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Gifts for Toddlers – Christmas Gift Guide

Mouse Skittles
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Stuck for preschool present ideas? Here are a few gifts that any one or two year old will love straightaway and will still be using years later:

Rocking horse – the bigger ones are very expensive but they are the kind of heirloom that will be passed down for generations. I love this one from NotOnTheHighStreet as it reminds me of a hospital rocking horse I played with a lot, but there are lots of antique rocking horses and more reasonably priced traditional rocking horses on Ebay. For a more contemporary option, this rocking motorbike is also a sturdy ride-on!

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traditional rocking horse
Hand Carved Rocking Horse, £380
Not On The High Street

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All Terrain Wooden Rocking And Ride On Bike
Wooden Rocking And Ride On Bike, £249
Not On The High Street

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Skittles – there are skittle sets for every pocket and they’ll all provide hours of fun. Great on hard floors as little ones love to hear them clatter to the ground.

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Chad Valley Skittles
Steal: Chad Valley Skittles, £4.99
Argos

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Mouse Skittles
High St: Mouse Skittles, £14.95
Not On The High Street

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Gruffalo Skittles Set
Splash Out: Gruffalo’s Child Skittles, £32.40
Amazon

Sand table – It may be winter now, but you don’t just have to buy indoor toys. You can buy basic plastic sand tables for £20-£30 but I think this Sand and Water Picnic table is much better value – use with the lid on as a garden bench!

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Plum Sand & Water Picnic Table[/column][column width=”50%” padding=”0%”]

Sand & Water picnic table

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Plum Sand & Water Picnic Table,
Was £79.99 Now £39.95 at Amazon

Trike with handle – Unlike the smaller, pushalong ride-ons, these can be pedalled by kids with longer legs, so are a great choice for taller or older toddlers. Word to the wise: You’ll want a parent handle at a sensible height with a comfortable grip – if possible look for one with a decent sized basket or trailer. They’re a great alternative to a buggy and even better if you can put your bag in the back!

My picks? The Little Tikes 3-in-1 Trike and Smart Trikes are expensive for a reason as they has everything you could wish for, but this Bentley Kids version looks equally good at half the price!

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Little Tikes 3-in-1 Trike[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]

Bentley Kids Trike with Handle[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”0%”]

Smart Trike Recliner[/column][end_columns]

Keyboard / piano – my daughter has been coveting this keyboard and stool for about a year now but we’ve promised ourselves to buy less space hungry presents this year. The ELC mini keyboards are half price at the moment, so great value! Try to find one with at least 8 keys (an octave) so that they can start to play tunes they recognise.

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Keyboard & Stool
Keyboard & Stool, £30
ELC

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carryalong keyboard pink
carryalong keyboard red
Carry Along Keyboards
Were £15 Now £7.50 at ELC

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Dolls pram / pushchair – Whether a basic buggy or a posh pram, this will get toddlers walking independently and is a lovely present for soon-to-be big brothers and sisters. I personally favour prams as it means I don’t always have to carry the shopping home… but fold down buggies are good for popping in the boot of the car, or hanging on the handles of the full-sized pushchair when little one gets tired.

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Folding Toy BuggyFolding buggy, £7
The Entertainer

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Silver Cross Junior Roamer Doll's Pram
Silver Cross Roamer Toy Pram, £34.99
Argos

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Silver Cross Surf Dolls Pram
Silver Cross Surf Doll’s Pram, £49.99
Amazon

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Duplo – Lego and Duplo are wonderful toys for dexterity and coordination and they really stretch the imagination. They’re also really soothing for adults to play with or “supervise”.

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Lego Duplo First Farm
Duplo First Farm, Was £19.99 Now £15
Amazon

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Duplo bricks set
Duplo Bricks, various prices
Amazon

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Kids Table & Chair Set – Endlessly useful, but try to get 2 chairs to save arguments with friends. Check out Poundstretcher for plastic sets in multiple colours.

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Beep Beep Collection Play Table and Chairs
Beep Beep Table & Chairs, £29.99
Dunelm Mill

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Kidcraft Activity Table with Lego BoardsKidcraft Activity Table with Lego boards & storage, £108.94
Amazon

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Safari Playroom FurnitureSafari Playroom Furniture, £175
Not On The High Street

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Roleplay Toys – a lot of the roleplay toys which little ones love to play with contain small parts which can be a choke hazard for under threes. These sets are designed to be safe for little ones, but won’t seem babyish as they grow up.

