We’ve been enjoying a variety of toys made by Grapat and wanted to share our experience. We’ll provide some background on the company and share which exact toys we’ve been enjoying from ages 6 months to 18 months*. We’ll also share our favorites if you’re looking for ideas on where to start with your Grapat collection!
*As with any toy, please use parental discretion when deciding what toys are appropriate for your child. In many cases, we gave our child Grapat toys before the recommended age by the company.
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Joguines Grapat is the full name of the company, but it’s mostly referred to as just Grapat. Grapat is a small, family run workshop located in Catalunya, Spain.
Grapat makes a selection of wooden toys. All their toys are made from local sustainable wood (mostly beech and birch), then hand-painted using water-based dyes and vegetable oils.
“Play without instructions!” is Grapat’s motto and is very fitting! All of their toys are open-ended and can be played with in a variety of ways. Because of this, Grapat toys will grow with the child and will be played with a long time. Many of their toys could be considered “loose parts” and are perfect for “loose parts play”. To some adults, these toys may look boring, but when given to kids, their imagination and creativity comes alive. Kids will find endless ways to play with these loose parts toys. They can be used in small world play to create scenes or stories one minute, and be used as pretend food the next. They can also be great tools for teaching colors or math concepts. There’s no right or wrong way to play with Grapat toys, and that’s what we love about them!
Grapat toys are quite popular in Europe, Australia and now the United States. More and more shops here in the U.S. are starting to carry Grapat, as wooden toys and sustainably-made toys are becoming more mainstream. We love seeing this shift as parents are becoming more mindful about what toys they get for their children!
We have a good variety of Grapat toys. From age 6 months to 18 months, we have been playing with the following toys from Grapat: Nins, Magos, Palos, Coins, Rings and Cups. We’ll go into greater detail of each one of these below, both in terms of what they are and how we’ve been playing with them.
We haven’t had all of these Grapat toys the entire time from 6 months to 18 months, as we’ve slowly been building our collection. We also rotate our toys, so all of these are not out and available to play with at the same time. This keeps things fresh and exciting for our little one, as well as more manageable for us.
Keep in mind that these toys are not just for this age group. That’s the beauty of Grapat and open-ended toys. These toys are going to serve us well for many more years to come.
“Nins” are what Grapat calls their peg dolls. You’ll notice they don’t have a face or a gender. They can be anything the child imagines – a mom, a dad, a boy, a girl, a pirate, a police officer, a fire fighter; happy, sad, scared, joyful, tired – you get the idea!
Grapat nins are recommended for ages 12 months and up, but we gave them to our daughter well before that (always supervised). How she’s played with Grapat nins has evolved as she’s grown and will continue to evolve as she gets older.
As a baby, the Grapat nins were nice and chunky for her little hands to hold. She also frequently would put the nins in her mouth.
As she got older (around 9-12 months), she was able to work on her fine motor skills by picking up the nins with her fingers instead of her fist. She also has been enjoying playing with the nins in conjunction with the Grapat cups (more on this below).
Around the 15 month mark, we started playing with nins in a story-telling sort of way (where they actually represented people). I would demonstrate playing with them in this way and she would observe, laugh, and sometimes mimic me. For instance, I would have the nins talk to each other, walk, climb on our furniture, lay down and go to sleep, etc. We also have a car that fits the nins (made by another company), which she really enjoys playing with – she put’s the nins in and out of the car and pushes them around.
We’ve also been using the nins to teach colors to our daughter while playing.
We also have the 3 Nins, 3 Woods set, which come with 3 unpainted nins in different grains of wood, as well as the set of Cold Color Nins. We like these sets because they’re uniques and add diversity. These sets of three nins are also the cheapest way to get your hands on Grapat nins. Grapat mostly offers larger, more expensive sets. But for those who just want a few a nins, these sets are perfect!
Grapat Magos are best described as wooden peg dolls with top hats. Magos is translated to “Wizards” from Spanish, so you may see them referred to as Wizards as well.
We were drawn to the Grapat Magos due to their unique look. There’s tons of wooden peg dolls on the market, but nothing exactly like the Grapat Magos.
