What toys would you be glad to find in a holiday cottage?

(30 Posts)
issynoko Wed 07-Mar-12 11:02:33

I am kitting out a holiday let aimed at young families. I want stuff the isn't annoying (beeping etc), doesn't need batteries to renew and is easy to clean but would be great to find in the toy box of a holiday cottage to keep babies and children entertained....have thought of Happy Land people, Lego, Duplo, puzzles etc any other ideas? Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
BuriedUnderChocolates Wed 07-Mar-12 11:21:49

some cars/trains and a playmat

saucepans, plates, toy food (don't need a big cooker, just the bits and pieces)

tea set

MrsMcEnroe Wed 07-Mar-12 11:25:41

Not sure if my DCs are in the right age bracket for what you're asking OP, but we stayed in a holiday cottage during half-term and the table-tennis table went down a storm with my 7yo DS. DD (aged 5) loved the Little Tikes plastic rocking horse / whale / whatever animal it was - apparently the lady who owned the cottage had bought it for a few pounds at a car boot sale.

A big tub of Lego would definitely be a good option as it appeals to quite a wide range of ages smile.

Katiebeau Wed 07-Mar-12 11:34:18

Fantastic idea. We would have loved a box of Happyland stuff (half price in ELC at the mo), bricks of any kind and we did really appreciate the stair gates! Good luck with your venture.

flapperghasted Wed 07-Mar-12 11:46:25

Happyland is fantastic for younger kids - buying from car boots or Ebay would be great as it would get you quantity at a decent price. It's easy to clean/sanitise and hardwearing to boot. A boardgame or two for older ones - eg scrabble, junior monopoly and Cluedo would suit the wrinklies and, again, at car boots or off Ebay with local collection, will be cheap as chips. A triv game for the grown ups is a giggle, for after the kids have gone to bed. Throw in loads of leaflets on activities for the surrounding areas, maps, walking guides, etc and you'll be kitting the parents out with all they need to plan a fab holiday. (can you tell I've lifted that from what was supplied at our last holiday cottage and we booked again whilst we were there, despite it being more expensive than loads more places). It hlped that it was like home from John Lewis, immaculate, well kitted out, telescope to look at the birds on the beach, rabbits in the front garden...idyllic completely sums it up!

issynoko Thu 08-Mar-12 09:37:43

Thanks very much everyone! Will get onto ebay and do some toy shopping. Just got a really good deal on a Phil and Teds buggy on ebay so guests don't have to bring their own buggies and can go off romping about. We have OS maps and local guide books plus local history DVDs for people really into the whole thing. Where we are a telescope might not work but some binoculars would be good.

Flapper - any more tips to make ours one that people would book again?!

Really helpful - we are trying to set up a new business so the children are all coming up with ideas too - great to have their input despite my son's conviction that a herd of buffalo for guests to hunt would be the clincher...

OP’s posts: |
Chopstheduck Thu 08-Mar-12 09:39:16

One the best places we stayed in had all the outdoorsy stuff that we couldnt pack ourselves. Bats, balls, floaties, buckets, spades, etc.

flapperghasted Thu 08-Mar-12 10:14:55

issynokoThe best thing about the place we rebooked is that it was a real home from home. The kitchen was so well equipped and there were new toiletries in the bathrooms, a welcome pack in the kitchen, potted plants all around the house, books that linked to the local area, leaflets aplenty, board games, books, and so on and so on. It was like the owner had really thought through what the customers would want. It sounds like you're doing the same thing, so I'm sure you'll do fantastically well. Good luck with it all smile

issynoko Thu 08-Mar-12 13:33:02

Thanks very much - it's really encouraging! We are doing all those things and I'm including stuff like baking stuff with biscuit cutters, mini whisk and rolling pin and apron for wet weather cosiness, ice lolly and jelly molds (moulds?!) etc and welcome pack with fresh coffee, bread, eggs, bottle of wine. My sister in law thinks I'm nuts and keeps saying how she has stayed in loads of places that don't even provide bedding and I'm overdoing it - but I think she is missing the point big time so good to hear what keeps people feeling happy on holiday! I'm going by what I'd have liked in all the bleak old places we have stayed. The sort where the kitchen equipment consists of two sweet corn forks and a yellowing tupperware bowl.

