in a host of shapes and are colour coordinated to the detail around the holes to allow for further educational play and development. The box itself is very sturdy which is such a great thing to have when you know it's going to be picked up and put down a little harder than it maybe should be. The lid is made of solid wood and has the EverEarth name branded on to it and the shapes are designed especially for little hands making it the perfect shape sorter for a pre-schooler. I find the generic shop bought shape sorters to be quite clunky and plastic just doesn't feel good to the touch so this is especially nice for me to play with which is really the whole point of children's toys, right?
The thing I love is that it comes with a lace. Not very exciting right? But it really is. The shape blocks have a hole in them so they can be threaded to make 'jewellery' or used as an exercise in patterns, shapes and colours. I may have got a little more excited about this than I should have but boy, we've had a lot of fun taking out all of the blocks, threading them, unthreading them and spinning them on the string.
The best thing about this for me is that my five year old daughter Layla also loves it. Last night they played quietly with it for over an hour and really, unless it's Despicable Me on DVD that is unheard of. I am looking forward to discovering more from the shop as this is just right up my alley. I've got my eye on the High Tea shape sorter which I think would be perfect to accompany the girls' tea parties while also being educational and a whole lot of fun.
So go check out the toy shop if you have children in your family or friends circle as I can pretty much guarantee there'll be something for the infant in your life.