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The Bigjigs Toys Blog

With over 35 years experience in making award-winning toys, we know quite a bit about what children (and parents) love.

Explore our collection of toy and parenting blogs, written by our toy experts for you and your family.

Win BIG this Xmas!!

Win BIG this Xmas!!

We are giving away over £350 worth of Bigjigs Toys this Xmas. We have chosen our top 10 Bigjigs Toys for Christmas 2012 and as a gesture of festive good will - we have decided to hold 10 competitions giving away one of our favourites each day starting from December 1st. To be in with a chance of winning - simply follow our Bigjigs Toys Ltd page on Facebook to be in with a chance of winning.
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Bigjigs 'Top 10 Christmas Toys'

Bigjigs 'Top 10 Christmas Toys'

"Its the most wonderful time of the year"....and the most anticipated as Bigjigs Toys release their top 10 must have's for this Christmas! Each year we have more and more great toys to choose from; this year it has been particularly hard this year to pick our top 10 because there are so many favourites and deserving toys. This list of toys have been chosen by you, the press, designers and ourselves to find the most sought after Bigjigs Toys. All of these toys provide fun and entertainment whilst aiding the development of important skills needed for healthy growth. The price range varies but they all offer great value for money because of their long life span. Here is Bigjigs Toys 'Top 10 Christmas Toys'. 10. Rolling Shape Sorter A favourite for babies and toddlers over the years, this wooden rolling sorter is not only environmentally sounds, its completely safe and will help children focus on a particular activity and challenge. Brightly coloured, the task encourages children to post the correctly shaped block into the same shaped hole - which can then be rolled across the floor, making a great clacking sound! Available for £9.99 - this wonderful wooden toy is ideal for youngsters aged 1 years + in helping to develop coordination, dexterity and motor skills. Made from the highest quality wood, and finished to a quality standard, rest assured that this toy is the real deal. 9. Cutting Fruit Set This wonderful wooden cutting fruit set comes complete with a banana, apple, strawberry and many more delicious treats. Children can learn how to correctly hold food, whilst learning the importance of healthy eating. Complete with a wooden knife, chopping board and box, this superb array of decorative fruits is a must have for youngsters who adore roleplay. Available for £10.49 - roleplay lovers will revel in this delicious Cutting Fruit Set. 8. Pirate Skittles "Ahoy me hearties!" This set of brightly coloured 'friendly' pirates will entertain youngsters for hours. Little ones will enjoy knocking down the six highly decorative pirates including the captain with the brightly coloured ball. Their size make them perfect for indoor and outdoor play, whatever the weather! Just don't miss them all otherwise you might have to walk the plank! Available for £7.49 - this is a great activity toy for children aged 2 years+! 7. Chunky Alphabet Puzzle This brightly coloured Chunky Alphabet Puzzle offers children a fun way in which to learn and absorb the alphabet, helping with letter recognition through play. This wonderful puzzle has recently featured in The Guardian's Christmas Gift Guide for 2012. Available for £13.99 - this Chunky Alphabet Puzzle encourages learning through play and is ideal for children aged 18 months+. 6. Figure of Eight Train Set "CHOO CHOO!" The Bigjigs Rail Figure of Eight Train Set is one of our best sellers and has recently won the gold medal in the Best Wooden Toy Category from Toyshop UK. This 40 piece train set, for children aged 3+, creates a figure of eight train track complete with viaducts and colourful train engine and carriages; the set will come to life with the additional accessories including wooden houses, shrubbery and figurines. Bigjigs Rail Sets are perfect for youngsters who have an interest in trains, and a great for encouraging creative and imaginative play! Available for £21.99 - this wonderful wooden train set will provide hours of fun and entertainment. 