ANd Chopstheduck - great idea about outdoorsy stuff. WIll get on the case!

OP’s posts: |
iseenodust Thu 08-Mar-12 13:42:25

IMO your philosphy is lovely and it would be appreciated by us.

The beach stuff is a great idea but I would expect it to regularly go missing. Not deliberately but the ways a preschooler can lose a ball...

issynoko Thu 08-Mar-12 13:49:17

You're right. We live near the coast and rarely return from the beach with all buckets etc. Luckily there are shops near us with really good deals on cheap and cheerful beach gear so will see what I can find. Remember that car ad where the boy buries his dad's car 'in the sand'. That's us.

OP’s posts: |
ChippyMinton Fri 09-Mar-12 07:44:08

I love staying in well-kitted out cottages. I know lots of people don't cook, but I do, especially when there's a crowd of you, so a well-equipped kitchen is great:
enough big tins for a sunday lunch/big toad in the hole/shepherds pie
baking tray for scones/biscuits/pizza etc
a decent whisk (hand or electric) and a big mixing bowl
plenty of crockery and cutlery
lots of nice mugs for the endless brew
dishwasher (essential!)
supplies of detergents, clean sponges,binbags, teatowels, tin foil, clingfilm, kitchen roll etc
cool bag, picnic rug, flasks

For toys;
anything that doesn't rely on having all the bits - nothing more disappointing than to open a box and find pieces missing.
buckets & spades (and a couple of ikea bags to keep the car boot clean)
crabbing lines
Box of coloured pencils and sharpeners and a stack of paper.

best of british is a good family game for ages 8+

Maps and walks are a great idea. Add a visitors book so that guests can leave recommendations/places to avoid. Tide tables. A framed OS map on the wall is handy.

A shelf of books, for guests to borrow and swap.

A welcome tray for immediate consumption - tea/coffee/juice/milk and homemade scones/biscuit/cake. And a vase of fresh flowers. Doesn't have to be elaborate.

SkiBumMum Fri 09-Mar-12 08:47:00

Can I have the link to your cottage please grin.

Great idea. Get yourselves on BabyFriendlyBoltholes and in the NCT mags and you'll make a fortune!!

Orchard Toys are great - but I guess you'd have the bits issue! Shopping List is our favourite. DD1 is 3.

One of those cheap "drawers" or an Aquamat and pens/sponges would avoid worry of pens & Walls.

DD loves Snap cards. You can get Hungry Caterpillar/Peppa Pig/Thomas the Tank ones.

A hand blender & Bumbo would be good if you want parents of babies too.

jb707 Fri 09-Mar-12 14:54:54

I have a holiday let by the sea in South Devon. I try to provide all the 'stuff' that you would like to take on holiday but can't squeeze in the car. Brio train set, Wendy House, little table and chairs,toy box in the sitting room and the bedrooms with single beds, plastic cups and plates, bed guards etc.
It really helps us to pull in bookings out of school holidays.

EdithWeston Fri 09-Mar-12 14:57:12

Be prepared for any of it to walk..... So second hand is the way to go.

And make sure there's a rubber duck.

dinkystinkyandveryverybored Fri 09-Mar-12 14:59:05

great idea - one thing that would be great if there is a garden at the property is a paddling pool. Otherwise duplo, colouring books and crayons, a couple of kids dvds for rainy days, cars and trains plus some story books were great in places we have stayed at. And little tykes ride in cars always a hit with my two.

leftmysociallifeatthedoor Fri 09-Mar-12 15:01:15

Not toys but definitely plastic cutlery and crockery and a couple of cheap sippy cups (2 for a pound in pundland) would be greatly appreciated by us. Plastic open beakers also a great idea.

