by Great Little Toy Buyer, Toni Giles
As Toy Buyer at Great Little Trading Co I get to see hundreds, maybe thousands, of toys every year. I always look for well-made toys with longevity; no parent wants to spend good money on a five minute flash-in-the-pan. I like toys which can be played with by one child on their own or with friends. And our toys make good ice-breakers on awkward playdates.
Lots of customers come to us for the big ‘under-the-tree’ presents. Our wooden toys give the ‘wow factor’ on the Big Day and they’re built to last for years, not just ’til Boxing Day.
And in the back of my mind, I think about our customers’ homes. Parents look at children’s toys all day – and no-one wants to look at ugly toys! We deliberately make toys which will look good in our customers’ homes, without compromising on play value.
Toni’s Top Wooden Toys of 2015
THE PLAY SHOP AND THEATRE
If I had to choose a favourite toy from our range, it would be the Play Shop and Theatre. The Play Shop is one of our best-sellers and I’m proud to say it’s won numerous awards for play-value and design. I’ve seen children pretend it’s a florists, market stall, supermarket or sweet-shop and the Theatre is great for puppet shows or Christmas charades.
The Wooden Toy Kitchen
The play kitchen is Jamie’s favourite (Jamie Reeve, CEO, GLTC) His three children all loved making imaginary meals and watching their dad pretend to eat them! Jamie would tell you there’s no better toy for educating and entertaining small children and their friends.
The toy castle is a timeless classic and our GLTC castle is big, bold and beautiful – perfect when friends come round as they can play on the floor, stationed all around the battlements.
The Ride-on Scooter
The Jamm Scooter is sturdy little ride, perfect for toddlers, safe as houses. It won’t wobble or tip and the multi-directional castors mean it runs smoothly. And look at that retro styling! Gorgeous.
The Tea Cup Café
I’m so proud of this toy, we designed it ourselves at GLTC HQ in Wandsworth, London. It’s a brilliant role-play toy. Children can set up a restaurant, ice cream parlour, café or street food stall – and it comes with two matching stools for guests. It’s great for social skills and works well with our wooden toy kitchens and play food.
The Maisie Dressing Table and Sweetheart dressing-up rail and mirror
I hate seeing children’s costumes and fancy dress clothes all scrunched up in a dressing-up box! Set them free on a hanging rail and your children can see and choose their costumes more easily. The GLTC dressing tables are pretty on the outside, but they’re really solid and sturdy, This makes a great present for any child who loves to make-believe.
Teepee, tent, wigwam or den. Perfect for sunny days in the garden, but just at home in the bedroom or sitting room, the GLTC wigwam is easy up, easy down and easy to store away.
The Fix-it Toy Workbench
A sturdy wooden workbench for construction play, which comes with 25 tools and accessories. Great value for money, it’s one of most popular toys when children visit the office. Brilliant for concentration and coordination.
The Dolls’ House
We’ve found our Forever Home! Perfect for children who love playing ‘house’. It’ll look beautiful in any room in your home and of course we sell dolls and dolls’ furniture to complete the look.
The GLTC Garage
No childhood is complete without the toy garage. This one is designed so that more than one child can play at a time, it’s sturdy and solid and built to withstand some good, hard play. GLTC’s set of wooden cars and play mat make great add-on accessories.
Toni Giles, Toy Buyer at GLTC