Proud to be a Craniac

When it was announced this week that we had been chosen to become ‘Craniacs’ it felt as if all my Christmases and birthdays had come at once. The girls and I (and daddy too of course!) are to review the beautiful and extensive range of wooden toys that come under the John Crane label and the choice is stunning. We’re part of a small group and our fellow Craniacs are

You may remember a short while ago we were sent a First Bike to review and the girls loved it as you can see in the video. A closer look at the bike will reveal it’s made from Rubber Wood. This is the most ecologically friendly timber used in today’s toy industry as Rubber wood is only used after it completes its latex producing cycles and dies, so they use in effect wood that was once going to waste. In the currrent climate where we are all being told to watch  our carbon footprint, it’s comforting to know that at least the toys our children play with are creating no harm to the environment a fact that is becoming ever more important.

John Crane whilst choosing the toys to offer have paid special attention to the growing child’s love of pretend play. Spending most of their time with a primary carer they watch everyday activities such as shopping, cleaning, laundry, DIY and cooking. Children learn form watching these activities being acrried out and enjoy role palying themselves, modeling their carer’s behaviour. Toys that act as props for a child’s own game help develop creativity and imagination, Toys that encourage role paly also develop communication and social skills if playing with friends or siblings. Even more benefit is gained if children are playing together or with an adult.

Children’s development is driven by the fact that young children always want to seem more grown up than they are, by letting them model adult behaviours such as shopping and cooking parents are validating thier children and bonding with them. role play toys are incredibly valuable and should not be overlooked in favour of the latest high tech toys.

Five top tips to encourage positive role play

  1. Make it relevant to an activity that you’re doing or have done recently
  2. Help your child if they are stuck for ideas at the start but then stand back and let them direct the play. Be willing to take directions without changing them or suggesting your own ideas :)
  3. Be enthusiastic about your child’s ideas and praise them for their imagination.
  4. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the progression of play eg What shall we do with this baking tray rather than shall I put the baking tray in the oven?
  5. be creative with equipment, a saucepan doesn’t have to only be used as a saucepan, it can be a helmet or a drum!


Our first instructions in our important position of Craniacs is to browse through the catalogue and write a list of the toys we’d like to review….are you kidding me??? There is nothing I like more than browsing a catalogue and making a wish list. So I did and here are a few items that I’ll share with you so you can see for yourself the enormous range of toys to choose from. The excellent quality leaps out of the page at you

I have selected toys suitable for the age range of the girls about 3 years but if you’re looking for presents of for your own children, John Crane offer products form birth to 7 years of age, you really must look at them as they are gorgeous


  1. Raw Thoughts And Feelings
    April 2, 2011 / 10:56 AM

    That’s awesome to be the Craniacs, and congratulation! My children are older now, and they are more into electronic gadgets..

  2. April 2, 2011 / 10:50 AM

    Wonderful toys. My children are all grown up now so I have little interest in these things. But, if they were still little I would have liked to be a craniac as well. Of course, if they were still little I would be completely crazy by now

  3. April 2, 2011 / 5:05 PM

    We love John Crane toys, and have that kitchen which has been very well used! Congratulations anyway, and have fun!


  4. helen @ john crane
    April 4, 2011 / 8:22 AM

    It was interesting seeing the toys you’ve picked, quite different (some of them) to what I would have guessed at. Which obviously is a lesson to learn and shows how important a job the Craniacs now have!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: