|Wooden kitchen, Asda|
Recent research revealed by the elves that help the Royal Mail to answer thousands of letters to Father Christmas each year, showed that the top toy requests remain remarkably unchanged year on year. The top items children ask for are LEGO and a new bike (or nowadays scooter too). Well, luckily, we have both to show you.
LEGO City is a realistic LEGO world full of adventure, fun and countless exciting details, just waiting to be discovered. The sets include vehicles, lots of great buildings and a host of characters to create stories with and act out all sorts of adventures. With the LEGO City Prison Island, a 2-level prison structure with jail yard, police office, helipad with helicopter, jail cell and sewer escape routes with breakout functions, dock and boats for the police and escaping crooks, hot air balloon and much more, there is hours of fun to be had planning, executing and thwarting escapes.
The set includes 8 minifigures: a male police officer, female police officer, police chief, police pilot, 3 male crooks and a female crook, plus a shark! Brilliant fun. Our girls love the huge LEGO City Police 60130 Prison Islandset, and are having lots of fun with it. You wouldn't believe the crimes the LEGO Friends have been up to here! Highly recommended.
If it's a bike you're looking for, head over to Britain's iconic brand Raleigh for advice and inspiration. They recently shared with us their tips on how to teach your child to ride their first proper bike, so there's no excuse not to leave one of their wonderful bikes under the tree. What is more special than heading out to ride a new bike on Christmas Day?
We love the Raleigh Chic girls bike, pictured above. Ideal for weekend bike rides, cycling with friends, and more. A perfect first 'proper' bike for their first experience of riding without stabilisers, it has a light aluminium frame which is easy to handle and manoeuvre, while the lower top tube allows her to get on and off easily. Like all Raleigh children's geared bikes, the Chic is fitted with full Shimano transmission including Shimano Revoshift shifters to make learning how to change gear easier.
With high spec brakes, various safety features, handlebars that encourage a more upright riding position, a prop stand and non-slip pedals, the Raleigh Chic has everything a girl needs to ride in style and safety. And I know it's not the be all and end all, but our tester loved the colour and design ("cute, but not too girly" apparently) and has loved practising on her new wheels. A great hit. Check out all the Raleigh kids bikes to find the perfect one to put a grin on their face on Christmas morning.
If your little dude prefers four wheels to two, the Aston Martin DB10 car from Feber is perfect. James Bond's iconic car in miniature, this fun ride
For those windswept locks, try the Tangle Angel range of hairbrushes from royal and celebrity hairdresser Richard Ward. Cutely called Tangle Cherub these sweetly scented brushes are gentle on tangles, have antibacterial and anti-static properties, and can be used on both wet and dry hair. With their ergonomic handles and sweet colours, they are the perfect thing for a stocking, and hopefully will mean less hair-brushing stress in the new year!
For little learners, the usual word games may be a bit tricky, but new My First Bananagrams is perfect for ripening their vocabulary, and makes the popular game accessible to children as young as four. The early learners version of the game has brightly coloured letter tiles, including some double letter vowel and digraph tiles, which will make it easier for little wordsmiths to complete their word grid. With 10 curriculum-based mini games, that become increasingly challenging as their vocabulary grows, a bright green banana pouch, and guaranteed fun, this is the perfect filler for little learner’s stockings this Christmas. Available from stores nationwide including Waterstones, Ocado and Toymaster
Let them doodle to their heart's content with the fun draw on, wash off products from Eat Sleep Doodle. We love the colour & learn world map pillowcase which features a beautiful, specially commissioned hand-drawn illustration on one side packed full of fun facts, wild animals and exotic sea creatures. Use the enclosed pack of wash-out fabric pens to colur, create and learn, then just pop it in the wash and start all over again. The pack contains one 100% cotton pillowcase and a pack of fabric pens. Great fun.
Persuading kids to keep warm as the mercury falls is a constant battle, but the fun new designs from BUFF Kids could be just the thing. These simple tubes can be worn as neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, headband, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie and bandana. Designed to keep them warm in the cold, Junior BUFF will also wick moisture away to keep cool when its hot. They are lightweight, breathable and extremely comfortable to wear. They have no irritating seams or hems, are really practical and comfortable, and available in a range of designs, such as the Star Wars and Frozen ones seen here.
Animal Jam is one of those trends that has kind of crept up on us, moving from a game to toys in the blink of eye. Lara loves the collectible creatures with their miniature pets and dens, whilst Sophia and Tatiana are busy playing tea parties with the cuddly plush critters. You can find a great range of mini animals with dens, bigger animal play sets and cuddlies at The Entertainer and other good toy stores.
If dancing is her thing, the beautiful party shoes and bags from The Sparkle Club will make her eyes light up on Christmas Day. Perfect for dressing up, playing princess, parties and fun, these gorgeous shoes are available in an array of colours, from baby sizes up to an adult 3. Lara adores her shoes and bag set, and we will certainly be back for party and special occasion shoes at such great value. Just gorgeous.
And when the party's over, she can slip on these cute unicorn slippers from Nutmeg at Morrisons.
Personalised gifts are always popular, and this year the trend for personalised books continues apace. We love The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home from the creators of the Lost My Name books, which features your child on a space adventure and then brings them right back home, literally. using Google Maps they pinpoint your exact address, which is a great way to open up chat about geography, our planet, the stars and more.
From Penwizard who have a wonderful range of titles, comes the beloved tale of The Snowman and the Snowdog. Their brilliant choice of avatar options can really make the protagonist look like your child. We chose ours for Sophia and love how much it really does look like her, slightly crazy curly hair and all! Other titles such as Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly, Paw Patrol, Frozen and many more are also available.