Our little one plays with the Grapat Magos similarly to the Nins. At around 17 months, our daughter did start showing frustration with the fact that the Grapat Magos hats do not come off. She has several hats herself so understand the concept. But all-in-all we love the Magos!
Grapat Palos is translated to “Sticks”. Grapat Palos can be gnomes, goblins, trees, people, animals or anything else the child imagines. Unlike the Grapat Nins and Magos, the Palos each have two dots for eyes.
The Grapat Palos comes in 18 colors. We were drawn to this set because of the colors and “cuteness” factor.
However, unfortunately our little one isn’t as drawn to them as we are. When given the nins and the palos side by side, she always opts to play with the nins. When she does play with the palos, she mostly enjoys transferring them from one container to another. We also figured out from her throwing them around that they spin really well on their side. She enjoys throwing them to see them spin or watching us spin them.
At 18 months, our daughter is definitely too young to play with Palos to their full potential. We’re confident these will get played with more down the line, but we don’t consider these a “must-have” for this age group (6-18 months).
Grapat Coins are simply wood discs. Grapat recommends these for ages 10 months and up.
Grapat states that the coins can be used for playing games, counting, sorting, stacking and playing. They’re great for teaching colors, numbers and other math concepts, as well as for imaginative play.
In our house the coins have been played with in a variety of ways. Our daughter has enjoyed transferring them from one container to another – also just dumping them on the floor. We also have presented the coins in conjunction with a wooden tissue box. She enjoys putting the coins through the slot. For a greater challenge, we’ve also cut a coin-size whole in a cardboard box. This requires more precision when dropping the coins through the slot. This activity was inspired by the Montessori coin box.
The Grapat rings have been a huge hit in our house. The recommended age for these is 3 and up but we provided them to our daughter much earlier.
Every since our daughter was a baby, she’s been able to grasp and teeth on the rings. Even at age 18 months, she’s still using the rings as relief for teething. One trick we’ve learned is to pop them in the freezer and give them to her cold when she really seems uncomfortable. Aside from helping with teething pain, the rings are well played with!
One popular activity to do with wooden rings is to present with some type of wooden dowel and have the child place the rings on the dowel. We have the Melissa and Doug wooden train (which I found second-hand!), and our daughter loves stacking the rings on the base of the train.
The Grapat rings also fit perfectly over the nins. You can stack rings on the nins, color match the rings to the nins, or come up with other fun ways to play.
The rings can also be use in similar ways as the coins – transferring, counting, sorting, dumping, etc.
If you had to pick one – either the rings or the coins, we would definitely recommend the rings over the coins! However, you don’t necessarily have to pick only one. Several of the Grapat sets contain both!
The last kind of Grapat pieces we have played with from 6-18 months are the cups. These are also sometimes referred to as “mates”
Like with most of the other pieces mentioned, the cups can be bought separately or as part of other sets. As previously mentioned, we have this set which we love, as well as the Spring Set (both available from Lollipop Sky).
From age 6 months to 18 months, we have seen such a progression in how the cups are played with. Our daughter went from taking nins out of the cups, then putting them back in (a much more difficult task!). The cups were then used to help teach colors and color match. At 18 months, we’re to the point where our daughter can correctly place the same colored nin in the same colored cup (most of the time!). The cups can also be stacked and knocked over! Our daughter also pretends they are drinking cups for herself or her dolls/stuffed animals.
The cups have helped with skills such as fine motor, hand-eye coordination, color-matching, as well as concentration and patience. As a result, this has also been a confidence booster.
If you’re looking to purchase your own Grapat pieces for a child in the 6-18 month range, here is how we rank the pieces we have (from most favorite to least favorite):
We love the Grapat brand of wooden toys. They’re sustainably-made, non-toxic and open-ended. We’ve been very happy with the Grapat toys we have from ages 6 months to 18 months old, though some have been bigger hits than others. Though we have our favorites to-date, this could change. That’s one benefit of open-ended toys – they grow with the child. The same toy may be played with in completely different ways throughout the child’s life.
Hopefully this review has been helpful if you’re looking to buy some Grapat pieces for ages 6 months through 18 months. Although every child is different, you really can’t go wrong with some of these basic pieces! And to reiterate, please use parental discretion when deciding what toys are appropriate for your child. In many cases, we gave our child Grapat toys before the recommended age per the company.
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