Essential Toys – Marble Runs

Why a marble run is such a marble-ous toy.

A marble run is one of the toys I consider essential for children of any age, offering as it does a wide range of play and development opportunities whilst simultaneously giving a sensory experience too.

But understanding why and how these toys are so great is vital if you want to encourage kids to play with them and help them get full value from the activity.

Read on to  find out more about the benefits of this type of toy, and how to find the perfect set for your child.

Wooden marble run. Text 'Essential Toys: Marble Run'
Marble runs are great fun, and great for helping kids learn and grow!
Continue reading

How to Conquer Playing Conkers!

At this time of year, our local park is littered with conkers (otherwise known as horse chestnuts) – at times they are literally (and rather painfully!) raining down on us. Who can resist prising open spiky cases for that thrill of discovering shiny brown nuts inside?

My kids certainly can’t, and so over the first month of autumn we tend to accumulate a big pile. And what better way to make use of this autumn bounty than through a smashing game of conkers? We love it so much, I had to share it with you. So read on to discover all the do’s and don’ts, rules and the cheats, hows and whys of playing conkers!

Horse chestnuts threaded on butchers string for playing conkers
How to conquer playing the traditional childhood game of Conkers!
Continue reading

How to Make a Magnificent Forest Mini Den!

My kids love making dens when we’re out in the woods. But there are times when it’s not practical or possible to make one that’s kid-sized. Yet we don’t let that stop us – instead, we just think smaller… Read on to see how to make an adorable mini den!

Preschool girl building mini den in forest
Making a mini den in the woods is a fun way to introduce den building to kids!
Continue reading

HABA Terra Kids – Real Woodworking Tools

One Hundred Toys recently asked if we would test out a pile of fabulous-looking, kid-sized real woodwork tools from HABA. The kids and I love woodwork. We’ve had woodwork fun out in the woods, at forest school, and at home with a bit of softwood. So we were more than happy to oblige!

Read on to find out why we recommend real tools instead of pretend ones every time.

Boy using saw at a worktable in a forest
HABA’s folding saw is kid-sized and just right for taking to forest school.
Continue reading

DIY Mini Doll Food – Made from Wine Corks!

Do your kids love having little picnics with their toys? Mine do, but what they don’t love so much is tidying away, and those little bits of teeny tiny doll food often go astray.

So instead of buying them more, why not try out our quick and easy DIY solution? All you need is a bottle of wine and some paint…

Maileg toy mouse having cheese and cake picnic outside a toy bell tent
Make a lovely play picnic for your child’s toys – all out of wine corks!
Continue reading

Marvellous Maileg Mouse Review!

Have you heard of Maileg? Maileg (pronounced “My’lye”) are an award-winning Danish toy company that produces gorgeous, swoon-worthy soft toys with a nostalgic, storybook appeal.

We’ve been ogling them for quite a while, so we were beyond thrilled to receive a parcel the other day containing a beautiful Maileg ‘Big Sister’ Mouse, complete with matchbox bed, that was kindly sent to us for review by One Hundred Toys.

If it’s possible to create Hygge in toy form, a Maileg Mouse must be it! Read on to find out why.

Maileg Mouse - Big Sister - sitting in oversized matchbox bed
Maileg’s Big Sister mouse comes complete with her own giant matchbox bed!
Continue reading

Leaf Painting – Quick and Easy Nature Craft

Leaf painting is an absolute favourite, with my kids, and something that we do all the time.

We do a lot of painting in our house, and love finding different things to paint. After all, flat paper can be SO last earlier-this-morning. We try to bring natural materials into our play at every opportunity, and painting is the perfect thing for this as its easy to find natural objects to decorate. Stones, sticks, pinecones, shells… you name it, we’ve painted it.

Painting is a great activity for young children. It’s a fantastic work-out for their imagination, and helps them practice their fine motor skills, as well as helping to develop their understanding of colour, shape, texture and viscosity (yes, wet paint WILL drip onto the floor/your clothes/the dog’s dinner…).

Leaves painted bright colours, with a stick used as a paintbrush
We love leaf painting! Use natural materials like leaves, sticks and stones as the canvas for your kids’ artwork!
Continue reading

How to Magic Up a Perfectly-Imperfect Mud Kitchen Today!

There are images of some amazing mud kitchens out there on the web. But it can be so easy to fall down this rabbit hole of great ideas. If you’re not careful, you end up never actually making one for your child!

I was certainly guilty of this. Until one day my sister stopped by. While I described the great mud kitchen I was going to make (one day), she started hunting around the garden. And with that, I abandoned my dreams of perfection, because the kids were ready to play, right now.

And you know what? We did something incredible. By pulling together a few things already lying around, together we made a mud kitchen in about thirty seconds!

My kids have been playing with it ever since (we’re talking for years now!). And though I still dream and plan of a more beautiful and robust solution, they’re out there having fun today. They really couldn’t care less that it’s not perfect.

So read on to see what you need to make a mud kitchen right now. And I guarantee that you’ll have enough stuff already to get your kids playing today.

child pouring muddy water into saucepan in mud kitchen
Mud kitchens are great for kids so get them playing dirty today!
Continue reading

Playing with Stories – Why We Love Our DIY Playdough ‘Bog Baby’ Kit!

Find out how to make a home-made play dough bog baby kit with our play dough recipe and basic craft accessories. Not only are they great fun, they also make fantastic and original gifts when given with a copy of the book!

If you’ve read ‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward, you’ll know that bog babies are round and blue, with goggly eyes, spiky tails and ears like a mouse, and their wings are no bigger than daisy petals.

This magical book is perfect for inspiring creative model making and small world play, while at the same time gently encouraging children to explore what it means for a thing to be wild and free.

Book 'The Bog Baby', home-made play dough bog baby kit, and fishing net
A magical story about two children who find a mysterious wild creature, ‘The Bog Baby’ is perfect inspiration for creative play!
Continue reading

Our Top 10 (or 11) Favourite Play Food Toys to Buy

Our kids love playing with their toy kitchen (yes, it is the ubiquitous Ikea Duktig play kitchen; and no, it has not, alas, been pimped).  Over the years we’ve amassed a fair few bits of play food to go with it – some inherited, some gifted, a few picked up in the sales.  But if we could do it all again, these eleven sets are the ones I’d make sure to get!

11 best toy play food and accessories
These are our top choices for stocking up a play kitchen!
Continue reading