#AD We were kindly gifted the products for inclusion in our guide. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
My top tips for Christmas shopping for younger children?
Ask them to write a list but manage their expectations. Don’t go overboard. A friend said she sticks to the buying a gift they will want, need, wear, and read and I agree having some kind of plan to buying helps. Don’t walk into a store unprepared as you will overspend. Remember they will also get presents from grandparents, uncles, neighbours etc! I always encourage parents to consider gifts (especially if family is asking for ideas) that will bring the family together i.e. Zoo passes etc.
Also, don’t think your hiding place is good enough, the kids will find them!
Now creating guides for children could be filled with endless lists of toys, you as parents know your children’s likes, their hobbies, the characters and tv shows they love. The activities your toddler enjoys, their favourite ride-ons type of play mat a baby will enjoy. Use these as a guide but always add in one gift that introduces something new. The items I have picked are what I would choose for children under five, I find under twos you can get away with buying just one or two gifts as they don’t really understand the concept.
Go with variety; a cuddly toy, a book, something educational, something they can create with, clothing, perhaps a DVD or two.
So, what are our favourite choices for this year?
For getting babies off to sleep on Christmas Eve and all year through.
Nothing beats a good night’s rest especially after a busy day of learning and exploring. The Chicco Next2Moon projector helps to keep little ones comforted through the night. The 3-in-1 sleepytime toy is a versatile product that can be used as a crib mobile, then a cot projector with a wide canopy and a nightstand projector when children move to their own bed. As well as showing a colourful night sky the calming music plays up to 45 minutes of classical music and sounds of nature. There are three timed settings before it switches itself off, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Retailing at £29.99 it is a toy built to last and arrives attractively boxed with well written and easy to follow instructions. A key feature is that it is compatible with NextToMe side sleepers.
For the little girl starting nursery in the New Year.
I always try and pick something practical when it comes to Christmas gifts for the children. Socks, vests, shoes. For little ones heading off to nursery or preschool why not wrap up their own gorgeous personalised backpack. This spacious and easy to carry Prezzybox adjustable toddler bag has a sweet cat design and is customisable with multiple font and colour options. Early readers will love seeing their name in print. Selling for £19.99 the rucksack is great for day trips, picnics in the park and storing favourite toys. With a soft back and padded straps, complete with zip up main compartment and front pocket the Backpack has ample room for clothes, crayons and teddies. There are also different design choices, like pandas and flamingos.
For chasing Elf’s around the house on Christmas morning.
Are you looking for high quality child friendly footwear that don’t compromise on lightweightedness, flexibility and style? Bobux are a much-loved premium brand that offer a huge range of baby and toddler shoes that focus on healthy foot development. Podiatrist approved, they are well made, and fit comfortably. What I love is the huge range of styles and designs – soft soles, to first walkers to trainers, sandals and shoes. Crafted from soft, supple leather feet are protected and kept warm and healthy. The Giraffe prints have a funky jungle design that stands out, little ones will love exploring in them. Crafted from premium leather. The elasticated ankle provides a secure fit for feet, that also gets on and off with ease. At £22 your little one will keep you on your feet!
For racing around frosty lanes and chasing older brothers.
A popular toy the design of a balance bike encourages children from 3+ to build up their strength, it also helps them to fine tune their fine motor skills, coordination and agility. Before they even get to riding a bike your little one will have confidence and have developed a sense of balance! This lovely gender-neutral design from Hape is made from wood and decorated with water-based paint. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use the seat can be adjusted to a child’s height giving it a comfortable edge. The rubberised wheels respond well to wear and tear. At £57.49 the only issue you will have is wrapping it!
Are you looking for a lasting gift that is suitable for babies through to pre-school?
BabytoLove learning cubes (£19.95) can be bought for babies from 6months. The Pack of 12 are sold in gorgeous neutral pastels rather than garish shades. Babies can gum on the cubes and toddlers use them to learn. Child friendly illustrations of 3D animals, fruits, shapes and numbers help children to recognise familiar objects and patterns. This is a very versatile toy, the textured cubes are stackable, fitting together with interlocking shapes and can form a long number line to help littles with counting. They will develop children’s fine motricity and coordination. Made of extra soft material, they are safe for babies and very easy to grasp.
Snuggle the children up in their beds and listen to the Snowman together on Christmas Eve.
Meet the Toniebox – the new audio system for children. Turn it on, download audio files then pop a Tonie figure on the box and let the adventure begin! You children will love receiving one of the 6 brightly coloured Tonie Starter Sets (£69.95) that includes the box, charging station (no need for 300 pesky AA batteries,) an easy-to-understand instruction manual, and a clever creative Tonie (who you can upload 90 minutes of MP3 files, audiobooks or record your own story on). I love that this is all about listening, play and imagination rather than screens. There are no CDs to get scratched. This is an ingenious design, offering very clever features whilst being child friendly, I love that you can tip the box left and right to fast forward stories. The range of classic, and modern story audio figures is constantly growing. There are nursery rhymes for toddlers and my eight-year-old surprised me with taking it up to his room to listen to the Lion King. The Toniebox portability is ideal round the house, – even safe on a shelf in the bathroom and in the car. Seven hours battery life will keep the stories flowing! The box is soft (and wipe cleanable) for the little one to cuddle whilst sturdy enough to withstand being rolled off the sofa. Wi-Fi is required for set up.
Are you looking for the perfect present for a bubble filled playtime?
The Infini Fun Wild Water Island bath time set includes interactional pieces that twist and turn to help baby develop notions of movement and to learn shapes and colours. Its table top design means the island can sit on the side of the bath or float within so little ones will be entertained throughout bath time. Suitable for ages 18 months and up children will love that there are multiple colourful interactional pieces. Pour water onto the island and watch the spinners fly and boats float along the river. The set is wipe clean and selling for £19.99.
Because let’s face it, Christmas won’t be the same without Peppa Pig!
Do you have little Peppa Pig fans? Offering the perfect early learning toy, Count With Peppa is a fun and engaging interactive toy. Retailing at £19.99 it comes with ten colourful play coins designed to teach about numbers and colours. If children aren’t quite ready to learn these skills, then they will still enjoy the three songs and pushing the coins into the purse. Give the coins to Peppa and she will count them and respond. I like that the coins are fist size so you don’t have to worry about them sneaking into any little mouths. Count With Peppa uses 2 AAA batteries which are handily included. There are 2 volume levels as well as an off switch.
For the child who just loves to play with your phone.
The Infini fun My First Talkie Phone set (RRP £19.99) comes with two realistic, two-way pretend smartphones for hours of talking fun. Lightweight, perfectly shaped for little hands, they are easy to use and work just like a walkie talkie (up to 300-foot range) without the need to hold a button down to talk. Calling time lasts for 6 to 7 seconds. The handset comes with a discovery and quiz mode to learn about animals, numbers, vehicles, colours and sounds! Learning through play benefits include developing fine motor skills, recall, creativity, communication and discovery of cause and effect. Parents can use their own handset to place a call to the child’s device by pressing on the green key, or they can hang up by pressing on the red key, very quick and easy to use. An ideal fun gift, suitable for 12months +.
For the child looking for a magical friend this festive season.
Does he or she want to be a princess? Love everything Disney? The Disney Princess toddler (3+) dolls range present your children’s favourite characters. At £19.99 these dolls look perfect and are great value for money for their sizes (approx. 14 inches tall). Travel just around the riverbend with Pocahontas, her limbs are movable with beautiful glossy hair and a gorgeous outfit she will be on every toddler’s wish list.
What is Santa planning on getting your children this year? Coal? Are you an over spender or are you a one or two present household?