“Finally someone has designed a toy through the eyes of a child!” Catherine Clifton of Haig Day Nursery in Salisbury rang to express her excitement about ToddleBoxes. She and her colleague Grace say their one- and two-year-olds use them in many different ways: playing follow-the-leader round an S-shaped track; driving cars along a ToddleBox road; sitting in a row with steering wheels, pretending to be in a bus. But the children’s favourite is using ToddleBoxes upside-down, especially the hill turned into a boat, with two children sitting inside, working together to make it rock.
I observed similar play while observing a group of babies, aged 8 to 22 months, using ToddleBoxes. Geoffrey, the youngest, crawled repeatedly from one end of the road to the other. He seemed to enjoy being elevated off the floor. When he reached the ramp at the end, he’d always feel the carpet with his finger and then rub his face against it. He also had a fascination with the slits and kept trying to peer through them to the dark underneath!
Eleven-month Marcelle liked to just sit in the smallest Box and watch the action. Her companion Dickon perched on top of a ToddleBox and made a loud triumphant sound as if announcing “Look at me up high!” Twenty-month Peter and 22-month David were very purposeful in their play, demonstrating their understanding of vehicles. They sat back to back in the large curve making car sounds, David steering and saying “Coach! Tractor!”
As in Haig Nursery, the boat seemed to be most popular, and I witnessed a tiff when four children wanted to climb in it at once! However, once the three other children were occupied with other ToddleBoxes, I saw little Lisa, 19 months, claim the boat for her own. She rested her bare feet on the edge and looked a picture of relaxation!
Click here for pictures of children playing on Toddleboxes and purchasing details