If you have ever wanted to invest in eco-friendly wooden and bamboo toys, then Hape is the brand to consider.

Hape is the world’s largest producer of eco-friendly wooden and bamboo toys that come from natural renewable sources. These high quality products should last for generations and can be passed down from child to child, rather than tossed out.

The range is extensive but here are a few of my favourites:

Hape Little Pounder

Every toddler loves to bash things around and make things happen. Action-reaction toys are king at this stage. “If I do this, then that will happen.” There is nothing more empowering for a child than mastering cause and effect.  Hape’s Little Pounder is perfect for this as they get to pound the coloured wooden pegs into the holes with a hammer. It strengthens the hand, arm and shoulder girdle – good preparation for writing one day. This activity stimulates fine motor skills, eye-hand co-ordination and manual dexterity. It also introduces problem solving logic and spatial planning. Suitable from 12 months +.

Hape Shake and Match Shape Sorter

I purchased this fabulous wooden toy for a little friend of mine who turned one the other day. It is a most unusual shape sorter than can also roll along too. The shapes themselves each have an individual sound, making them great rattles and adding another dimension to the sorter itself. Shape sorting is about problem solving, logic and spatial planning as a child finds the right hole that matches their shape. There is both shape and colour matching in this game. The coloured side of the shape sorter gives the child a clue as to which shape would fit into the hole. “Put the blue shape in the blue hole.” Children are getting a concrete experience of shape with this product as it gives them plenty of tactile feedback through the hands to the brain as they experience straight lines of a rectangle and curves of a circles, for example.  It promotes eye-hand co-ordination and manual dexterity as your child manipulates the shapes. Children love to find the right slot for their shapes and see them magically ‘disappear’. Shapes can also be stacked one on top of the other for some building fun. Your child will learn both shape and colour words as they play with you. Suitable from 12 – 24 months.

Hape Maple Blocks

This 50-piece colourful set of wooden blocks is a perfect starter set for the aspiring young builder. Every child, boy or girl, should have the gift of a set of sturdy building blocks to enable them to discover the joys of building, working up against gravity, putting things together and taking them apart. Children will learn about spatial planning and balance by using they fine-motor control and eye-hand co-ordination to create structures. Build vertically upwards or flat on the floor. Sort the blocks into colour or shape groups and understand cause and effect. Every line in these shaped building blocks is made up of different lines such as a curve from a circle or a diagonal from a triangle, and these very lines make up th letters of the alphabet such as the curve in the letter ‘a’ or the diagonal in the letter ‘k’.  So, believe it or not, playing with these building blocks lays foundations for reading, writing and maths! Suitable from 12 months to 4 years.

Hape Dynamo Dominoes special 30th Anniversary edition

Building a domino run is a great challenge for older children and adults alike. This 30th Anniversary celebratory set of 100 wooden dominoes comes with some extras too such as a bridge, bell, rails, and other assorted tricks. Tap one rectangle and watch them all come tumbling down sequentially, but this requires some serious spatial planning, problem solving and patience. This game promotes fine motor control, eye-hand co-ordination and manual dexterity. It is beautifully  packaged to make a fantastic gift idea for anyone old or young. Suitable from 8+ to adult.

Hape Rainbow Xylophone

Music is not only good for the soul but has strong links to developing mathematical ability. This colourful wooden xylophone enables a child to pound away with their drumsticks, playing different notes. It is about cause an effect and children love to receive auditory feedback from what they are doing.  When hitting individual notes, fine motor control and eye-hand co-ordination are required. Two drumsticks means that both hands can be used at the same time. This is called bilateral integration and is fantastic for strengthening the connection between the left and right sides of the brain. When children use the drumsticks, they are stimulating gross motor control of the whole arm and should girdle as well as fine motor control of the hand. Suitable from 12 months+.

Hape Mr Tambourine

A wooden tambourine is a fabulous first musical instrument that can be both shaken and pounded to create sounds. Children will often run and jump around when they are making music with a tambourine developing their rhythm. Playing with a tambourine requires fine motors skills and eye-hand co-ordination. When pounding, it’s a little like clapping in that the child is working in their midline, down the centre of their body. Connecting their hands with the instrument is gross motor control and requires quite abit of co-ordination from a little tot. Suitable from 12 months+.

To find out where your nearest Toy Kingdom store is, or to purchase online, visit www.toykingdom.com .