Sowing the Seed for Imaginative Play with The Field!

Baby is all about farm’s and farm animal’s at the moment. His favourite book is ‘Moo Moo’ and every night, at bedtime, he demands that I read it to him numerous times. I don’t even have to read the actual words now as his obsession has lead to me knowing them by heart. So I was very excited when Irish company, The Field, approached me to review one of their products.

The Field promises to spark your child’s imagination by encouraging imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. Create a farm scene, check! Create your own football pitch with some Lego figures, check! I had an inkling that middle and baby would love it. Middle loves to create elaborate scenes with his teddies and toys and comfortably creates different scenarios, nattering away to himself as he does so. Baby is most content at the minute when throwing multiple objects, mainly at me but, I knew the moment he saw all the farm animal figures, he would associate it with his book. Eldest I wasn’t sure about as he doesn’t often partake in imaginative play. Something that has worried me off and on. He much prefers logical play- building with Lego and creating large marble runs that take over any space we have left in the living room (sigh). Standing on multiple marbles is worse than Lego, I can assure you! Why are both everywhere in my house? Arrgggh!

The boy’s have played with the toy for over a week now and it has surprised me how well they not only interacted with it but, calmly played together. Even if baby keeps taking the farm animals off them! Eldest has actually played with it the most which has greatly reassured me after his P1 report showed he isn’t overly creative (I said that didn’t I?). Baby has thoroughly enjoyed placing some Lego men on it and playing away, as has middle. I’m loving the change from them wrestling the daylights out of each other on the trampoline. Peace at last!

You can purchase The Field at: https://www.thefield.ie/ and prices range from £27.00 (24.99 Euros) and upwards.

Baby having fun with The Field and some Lego
Even cousin had a play with it

Toys My Boy’s Adore (and ones that keep them out of my sight)

I thought I would do a little post about the toys of which my boys love to play with. Toys that they will happily play with for a long time and thus, keep out of my way (whoop whoop). I wish I was doing a post filled with Barbie dolls, nail polish, and unicorns. But that’s just not a part of my life and, never will be. I’ve had no choice but to master the art of building things, getting drenched with water pistols and kicking a football about, unfortunately!

Lego 

What is it with boys and Lego? It’s like catnip to them. My boys will happily spend ages building insane, haphazard items with Duplo. “Look at my spaceship mummy!”, “Look at my house mummy!”. They never resemble a spaceship nor a house, but I hear it’s wholly frowned upon to inform them of this. They love the little Lego sets you can buy that come with (the highly confusing, in my eyes) instruction booklets. I will never forget my first attempt at one of these when eldest was allowed one as a treat, after successfully potty training. Daddy was at work and he was not patient enough to wait so, I eventually gave in before I lost the will to live. It was like looking at something in an entirely different language. My brain is in no way wired that way. I ended up getting so frustrated that I couldn’t do it for him, I took the hump and began to cry. This should have been the point my Lego journey ceased to continue but alas, more things needed built when daddy was gone so, I trained myself to do it (begrudgingly.) You know what? It is actually a great mummy win when you manage to build your first one and see your child so ecstatic. We now spend time as a family building sets with eldest when middle and baby go to bed at the weekend. Although middle much prefers the the Duplo for his building escapades, the Creator sets are eldest’s favourite. You can make three different things out of all the pieces and, they aren’t expensive. Beware though, this means three sets of instructions- arrggh! Downside: Standing on the little buggers! Worst pain imaginable (excluding labour obviously).

Marble Run

Oh Marble Run, how I hate thee! How you doth taunt me with your need for logical thinking in order to be purposeful! Daddy (sorry, Santa) got this for eldest one Christmas when he was two. I think this was more of a present to himself considering that, for a year, he quite happily played with it alone whilst eldest ran around ignoring it. The boys, including hubby, will spend hours with this, making different types of towers, flinging marbles down them and congratulating themselves on their building prowess. As much as this is my nemesis (the marbles too which seem to be everywhere in my house) it is educational and encourages them to try different directions and different pieces in order for the marble to successfully navigate its way around. They especially love all the little accessories that come with it. There are different pieces that you can place on that make the marbles spin, change the direction it will go in and even a little bell that once the marble contacts it, will ring. I found that this was great at helping middle learn his colours, as was Lego. Even saying the colour and pointing to the piece you need, helps them begin to associate. Downside: Marbles, marbles everywhere. A plague of marbles will descend on you and your house.

