We were recently asked to chose two toys from Jaques of London‘s beautiful toy range to play with and review. The company is based in Edenbridge and so I leapt at the chance to support a local Kent business! Jaques of London have so many gorgeous wooden toys that it was so tricky making a decision. In the end, I decided to go for one toy which I knew Rowan would absolutely adore – a London Bus and one toy which I thought would be fantastic for learning, as well as playing – an abacus.
When the toys arrived, they were absolutely beautifully packaged in rustic cardboard boxes which celebrated the heritage of Jaques of London. The company began in 1795 and the skills of making wooden games has been passed down through six generations! I love their slogan – ‘From Our Family To Yours.’ Inside the box, the toys were wrapped in paper which again celebrated the history of the company. A really lovely touch is that in each box is a little card which has been hand signed by the person who wrapped your toy. You really feel that love and care has gone into your order and it has come from a person rather than a faceless company.
Both toys look absolutely wonderful. Their vibrant colours make them eye catching and so inviting to play with. As soon as Rowan had taken them out of the box, he wanted to get playing straight away. The toys are wonderful quality and being wooden they are lovely and sturdy which means you know they will put up with over enthusiastic toddler play!
Rowan has absolutely loved playing with his London Bus. It comes with eight people and these are a fantastic mix of gender, race and age. It is so important for children to be able to play with a diverse range of characters. The bus also has the ability to remove the top deck so you can have your passengers riding inside the bus and sightseeing from the top deck. It has been really wonderful for encouraging imaginative play. Rowan has loved acting out conversations between the passengers and selling them tickets to get on the bus. He has also really loved pushing his bus around whilst singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ which has been absolutely lovely to hear.
He has also really loved playing with his abacus. I adore the abacus because I know that this is a toy which will really grow with him. I have written before about the importance of children not only being able to count but to know what each number really means. An abacus is a wonderfully visual way to see numbers. At the moment we have used the abacus for simple counting. Rowan has even used it to learn how to count in ten in French. I’m sure the movement of pushing each bead along the line helps to commit the numbers to memory. We have also done some basic adding and taking away using the beads. As he grows and increases his mathematical knowledge, it will be wonderful to use the abacus to physically show a range of mathematical concepts. For example, it will be perfect for demonstrating both multiplication and division as the abacus allows for making up groups of numbers. Whereas little counters or toys can get lost and knocked while doing mathematical activities, the joy of an abacus is that they are fixed in place so you know there beads are always there and ready to go when you need them.
We have absolutely loved playing with our Jaques of London toys and would absolutely recommend them. I know when it comes to birthdays and Christmas this will be a go to place for us for gift ideas. My eldest son Rory would love the Jaques of London Chess Set and has already added this to his birthday list!
We were kindly gifted the London Bus and Abacus for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are our own.