And the benefits of open-ended play
As all toddlers, Vicky loves to climb on anything she can! In fact, learning to climb plays an important role in the development of children’s balance and motor skills.
When I was looking for indoor-climbing toys that Vicky could safely play with and keep her busy during rainy days I discovered Wiwiurka, a Mexico based family run business that produces beautiful Pikler, Montessori and Waldorf inspired wooden climbing equipment and toys for open-ended play.
All their pieces are beautifully hand-crafted from wood and are available in different colour pallets from bright rainbow colours to muted earthy tones or monochrome, so there is really something for every taste and interior style. I also find that with their clean shapes all their pieces integrate perfectly with the family living space if you don’t have a play room for your kids.
Open ended toys and their benefits
Open-ended toys are toys that don’t come with instructions, pre-defined structures, rules or guides for children to follow. They can be used in many different ways completely depending on the child who is playing with it and support imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills. A perfect example for an open-ended toy is a simple carboard box – it can be anything a child wants it to be: a car, a spaceship, a house etc. Non-open-ended toys on the other hand would be for example board games, puzzles, pre-fabricated construction sets. I am not saying one or the other is better. They are just different ways of play that foster different skills. Given that there are no instructions and rules to follow, open ended play allows children to express their creativity freely and come up with ever new ways to engage with their toys. And what I love about the Wiwiurka-range is that they add a physical element to the children’s play.
The Wiwiurka XXL Rocker and Climbing Board
We’ve had the XXL rocker and the reversible rock-climbing board in the pastel colour pallet for a few weeks now and there is not one day where Vicky hasn’t played with it. I just love watching her letting her imagination run wild and find ever new ways of playing with her Wiwiurka toys.
The XXL rocker is 109 cm / 43″ long, 48 cm / 19″ high and 60 cm / 24″ wide, can carry a maximum weight of 176 lbs / 80 kg and is recommended for children aged 18 months to 9 years. It can be used by two children at the same time, of course keeping in mind the maximum weight of 80kg.
Yes, it’s quite big, so maybe not ideal for very small spaces but when Vicky is not using it I just pop it on its side and put it in the corner of her play space.
There is also a smaller version of the rocker available which is recommended for 1 year-old children up to 6 years and the weight limit is 45 kg (100 lbs). It’s 44 cm /17.5’’ tall, 84 cm/33’’ long and 38cm/15’’.
The rocker slats are made from top-quality Mexican pine wood, the sides from certified European birch plywood and the pieces are so strong and sturdy that they will last for years to come and will be past on from generation to generation.
We also have the reversible rock-climbing board which enhances the playing scope of the rocker as it offers a climbing and sliding option for a piece that is climbable but is more about rocking and it’s super easy to store away when she’s not using it.
Whilst keeping her entertained, the toys are a great way for her to practice her climbing and balancing skills as well as her hand and foot coordination.
Vicky uses her Wiwiurka pieces for the obvious rocking, climbing and sliding down her board but she has found a lot of other ways by herself such as using it as a bed for herself and her dollies to relax, a bridge, a tunnel, a cave, a run for her Duplo trains and when it’s put on it’s side it’s like a little fence for her to hide behind. Her favourite thing to do is using it as a slide though. Every day when she comes home from nursery she askes me to connect the ramp to her rocker, bless her.
I can really see her playing with her Wiwiurka climbing toys for years to come and be the saviour of rainy weekends!
What are your kids’ favourite open-ended toys?
P.S. The rocker and climbing-board have kindly been sent to us for review but all opinions are my own.