Let’s face it, Christmas is really all about the kids. Being a Mum of four (with a step son also) I know a thing or two about what they like and ask for, it can be a repetitive business being a parent( Baby Annabel has been a constant for the past 10 years in my life with 3 daughters) but I also know the types of toys I’d like them to play with. As such I’ve steered clear of the usual suspects you’ll see in the shops, no computer games or Peppa Pig here I’m afraid, instead I’ve tried to find innovative and lesser known brands that your children will love!
Personally I’m embracing the trend for technology and kids but I’m always trying to find new ways in which to make this fun, and get them off their phones/tablets. This year I’ve noticed a massive trend for Tech smart toys and there have been some products that have really stood out for combining tradition and tech. My soon-to-be seven year old has requested a laptop and iPhone, inspired by her older siblings. She won’t be receiving either as she’s way too young in my opinion, but I’ve found a great alternative in the uber smart Bestie watch, which will allow me to keep her safe while allowing her some fun as it doubles up as a phone. Of course I’ll only be calling her from upstairs but she will get her wish and I’ll (hopefully) be able to avoid her growing up too soon. It’s a constant war.
I’m also aware of parents growing desire to keep toys gender neutral, something I advocate myself at home also. My own children seem to have naturally chosen ‘stereotypical’ toys early on, but at they get older seem more open to playing cars as girls and dolls as boys so I guess that comes with maturity and confidence, and the point is to allow THEM the choice, whatever that may be, however with this in mind I’ve selected toys I think both sexes will enjoy and have chosen to break my gift guide up by ages and categories as opposed to gendering the gifts.
I believe Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a board game or two being played by the kids and adults in the background as I prepare the family meal and so I’ve selected a range to suit all ages. Finally, I’ve chosen some special books to snuggle up with together long after the festivities have finished as I believe it’s important we encourage children to enjoy reading in paper form, and these books in particular just wouldn’t feel as special without being able to feel them in your hand and connect with them in this way.
I hope you’ll find lots of inspiration and I’ve a separate gift guide for those difficult to buy for Teen/Tween girls!
Magical Sleigh Bells £24.95 Polarpost.co.uk
These magical sleigh bells from the reindeer shed come with a special message in a keepsake presentation box and can even be engraved with a child’s name.
Hape International Shape & Match Shape Sorter £15 Amazon.co.uk
Nothing beats watching a little one try to figure out how to get a square into a circle shape! Hours of amusement for you both and the wooden design has a beautiful old school feel.
Brio ‘My First Take Along Train Set’ £29.99 John Lewis
Another classic, the wooden toy train is a must for little boys and girls alike. I love this version by traditional wooden toy makers Brio, who have been making toys such as this since 1884, and which can be carried out and about and comes with two trains.
Elvis the Elephant Back Pack £12.99 Dotcomgiftshop.com
A quirky little backpack to stash their crayons and favourite characters in. Lightweight enough for independent little ones and wipe clean for enviable spills and mess.
Oral B Disney Stages Power Toothbrushes girls & boys £34.99 Currently £17.99 at Boots (3/12/17)
Promote early positive relationships with teeth-brushing with these fun electric toofthbrushes featuring their favourite television characters.
Mölang Soft Toy by Tomy Toys £19.95 Harrods
5 years + | Tech vs Traditional
Baby Annabell Learns to Swim £39.99 Smyths Toys
I’ll let you into a little secret my 13 year old will kill me for sharing. We bought her this Baby Annabell learns to Swim some years back, and she actually burst into tears of happiness! Shortly followed by our own tears for getting it so right! Therefore I have nothing but praise for this gorgeous dolly which can be used in the bath tub or swimming pool and moves and splashes. Role play at its finest and Baby Annabell will always have a speacial place in my heart.
My Friend Pikachu Plush £24.99 Smyths Toys
Pokemon fans will love this adorable Pikachu soft toy which has 10 sounds and phrases and giggles whilst it’s cheeks glow red.
Lego Friends Snow Resort Off Roader £16.99 Very.co.uk
Who doesn’t love a bit of Lego? I do and I’m 35! Lol This Snow Off Roader is very apt for the time of year and comes with Jeep, character and map for essential travels!
Num Noms Nail Polish Maker £40 Tesco
If you haven’t met them yet, Num Noms are a cult with kids. They are little collectibles and this make your own Nail Polish Set is already a top seller. I love it as it reminds me of my own nostalgic memories of making perfumes/beauty products with this when I was a little girl.
Grit ‘Atom’ stunt Scooter £59.95 Skates.co.uk (usual price £69.95 elsewhere!)
We’ve been through a few scooters in this household! However, now the kids are getting bigger it’s time for an upgrade to this Grit stunt scooter from Skates.co.uk who have a great range available. Grit are loved by Pro Riders Jordan Clarke & Ben Thomas and your kids will love its funky design available in lots of colours, its Y bars for strength and Abec 7 bearings for speed. Just maybe make sure they have a helmet also before the hit the skate park!
