NW Equipment & Resources Awards 2019: Birth to Threes

Two gold medals were awarded.

Giant Stack and Build

Company: TTS Group

Price: £134.95

Age range: from 10 months

Website: www.tts-group.co.uk

This 28-piece set of tactile wooden shapes, which can be posted onto a large wooden tower base, is a great open-ended resource which will not only inspire children's loose parts play but also extend their construction experiences.

‘It's great for collaborative play because there are enough pieces for them to play together,’ one tester said. ‘Also, the planning and design concepts the children took on while playing with them are very educational and it was great seeing the children work together as a team to design patterns.’

The resource is also good for supporting schematic interests because children can manipulate the shapes by experimenting with ways to stack, balance and rotate them.

TickiT Sensory Reflective Sound Balls

Company: Commotion

Price: £39.99

Age range: from birth

Website: www.commotion.co.uk

Children love looking at their reflections and hearing the different sound effects made by these sensory, shiny balls which are made from stainless steel. Each of the seven mirrored balls comes in a different size and contains objects that produce sounds like soft and loud chimes.

Handling them is easy, the testers observed, as they are lightweight, smooth and tactile – and even the bigger balls are manageable for small hands. ‘It's so much fun to roll them,’ one setting reported, ‘because they go off in different directions.’ Other highlights include ‘pulling faces’ into the mirrored surface, which provides a distorted fish-eye lens reflection.

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