Toys wise - ds LOVED videos (not dvds) that were at a cottage we rented as well as the duplo and stuff for the garden.

BikeRunSki Fri 09-Mar-12 15:09:28

I ADORE this thrread. Where is your cottage! I have a 3 yo, a 29 week old and a small car. Can't think of anything to add toys wise right nwo though- but maybe soem DVDS (and a DVD player) of perenial children;s favorites - Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine, Peppa Pig. Brio too, everyone loves Brio (or cheapey Brio type stuff).

Also, please - kids cutlery and crockery, the rainbow plastic stuff from IKEA will do!

dinkystinkyandveryverybored Fri 09-Mar-12 15:11:26

pelican bibs and kitchen roll (for mopping up spillages) are always things I forget - I love it when I find a cottage with them in!

startail Fri 09-Mar-12 15:29:21

Grater, sieve, sharp veg knife, large frying pan. Baking tins and a few bid of Pyrex and a measuring jug!

Basically the kit needed for Spag Bol, stir fry, risotto, burgers, sausages and oven chips.

Plastic boxes, preferably old ice cream and takeaway ones so people don't feel guilty if one or two take stuff home.

Tin foil to wrap a picnic and left overs was the best find in our rented caravan, but a sandwich box would have been brilliant.

Dependent on property a swing ball and or small ride on so DCs can mess about outside while I cook.

startail Fri 09-Mar-12 15:31:23

Washing up liquid, cloth and a couple of tea towels.

EightiesChick Fri 09-Mar-12 15:34:10

Agree with not including the beach stuff - lots of bits of this will get left behind, in the car boots by mistake etc, plus you can buy spades and so on cheaply at shops near the beach and I don't begrudge doing that. Board games. Lego, kids' crockery all great ideas. A skittles game of some sort can be played by everyone.

Pinktailpuppy Tue 10-Apr-12 12:31:17

I have a static caravan at Butlin's in Skegness which I let during the school hols.

I also go for the home from home feeling for my customer's and find this to be really popular and generate regular repeat bookings from lovely families.

We have a Veranda and lockable gate which parents of little ones really appreciate - a sandpit (Mums & Dads usually leave buckets & spades behind so there's quite a collection) and cushioned patio furniture.

Inside there's childproof cupboards, lots of toys, children's dvd's, a 'girl's' themed bedroom(butterfly's, hello kitty, tea party bunting) and a boys gingerbread one.

As I have 4 children myself I have children's cutlery, beakers, themed plates and all the other bits that we would use anyway.

A good iron & nice board, microwave, freezer, attractive mugs, full tea, coffee and sugar jars, tea towels, dishcloths and bin bags are also really handy.

The lounge upholstery has washable throws in case of chocolate 'finger's' , underneath the sink is cleaning supplies, carpet stain remover etc which saves my customer's having to bring them along and is readily available for any disaster's that may occur - along with a washing machine/tumble dryer.

I think the place is just about bomb proof - well almost, certainly childproof and that takes away a lot of the stress going on your hols with little ones in a caravan.

My Sister who has 5 little ones and loves to spend a week down there with us in July has an absolute nightmare finding an 8 berth caravan that is safe and child friendly so when she does drop on it is promptly re booked for the following year before her hols have even ended!!!!

Hope this helps and good luck x

Pascha Tue 10-Apr-12 12:39:34

I want to come to your cottage now! From my perspective, some board books, toy animals, a small ride on, a ball or two and a good supply of blankets/throws to dirty would be grand. A year ago I would have appreciated a bouncy chair/beanbag and a jumperoo.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Tue 10-Apr-12 12:44:31

Anything Big - little playhouse in the garden, or a ride on toys for example.
we normally let get the dds to bring a small bag of favourite toys with them

other things we like to see are stairgates, plastic cutlery/crockery, cafetiere, and a visitors book - it's great to read personal recommendations of local attractions and places to eat

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