5. Triangular Activity Centre This beautiful Triangular Activity Centre, which features a colourful abacus on one side, wooden letter/picture blocks on another and a blackboard on the third, is a great educational toy for children aged 1+. A recent winner of the Slow Toy Awards, this activity centre received huge praise from the national press including The Metro, Guardian and Independent. This wonderful wooden toy offers a modern twist on a classic toy encouraging learning through play, helping to enrich the educational experience. Available for £24.99 - this is a top educational toy that will stand the test of time! 4. Blossom Cottage Four time award winner Blossom Cottage is one of our must haves for Christmas 2012. This beautiful cottage with a highly decorative exterior opens out to reveal a family home with four fully furnished rooms along with a unique garden and patio. This dolls house comes complete with a 4 piece doll family and 18 pieces of furniture allowing youngsters to sculpt and design their own home. This wonderful dolls house is ideal for children aged 3+ who love roleplay and using their imagination. The unique carry roof ensures that the house folds up to make the playset portable! Available for £64.99 - this wonderful wooden dolls house would make the perfect addition to a little ones bedroom, nursery or playroom! 3. Art Easel Is your child destined to become the next Van Gogh, Monet or Constable? With this Junior Art Easel they now can. This stand up board with a whiteboard on one face and a blackboard on the other can inspires truly great masterpieces. Included with the easel is a paper roll, which can be fixed to one side of the board, four paint pots, a board eraser and a box of coloured chalk. Available for £36.99 - this wooden Junior Art Easel is the perfect started kit for budding artists. 2. Town & Country Train Set At number two is one of our most exciting rail sets available - The Town & Country Train Set. This 101 piece railway set contains tonnes of wooden track and accessories including bridges, crossings and railway stations; this set is the perfect gift for a train mad youngsters. The trees, boats, vehicles, buildings and figurines bring the set to life and ensure that imagination and creative play are taken to the highest heights. Complete with train engine and carriages, watch the delight on a youngsters face as they push it around this wooden track. Available for £47.99 - imagine the excitement your little one gets when they tear open the wrapping paper to find this underneath! 1. Fairview Manor Our number 1 toy for this Christmas has to be our Fairview Manor. This stunning manor house with a pretty pink and cream exterior, opens out to reveal four fully furnished rooms along with a hinged roof to the attic. Complete with functional doors and windows incorporating a fantastic sliding patio door, children will love designing and making their ideal home with 26 pieces of furnitures for the 6 piece doll family who also come with a cat and dog to look after. This is the ultimate in play houses which stimulates and entertains children aged 3 years+, and also a recent winner in the prestigious Oppenheim Award in the USA. Available for £109.99 - this is the ultimate in dolls houses and is the reason why it is our number 1 toy for this Christmas! Our 'Top 10 Christmas Toys' are all available at shop.bigjigstoys.com - along with another 1500 fantastic toys, all suitable for boys and girls aged from 0-10 years. The fun doest stop there... We are giving away one of top 10 toys each day from December 1st, simply follow us on Facebook and look out for the competitions which go live from 9 am on Monday! Good Luck and Merry Xmas from everyone at Bigjigs Toys :-) x
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Are Our Children Lazy?

