Friday, 24 August 2012

Review: Play to Z Stacking Hoops

Amidst the sea of wonderful electronics and plastic at Christmas in July, one company stood out from all the rest.  The attractive and tactile toys immediately appealed to both me and Lara, and after chatting to the founder and MD, Sue Gascoyne, I wanted to know more.


Her wonderful company Play to Z, was set up in 2006 with the ethos of embedding sensory play experiences in the learning environment.  Coming from an educational background and believing in natural learning through exploration and play, their toys and resources really appeal to me.  They supply treasure baskets, sensory tale packs and much more.  All are carefully created with regard to children's sensory experience and with learning opportunities which extend into childhood, supplied with guidance and ideas for parents.

The toy which really caught Lara's eye was the lovely stacking hoops, and we were delighted when Play to Z offered to send the girls one to play with.  This is a fantastic, ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to the usual stacking toy, but is also an amazing sensory collection with infinite play possibilities.

Just look at the excitement opening the package, which comes in a lovely cloth storage bag, elicited:




Babies will love to play with, compare and chew the different hoops; toddlers will enjoy sorting and comparing them, and inventing new play uses for them; whilst the ethical, environmental and fair trade credentials of the individual hoops are something which could lead into amazing education opportunities with older children.


For us, this is the first toy Sophia (7 months) has fully engaged with.  She has looked at other things, played with them a little, but this she really plays with, and in so many different ways already.  She loves to take the different hoops off the stick hersefl, and to see how they feel in her hands and in her mouth.  She pushes them around with her feet, and even picks up two at once to compare their different textures.



Lara (29 months) loves all the different hoops too, and so far they have become bangles, flower gardens for Peppa Pig's house, hoopla hoops, hula hoops for her dolls, and so much more.  She also likes to see how tthe different textures feel on her skin and by chewing them.  She is intrigued by the metal staying relatively cool in the hot weather, for example.


Lara has also spent quite some time sorting the hoops into different categories and telling me about their different qualities, which is amazing at her age.  We have encouraged the language for this and she has learnt lots of new adjectives,and comparative words and phrases.


The most hilarious game to play, for both girls, is balancing them on our heads.  Many an hour has been spent with the four of us sat round seeing who can balance their hoop longest, followed by hysterical laughter.

Like all of Play to Z's range, this is a toy that will grow and develop as our children do.  I love the idea that something so deceptively simple can be so many things and used, played with and enjoyed in so many different ways.  This is what childhood, and imagination, is all about.

The full range of Play to Z toys, and more information about the company and its ethos, can be found here.


And don't forget to enter our competitions!


113 comments :

  1. i love the sensory collection mat x

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  2. I love the stacking hoops too as Dylan has recently learnt how to do his and I think the different textures would make it much more exciting

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  3. sensory collection mat , following u on gfc

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  4. The stacking rings look fab - Oliver would love them. I also love the hide and seek collection. It's a fantastic selection of items that would be great for sensory play. :)

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  5. I love the mushroom diffractors. These products are amazing! Sam x

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  6. I love the stacking hoops, Oliver would love them. The hide and seek collection looks fantastic too, would be fab for sensory play. :)

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  7. Any one of the sensory tales as I think these are fab to help children engage in storytelling!!!!! :)

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  8. I've followed you by GFC as Christina Marriott :)

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  9. I'm going to go with the Sluggy Sleep Pod. Might just invest in this for my son. He LOVES bright colours and it might calm him down to be so snug in alien environments xx

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  10. Subscribed via email - gemma.mills@aol.co.uk

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  11. got to be the stacking hoops

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  12. got to bee the stacking hoops

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  13. Oh, I absolutely LOVE that stacking ring, but for the purpose of the competition, I also like the large visual sensory collection.

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  14. What a fantastic site, there are some brilliant ideas there. I love the Discovery Box, so many great things to explore in it.

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  15. i think the We're Riding on a Caravan looks fab

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  16. The Furry Caterpillars are cute.

