When we found out about Toy Box Tots we just knew we had to share it with you. Toy boxes to rent, all based around children's books. Such a wonderful idea!
We really hope you enjoy finding out about this wonderful new business.
For those who haven't heard of Toy Box Tots, how would you describe it to them?
We are essentially a toy box rental company. Instead of parents having to continuously purchase and store toys, we will deliver a fresh and exciting box of toys to your door. Your pre-school children can have lots of fun and then we will either just collect them, or collect them and swap them for another box!
Why did you decide to set up Toy Box Tots?
My business partner, Caroline, and I met in the neonatal intensive care unit in Dubai 2 years ago, where both of our sets of twins had been born prematurely within weeks of each other. Fast forward 18 months and having both moved back to the UK we were discussing over a cup of coffee how our children always prefer other children's toys.
We looked around and couldn't find a company that would provide really fun, exciting, high quality and stimulating toys to borrow so decided to set it up ourselves!
Having been Expats we also understand that travelling with children is difficult enough without worrying about also bringing a suitcase of toys, so we wanted to be able to take some of the stress out of the travel by creating a service where a box of brilliant toys is waiting for you on arrival.
What made you decide to base the boxes around children's books?
It was really important to us that our boxes aren't just a box of toys, but toys that work together to create an imagination hub with endless creative opportunities.
There is no better place to develop imagination than in a book so we decided that if each box was themed around one of our favourite books, and the toys all worked with it, not only would it give the tot a better understanding of the story, but they could have a lot more fun with it as well.
We would like to think that our toy boxes provide more than enough entertainment and stimulation for a tot for the month that you have them, meaning that you don't need a playroom of toys to keep them busy
Why do you think it is important for children to enjoy reading?
Firstly, to make sense of the world. My toddler twins are like little sponges - absorbing everything they see and hear and books increase that ten fold. Secondly, I think there is nothing better than getting lost in a book, and the fantastic and imaginative world it can create, so to develop that love early on is something I feel quite passionately about.
Even now at 2 years old, my twins get so excited when they know what is coming on the next page, know words that I couldn't possibly have taught them any other way, and absolutely love curling up on the sofa with me while I read to them.
Have you always loved stories and reading?
Yes definitely. I adored the Janet and Allan Ahlberg books as a child and the first book I really remember reading on my own over and over again was Esio Trot by Roald Dahl and after reading it was desperate for a pet tortoise! I did eventually get one at 21 but luckily I didn't get every pet that I read about in a book!
Do you have a favourite toy that is include in the boxes? If so, which one?
I love tea sets and we have a beautiful wooden one in one of the 3-4 year old boxes. The box is themed around Whatever Next by Jill Murphy, where a bear and an owl have a picnic on the moon. We know that a lot of our boxes will be taken to grandparent's houses or other relative's homes and a tea set is the perfect toy to create games that include other tots...or Grandpa's!
What are your hopes and dreams for Toy Box Tots?
We set out to help parents like us take some of the stress out of entertaining their preschoolers. Caroline and I both strongly feel that this is a perfect solution for keeping tots entertained, solving storage issues and saving money at the same time! We are both Mums who couldn't feasibly stay in our corporate jobs whilst paying for crippling childcare so we hope that this company can work for us and our families, and longer term would like to be able to create a work force of other mums in our position as well.
What is your favourite children's book?
Definitely The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and Jim Field. My twins were born at 31 weeks and my daughter was only 2.4lb whilst my son was 4lb. However, Aida from birth has been a terrifying force to be reckoned with; she is small but mighty, whilst Danny, my big boy doesn't realise how strong he is, has a soft heart, a big smile and a love of hugs and kisses. I always think of them as my little mouse and lion and I can't read that book without crying. I love a book with a good moral and a happy ending!
If you could do something else for the day, what would it be?
I'd like to be a painter. Or a writer. Something where you get completely lost in your art and can switch off the craziness of every day life and produce something wonderful.
If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals, who would it be and why?
Ted the Turtle for sure. Eating, sleeping and laughing sounds like a brilliant day!
Thank you for reading this interview and if you want to find out more please go and visit their lovely website.