Are Our Children Lazy?

Yahoo yesterday released an article damning TV's and Tablets for the lack of basic development skills amongst thousands of children. This is not a new debate but it is one that deserves serious consideration, and given our stance we thought we would comment. The article reads like this (minus the boring parts): Experts have suggested that combined with 'TV Parenting', preschoolers spend so much time playing with these tablets and hi-tech toys, they're falling behind on physical development and motor skills. Research has found that almost half of 60 reception children showed signs of delayed development and a further 30% had some signs of physical immaturity. Tests carried out included crawling, standing on one leg for 3 seconds and reflexes such as lifting their arms and simple head movements. The head teacher who carried out the tests, Peter Griffin (hopefully not the one from Family Guy), said "the main issue is that children don't have the same kind of physical challenge and upbringing they might have had 40 or 50 years ago. There's less creativity involved in playing on the screen or watching TV". He also goes on to state that societies 'cotton wool' culture means we lessen the opportunity for our youngsters to walk, crawl and explore. Worryingly, the children with physical development problems, more than three quarters (77 %) were also to be found to behind academically; and within an exam-based culture, it is warned that these children will struggle to catch up.

Obviously this debate has more sides than a 50p piece but here is our bit. Children's development in the early years no doubt has a huge impact on the rest on their life. At Bigjigs Toys we provide alternatives to which children can develop emotionally, physically in a fun and safe environment. All of our toys are designed to help stimulate, encourage creativity and imagination whilst developing physical attributes and motor skills. The proliferation of media outlets in recent years have meant that it is basically impossible not to come across one every day. Almost everyone has TV's, tablets, phones, laptops, consoles, MP3's etc, but who sits back and thinks about the potential damage these do to youngsters development? As the article stated nearly 77% percent who suffer from physical development problems, were also found to be behind academically - this is a terrifying statistic! At Bigjigs Toys were are continually developing products to 'rival' the so called technology boom, encouraging everyone to go back to basics with bringing our children up. Of course we are not suggesting that all media outlets should be banned, that would be impossible - how would I get my weekly fix of The Only Way is Essex....? but we should perhaps consider the damage before we switch the TV on next time. What are your thoughts of the article? Are we exposing our children to media outlets far too much? or not enough? We would love to hear from you regarding this subject.
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Santa is coming... and so is the Slow Toy Movement!

Santa is coming... and so is the Slow Toy Movement!

Good Morning Bigjiggers! Today is a very exciting day for us here at Bigjigs HQ as we are delighted to announce that our re-vamped Triangular Activity Centre has won a Slow Toy Award. The Slow Toy movement and its awards aim to recognise the 'real toys' on the market that are well made, inspire the mind and provide children far more than the noise and flashing lights commonly associated with the toys of today. The expert judges including; Peter Jenkinson from Toyology, Al Boxall-Gordon from IzziwizziKids, and three of the country's significant mummy blogger's including; Nicola from 'Monsters Funhouse', Fiona from 'Mummys Little Stars' and Kate from 'What me and the Boys say'. Our Triangular Activity Centre has been awarded by the judging panel for encouraging traditional play, boosting creative thinking and inspiring the development of one's own imagination. The beautiful Triangular Activity Centre, which features a colourful abacus on one side, a blackboard on the other and wooden letter and picture blocks on the third, is a great educational toy for children aged 1+. Each end also features colourful counting and animal sorters. This wonderful wooden toy offers a modern twist on a classic toy encouraging learning through play, enriching the educational experience. "We are delighted to have achieved this award; it has taken us the best part of a year to get this product from start to finish, from the design, manufacture, testing, packaging etc! We are so happy that all the hard work has paid off and that everyone is enjoying this classic toy!" Liz Ireland, Bigjigs Toys Director. All of the winners of the Slow Toy Awards can now be bought in Selfridges, London, otherwise our Triangular Activity Centre can be found on our website. This morning we have appeared in The Metro and on their website:

We have also had a great mention on The Guardian:

We obviously think this is a SUPER toy but now you don't just have to take our word for it! We also offer over 1500 other products which are just as good as this one - go and pick your favourites!

Click here if you want to read more about the Slow Toys Movement.
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Fairy Figure of Eight Review

Fairy Figure of Eight Review

Good Morrow. After all the hype of our Guinness World Record Attempt we are delighted to see that reviews of our toys are still coming in. We received a wonderful review from One Dad 3 Girls about our Fairy Figure of Eight Train Set. Definitely worth a read!
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It's OFFICIAL!

It's OFFICIAL!

After months of agonising waiting... Yesterday it was confirmed to us that Bigjigs Toys had broken the record for the Longest Wooden Toy Train Track!!

It is now official - Bigjigs Toys have joined the very select club of Guinness World Record title holders for the Longest Wooden Toy Train Track. We managed to reach 2,196.5 metres - beating the previous record by over 500 metres back in July. The event saw us also raise £1047 for Demelza House and The Locomotive Restoration Fund. We would like to thank everyone that supported us before, during and after the event!!

BIGJIGS TOYS ARE OFFICIALLY AMAZING!!

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We

We

Our Marketing and PR man George is 25 today!! When we came and saw him this afternoon this is what greeted us...

We think this image optimises Bigjigs Toys: cake, toys and paperwork!! This leads us to ask the question, "With all this going on, when does George find the time to actually get some work done?"

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Bigjigs Has The Nostalgia Factor!

Bigjigs Has The Nostalgia Factor!

Did you see us in the first edition of Progressive Preschool? It would appear that one of our retailers, Moda in Folkestone, receive a fair amount of the 'older' crowd visiting their wonderful boutique. Here is what co-owener John Parry had to say: "Grandparents are our best customers (after parents) for preschool toys. They particularly like wooden and vintage toys, and we also do well with Bigjigs' rattles, pram accessories and puzzles. We find that grandparents are particularly attracted to the sort of things that they played with as young children, so there is a big nostalgia factor in what we buy to attract their business. We're seen as a destination shop on the high street for products that remind them of their own childhoods and they come to us because they know that we stock traditional items." He says that an average spend by grandparents is somewhere between £15-20. "Grandparents are always generous - there's been no real change in buying habits since the recession - although I think that the run up to Christmas, there might be a bit more of a squeeze." To see the article scroll down:

Have you had similar dealings with the older generation? Share your comments with us, we would love to here them!
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MORE Awards!!

