Five tips for picking Click & Collect toys
Updated: Jul 29
by Felicity Hearnden
Looking for ideas and inspiration for toys to pick at your next Click and Collect booking? Here’s some tips and tricks especially for those with kinder and early primary school aged kids.
I recently used the online Click and Collect booking system for the first time to pick toys for my family. Even though I know every toy in our collection of 4600 from volunteering for a couple of years now, I still had to spend some extra time to think about what to borrow for my 4 and 7 year olds during this second lock down period.
Last year I worked on implementing the Development Attributes System across all toys in our collection. These icons and categories are designed to assist parents to select toys best suited for their children, as well as bringing their attention to toys they may never have considered before (who would have thought that would be during a pandemic!). I hope the ideas listed below can help you pick your next toys and make things a bit easier in your house right now.
1. Choose an option for a little bit of ‘Calm down’ in your household
Right now the ‘Calm Down’ development attribute is pretty important in my house as we are all a bit wound up and stressed out.
My favourite Calm Down options include puzzles, play dough, art and craft toys, and sand and water toys. I have also found that as my kids are getting older, both they and we are enjoying the single-player games - look out for Smart Games, Think Fun games and the ‘Find Its' in our Games section.
2. Find toys that help your kids use up that energy indoors
It’s cold, wet, and everyone’s inside together. A great way to get everyone moving is to pick one of the indoor movement toys.
Sometimes you can combine toys you have borrowed, such as slides or balance logs, with existing household objects to make obstacle courses. In our house, we have been using a pool noodle as a balance beam, beanie bears and soft toys as makeshift bean bags, and masking tape (or chalk outdoors) for putting removable markings on the floor for hopping, jumping etc.
On warmer days, we have been doing this in our carport, moving the car to the street just to give the kids somewhere else to play. It can be a bit of effort to set up an obstacle course, but the pay-off can be great with kids no longer climbing the walls.
3. Pick from the categories you don't normally even look at
When picking Click and Collect toys, try looking at different categories. I've found this really easy by using the online toy catalogue filters.
For older kids, if you don’t normally pick from the Sport, Art & Craft, or Science sections, it’s a great time to give something new a go. Some families with younger children don’t often pick from the Puzzles or Games categories. It’s worth having a look at these sections, as there are some great options for kids as young as 2 or 3 years old.
It’s a good time to try something that you’ve wondered if your child might like, but you haven’t been sure about whether it will hold their interest. There’s no loss if they don’t love it - just pick something new next time. One of my friends said her boys’ favourite toy borrowed in lockdown one was a baby doll set she was mending, that she would have never otherwise borrowed.
Also, you can always upgrade your membership to take more toys home – I’m very seriously considering that I might even need a 12 toy borrowing option so I don’t need to drop in as often.
4. Something educational with literacy or numeracy, or something just different or new
I know a lot of parents right now are looking for alternative ways to help support the educational needs of their kids at home. We have lots of toys that support literacy, numeracy and other early childhood education skills. Don’t be afraid to choose something that looks like it would be more appropriate for a lower level than what your child might be at – sometimes easy options can build confidence and revision with these skills.
Check out our Preschool Skills section for 2-6 year olds, as well as the Games section for anyone over 2 years old. You will find lots of options for letter and number recognition, plenty of choice for building fine motor skills essential for writing, plus options to practice sight words, counting and simple addition. For older children our Games section has plenty of choice for more complex skills like practising reading, writing, maths, drawing, as well as problem solving, strategy and memory skills.
Another way to encourage your child’s education is to simply pick a toy you wouldn’t normally – maybe you’ve never borrowed a cash register, or your kids haven’t been drawn to borrow puppets before. By picking something they would never have chosen for themselves you are giving them the opportunity to learn about a whole new world of play.
5. A previous favourite toy
Longing for a quiet cup of coffee? Just need a break? Have a think about the previous toys you have borrowed that have given you the best peace and quiet. There’s certainly nothing wrong with just picking your very favourite toys that you know are likely to give your kids hours and hours of entertainment. For my seven year old it’s one of the Trix Tracks construction set, and my 4 year old loves the Wow Toys imagination horse sets.