The Toadstool and our fantasy Christmas list

By | December 7, 2013

It’s getting close to Christmas and when I take a wander into town, the shops are full of all-singing, all-dancing electronic gadgetry. Toys that light up and enthral but ultimately toys that are battery requiring and plastic.

I remember happy holidays spent playing with wooden toys at my grandparents and I wanted my children to experience that too, as well as providing scope for imaginative and educational play. Their autism means that their ability to play can be impaired and so toys that encourage turn taking, conversation and participation are very much welcomed.

I came across The Toadstool on twitter and discovered that they are running the most fabulous blogger competition here to recruit toy testers for 2014.

This is our entry and we’ve really enjoyed looking through the website and thinking what, if money were no object, we’d like to find under our Christmas Tree.

Firstly, something extremely practical, this Plan Toys Tie Up Shoe


A simple toy but such a great idea for shoelace and knotting practice. Something that can be tricky if the hand-eye co-ordination is delayed but something so necessary for life skills. It’s a great price too.

Two seasonal suggestions next:

Haba Discovery Puzzle Stable Of Bethlehem


And Haba First Nativity Playset


Both of the above are perfect for small hands and again, will encourage hand-eye coordination and motor skills. They are both an ideal way to gently tell and manifest discussion around the true meaning of Christmas.

Balancing games are great fun and encourage participation as well as decision making as to where to place the pieces. The games are good for turn-taking and also to demonstrate that sometimes things can go wrong (ie. every piece falls off) but that’s okay, it happens. I chose these two games also because we love nature and enjoy participating in a Country Kids linky every week.

Janod Nutty Squirrel Balancing Game


The squirrel and nuts above are just so bright and colourful, aren’t they? D has long held a fascination with the squirrel from the Ice Age movies and this would really appeal to her. It looks nicely portable too so could be taken on our journeys, we’d just need a table top or tray to play.

Similarly, Haba Animal Upon Animal looks a lot of fun!


I can envisage many fun times with this! Taking turns by animal type, colour or size, the serpent looks like an easier animal to position!

Building blocks are always popular in our house and D loves to stack them to make houses or buildings, or simply line them up – another autistic trait – these Haba Building Blocks Sevilla are just amazing! The possibilities for imaginative building play are endless. They would provide a great deal of sensory input as well, with their various shapes and colours.


There are so many fantastic toys to choose from and I could produce a list of 30 easily, but I’ll end with this one, A Lillputiens reversible Snow White puppet.


This is brilliant and three toys in one! The puppet can easily transform from Snow White to the Evil Queen and to the Apple Seller, an absolutely perfect toy for puppet shows and interactive story telling. D loves to create her own little puppet shows with the aid of lolly sticks, paper and Sellotape, she would absolutely love this! Once again, extremely portable and very easy to lighten moods with if we were in a busy shop queue.

We have really enjoyed looking through the many toys and if we were chosen to be toy testers would ensure that we provided honest unbiased reviews with plenty of photos with not only my views, but those of T and D too. They are a regular feature of my blog and love to provide input.

For more information about any of the toys we’ve featured, please either click on the individual links or here for the website.

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