Top 5 award-winning picks to inspire a love of learning this Christmas

Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s that time of year again; the search is on for the perfect gift that your child will open and show genuine delight! But with so much to choose from it’s often hard to know where to start. What if you could gage that reaction of excitement and wonder with a toy that not only provides hours of fun but supports your child in essential learning areas?

It is said that for children play is the work of childhood and it’s not a small job!



Essential to early development children use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. With play being such an important factor in shaping your little ones future, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 picks that have received awards this year and been given the stamp of approval by those in the know.


1)      Primary Science Lab Set, Ages 3+

Exploration and Discovery

The Primary Science Lab Set is a top pick with Learning Resources employees, with many transforming kitchens into laboratories after hours. Here’s Maddie, our Head of Marketing and Communications daughter and
resident scientist, demonstrating the features of this colourful set!


It contains beakers, magnifying glass, funnel, pipette, flask, tweezers, goggles, large and small test tubes as well as ten double sided illustrated activity cards that are wipe-clean in case of spillages!

Science Sparks blog, designed to make science fun for kids, also tested out the Primary Science Lab Set, trying experiments such as creating volcanoes, acid indicators and cleaning pennies! They particularly liked that kit works well for people who are less confident with science as it comes with a set of activity cards which explain each activity fully so you can follow the instructions step-by-step with your child.

To read the full review please click here.

Scooping up a Gold Practical Preschool Award and a Good Toy Guide Recommended stamp here’s what the experts said:

“Science is all about investigation, and the Primary Science Lab Set gives children the chance to discover and learn by running their own science experiments.” – Good Toy Guide

“A lovely set for nursery, reception class, home use or childminders – an excellent introduction to Early Science investigations for children in the EYFS, who loved the simple experiments. A massive hit with the staff and children alike – best thought out resource we have seen in a very very long time.” – Practical Preschool


2)      Top of the Tables! Times Table Game, Ages 6+

Early Maths Skills


Top of the Tables! Times Table Game was developed in house to combine a board game approach to multiplication and learning times tables. Sarah Hurst from our Product Development Team was browsing online when a football article initially sparked the idea. Sarah hoped that the theme would engage girls as well as boys, creating an interest in times tables and introducing a
competitive and strategic element.  Unfortunately Sarah doesn’t know a single thing about the rules of football so it was over to Chris Beardmore our UK Trade Retail Sales Manager and resident Norwich City fan! Chris took the prototype of the game home to play with his son Tommy and came up with the idea of a 3-a-side game as well as the name Top of the Tables!

Scoring a hatrick of awards including a Silver Independent Toy Award, Silver Primary Teacher Update Award, Good Toy Guide Recommended stamp as well as being shortlisted in the Junior Design Awards here’s what the experts said:

“Immediately appealed to children. Anything to help learning times tables is always a good thing!” – Practical Preschool Awards

“Girls and boys really enjoyed playing Top of the Tables! By lower Key Stage 2, children will be learning to memorise their 12 times tables, so this is a very useful game for children at this level. The set introduces a football theme, providing a fun and engaging way for children to practice their times tables, with different levels of difficulty to help children progress.” – Good Toy Guide


3)      Gears! Gears! Gears!® Build & Bloom Flower Garden, Ages 4+

Construction and Creativity

All children love construction and this year’s trend towards construction has seen toys that encourage problem solving and creativity. Not only are they fun and colourful, construction toys help to develop fine motor skills and strategic thinking for hours of play that is also educational! The Build and Bloom Flower Garden set contains 117 gear pieces that can be snapped together to build a spinning flower garden. Children can mix and match pieces to create their own masterpiece whilst being resourceful and imaginative.

One homeschooler has said “the interlocking gears really got my kids excited and they kept wanting to explore different designs. My 6 year old even said she prefers this over lego.”


Awarded a Silver Loved by Parents Awards, Bronze Right Start Award and a Good Toy Guide Recommended stamp here’s what the experts said:

“A bright colourful set that introduces children to mechanisms, and both boys and girls absolutely loved playing with it. This is an excellent toy for children to practice logical thinking by working out how to fit the cogs together to make them work.” – Good Toy Guide

You can also read a review of a new addition to this range by Blogger Mummy Lauren by clicking here.

4)      Pretend & Play® International School Set, Ages 3+

Imaginative play


Imaginative play is essential for building confidence, perseverance and self esteem in your little ones whilst also preparing them for the real world. The International School Set acts as a pop up classroom with everything they need to create a fun lesson! Often the idea of moving on from Pre-school to big school can be a worry to youngsters, so the set can also be used to reinforce that school is a fun, creative place!

Receiving a Gold Right Start Award and a Good Toy Guide recommended stamp here’s what the experts said:

“We are both playing together, school is fun. It’s like real school but we can do what we want” – Girl aged 7

“Role play gives children the freedom to be imaginative and helps them make sense of the world; in particular, the Pretend and Play School set can help children practice and become familiar with a school routine. The children also enjoyed pretending to be their teachers! This is a good social activity too, encouraging children to play together, communicate, and learn to take turns.” – Good Toy Guide


5)      GeoSafari® Jr. Science Utility Vehicle, Ages 3+

Exploration and Discovery


Photo credit: Blogger Mummy Lauren

We gave Blogger Mummy Lauren a GeoSafari® Jr. bundle, including the Science Utility Vehicle, to test out for National Insect week. Winning a Silver Loved by Parents Award in the Best Activity Toy 3-6 yrs category, this colourful toy turns normal drives into action packed excursions.

Here’s what Blogger Mummy Lauren had to say:

“The Science Utility Vehicle (or SUV, as my husband pointed out, I didn’t even realise!) was the kids favourite. You can push down on the handles to reveal a magnifier inside. It has lights inside too, so so you see things clearly. It’s a great toy for exploring in the grass, the magnifier in it is great. It’s a robust little thing too, my children are quite rough with their play and it has withstood plenty off knocks and bangs. The kids love this, and when they are not exploring with it, they are simply playing trucks with it.” – Blogger Mummy Lauren

So there you have it, our top 5 award-winning picks to help you create moments of awe and delight! If you would like to browse the rest of our award-winners you can do so by clicking here.