Starting a home daycare is an exciting venture that allows you to create a nurturing and engaging environment for children. We often hear from site visitors and customers who are in the early stages of preparing an indoor play-space, especially if they are hoping to incorporate as many natural materials in the space – we are Wood Wood Toys, after all! You may be interested in incorporating high-quality, sustainable, and educational toys into your daycare space. In this blog post, we will explore the must-have toys for your home daycare, with a particular focus on wooden toys. Wooden toys not only provide endless opportunities for creativity and imaginative play but also offer durability and eco-friendliness that make them perfect for young learners. Let's delve into some essential categories, including wooden blocks, imagination play, wooden cars, and large gross-motor play objects, that will enhance the play experience in your daycare.
1. Wooden Blocks: The Foundation of Creativity
Wooden blocks are timeless classics that foster creativity, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination. They provide children with the opportunity to build, stack, and create their own structures. Opt for a diverse set of wooden blocks, including different shapes, sizes, and colours. These blocks will spark the imaginations of children and encourage collaborative play. From towers to castles, bridges to roadways, the possibilities are endless with wooden blocks.
We have a huge assortment of wooden building blocks in our collection, including vividly-coloured blocks and our famous Hard Maple Harrison Blocks, made right here in our own woodshop - they're extra durable, which makes them perfect for daycares and shared play spaces.
Tip: You can combine different block brands easily, but pay special attention to "unit blocks" that follow the same standard size. A unit block is 5.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, and 1.375 inches thick, giving the dimensions a 1:2:4 ratio. Larger pieces include the double (11 inches long) and quadruple (22 inches long) sizes. Smaller sizes are made in various fractions of the standard unit. When all of your blocks follow the same sizing standard, they fit together and allow for big, beautiful builds.
Imagination Play: Small World Scenery, Animal and People Figures Imagination play is a vital aspect of early childhood development, promoting storytelling, social skills, and empathy. Introduce small world scenery, such as wooden farms, dollhouses, or natural landscapes, to ignite children's imagination. Pair them with animal and people figures made from high-quality wood, allowing children to create their own narratives and engage in pretend play. These toys promote language development, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence, and they are well-suited to collaborative play experiences in a shared space.
CLiCQUES makes magnetic peg people with interchangeable pieces that are well-suited to play spaces with older children (pay attention to the recommended age ranges when purchasing items for your daycare!), and Grimm's has recently introduced Small World Playsets that include a variety of abstracted Waldorf-style pieces for open-ended play. Finally, our own Great Lakes Playscapes combine local Canadian materials and georgraphy to create a unique base for all kinds of imagination play.
Wooden Cars: Igniting the Need for Speed
You can't go wrong with the classic wooden toy car in your playspace. Get any group of kids together, and at least one of them will surely gravitate towards anything with wheels! Wooden cars encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. Choose a set of wooden cars in various designs, sizes, and colors, giving children the freedom to explore and create their own roadways. These toys promote imaginative play and enable children to engage in exciting races, adventures, and role-playing scenarios. The durability of wooden cars ensures they will withstand even the most enthusiastic play sessions, which is why they're a staple in just about every home daycare.
We've got Canada's biggest collection of Candylab cars, and it's easy to see why we think they're the best toy cars on the planet.
In addition to smaller toys, it's essential to include larger gross-motor play objects that allow children to engage in active play and develop their physical abilities. Here are a few must-have options tp consider for your daycare:
- Wooden Pretend Kitchen: A wooden pretend kitchen provides children with an opportunity to mimic real-life activities, encouraging social interaction, creativity, and fine motor skills. Children love pretending to cook, bake, and serve meals, fostering their imagination and understanding of the world around them.
We love this colourful Kitchen from Mulin Roty that offers lots of fun features at a reasonable price.
- Wobble Board: A wobble board offers endless possibilities for physical play and balance development. Children can rock, balance, stand, sit, or even use it as a bridge, stimulating their vestibular system and building core strength. The natural wooden construction ensures durability and safety during active play. The Wood Wood Wobble is made in Canada and ready for even the most vigorous rockin' play.
- Outdoor Play: Investing in an outdoor play station is crucial for providing children with opportunities to explore nature, engage in physical activities, and experience the joy of outdoor play. Look for a wooden play station that incorporates imagination play and hands-on experiences, offering a safe and stimulating environment for children to expend their energy while enjoying fresh air. We carry a range of beautiful cedar sandboxes, mud kitchens, balance beams and sensory tables from Canada's "Just Playing", and they have quickly become a favourite among schools, drop-ins, preschools and daycares who are looking to expand their outdoor play areas.