So today I have some exciting news for a Monday morning: Freddie and Sasha have officially landed the best gig in the world, as official testers for a company that I have absolutely LOVED for ages, The Great Little Trading Company! We couldn’t be happier, and F and S are looking forward to giving their (very vocal) opinion on all things toy and bedroom-wise for super-stylish little ones.
When we were told that they’d be reviewing the Great Little Trading Company’s Wooden Play Shop and Theatre, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We’d recently purchased a cheapo cardboard market stall, that whilst it looked good, unfortunately it didn’t stand the test of time, and collapsed when Freddie accidentally stumbled and fell on it. Cue lots and lots of tears from a very sad 3 and 4 year old. I found myself cursing myself mentally for not splashing out on something a lot sturdier, but you live and learn eh? I had seen the Great Little Trading Company Play Shop and Theatre in their catalogue, as well as on Instagram before, and had always loved the look of it, so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
So we don’t end up with spoilt brats, Adam and I told the children that they had a very special job to do for Mummy, and that this is a bit of an early Christmas present. I think this went over their heads a bit, and now they seem to think I work for the big man FC himself, so we have probably totally confused them!
Anyway, the market arrived perfectly flat-packed whilst the children were at school and preschool, which gave me plenty of time to put it together and I couldn’t wait to see their excited faces when they arrived home. Turns out I didn’t actually need that much time, as the whole thing only took me just over half an hour (alone) to build. The fact that the instructions that came with it were detailed and clear was a big factor in the ease of this, and certainly reduced potential stress levels! I know when it comes to Christmas and children’s presents, I’m very much of the like-to-relax-with-a-Baileys
or 3 on-Christmas-Eve parental variety, not spending all evening constructing complicated toys.
Along with the Play Shop we were lucky enough to have been given some little wooden crates of play food (fruit, veg and meat/fish), plus a selection of wooden groceries and a lovely blue and red, wooden shopping trolley. Like the market stall, the trolley comes flat-packed and was easy to put together, although you might need another person to help you put the wheels on so they are on tight enough.
When Freddie and Sasha first ran upstairs and saw their new Market Stall, their faces were a picture! Ridiculously happy and excited doesn’t quite cover it!
“I love it so much, Mummy” said Sasha, where as Freddie just kept saying “Wow, Mummy, is it REALLY, really ours?!”.
Role play games, especially ones playing shops and anything involving food, are a big hit with my two, and they probably play variations of these games most days. As a result I knew they’d get good use of this toy, and that it would be worth giving house room to. I absolutely love watching them play together and see their little minds thinking up a plan of action for their shop. Considering my two can bicker quite a lot, when it comes to working in a shop they seem to share the jobs and manage to delegate quite well! Maybe Freddie’s previous declaration that he’d like to work in Iceland down the road when he’s older “…because they do yummy cocktail sausages and I can eat them all the time” wasn’t far off the mark 😉
From a parents point of view, previous experience of owning wooden food suggests that it lasts a long, long time, and I love that the food items are nice and chunky, yet easy for little hands to pick up and play with. On a completely shallow note, this is also a toy that looks bloody good, and as someone who has spent a lot of time making sure the children’s bedrooms look nice and are lovely spaces to play in, I didn’t want to fill it with totally hideous toys. I think this shows that it’s possible to get a balance and find something that the children will LOVE but that’s aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
We’ve decided to keep the Play Shop in Sasha’s bedroom as it’s the biggest, but to be honest I don’t think you’d need a huge amount of space to keep this comfortably and without it getting in the way. I’ve always been a bit funny about clogging up the house with irritatingly bulky stuff, but this, whilst on the taller-side, isn’t actually very wide at all, so fits snuggly against the wall. The Play Shop and Theatre is also on wheels so it can be moved around if required, but thankfully there are safety breaks on the wheels so little ones can’t suddenly decide to hurl it down the stairs!
Other features of the Play Shop and Theatre include include a pull out draw for storage (see pic) that you can write on with chalk, thanks to the blackboard paint, as well as a blank, blackboard-painted sign for writing the name of your new market venture on! If the market stall is turned around, then there is a large blackboard at the front for you to write the name of your theatre show on (this toy is reversible, and I’ll be featuring the theatre aspect of it in a blog post coming soon).
So do we have any criticisms so far of our new addition?
Honestly, none as yet! If I’m being extremely nit-picky, then I wonder how long the curtains will last with constant use, but to be honest they’re so easy to take off and wash/repair, or just make some new ones, that it’s really not a big deal.
I had high hopes that a product such as this would be high quality for the price (Was £140, now currently £112), and we haven’t been disappointed. I just wish I’d made the investment in the first place, rather than to try and cut corners on a previously cheaper product that only lasted a short while, and caused a fair bit of upset.
Definitely one to ask Father Christmas for this year, as it’s a fantastic toy and judging by the reaction my two little ones had when they first saw it, would really make for a memorable 25th December.
Go and buy!
PS I’m hoping the film a short video of the children playing with it soon, so you can see it in all it’s glory!
A huge thanks to The Great Little Trading Company for letting Freddie and Sasha have so much fun. We were given the Play Shop and Theatre, wooden food and shopping trolley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words are my own (and Freddie and Sasha’s!).