Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bigjigs Farm House Sorter

bigjigs train

We are so excited to be in the final phase of applications for the Bigjigs Play Patrol!  

We love Bigjigs, who are a fantastic toy company specialising in wonderful, traditional wooden toys for children of all ages.  

We love the ethics of the company which strives to keep its environmental impact minimal.  

We love how the toys enhance children's development and learning through play, and how each top quality toy is beautifully and thoughtfully designed.  

We love the tactile feel, warmth and smell of the wood, and we know that each toy will last for generations (especially important now I am a granny to my baby grandson Ted who will one day inherit some of  his Uncle Freddy's toys!)

Bigjigs Farm House Sorter

We received a lovely surprise through the post from Bigjigs for the final stage of the Play Patrol applications. We were challenged to put the fun to the test in a review.  Three year old Freddy is always ready to have fun!

wooden toy

Now, being the McDonald family, we are particularly fond of farm toys as they give us the opportunity to sing one of our favourite songs "Old McDonald Had a Farm" so this was the perfect toy for Freddy to test, ably assisted by his big sisters Ella and Kizzy who are always on hand for some fun play time with their little brother.   In this video, Freddy demonstrates the Farm House Sorter accompanied by his musical sisters!


The Farm House Sorter is a lovely toy for ages 12 mths+ that will appeal to both tiny tots and pre-schoolers alike, as it can be played with in different ways according to the child's age and ability.  This gives it great play potential for years to come as it grows with the child, making it a great investment to the toybox. 

It came boxed in recyclable cardboard, with only the shapes wrapped up inside for protection, so the waste was minimal. The Farm House Sorter consists of a colourful, wooden barn with shapes cut into the sides, a removable roof and a handy carry handle, along with nine cut out shapes (eight animals and a tree).


Firstly, children can post the shapes through the holes, which will help develop their fine motor skills, spatial awareness and dexterity.  

But this isn't all!  Each of the animal and the tree shapes are individually painted.  This  helps children learn their colours.

The shapes can be counted in and out of the sorter to help children learn their numbers.

Little ones will enjoy chatting about the animals which assists their language development.  The colour, the position, the animal noises, the size etc. all lend themselves to having conversations with Mummy or Daddy about what they are doing.

The name of the animal/object is written in lower case on the back of the each shape so pre-schoolers can learn letter and word recognition whilst playing, which is a step towards mastering their reading skills.  

The shapes also allow for imaginative, farm yard role play as they are free-standing and can be 'walked' around their farm house home.  It is a shame that the tree does not stand up as it could add another dimension to a child's storytelling with the animals.  

The shapes can be drawn around and used as templates as an arts and crafts resource which will help mark making skills to develop.

All this learning comes through having fun and playing, which is the best way for little ones to develop!  


Freddy loves his Bigjigs Farm House Sorter.  He is able to post the shapes through the right holes, even though he sometimes has to think quite hard about it and turn the house round to find the correct space.  He likes that the whole roof comes off so he can retrieve the animals easily to play over and over again.  The roof parts have also doubled up as steering wheels in a very imaginative game of racing car drivers with his sister!  I love how a good toy inspires so many ideas in a child, way beyond those of any adult!  It is a well designed toy that Freddy enjoys carrying around with a real sense of ownership.  He is happy to explore the toy independently or will happily show off his skills to us, chatting and engaging us in his discoveries. It is well made, solid and robust enough to withstand years of play. All the pieces fit inside for storage and the roof attaches securely, but is easy to get off and on.  There is nothing fiddly or frustrating to contend with, so it's smiles all the way from 3 year old Freddy. 

Bigjigs, shape sorter

In a world of technology with garishly coloured, plastic, battery-operated toys with lights and sounds, it delights me that my son is so thrilled with this toy.  I love him having traditional toys which provide him with an alternative to the brands that inundate the toy shops today.  Fuelled only by his imagination, his natural curiosity  and a yearning to learn new things, Freddy brought this shape sorter to life in ways I hadn't even thought of.  We have had dancing and flying farm animals with superpowers flying into their farm house home.  We've seen racing cars zooming around with rooftop steering wheels.  We've sung songs together and chatted about pigs and cows and ducks and geese.  He has told me stories, he has counted, he has recognised letters and he has done all this in the process of having fun and playing!

Find out more about Bigjigs by visiting their website at


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