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Wooden Post Box Toy
Wooden post box, £15
ELC

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Just Like Home Storage Tea Pot Set
Tea set in giant tea pot, £14.99
Toys R Us

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Jigsaws – always a winner, but check with the parents what size / type of jigsaws their child is doing already and try to buy a step up. Dexterity varies massively at this age as they all learn things in different orders! It’s hard to beat ELC for lift out puzzles but look out for puzzles with noise or tactile puzzles. There are some gorgeous shaped puzzles around too.

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ELC Cottage Lift Out Puzzle
Cottage Lift Out Puzzle, £8
ELC

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Noisy Sound Puzzles
Sound Puzzle (various designs), £15.99
Not On The High Street

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Cat Number Jigsaw
Cat Number Jigsaw, £11.95
Not On The High Street

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And last but not least… Bags – Toddlers adore bags and can spend hours taking things in and out of them and carrying them around. They are the new, exciting, upgraded model of last year’s hit present, “the box”. We really liked the Little Life DaySacks. Available in Ladybirds, BumbleBees, Sharks, Dinosaurs and lots more, kids wear them happily, they have practical little rain hoods tucked away inside, and they have both a rein attachment and a grab handle which means they can keep both hands free and you can hold onto them tight in those moments when their independence starts to cause panic rather than pride.

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Little Life Ladybird Rucksack

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Little Life DaySack Rucksacks

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Lots more gift inspiration coming soon!

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Xmas Gift Guide: Baby Toys

Wonderworld Wooden Puffy Dragon Sit And Ride
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Writing about the breastfeeding baby doll at the weekend has kickstarted me into Christmas Gift mode. We’ve been so lucky that friends and family have put so much thought into presents for small one so this is a guide to the preschool toys and gifts we’ve bought and have been given that have really stood the test of time.

Gifts for Babies:

If you’re buying for a little one try to buy ahead, especially if you don’t see them often. When you’re stretched for cash, having toys your child will “grow into” is lovely. Babies don’t really understand presents, so check what the parents really need before you buy. We loved:

Tactile books – Always make sure they aren’t just touchy-feely on the front cover as some expensive ones are disappointing. Priddy cloth books are reliable for having fun textures throughout.

Old MacDonald Cloth Book
Old McDonald Counting Book, £15
(Not On The High Street)
Fuzzy Bee Roger Priddy Cloth Book
Fuzzy Bee Cloth Book, £7.19
(Amazon)

 

Bath toys – from stacking cups and rubber ducks to the most elaborate water toys, these will be played with over and over again.

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Bath flutes
Bath Flutes, £10
(Marks & Spencer)

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[column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Stacking Cups
Stacking Cups, £6
(Marks & Spencer)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”0%”]Tomy Snowboarding Polar Bears Bath Toy
Tomy Snowboarding
Polar Bears
, £13.19
(Amazon)

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Musical instruments– Mum and Dad might not always thank you, but the real thing is nearly always less annoying than electronic toys and far more satisfying for baby. On the downside, you can’t take the batteries out 😉

[column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]M&S animal music set
Animal Band, £17.50
(Marks & Spencer)

[/column] [column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Wooden Maracas
Wooden Maracas, £3.62
(Amazon)
[/column] [column width=”30%” padding=”0″]Boikidi Percussion Table
Boikidi Percussion Table, £39
(John Lewis)

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“Grown up” gifts – Little ones love to play with mummy and daddy’s car keys and mobile phone. While they’ll still make a beeline for the real thing, these might distract them while you make a phonecall, drive or put your makeup on. If the brightly coloured phone doesn’t fool them, John Lewis sell a baby smartphone!

[column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]John Lewis Baby Toy Car Keys
Toy Car Keys, £8
(John Lewis)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Manhattan Toy Whoozit See Me MirrorWhoozit See Me Mirror, £12.59
(Amazon)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”0%”]V-Tech-Tiny-Touch-Phone
V-Tech-Tiny-Touch-Phone, £8.24
(Amazon)

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Baby toys that last for years – the simplest gifts often give the most pleasure and my now extremely grown up three year old and her nearly teenage sister still enjoy building towers (and now whole cities) from basic bricks. Tomy Hide & Squeak Eggs are another great buy – they are endlessly fascinating for babies and make great “dippy eggs” for cooking as they get older.Traditional peg and hammer toys become “work benches” for older kids.
NB. Remove small bricks when giving to under threes (anything smaller than an old style film canister is a potential choke hazard).

[column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs
Tomy Hide ‘n’ Squeak Eggs, £5.94
(Amazon)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Wilko Wooden Peg and Hammer Set
Wooden Peg & Hammer Set, £5
(Wilkinson Plus)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”0%”]Viga Wooden Blocks
Viga 100 Wooden Blocks, £13.99
(Amazon)

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Things Mum and Dad will want – If the house has been overrun by baby toys, a toy box will be appreciated by everyone and height charts are a lovely way to keep records.