Magformers 

I thought I was bad at Lego until I encountered these things! Mental they are! But the boys really like them. They are building shapes which contain magnets. Middle’s greatest pleasure on earth is waiting until eldest has built something using all the pieces, then, silently creeping up behind him and wrecking his creation. Little s##t! You can get lots of different and crazy sets- ones with wheels and even ones that light up. Downside: Some of the objects the makers have built with the pieces, and dipicted in the guide, are highly complex. Eldest is a stickler for rules and this sends him into a meltdown when he can’t recreate them by himself. Also very expensive. A starter pack of thirty pieces will set you back £29.99.

Cars- of any kind, any shape, and any colour!

The boys are bonkers for cars and have amassed quite the collection. This is what happens when the pound shop starts selling Hot Wheels and eldest has realised that Nanna is a complete pushover! Middle will line them up, quite methodically, then race them down the car garage he got for Christmas. They also enjoy racing them up and down the hall to see who wins. I love cars for this reason mainly. It’s nice every once in awhile to see them playing together good as opposed to battering each other. This is the only time this happens as they are too engrossed and focused on trying to win the race. Downside: Before the calm, there are always multiple arguments over who owns which car and who will race which one. Also the fact that I have to put them all away afterwards (why are there are sooooo many?)

Trikes, Bikes and Scooter’s

Anyone who reads my blog will know that these will be the death of me. Between avoiding them in my kitchen to having to lug them around everywhere we go! The boys are obsessed. The whole point of the things is to use them outdoors. My boys, however, love nothing more than shouting “ready, steady, go!” and racing them up and down the hallway. This makes the dog go bloody mental as she scampers out of their way barking her disapproval. Anytime we have attempted to go a family walk and, brought all these things with us, it has been utter chaos. They will cycle or scoot on them for five minutes then abandon them to roll down hills and get positively bogging! The only plus side is that they expel lot’s of their energy. Downside: Health and safety hazards when dragged indoors and you will be forced to carry them around when you bring them anywhere outside.

Thomas Trackmaster 

Eldest was positively obsessed with Thomas when he was a toddler. Our whole living room became a dedicated Thomas shrine. Middle has recently inherited his old Thomas toys and, at present, this is the new ‘thing’ in our house. Eldest has reestablished his love affair with them and can now teach middle how to build the tracks. They will quite happily do this for a while until middle stops following orders and eldest loses patience. Downside: The trains for it run on batteries and tend to find their way under your sofa. I can’t count how many times I’ve been able to hear one chugging away and not locate it! It’s happened so many times, I can hear the sound in my sleep. I call this ‘Thomas Tinnitus’.

Nintendo Wii and XBox

This all started when my sister in law purchased hubby a Nintendo Classic for Christmas. We were shoving the boys to bed as early as possible so that we could relive our youth and play some Mario. Eldest noticed and asked to have a go. After a few wobblers over not understanding the controller didn’t operate like a tablet, he was a little pro. I class Mario as quite harmless, maybe others disagree. But it’s not like he is playing Grand Theft Auto or anything (one of the best in its defense. The Daily Mail would disagree however as that’s seemingly the cause of all youth violence.) After becoming bored with it, my MIL gave him her old Wii. He then progressed to playing the rather trippy ‘Kirby’. Finally, hubby has now dusted off his XBox and myself and eldest have taken to playing Lego games on it. These are quite good as you have to figure lots of puzzles out and really think about what you are doing. We have played Harry Potter Years 1 -4, Marvel Superheros, Indiana Jones and The Lego Movie game. Downside: It has become apparent that myself and eldest share the same competitive streak. This has led to us shouting at each other for ‘casting the wrong spells’ and resulted in hubby banning us from playing for a full week! So unfair- wasn’t even my fault!