Awesome Little Green Men 8 Piece Battle Pack £24.99 Toys R Us These little military peeps all come with their own powers that can be shared via gameplay. Highly collectible and I’m predicting lots of swapsies in the playground!
Nikko Air Elite 115 Drone £39.99 Smyths Toys (RRP £49.99)
This drone can reach speeds of up to 20MPH and can perform 16 stunts at the touch of a button! It has variable flight modes and can go as far as 30metres from its operator. Best suited to children aged 8 and above as a certain level of skill is required to operate the drone.
Bestie 4G Smartwatch £119.99 Amazon.co.uk
Discovered at the Amazon Christmas showcase, this smart watch for kids is perfect for those wanting a little more freedom and craving grown up devices such as phones. It’s features include real time location tracking so the parent can see where their child is at all times, perfect for busy places such as amusement parks, swimming pools and the like, as well as a listen in feature which allows you to check on your child should you have concerns about bullying or the like. It also has a EE Sim card allowing those with the app to call the wearer and a feature called ‘Shake Buddy’ which allows the watch to act as a walkie Talkie.
Hexbug Nano Nitro Slingshot track £40 Hexbug.com
This multi-tired slingshot track from Hexbug is easy to connect, compact and will contain hours of amusements as the 2 x included Nano Nitro bugs race around and defy gravity as they do so.
Kano Computer Kit 2017 £139.99 Kano.me
Kids as young as 6 years old can learn to make their own computer with this kit from Kano. It’s as easy to build as Lego and once they have made the computer they can learn to code also. It’s powered by Raspberry Pi 3 and Kano OS and can be used with any screen Monitor such as a TV. Unbelievably fun and as coding is the future it’s a great way to get them started through play.
Yeti in my Spaghetti by University Games (4-10yrs) £9.98 Toys R Us
5 Second Rule by University Games £19.99 or £17.48 at Amazon.co.uk
Bunny Jump by University Games (4+) £19.99 or £11.98 Amazon.co.uk
Try to remove the carrots without making Bunny pop out of its rabbit hole. Tired and tested formula that continues to delight little ones.
Greedy Granny Game by Tomy Toys (5yrs +) £19.99 Smyths Toys
My daughter Coco joined me for the press day for Tomy Toys and this was her favourite toy at the show so comes fully approved! Basically you have to remove Granny’s treats(biscuits tea etc) without waking her up. Easy peasy to play and expect lots of screaming laughter!
Dizzy Dizzy Hippo by Tomy Toys (4yrs+) £22.99 Tesco
Another fav from the Tomy Toys press event, Fizzy is lounging on his rubber ring and sipping on his fizzy drink. Watch as his belly gets bigger and bigger before finally reaching its max and burping as he spins round.
Funny Bunny game by Ravensburger (4yrs+) £14.98 John Lewis
We like bunnies in this house! These little ones have to race against each other to get to the carrots, but beware they don’t fall down a rabbit hole!
Books to inspire & Empower:
This delightful book from Danish author Gitte Winter Graugaard is one of four in a series of meditations for children to aid restful sleep. Something I struggle with as a parent is getting my four night owls to bed and once I do, keeping them in it! What’s her secret? A method so simple, you’ve just got to turn up the love. Sleep, or rather a difficulty in falling asleep, is one of the most obvious tell-tale signs that ‘something’s up’, and in general, children today sleep for one hour less than they did 25 years ago, this is due to the stress and anxiety our kids are being subjected to, along with presssures to conform, maintain friendships and other daily struggles such as school work. This book connects you both and will help them nod off into restful and restorative sleep.
Wise(ish) Words for Everyone from £23.95 thebookofeveryone.com
This bright and fun book can be designed online by yourself and personalised for the recipient. I love it’s positive words of wisdom, which you select from one of the three options per page most relevant to the child, or insert your own wise words. Perfect for ages 8-16 and a way of giving guidance to young ones without them rolling their eyes while you do so.
Little People Big Dreams Books Written by Isabel Sánchez Vegara Illustrated by Elisa Munro £9.99 each Liberty London
I spotted these at the Liberty London Press day and fell in love instantly. The series contains 9 books dedicated each to a female role model, and includes Coco Chanel, Emeline Pankhurst, Audrey Hepburn, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahol, Rosa Parks, Agatha Christie and Amelia Earhart. The stories of their lives are beautifully illustrated and issues such as feminine, racism, and gender are broken down beautifully for smaller minds to absorb all with a positive message of girl Power! I shall be reading these to both my son and my daughters.
This post is NOT a sponsored post. However it does contain PR samples that have been kindly sent for review. All products featured have been selected by myself from the hundreds of products I saw at press events and so I fully endorse each and all opinions remain my own.