Learning through play with our three tabletop play shops
Of all the GLTC toys that my two boys have had a chance to play with, test and review over the years, it's the three tabletop ones that have captured their hearts and imaginations the most. And while I, Rachel, will always have a soft spot for the the award-winning Sixpence Play Shop, I have to admit that the ice cream shop, the coffee shop and the brand new fish and chip shop really do take some beating. They're portable play shops crammed full of creativity and clever accessories that help children learn about and mimic real life social situations while also having an awful lot of fun. That's a winning combination, isn't it?
LOLLY & SCOOP ICE CREAM SHOP
Lolly & Scoop children's ice cream shop was crowned Best Children's Toy at the Little London Awards 2018. With its retro design, it's a real favourite with both children and parents. In beautiful summer colours with cones, tubs, ice cream, ice lollies, wafers, sauces and a magnetic scoop, it's a joy of a toy. And one I personally don't mind having out on display when the boys aren't playing with it, it's that pretty.
The boys adore the jokes on the lolly sticks - they're such a fun feature. There's a great selection of ice cream flavours, too. And the magnetic scoop is a genius idea. It means that children can properly scoop up the ice cream and place it in a cone or tub. The magnets give such a satisfying click.
STAR BEANS COFFEE SHOP
Who doesn't love a cool coffee shop?! I know I do. I spent most of my maternity leave in and out of one or another, keeping myself awake with caffeine and cakes. I think the Star Beans children's coffee shop might be my favourite one, though. Even if I am expected to make and then buy back own rocky road and cookies whenever I stop by.
The coffee shop is beautifully made from sturdy painted wood and comes with a whopping 17 accessories including coffee cups, spoons, sandwiches and cakes as well the wooden stand itself.
I'm particularly fond of toys that encourage interaction - not just with the toy itself but between my children, especially as they don't always get along or see eye to eye. Star Beans invites them to take up the role of barista and customer, something that they can take turns at. It's so nice to sit back and see the boys enjoying a friendly 'coffee' and chat together.
SEASIDE FISH & CHIP SHOP
The latest addition to the tabletop toy range is the Seaside fish & chip shop and it's an absolute delight of a toy. Packed with character but still small enough to pop on a car seat and whisk to the beach for a day out amongst the dunes. And that's a real benefit of all three of these shops ... as well as having a lot of play value, they're easily transportable, too.
This beautiful wooden fish and chip shop made me so nostalgic for old-fashioned trips to the seaside that we took it on a day trip to the North Wales coast over the Easter holidays. The boys loved filling the cute newspaper cones with the wooden fish, chips and peas. Of course, salt and vinegar featured, too. And a squeeze of lemon. It doesn't quite have the aroma of the real thing, but it's an amazing second best. I think it's going to be a huge hit!
For more inspiration, take a look at GLTC's full range of classic wooden toys.
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