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  17. I think the treasure baskets are great I have seen them at my local groups my baby loves them

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  18. Large Value Sensory Collection

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  19. I love the stacking hoops, thanks

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  20. The large sensory collection and I'm also following you

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  21. i love the Play to Z Stacking Hoops most my 15 month old is showing signs of being autistic like his 5 year old brother and this would be ideal for a great sensory product xx

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  22. The Discovery Box looks great but I really like the stacking rings as well @Bobbity666

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  23. The Stacking Hoops

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  24. I really like the
    Aarrgghh Spider!!! sensory book

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  25. I am subscribed via email - robertfox24 [at] aol [dot] com

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  26. Replies
    1. The sensory books look great but the stacking hoops are the ones for me

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  27. The stacking hoops. Dual purpose toy, when baby not playing mum can wear as jewellery!

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  28. I love the Discovery Box, great idea

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  29. A popular choice, but the stacking hoops! They're so well made :)

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  30. i love these stacking rings so unique and look far more entertaining than dull plastic ones

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  31. stacking hoops

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  32. Morning, "The Nursery Collection!", hard to select one, but it combines a lot of great goodies

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  33. I love the treasure baskets

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  34. Treasure Traveller Collection k.mayhead@btinternet.com

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  35. The Discovery box

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  36. The Stacking Hoops look great. Perfect for my baby boy.

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  37. The treasure Traveller looks good!

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  38. I follow via GFC as mellysocks

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  39. Following you on Networked Blogs

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  40. the Sensory Tales We All Went on Safari looks like this would keep child and parents busy for ages with all different kinds of games which could be played

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  41. I like the 'We all went on safari' set!

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  42. Looks lovely - and the balancing sounds fun!

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  43. I love the look of the sensory tales. The 'we all went on safari' one would be a big hit here.

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  44. What a lovely website with some great products which are right up Henry's street! He has a fascination with stroking different textures he is 7.5 months and the stacking hoops would keep him occupied for ages. What a well thought through company and a fantastic offer :-)

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  45. The sensory hoops look adorable!

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  46. I like the look of the Treasure Traveller Collection

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  47. I follow your blog through GFC (Heather Walsh)

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  48. I like the stacking hoops. Your review is inspiring and I'd love to play with the hoops with my granddaughter but where is the photo of you balancing them on your heads? :)

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  49. Wow their are so many lovely products it's hard to choose the ball and hoop colection and the hide and seek collection both look like things both me & my little girl (13 months) would love but i think our favorite thing is the stacking hoops, she loves just playing and exploring household objects so i love how this doesn't look like a typical toy and i think it would keep her engaged for a lot longer.

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  50. The treasure baskets are great :)

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  51. The treasure baskets are a great idea :)

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  52. the treasure traveller set :)

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  53. the Discovery Set looks very interesting, great idea

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  54. Sensory books look great

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  55. I just love the stacking hoops

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  56. I love the treasure baskets.

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  57. I love the treasure baskets, I already have one for my daughter and love adding new things to it.

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  58. The treasure traveller set is cool

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  59. I love the stacking hoops, such a good idea

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  60. I love the stacking hoops they look really fun!

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  61. The discovery box - great for an explore

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  62. lindsaychadburn23@hotmail.co.uk10 September 2012 at 13:53

    any one of the sensory tales they are fantastic!!!

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  63. the treasure traveller is lovely. Although these stackign ringd look really clever too!

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  64. following with GFC as Piper and Daisy

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  65. I love the Communication & Literacy Complete Set

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  66. it would have to be the sensory collection mat

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  67. The Fiddle Flowers would definitely appeal to my daughter - and save my garden flowers!

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  68. Stacking hoops get lots of attention in our Baby room!

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  69. love the sensory collection mat x

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  70. The treasure traveller! I love it!

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  71. love the sensory collection mat x

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  72. love the loopy lion cushion, great for travelling with kids

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  73. my daughter is into bug hunting at the moment so we would love the magnifier

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  74. I really like the stacking hoops
    @vickyd4v3

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  75. I love sensory collection mat

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  76. Thanks for all the likes and follows! Many of you have been entering the competition to win one of our gorgeous Stacking Hoops. If you wern't the lucky winner we're offering a 5% DISCOUNT to help you embrace Sensory Play. Enter save5percent at the online checkout on our website, www.playtoz.co.uk, or order by phone on 01206 796722. If you have any queries or would like to speak to us before you place an order you can also email us on info@playtoz.co.uk.

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