For older kids, the construction sets from K'NEX are a brilliant buy. Keep them busy for hours building it, and then playing it - perfect! The Electric Inferno Roller Coaster Building Set is part of their aptly-names Thrill Rides series and it's just amazing. Using 639 K'NEX parts and pieces including rods, connectors, and track they can create this electric inferno that sends the rollercoaster car hurtling through the twists and turns. They can then download exclusive instructions to build an incredible second model. Suitable for children aged 9+, the K'NEX Electric Inferno Roller Coaster Building Set is available from all good toy stores.
For a quieter activity, try the new products from Aquabeads, including this Aquabeads Frozen Playset which includes 6 different Frozen designs featuring Anna, Elsa and plenty of snowflakes - ideal if we don't get a white Christmas! With a special winter-themed bead tray, this set includes both clear and solid beads in 14 beautiful colours. It's a perfect addition to any Aquabeads collection, or a great starter set to introduce your child to a fun new activity.
For any Sylvanian Families fan, the new Sylvanian Families Secret Island Playhouse Set is a must-have. The two storey building is the perfect seaside hideaway, an idyllic place for the Sylvanians under and above water adventures. They can jump into the sea from the upstairs diving board, gaze out to sea from the look our point, go snorkelling with rainbow fish, relax with a good book, explore using the secret island map, or just splash about in the water. The perfect addition to any Sylvanian Families collection, or a great place to start, this set is widely available from all good toy shops.
Get them active in the kitchen with this great stocking filler from CHOC Chicks. The fun CHOC Chicos chocolate making kit contains everything they need to create some delicious masterpieces, and it's dairy-free too so everyone can enjoy!
Racing cars has never been so much fun as with the fun glow in the dark Turbo Trax. Ceate and build your track, then have fun racing the light up car around. The easy to assemble, flexible track is great for little hands, while the colour changing LED lights are ideal for helping children with hand to eye co-ordination, touch, vision and logical thinking skills. The Turbo Trax Pro set includes 160 pieces of Glow in the Dark track, a car and other accessories.
Additional sets are available, such as the Turbo Trax Bridge and Track which includes an extra 10 pieces of track and a fantastic bridge for the cars to traverse. Other cars and additional track are also available, meaning your collection - and your track - can grow and grow.
For any fan of The Simpsons, this 500 piece jigsaw puzzle is a great gift. With a brightly coloured and highly detailed scene from the long-standing hit TV show, the puzzle features all of the main characters including Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Grandpa, Mr Burns, Flanders, Moe and many more! All of the characters are sat on and around the Simpsons couch, in front of the television, a well-known and iconic shot for all fans of the fantastic programme. The Simpsons Jigsaw Puzzle is recommended for children aged 8+
As a historian, I am passionate about conveying the wonders of the past to kids, so think the new Mysteries in Time monthly subscription box is a great idea. First of all, getting post addressed to you is always exciting, secondly there are exciting contents that help bring history to life, and third there's lots to do. Each month, young historians will receive a time machine package through the post bursting with high-quality, fun activities that introduce a different period in world history. Following history explorers Max & Katie as they go back in time through a combination of fiction, non-fiction, a craft, a toy and fun puzzles, children will be inspired to love history!
We love the fun range from quirky brand Smiggle, perfect for gifts and stocking fillers. How about the Build a Light kit which comes with 64 blocks so you can build a new light every night. Featuring a colour change light and a white light, it makes the perfect nightlight for kids and is great fun too.
For the crafty kid, the Smiggle Sand, Glitter and Foil Art Book is a great gift. To make a fantastic sand & glitter art picture, just peel, sprinkle, and spread with no glue required. The set includes 6 sand colours, glitter & metallic decorations, instructions & 10 scenes to decorate.
If clay is more their metier, try the fun new Pottery Cool Studio Set will be very well received. Pottery Cool is the new way to create with clay. there's no need for a kiln with this great new air dry clay kit, just mould and shape the clay discs on the potter's wheel using the sculpting tools, then let it dry. The pottery can then be painted with the included paints set, or covered in jewels and decorations. This new kit from Spin Master has a unique design that helps kids create perfectly shaped pots by letting gravity do the work, so no frustratingly misshapen post to put them off! The Studio Set contains 6 projects to get started, and further projects and refill packs are also available.
And finally, for those all important stocking fillers, we love the cute range of pens in a multitude of scents and hues from Stabilo. They'll end a trendy edge to your child's pencil case when school resumes, and are ideal for some quiet drawing or colouring on those down days between Christmas and New Year.
As home educators we love the Write Size pencils for kids which are just the right size for the different age groups to hold, enabling better pencil control, and encouraging a proper pen hold. Using the correct sized pencil for their hand can enhance a child's educational speed by as much as a year, and help with better quality handwriting from the start. Just as we wouldn't give a child adult shoes or a full-size guitar to learn on, why would we give them adult-sized pencils? This simple but brilliant idea is a must-have for your child's stocking - and pencil case.
If they're into Superheroes, these cute new additions to the Itty Bittys range are perfect. These cute little collectible cuddlies are adorable, and a bit of a collecting revolution. Featuring a host of iconic characters, they have cute faces and cuddly bodies, plus they're the perfect size to display on shelf, play with or pop in a backpack for days out and holidays. Collections so far include DC Comics, Marvel, Peanuts, The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Scooby-Doo, Father Christmas and Rudolph, and more.
Remember these? Smiggle has brought back the beloved Puzzle Python of our childhood, and it's as addictive, fun and frustrating as ever! Pop one in their stocking this Christmas.
And because no stocking is complete without some chocolate or sweets, try the Christmas ranges from Haribo and Cadbury, both widely available. We're particularly loving the extra large Cadbury stocking selection box 😉