Welcome to my new Clever Tots Toy Club Blog! You may have noticed on my Instagram account that my little one is a brand rep for Clever Tots Toy Club. While I love to tell people about the membership and share with my followers, I felt like I could never really do it justice in the short little snippets of stories. I spoke to Jenel – one half of the incredible duo behind the membership – recently and proposed that I write a monthly blog about the membership where I can share my little one’s experience with the toys each month, how she played with them, the benefits of each toy, and her favourite toy each month. So here we are!
Full disclosure – my little one receives her package each month free of charge. I do not receive any payment for anything that I post on social media or share thereafter in this blog. And as I mentioned, it was my idea to write this blog simply because I am a happy customer who really values this service. I was not asked to write this blog by Clever Tots.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Clever Tots Toy Club, let me give you a little whistle stop tour! Clever Tots Toy Club is an Irish membership based monthly toy rental service for children aged 3-36 months that its founders, husband-and-wife team Jenel and Didier, brought to life to allow parents to introduce sustainably sourced and developmentally appropriate toys for their young children. The toys have been carefully selected by a paediatric neuro-developmental expert so that they are tailored to your child’s stage of development.
So what does that look like in real life? Each month I get an email from Jenel to let me know that my package is on its way. That means that I typically have 1-2 days to pack up the toys from the previous month to get them ready for collection. I re-use the box they came in so I just pop them back in their bags and back into the box. The new box arrives through an exchange service which means the delivery company give me the new box and I give them the previous month’s box to return to Clever Tots – essentially they are the middle-man so to speak to make things super easy! Those toys are thoroughly cleaned and santised in preparation for the next child. Each month my little one receives four toys appropriate to her stage of development. I also receive additional information by email which describes my little one’s stage of development with suggestions of play ideas to support her development. The toys provided are selected from a range of eco-friendly wooden toys and those made from recycled plastics from brands such a Bigjigs, Hape, Fat Brain Toys, Green Toys, Manhattan Toys, and Plan Toys. The membership is more sustainable for the environment, and also for the family budget by reducing the need to buy new toys that your little one may lose interest in, or grow out of quickly. There is also the added option to purchase any of the toys you receive at a reduced price if your little one really falls in love with them! There certainly has been a few occasions where I just knew my little on couldn’t part with the toys (and maybe I secretly loved some too!) so it has been nice to have the option to invest in toys that my little one has tried, tested and loved. Jenel and Didier really did think of everything!
So without further ado, let me share with you one of our favourite packages from Clever Tots so far. This one goes back to October but my little one got so much enjoyment out of it I just had to start with this one. In the October box, we received the Fat Brain Tobbles Neo and Oombee Ball, Hape Little Plane, and Green Toys Stack and Sort Train.
First up is the Fat Brain Tobbles Neo! I personally loved the bright vivid colours of this toys and the pieces have a nice grippable surface which is perfect for little hands. Each piece is also weighted a little differently so that your little one does not need to stack them perfectly. Instead, they nest into each other really easily and so it is a lovely stacking toy to start with. My little one loved watching the pieces fall and they really held her attention with the unpredictable wobbles across the floor when they fell. With their rounded surface they also bounced and spun and really encouraged my little one to chase after them to bring them back! I noticed that my little one also liked to involve me in play with the Tobbles Neo, often handing me pieces to let me know which one she wanted me to stack next. I loved having the opportunity to chat to her about the colours, model phrases like “uh-oh” and “fell down”, and action like clapping hands and hooray! A very simple toy with endless possibilities!
We were also sent the Oombee Ball from the Fat Brain Toys range. This is a set of colourful, textured balls which are tethered together and fit inside each other just like a Russian doll set. The tethers between balls meant that this was a handy one to bring out and about without having to worry about the balls rolling away and getting lost. My little one like to explore the textures and designs on the balls and poking her little fingers in the dots and swirls. Just like the Tobbles Neo, the balls had a lovely grippable texture to make it easy for little hands to hold even the largest ball. In my opinion, this toy is a great one for children who love to explore textures and take things apart and put them back together again. While my little one enjoyed exploring this toy most days, I found she spent more time playing with the other toys in this month’s package.
The Hape Little Plane is a very simple wooden toy (I love wooden toys!) that bring hours of fun and encourages your little one to use their imagination. My little one loved watching me and imitating me flying the plane high in the sky and landing at speed. It brought lovely opportunities to practice new language like “fly”, “vrooom”, “take off”, “fast”, “slow” and to practice phrases like “ready, steady, go!”. My little one waited eagerly as I’d say “ready, steady...” and wait for her to make an attempt at “go” before flying the plane into the air. The Hape Plane was also a great one to get her moving and it was sturdy enough that she could crawl along while putting weight on it with one hand to push it alongside her. The little holes for the windows on the plane are cleverly designed to be just the right size for little fingers to hold. I also loved using the Hape Plane to practice turn-taking where I would sit opposite my little one and we took turns pushing the plane back and forth to each other. I also used this as an opportunity to model fast and slow.
And last but not least is the Green Toys Stack and Sort Train – which was hands down my little one’s favourite toy from the October package. While I am a big fan of wooden toys, I really love that the Green Toys range is made from 100% recycled plastic! They’re also super easy to clean and can even be popped in the dishwasher. This really is an all-in-one kind of toy. Again we had lots of opportunities for imaginative play with the “chuck-a-chuck-a-choo-choo” train and to learn new phrases like “all aboard”. The train incorporated both a shape sorter and stacker but this toys was very cleverly designed so that the shapes and stacking pieces also work together to create additional learning opportunities.
Each of the sorting shapes had a little animal imprinted on the surface and the colour of each sorting shape corresponded with a stacking piece that had the food that animal ate imprinted on the surface. For example, the star shape was a mouse and the corresponding stacking piece had a piece of cheese on it! So clever! And in addition to all of that, each of the stacking pieces also had the numbers 1-4 imprinted on them. This really was a great all rounder too for again encouraging my little one to crawl along while pushing it alongside her or chasing after me as I sped off with the train. Many opportunities to also practice fine motor skills with the shape sorter, stacker and taking the cars apart and re-attaching them to the train. This is a real value for money toy! We have been sent many toys from the Green Toys range in the Clever Tots packages, however this has to be my favourite one so far!
I hope this blog was helpful in introducing you to the Clever Tots Toy Club and in giving you an idea of how we used the toys from our October package. As a parent, I know that it can feel really overwhelming sometimes when trying to choose toys for our little ones that are good value for money, are sustainable and durable, create age-appropriate learning opportunities and are fun! Jenel and Didier really have made this a whole lot easier for us parents by providing a more sustainable option which reduces the cost, and gives your little one a chance to try out new toys that are tailored to their stage of development with the option to purchase their favourites that they just can’t part with. You can find out more about Clever Tots Toy Club here