Posts tagged - toddler

Transportable Toys for your Toddler’s Education

This is a guest post from Galt Toys.

Someone once said a child is like a sponge and never has it been truer. We plead with them to say just one new word, yet as soon as we let something slip that we would rather was never repeated, they are all over it and the word or phrase becomes their favourite.

No matter where you take a toddler, there is something for them to absorb. Even on bus or car journeys, there are things to learn, and you can maximise these opportunities by nabbing some educational toys to take along. Here are some fab ideas for transportable toys and activities to help your toddler learn on-the-go.

Interactive Books

Books are fabulous, but some books have little activities to help them get more involved with the book’s content, such as finger puppets, buttons to press when certain images occur in the story and more. Not only will they teach your child picture-sound recognition or co-ordination (depending on the activity), the story will feed their creative side. Most children’s books do have an educational theme or something to learn from them, so this lesson will hopefully be picked up along the way.

Peter Rabbit finger puppet book

Activities That Mimic What You Are Doing

Taking your tot in the car for a trip out? Why not get them a steering wheel to mount on the dashboard and get them to copy you. Talk them through what they are doing (turning left, turning right, approaching the roundabout etc.) so they can learn new words while doing exactly as you do.

Drawing Equipment

Pens and paper are always a hit (but make sure you take washable drawing paraphernalia if you want your clothes and their clothes and every surface in sight to remain in a respectable state) no matter where you go or what you do. Let them scribble all over, or encourage them to draw using a colour they can see. For example, if they can see a leaf, suggest they use green. If near water, get them colouring in blue. This will help them learn colours while creating artwork that will be stuck to the fridge for years to come.

Mushroom creating his latest masterpiece

Baby Puzzles

One of my favourite activities to take out and about for toddlers are Galt’s baby puzzles. They are simple jigsaws where you have to match one half to the other and there are a number of themes, including transport, farm and jungle. Tasks like this help them to develop co-ordination as well as problem-solving skills. They will also learn the names of different animals or items and where they can be found if you play along and talk to them about what they are doing. These types of puzzles are ideal to take on days out such as picnics or the beach, where your child may want to sit and rest for a little while.

About the Author

This article was written on behalf of Galt Toys. Galt Toys have been manufacturing toys for over 175 years, and know a thing or two about toys…and having fun!


Please baby, please – A Spike Lee joint

I’ve decided to review this book as it’s Mushroom’s current favourite.*

Please, baby, please

It’s one of those I bought on a whim after doing a google search for age appropriate books. I was curious when I saw that it was written by Spike Lee and his wife, Tanya. I assumed it would be different from his films (!) and the reviews were good so I decided to buy it. I also think it’s a good thing for Mushroom to have more books with black characters in them.

The book essentially follows a day in the life of a typical toddler but that instead of it being the usual routine of a lovely trip to the park, some jolly good fun playtime, etc., followed by hassle-free bath and bedtime in the evening, as we’ve read about in other books, this is a day for a typical toddler! This means its starts with a 3am wake-up, and is followed by the parents imploring the baby throughout the day, not to eat sand, to share her toys, not to draw on the wall… You get the picture.

At first I wasn’t sure such a book sets a good example for Mushroom, who himself is fond of a 4/5am wake-up and has been known to draw on the floor, on his face and on my clothes (not on the walls – lately – funnily enough) but he find it hilarious. He knows this baby is misbehaving and he takes great delight in it. Each time I finish reading and think he’s asleep, his little voice pipes up ‘More, more!’ I am thoroughly sick of it, and it’s repetition of ”please, baby, please, baby baby baby…’ on every page and yet…

I highly recommend this book. It will make you laugh in recognition of the challenges of bringing up a baby/toddler and kids just seem to love it. A great  stocking filler if you haven’t already finished your Christmas shopping!

Disclosure: *This is the only reason for this review. I wasn’t asked to review this book, nor have I received any payment for doing so. Read my full PR and disclosure policy here. 



Mushroom has just discovered the joys of jumping in dirty puddles…

Think it might be time to buy some wellies!

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Dear Mushroom… Remembering your firsts

Dear Mushroom,

I thought it was about time I addressed you personally…

When I started this blog a few months ago, its main purpose was to record your milestones so that one day, when you ask  ‘What were my first words?’ or ‘how old was I when I took my first steps?’ I can actually give you an accurate answer. Also, it might be kind of cool to read a whole blog that’s basically dedicated to you. Or not. That’s why I have protected your privacy and will continue to do so, at least until you can tell me how you feel about it all.

