Toddlers are one of the best age groups to buy for because they are just so enthusiastic about everything they get. Not to mention all the fun that can be had with wrapping paper, boxes and the tree! Here are a few ideas of lovely things to put under it for them...
We love the first incarnation of the Toddlebike pre-balance bike, which Lara still happily hares about on at age 6! But now there is a new beast on the block: the Toddlebike 2. This new and improved version is super lightweight, weighing less than a kilo, so fine for kids to manoeuvre and for parents to carry home or to hang off buggy handles. Its compact design with narrow wheels helps children learn to steer and balance effectively, and it can be used indoors and outdoors from when toddlers can walk confidently. Made from hardwearing plastic it can withstand all kinds of terrain, and keeps stable even on hills and sloping surfaces. The Toddlebike is available in red, pink and blue from www.toddlebike.co.uk
The London in a Bag play set from the Museum of London Shop is perfect for play on the go. Ideal for taking to granny's house or out and about, it contains everything a toddler needs to create the iconic London cityscape and all the classic tourist sights, such as the Changing of the Guard, black cabs, red buses and the London Eye. Ideal as a souvenir of a trip to the Big Smoke, or for anyone who knows and loves some of these famous buildings. A sweet gift that will last and last.
Now a popular CBeebies TV series, Okido started out as an educational kids magazine, featuring arts and science content. The educational magazine can be bought as single editions or a subscription from the Okido website. Stationery, prints, toys and DVDs are also available.
STEM and coding are the big thing in education at the moment, and the games from SmartGames are a great way to introduce this to toddlers and pre-schoolers. Available as Three Little Pigs or Red Riding Hood games, each one requires the player to place the play pieces in such a way that they really have to think as there is only one solution to each of the 48 challenges. We have the Three Little Pigs version and the girls, aged 2, 4 and 6 all love it. A real challenge that makes them think. Available from Amazon.
Also from Smart Games come the SmartMax Magnet sets. Each contains a collection of magnetic pieces which fit together to create structures, vehicles, marble runs and more. This is a brilliant way of introducing young children to the properties of magnets, colours, poles and more. Plus they get to create fun things like rockets, bridges, circuits and more, as the magnets carry up to 60 times their own weight. (Our only quibble, having looked at sets to add to ours, was that our mini feminists pointed out all the car sets only show pictures of boys playing!) This award-winning magnetic construction range allows children aged 1+ to uncover and explore the fascinating realm of magnetism, whilst creating and building their very own constructions and having a whole lot of fun! The full SmartMax range is available from Amazon.
Top of many kids' wish lists this Christmas will be a scooter, so why not get them the best? Renowned Micro Scooters offer award-winning service and high quality products, perfect for any young scoottee. Tatiana has been trying the Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter in Purple, complete with Micro Light and Bell in purple, Micro Safety Helmet in Reflective Silver (small). With its adjustable handlebar the scooter is suitable from ages 2 to 5 years. It is lightweight so easy for young children to manoeuvre and has the classic three wheels to encourage confidence and balance to enable them to propel and steer the scooter.
With its exceptional Swiss construction, uncompromising quality and innovative design, the new Mini Micro Deluxe is the redesigned version of the world renowned classic. The adjustable handlebar height means it is suitable from age 2, but will grow with your child, and the unique deck of the scooter has a raised silicone Micro grip for safety and comfort. The Mini Micro Deluxe’s intuitive ‘lean and steer’ scooting style is easily understood by younger children and will greatly improve their balance and co-ordination which are vital for the development of early motor skills.
The Mini Micro Deluxe is available in an array of colours, and a multitude of accessories are also available. It's easy to see why Micro Scooters have delighted millions of children and parents worldwide, and have once again been voted best toy of the year in 2016.
For plenty of festive fun and an hour or two's peace and quiet over the holidays, pop a DVD in their stocking. For variety, try the Milkshake! Fabulous Friends collection from Channel 5, which features all their favourites such as Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly, Bob the Builder, Thomas, Paw Patrol and many more. Sure to delight any young fan!
Peter Rabbit is back with a new collection of adventures, including six tales of all his friends and mishaps. Peter tells a curious Cotton-tail how he and Squirrel Nutkin became friends and ends up on a quest to retrieve Nutkin’s lost tail, even though it means going to Owl Island! Everyone's favourite friend, Peter has a taste for radishes, a thirst for adventure, boundless courage and unswerving loyalty. Peter Rabbit - The Tale Of The Great Rabbit & Squirrel Adventure is a real delight.
Masha and Bear are back in a series of new seasonal adventures in Masha and the Bear - Holiday On Ice. Retired from his circus life, Bear has settled into the woods and is preparing for a quiet new life of peace and tranquility. But he didn't bank on precocious, outgoing, energetic little Masha, who can't seem to keep out of trouble. Full of stories that speak of creativity, loyalty and true friendship, these sweet tales are ideal for pre-schoolers.
Make learning those pesky letters a blast with Leaping Letters from Leapfrog. Aimed at kids aged 3 to 6, this fast-action learning game has various play modes. Kids can race against the clock to put all the letter pieces in their spots before the time runs out and they all go POP. Or put alphabet skills to the test with an adjustable timer that allows all ages to get in on the fun. Change up the level of difficulty easily with colour-coded letter pieces that let kids progress to using all 26 letters of the alphabet when they’re ready, advance to word building and start forming words with add-on activity cards that make beating the clock an exciting challenge. Leaping Letters comes with everything kids need to match letters, explore the alphabet and build fine motor skills.
Look out for part two of our toddler and pre-schooler gift guide tomorrow!