Wheelbarrows, battle-waggons, trucks, porter’s trolleys and all the other large push-pull toys are useful both for physical development and for imaginative. Most al suppliers offer a wide range of these which are of better quality and better design than those found in toy shops. Obvious safety factors should be checked such as wheels which could trap fingers; trucks which will hold a child should not tip over when he is in it or getting in; and the construction needs to be sound and durable. Wooden trucks tend to cost more than metal ones but are usually a better investment for a nursery group. Where there are more than two children, one to sit in and one to pull, the larger the truck the better within reason as there is always more than one child wanting to ride. Two children sitting in a space meant for one is a frequent cause of tipping over backwards.
Young children enjoy push-pull toys too and starting from a baby walker even the single child at home needs something to load his toys in or on. One of the most common design mistakes in producing such toys for toddlers is that a larger version is scaled down instead of working on a design which provides a wide wheelbase and low centre of gravity. Smaller wheels are not necessarily easier for a toddler to manoeuvre. Handlebars may need to be set at a different angle rather than made lower. It is worth letting a toddler try out a specific toy before buying it even if this does detract from the’ surprise-present’ element.
Some of the newer toys such as tractors and trailers, fork-lift trucks and diggers might be useful additions to a nursery group which is already well equipped with basic toys, but one or two are rather flimsy in construction for heavy group use. It would be worth looking at the real thing carefully before buying. Ordering so often has to be done from looking in a catalogue where the pictures can be rather misleading.