Lil Bits is a Sully-based business selling affordable sensory and educational toys for children.
It was founded by local mum Sam Cole, and her husband, also called Sam, to make such products affordable to families and childcare providers. The business couple were frustrated that the equipment for the sensory play sessions they were running in the Vale of Glamorgan was so expensive. It also struck them that as the products were only sold in huge quantities, it made such toys out of financial reach for a lot of families and impractical when you are buying for one or two children, rather than a class-full.
They now sell such delights as sensory bubbles, multi-coloured bug counters, colourful sensory sand, rice and pasta in different quantities, both online and from their base at the Vale Enterprise zone in Sully. With prices starting from just a couple of pounds, it’s an affordable way to bring this kind of sensory play into your home. The products are chosen to encourage concentration and fine motor skills in children, and literacy and numeracy skills, as children count, sort and stack the items, and use them to inspire sensory and imaginative play. They also sell larger items such as activity walls, wooden puzzles and water/sand play trays.
With the Easter holidays now under way, we put some of the items to the test. They were a success with all three of my children – Little Miss E, age 7, Little Man O, 5½ and Toddler Boy I, 3 – and very versatile for indoor, outdoor and messy play. Here’s how we got on with some of the products.
Compare bears (from £4.49 for 24)
My two eldest children were already familiar with the compare bears from school and were excited to show their younger brother some games he could play with them. The bears come in three different sizes and six colours, and he loved sorting them out by size and colour and counting with them – as well as making all manner of growling sounds.
We also took the bears outside. Miss E hid them around the garden for a treasure-hunt with some of her friends. I then hid a few in a mud pie mixture my children had been making on their mud kitchen for Toddler to find. I’m pleased to report that the bears cleaned up no problem and all bears hidden in the treasure hunt have been found. We also thought they’d be good fun in a sand or water pit.
Stackers (from £2.99 for 100)
These 20mm counters come in 10 different colours and are great for coordination and fine motor skills. They are especially perfect right now for Little Man and his developing mathematics skills, making and adding and subtracting really visible for him. He also loved stacking them up in multi-coloured patterns.
Pasta Pack (£2.99 for a 500g pack)
My children loved the rainbow colours of the pasta and immediately began sorting it out by colour. Little Miss E was keen to make a bracelet and necklace by threading them onto some string. They then used the different colours to make a picture of a house in the sunshine. Lil Bits also do multi-coloured sensory rice (£3.49 for 850g), which would be perfect for this kind of activity too.
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty (£2.99 for a 5cm tin)
This Hypercolour Thinking Putty is thermochromic, meaning holding it in your hands will change its colour. It’s a real favourite with Little Man, who enjoys squeezing, rolling and pulling it, great for his concentration and fine motor skills.
LilBits are offering a 5% discount for readers of Cardiff Mummy Says. Simply enter the code MUMMYSAYS when ordering. Offer is valid on new orders made until the end of May 2017.
See the website for delivery charges, which starts at £3.99 and is based on size and weight of parcel. If you live locally, you can choose free collection to pick up from their Sully depot.
Thanks to Lil’Bits for sending us the items for review
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You might also like these reviews of outdoor and educational toys:
Mini Mud Kitchen from Mud Kitchens Cardiff