MORE Awards!!

We sent George off to attend the Right Start Best Toy Awards 2012 yesterday and were delighted with the outcome (and so was George - he got free champagne, wine and dinner at The Globe!) First award we entered was for the 'Mini World' category whereby Fairview Manor received Spandeau Ballets biggest hit... GOLD!!

This delightful dolls house is perfect for little ones who love roleplay and makes an ideal birthday or xmas gift. (Please do not be put off by the price tag as it does vary dependent upon where your purchase from!) Our second award of the day went to our ever popular Bigjigs Rail Carry Set which received a respectable Highly Commended award for the Mini Movers category!

The Bigjigs Rail Carry Set has been hugely popular since its launch at the start of this year and has already won 3 top toy awards in the UK and 1 in the US - a great testament to a great train set. This 40 piece play set comes complete with station, train, track and accessories to make the perfect gift for rail enthusiasts. PLUS all the pieces fit into the station for easy storage = NO MORE MESS!!

Obviously we are delighted to be even nominated for these prestigious awards - let alone be at the forefront of them, it just go to show all the hard work we put in does pay off (plus George got a day out of the office so he was delighted too!)

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Our Main Line Coast Bid

Our Main Line Coast Bid

We have submitted our bid for the West Cost Main Line to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. We would be much better than these overpriced, busy and often delayed services we already have, right? It would be much more exciting to travel on one of these than the overcrowded, stinky and slow trains we have the moment:

What do you think? Would you travel on our Bigjigs Rail services?
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Practical Pre-School Award SUCCESS!!

Practical Pre-School Award SUCCESS!!

The Practical Pre-School Awards are one of the most prestigious in the industry! This year the reach of the annual awards continued to include products aimed at professional childcare and educational settings, and has expanded further to include products that were aimed at all of primary education including key stage 1 and 2. First up was our already award winning Rail Carry Set:

Designed and finished to the highest quality, this wonderful Bigjigs Rail Carry Set comprises of 40 play pieces including a brightly coloured train engine and carriages, wooden track which is compatible with other leading wooden railway systems, a pull out park scene and a unique roof carry handle. The testers gave the set a score of 89.3% and awarded it Silver in the Toys & Games 3-5 category. They said "The Rail Carry Set is sturdy, well made and easy to put together. The children loved this new addition to the setting and immediately wanted to play with it. The track pieces are chunky and carriages bright and good quality. There are lots of add-ons and we are already intending to buy more!" The Rail Carry Set is reasonably priced at £44.99 and is an ideal focal point for any train enthusiasts set! Second up was our beautiful Blossom Cottage:

This delightful cottage with a detailed exterior opens out to reveal a family home with four fully furnished rooms, a unique garden and patio. Blossom Cottage encourages children's imaginative play where they can design their own home, with 18 pieces of furniture, for the delightful four-piece doll family.

Tester gave this a score of 86.9% where it received Silver for the Classic Toys & Games Category. The testers said "A lovely toy which is extremely well made. It encourages group play as well as individual play. Great value for money as the family and furniture come with the cottage, so no extra costs to add on. Children of all ages found this toy appealing. It is suitable for working with SEN children." Priced at £64.99 this wonderful is dolls house is affordable, long lasting and great for children who love roleplay!

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Sam Ireland - Operations Manager of Bigjigs Toys

"Naturally we are delighted that two of our favourite products received such great awards and feedback! Of course it is always nice to be recognised in the industry awards for our wonderful toys. I am delighted that we managed to receive silver for both the Rail Carry Set and Blossom Cottage; winning awards such as these, really motivate us to design and create even more amazing toys for children to enjoy!"

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A 5* Rating

A 5* Rating

We are often quite boastful about our own products for obvious reasons, and we often get complimented on our product and how much our Bigjiggers love them... BUT this review posted by 'Woman, Wife and Mum' is on another level.

Full of descriptions and images of Oliver playing with our Bigjigs Rail can be found here!

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