Christmas Gift Guide: For Kids (Part 1)

I'm sure the small people have regaled with you lists of things they will delight in, but just in case you are seeking inspiration, want to find something different, or just want to surprise them, read on...

Any older girl would delight in the stunning collectible play dolls from A Girl for All Time®.  These gorgeous, historical dolls are crafted from the highest quality vinyl with articulated elbows and knees.  Available from various historical periods, from Tudor to the 1960s, each doll comes with her own very real back story, historically accurate clothing, and lots of other information.

Sophia received Clementine, Your 1940s Girl™ who comes in a historically inspired 1940's dress of green poly-cotton with a vintage daisy pattern, upturned sleeves and a satin 'peter-pan' collar.  The dress is finished with a matching belt with cream coloured buckle, period underwear, ankle socks, sturdy practical shoes and a hat with satin ribbon.  Her story echoes many from World War II, saying:

"My name is Clementine Harper. My brothers and I have been sent to stay in a large, crumbling house in the countryside to keep us away from the bombing in London. We miss our mum and dad. We even miss sheltering in Camden Town Underground station at night. But I have made a friend here - she's a long way from home too. And we've been entrusted with a secret mission… something that's going to help us win the war…. "

How perfect is that for opening up a wealth of educational possibilities?  Sophia adores her.  These dolls are instant classics, superb gifts for someone special, and just the thing for little girls to pass down to their own daughters.  These intelligent, creative dolls are truly outstanding, and not for nothing was Clementine awarded the  'Playdoll of the Year 2014' accolade by DOLLS Magazine.

Another must-have for any history-mad kid is the brilliant Timeline British History from Esdevium Games.  Answer pressing questions such as:

  • Was William Shakespeare born early enough to enjoy the delights of a cup of tea? And did he wear a Top Hat?
  • Britain’s first Prime Minister was surely at a later date, but was that before or after The Great Fire of London?

Suitable for 2 to 8 players aged 8+, the object of the game is to place your cards correctly in the timeline.  The correct year is on the back, can you place it in the right place before you check?  Correctly place all of your cards to win.

If geography is more their thing, we love the . Budding geographers can sate their curiosity about the world, by learning abut continents, capitals, geographical features and populations in a fun, interactive way.  There are three activity panels which offer 19 different activities, providing hours of informative audio content and lots of incredible facts.  Spin the globe and point the SmartPen to open up endless educational entertainment and discover new horizons.

Give your young learner the opportunity to explore the world without packing their bags. With more than 250 countries to discover, world, political and local maps to explore, and so much to learn, this is a fantastic way to learn more about the world and inspire future travels and discoveries. Our girls love it.

For getting the kids' bodies, as well as their minds, active over the holidays, pop these fun Head Over Heels About Gymnastics books in their stocking.  The two flip books teach all the essential gymnastics moves with descriptive illustrations and instructions, the perfect thing to keep them busy during the festive season.  They also include routines at the end for them to show off their skills, and for you to evaluate should you so wish.  With no lower or upper age limit, these could be the perfect way to entertain the kids and teach them some new skills during those down days between Christmas and New Year.

The Join Gymnastics fictional book is the latest addition to the range, with the fictional Wendy and Jack joining a gym class and learning new skills, overcoming their nerves and discovering new skills and abilities.  The ideal companion for anyone starting a new activity class in the new year.

Another way to get them off the sofa and moving is the fun new Zwoosh ball from JML.  This brilliant floating ball game is perfect for indoor play, turning any floor into a playing field.  It floats on a cushion of air, has a rebound bumper to protect furniture, skirting boards and walls, and has flashing multi-colour LED lights for fun even when it's dark.  The Zwoosh ball works perfectly for indoor hockey, football or skittles.

For rainy days and Christmas downtime, we all love a board game, and this uproarious new game from Drumond Park is guaranteed to entertain everyone.  Downright silly, it is perfect for everyone aged 8 to 108.  The object of Stoopido is to be the person who doesn't have a face full of crazy pieces at the end.  With mis-matched eyes, ears, noses, hats and foreheads to attach to your glasses, and a fast and furious game to play and a quirky set up, everyone will be laughing from beginning to end.  Are you quick enough to beat the other players and avoid having to wear a game piece?  Great fun.

For more sedate entertainment, the gorgeous Colour Your Own Doll's House book from Carlton Books is a beautifully illustrated insight into a Victorian doll's house and its inhabitants.  Each page has intricate illustrations, partly coloured, which you can colour in whilst learning more about Victorian homes and life.  We have found it a great way to learn more about the dichotomy between rich and poor in Victorian times, a great contrast to the world of Oliver Twist which we have been studying.

For more colouring fun, we love the Colour-Me Lampshades from Mullan Kids.  Perfect for adding their own touch to their room, these are great gifts for when they don’t need yet another toy.  Just colour in the super cute, top quality flat pack lampshade, making a unique decoration to personalise their space.  Ideal for playroom or bedroom, this creative, anti-technology, traditional colouring gift comes in six different designs: birds, monsters, princesses, savannah, wagons and woods.  Just colour the lampshade in, build it, attach to the luminaire and turn on the light!  (Adult supervision and assistance required.)

To add another quirky twist to their bedroom or playroom, pop the brilliant new LEGO-compatible light switch from Wacky Warehouse in their stocking. How cool to have LEGO people swarming round your light switch!  Creator Darren says:

"We had a ‘light bulb’ moment when decorating my daughters bedroom, why couldn’t we create a cool light switch cover….now everytime she needs a light on, our lego light switch cover brings a little smile to her face, plus it might just keep them from waking you up for an extra 30 minutes in the mornings."

Of course, they're not just for kids, why not brighten up your kitchen or sitting room too? You could even leave a pot of LEGO nearby and challenge guests to make the best model.

We also love the brilliant large silicone base plate from Wacky Warehouse, double-sided for both DUPLO and LEGO creation, these long roll up mats are three times as big as regular base plates, ideal for children with sensory issues, and virtually unbreakable. Plus they are a lot quieter to use and easier to take off than regular plastic baseplates.

The baseplate comes with a Velcro strap so it just rolls up at the end of play, and you wouldn't believe how much easier this makes end of the day clean up. Such a brilliant idea all round, we love it! They also have a great range of regular base plates in a rainbow of colours, so make sure you have a good look at the whole range whilst you're there.

Look out for the second part of our kids gift guide tomorrow...

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