[column width=”27%” padding=”5%”]Toy storage trolley
Toy Trolley, £39
(Vertbaudet)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Woodland Height Chart
Tree Height Chart, £20
(GLTC)

[/column][column width=”33%” padding=”0%”]Wooden Ruler Height Chart
Ruler Height Chart, £65
(Not On The High Street)

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Baby Walkers – There are lots of versions available but look for something that doesn’t topple over when leant on. The V-tech baby walker is probably the most popular (the button panel can be unclipped used separately) but the new ELC walker and the BigJigs wooden walker both look brilliant! My daughter played with her walker / phone / computer / spaceship until quite recently despite walking before her 1st birthday.

[column width=”45% padding=”20%]Bigjigs Activity Walker
Bigjigs Activity Walker, £42.66
(Amazon)

[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”0%”]Lights and Sounds Walker
Lights and Sounds Walker, £30
(Mothercare)
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Ride-ons and rocking horses – Something for every price range, ride-on toys start at about £20 and go up and up. Here are a few of my favourites:

[column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Hop Along Rabbit
Hop Along Rabbit, £20
(Mothercare)

[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”5%”]Wonderworld Wooden Puffy Dragon Sit And Ride
Dragon Sit and Ride, £79.99
(Amazon)
[/column][column width=”30%” padding=”0%”]Little Tikes Sports Coupe Ride On(Red)
Little Tikes Sports Coupe, £21.24
(Amazon)
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More gift ideas for the rest of the family later this week!

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The Breastfeeding Baby Doll

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The Daily Mail is up in arms! Mumsnetters are disgusted! And what has caused this unusual(!) state of affairs? Yep, it’s a breastfeeding baby doll.

Breast Milk Breastfeeding Baby DollThe rather expensive doll, made by Spanish firm Berjuan Toys and priced at £60, apparently makes realistic suckling noises and demands to be burped.

Pretty much the same as this Baby Annabel, which suckles and burps for a mere £29 or the Chou Chou Rock-a-Bye Baby which yawns, giggles, cries and sucks for £29.97, or any number of other “functional baby dolls”, most of which are bottle fed. Aside from my deep dislike of any “realistic” doll, I (and many more ex-breastfeeding mums like me) would probably be ideal customers for a doll that didn’t automatically come with a bottle and a dummy.

So when we’ve already got dolls that wee and poo, and have far less appealing functions, what’s causing the uproar? And more to the point, what’s costing the extra £30?

Just put on the fashionable top included with each Breast Milk Baby, bring the baby’s mouth up to the pretty flower, and enjoy the closeness, the loving bond between mother and child.

Ah… The “fashionable” top with the “pretty flowers”… And that’s where I find myself siding with the Daily Mail and the Mumsnetters. I am fine with my daughter pretending to breastfeed her dolls. I am as ok with suckling sounds as I am with burps, cries and giggles. But I don’t think she needs fake nipples to pretend, not even flower shaped ones. There is nothing remotely sexual about a child pretending to feed a baby doll, but dressing a little girl in a crop top with what look like nipple tassles for juniors is just plain wrong!

NB. Despite the sensational headlines, I don’t think you’re going to be seeing this doll in the Top 10 Xmas Toy Lists anytime soon. The only place I could find to buy a Breastfeeding Baby Doll in the UK was on Ebay.

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Coolest kids costumes ever!

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Just been doing some Christmas gift research and found possibly the coolest kids dress-up costumes ever! If you’re bored of witches, wizards and skeletons, and want something with more year round appeal, these costumes are brilliant for toddlers and bigger kids alike.

Wearable bulldozer costume

Wearables Bulldozer Costume

Wearable airplane costume

Wearables Airplane Costume

Both are available from FindMeAGift, who ship worldwide. They will be in stock from 12th October, and can be pre-ordered now. They are also offering 20% Off Halloween Costumes at the moment – enter SPOOKY12 at checkout.

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Why you should always give toddlers your full attention…

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Mummy!!!” Mummmeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

“Yes darling….”

Dolly’s poorly Mummy….

“Oh dear… kiss him better”

Mummy!!! Mummy!!! Dolly’s head!!!

“Yes love. He’ll be OK. Kiss him better.”

Mummy!!! Mummy!!! Dolly’s head!!!

“What about Dolly’s head sweetheart?”

Ummmm!! Dolly’s head!!!!!!!!!!

[Levers self off sofa]

Dolly’s heeeeeaaaaad!!!

Headless baby doll
(C) MilkChic. All rights reserved

“Ah… I see…..”

Silly Dolly…!

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