This week, you started walking. I mean, you took your first, hesitant, extremely wobbly, steps a few weeks ago but yesterday you started walking confidently, without being prompted – as in ‘Walk to Mummy/Daddy/Auntie – go on! Just two steps! Yay *claps* well done!!’ – The first time you just stood up by the sofa and walked right across the whole to the kitchen. And back. You looked pretty pleased with yourself. Later the same day, you bravely took a walk outside the house, stopping to stroke the neighbours dogs on your travels. This was also a first – you’ve not had much contact with animals apart from the odd trip to the farm but you showed no fear, just a burning curiosity. It was as if you had to know what the fur felt like. I think, from your expression, you were pleasantly surprised. Without being told, you were incredibly gentle and I was proud of you.

This big first – the walking I mean, rather than the dog stroking – got me thinking. I had a baby book bought for me when you were born in which I recorded all your milestones up to a year – first smile, first attempts at crawling, etc.  I will be adding in your first steps of course but what about the first time you sleep through the night (I’m told this will happen at some point)? The first time you speak a full, comprehensible sentence? You already talk a lot – recognisable words so far apart from Mumum (Not ‘Mummy’ or ‘Mama.’ I like that it’s different) and Daddy are Woof, ‘nana (banana) and Uh Oh but the rest is still babble to me. You look so earnest though, I wish I could understand and relieve your increasing frustration and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Well, all these things and more I will record here, for you to read at some point in the future.

For now, I just wanted to record your first steps and tell you how excited I am about all the growing you’ve done, and have yet to do. You bring so much joy into my life and I’m sure you will continue to do so.

Lots of Love,


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Annoying achievements

I recently read this post about not comparing your kid to others over at sleeping should be easy (yes, it should, I agree. More than that hot topic coming soon) and it really got me thinking.

You see, one of the things ‘Sleeping Mom’ mentions is that her toddler wasn’t able to remove his own shoes. So she taught him how. This was a revelation to me as Mushroom learned to remove his own shoes pretty much within days of acquiring them. Now, I never thought of this as a skill before – more of a petty annoyance. He has started to grow out of it now but for months, he would pretty much take off his shoes and socks all the time. In the supermarket, in the road. There came a point where I often just shoved the shoes in the buggy and left him barefoot until we got to where we were going or until he fell asleep. I lost count of the number of people who would stop me in the street asking ‘do you know your child has bare feet?’ as though I was some kind of idiot. Until I read Sleeping Mom’s blog, I never thought of this irritating act as a skill. So it got me to thinking – at the grand old age of 14 months, what else does Mushroom do that can make me lose patience with him, that could in fact be classed as a skill? It turned out there were a few things, so I wrote a list (I do like a good list). Here it is :

  1. Can remove his own shoes and socks.
  2. Can remove his pyjama bottoms/shorts (for this reason we mostly use sleepsuits if its cool enough.
  3. Can undo his nappy – if he can get to it (there’s a theme here – the boy likes to be naked!).
  4. Can open a bottle of cream and squeeze it everywhere. And then rub it in.
  5. Can use a pen/pencil/crayon to make marks on paper. And on the floor. And on the walls.
  6. Can open the washing machine even when it’s firmly shut. Puts all sorts of things in the drum that have to be removed before I can put a wash on.
  7. Can unlock my mobile can call random people (it’s a pattern lock. Must change it).

What annoying things does your child do…? Could you be persuaded to see them differently now?

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Get up stand up

Mushroom has started to let go…

For months now, he has been standing holding on – to the furniture, to my hands, to the wall… Just this week, he has started to let go. For just a few seconds to begin with but he now stands for longer periods with increasing confidence. Each time he stands for any length, he claps himself. I do love the way he celebrates his achievements even when he’s the only one there (or so he thinks).

Here at Mushroom Mansions (ha!) we are all very excited by this new development. Now that he is gaining confidence, and balance, we know it won’t be too much longer before he will start walking unaided. He has been cruising around the furniture and walking holding on for a while now so its only a matter of time…

While all these new skills are great, and of course inevitable – after all, children do tend to grow up – it does make me a bit nostalgic for his babyhood. I was warned, when he was younger and I was eager for him to start eating, crawling, walking and talking, that I should enjoy this time. ‘They don’t stay babies for long!’ was something I heard, and still hear, often. Only I didn’t really get it until now. Now, as Mushroom is starting to look and act more like a little boy and less like a baby, I am hanging on to those things about him that remain babyish, for want of a better word. His pre bathtime bottle – which he still insists I hold, our late night cuddles… These have taken on a new importance now that I realise it won’t be long before he grows out of these and I’ll miss them.

I know all the things Mushroom grows out of will be replaced by exciting new ones that I will become just as fond of but for now, I am going to make sure I enjoy the rest of his babyhood as much as possible. Before he really does ‘let go.’

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