When you think of Ikea, it often conjures up memories of bad experiences. Fighting your way through the crowds, arguing over which wardrobe to buy, and swearing as you realise the furniture you have just paid for is not going to fit in your car...
That aside, I have found Ikea great for children's toys and accessories since having baby J. My lovely sister bought him a selection of toys from there when he was born, and they are excellent value for money. It's hard to choose which to recommend as they are all great, but I have listed a few that should help babies and toddlers enjoy playtime even more than usual. If you can cheekily ask someone else heading there to get a few for you (therefore avoiding the chaos yourself) then even better!
Rocking moose £26 - this develops your child's sense of balance, but more importantly looks like great fun. Not a giant plastic eyesore in your living room either!
Bead maze £10 - pushing the beads around the maze is excellent for the development of fine motor skills.
Hammering block £8 - using the hammer to bang the pegs helps with developing those fine motor skills, along with hand/eye co-ordination.
Finger puppets £4 (for 10) - puppets are excellent for teaching babies about object permanence. When the puppet disappears and then returns, they learn that it still exists even when they cannot see it.
Vegetable set £7 - one for older toddlers, to encourage role play and imitation. Would be a lovely addition for a toddler who has a toy kitchen.
Farmyard set £20 - this also helps with role play skills, and recreates fun on the farm for animal lovers!
Train set £8 (20 pieces) - the Ikea train sets combine with other brands, so if you already have an expensive set you can add to it cheaply! Good for improving logical thinking skills.
Happy shopping! x