Carousel Toys by Tesco. (SPON)
Ive been known to purchase a toy on the sheer fact that others are, there's always one toy each Christmas that sells out and increases in price due to the sudden popular demand. That doesn't always mean that the toy is worth the buy though, like I said I have been known to jump on the band wagon simple because of the hype. That was when Oakley was an only child and I did the whole excited over spending like a crazy woman thing because it was so overwhelming to have a little one of my own to buy for. It still is! Do I have enough? There's not enough for him to open!?! I haven't spent as much money as other parents!! Its his first Christmas!?!
There are so many pressures this time of the year to create a perfect Christmas, I said this year that its more of a 'Quality over quantity' kind of Christmas and Ive done much more asking around to be confident in what I decide to buy. We have started earlier than normal and with the help of Tesco we have been able to review a selection of toys to share with you. The joy of Instagram and having some lovely followers is that its an amazing opportunity to share gift ideas, (I don't just mean me sharing this blog post) I mean that I have been able to talk to other mums with children of the same genders, ages and interests. How simple is that, why not talk to other family's about our plans, its not a competition after all. Being able to share honest advice about toys for our children will only mean we can be savvy and sure that we have gotten it right.
My worry is that from past experiences, once the Christmas bubble bursts toys are dis-guarded and forgotten about. Oakley has this tendency to only begin to enjoy toys a good 6 months after hes been given them. Which could simple be because hes just not at the correct age or mind frame at the time for that particular toy, hard to know for sure but I'm hoping that sharing some information about the children's reactions (and mine) to a selection of toys from the Carousel Range at Tesco may help aid your decisions.
The thing I was most excited about when I accepted this campaign was to see the look on Olives face, as a little sister she is not short of toys but they aren't her own and being born on New Years Eve shes gone almost a whole year without experiencing any gifts of her own as yet. That sounds way worse than what it is, she has plenty to play with but I was so looking forward to her having a few things that Oakley wont want to take from her to play for himself. I wasn't entirely sure what kind of toys were suitable for her age so it was great for Tesco to send us items that they are aiming at children of her age to see if she genuinely engaged with them. I have a huge problem with being wasteful so I wont buy toys unless I'm certain that they will be well received. So lets see!
Carousel Toys are an exclusive range available only at Tesco, there is a great choice for all ages and a variety of toy styles. With soft, interactive, wooden, electrical, musical and interactive toys at reasonable prices. The website making it so easy to search for specific ages with there refine search bar, I also noticed that some toys were available more than once but in different colours, animal types or vehicle types etc which I thought was a nice way to expand a collection if a toy is well liked.
Oakley received two items that I instantly knew he would love, he received a remote control fire engine and then a wooden train track. We have already bought lots of wooden train tracks, some new and some second hand for Oakley's main Christmas present, hes 'choo choo train' obsessed and we cant wait to see his face when he comes down to his own play table covered in lots of tracks and trains to play with, his very own train stations THE LOT! So this was a really nice chance for us to see if he thoroughly enjoyed the train set and if it was worth making his train sets his main present after all.
He was so happy to see the trains and loved all the little accessories that came with them, little buildings, trees, people and animals. The set I feel is great value for money, I can say with confidence as we have shopped around for train sets that they can be expensive for very little included, this set in particular had a large amount of pieces in comparison to others and included a double train and a car also. What I also like about the wooden train sets is that although you can extend the tracks with other expansion sets or add-ons, this one came with visual instructions that show you how to create different track styles so that your little one doesn't get bored. We tried it out in a straight forward style in a circle and also a figure of 8 using the bridges too, we also wrapped some fairy lights around the bridges as it got darker which Oakley loved. This set has had many customer reviews and is currently sitting on a 4.5 rate of 5 stars, impressive! We have decided to put the tracks away now until we create our Christmas master piece but I'm so relieved that he loved it so much.
The remote control fire engine was also well received, although I think Oakley is only just at an age that he can understand how to use it. The remote was simple with just 2 buttons, making it simple as possible for toddlers. The fire engine has a ladder that moves up and down, flashing lights and sirens so lets face it Oakley's mind was blown. I do think its fantastic value for money, the design and colours are great and its also available in 2 other designs making it a great gift for siblings that could play together.
Olive was lucky enough to receive 3 gifts from Tesco all of which she loved, the colours were bright the majority was interactive and musical so she was in her element. There was a musical set, a soft toy which was perfect for sensory play and a learning cube. The learning cube was her favourite, it has 5 sides all with a different function, and new ways to play. The cube has music and lights along with activities for developing fine motor skills, key elements that you might look for when buying gifts for a one year old. The cube has a whopping £10 off so with that in mind its good value for money and I would recommend it purely based on that fact. Other item included a music making set which features two musical instruments, this is again good value for money as its two presents in one. Olive is only slightly too young for this one as her hand eye coordination is a little off when it comes to playing instruments, however the drum set she found so fun to bang!
What I love about the Tesco Carousel toys range is that the vast majority have volume control too, so as parents we can tone down those catchy tunes if we need too and the best part is that all the toys we've encountered all included batteries, woohooo! One less thing to think about on Christmas morning! Another thing to consider when shopping this Christmas with Tesco is the rewards, shopping these toys Ive shared could have earned me a whopping 66 plus Clubcard points too.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post, as you can imagine the children have had so much fun helping me discover and learn more about Carousel toys. Its been lovely watching them enjoy a couple of new toys in the run up to Christmas, we have however managed to pop a couple of them away to be wrapped up for the big day. We have found supermarket shopping a big help this year, we have been week by week adding a few gifts into our food shop to create a more subtle dint in our finances opposed to the normal minefield of a dent! Christmas is such a special time but I feel like this year we have made an effort to remember its importance, we are happy and healthy (not our bank balance, mat leave pay isn't kind) and although gifts obviously play a large part so does living by our means and not being in debt come January. Helping take part in this campaign has cemented some gift choices we have made so far and I hope the honest reviews can help you too.