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Top Toys to Inspire Open Ended Play for Growing Imaginations

  • person Caroline Brooks
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What is Open Ended Play?

Open ended play is, simply put, play that has no set limitations.

With no hard or fast rules, instructions or pre- determined outcomes, it’s a wonderful way to encourage little ones to express free thought and build on their growing imaginations

In order to cultivate an environment for open ended play, it’s vital to choose toys that fuel independent thought, inspire creativity and engage children’s natural curiosity.

Key Benefits

  • Encourages the ability to make decisions
  • A great tool for nurturing social skills
  • Promotes independent thought
  • Supports creative thinking
  • Builds confidence
  • Helps with language development
  • Fosters a healthy curiosity and a positive attitude towards learning

Top Toy Picks

One of the best things about introducing open ended play, is that it’s so simple to do. Let young minds go wild and create an environment for stress free fun with these top toy picks that support their inquisitive nature, without restricting play.

It goes without saying here, that although children need the freedom to express themselves, they definitely still need adult supervision when playing at a young age.

Watch your explorers in action and let them take the lead. You will soon get to know when they are engaged and fully immersed in a particular activity.   And, children love praise, so ensure you give plenty of positive reinforcement too.

Over the Rainbow

First up, this colourful Rainbow Tunnel. Is it a rainbow? A bridge? Or perhaps a tower or a tunnel to another dimension?  Made from sustainable wood, this planet friendly favourite will have them engaged for day after day of immersive play.

rainbow tunnel toy stacked

Stacks of Fun

With literally thousands of play possibilities, this bumper sized classic toy is a no brainer for building imaginative and creative outcomes. Comprising 60 solid wooden pieces, painted using child safe colours, they even come with a cloth storage bag for easy tidy ups and safe keeping - bonus.  An open play maestro, it’s one that will grow with them over the years. From stacking to knocking them down and combining them with other playtime objects to create buildings, play scenes and a whole multitude of set ups.

 wooden blocks stacked

A to Z

Another timeless favourite, and for good reason too. Teach little students their ABCs with these solid wooden alphabet blocks. Each play piece features a sweet, hand printed design on each face, including a letter and numbered illustrations. All decorated in pretty, colourful hues. A great multi-tasker for limitless play, they are ideal for developing dexterity too. Youngsters will adore building the blocks into different patterns, spelling out simple words, teaching colours and a whole host of other activities to boot.

abc blocks child holding block

Happy Trails

A childhood staple, this wooden train set is a must have for promoting free play. Little creatives will find new ways to play every time they pull this toy out. From designing their own track in various shapes and patterns to creating an imaginary world of adventure. Where is the train bound today? Who is on board and what sights will they see along the way? Solid, sustainable and super charged with good old- fashioned fun, this toy ticks all the boxes.

royal express green train on bridge

Nature Lovers

If it’s educational toys you're after, then look no further than this adorable Ocean Stacking Toy. Comprising chunky wooden sea creature shaped play pieces, little hands will delight in stacking them up high and watching them tumble. They also make a great imaginative toy to bring characters to life, as well as teaching inquisitive minds about life under the water.

ocean stacker child stacking whale

Head in the Clouds

Get ready for some wheelie good fun with this traditional baby walker toy. Perfect for toddlers who are just starting to find their feet, it packs in a lot of possibilities for play.  Featuring 45 durable chunky rubberwood blocks, all painted in the colours of the rainbow, it’s a fun way to help stimulate psychological and fine motor skills, teach shape recognition and develop hand-eye coordination and imagination too. 

We hope you enjoyed this little read. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to stay in the loop on all things Le Toy Van by signing up to our newsletter. Don’t forget to come and say hello over on Instagram too @letoyvantoys.

rainbow cloud walker blocks stacked

Playtime Paradise

You can shop our beautiful collection of sustainable wooden toys and treasures at our online store. From early learning, traditional dolls houses, classic toys, roleplay and play foods, children’s furniture and more. Our beloved curation is waiting to be discovered, with unique pieces that inspire the magic of childhood, through a lifetime of play. 

A little bit about us

We’re Le Toy Van. A big hearted, honest talking family business with a lifelong passion for creating traditional wooden toys.

Georges Le Van, our founder, created the first ever Le Toy Van toy, our beloved wooden Dolls House, over 25 years ago. 

We are proud to have built a company whose heritage is based on the solid principles of sustainability. We are passionate about protecting our world and creating eco-friendly toys that are built to last and passed down through generations, for a lifetime of play. Read the full story.