**Firstly, I want to apologise for how late this gift guide post is in coming to you all. I wanted to have this post live 2 weeks ago, but unfortunately the last 2 weeks have brought me constant puking, upset tummies and 10 Disney films per day. All 3 of my girls and my husband have all been ill with the classic winter sickness bug. So again, apologies but I do hope it can be of some help for those last minute buys. **
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Maybe you have completed the main task, but you just need those last few little stocking fillers. Buying a Christmas gift for big little kids can be quite tricky. They are too old for cuddly toys but too young for complex board games and fiddly crafts sets.
I have 3 girls aged 4 (nearly 5), 3 and 1 (nearly 2). The girls all share toys and all play along together nicely. I am starting to notice though that my 4 year old is outgrowing the toys her siblings play with. But of course they all have to share. Well, not always share, if you know what I mean. I’m not a fan of computer games or consoles and I firmly believe that pre-schoolers should be having fun, playing, being active and learning about the world. Of course it is OK to have some screen time, in whichever form, but kept to a minimum. You shall not be finding any iPads or mobile phone lookalikes here.
I have compiled a tidy list of gifts suitable for children aged between 1 and 6 that siblings can enjoy too. From electronic toys to board games there is something for every little person, and parents with all budgets.
The Newhouse Family Top Picks for Christmas 2016
Who Tooted? is set to be the board game of the season. A hilarious game of guffing and bluffing! Kids love toilet humour and fart noises are regularly thrown across the room (even by my 1 year old, who now gets it). Players must work out who made to Toot fart noise, point their noses at who they think the culprit is, while the Tooter tries to play a game of bluff by either playing their best straight face or giggling. The game was easy to set up and the rules of play are simple. Each player hides a whoopee cushion controller under the table, 1 player’s controller will light up, the player pushes the button to control their flatulence and the game board will toot (leaving everyone in hysterics). Because the whoopie cushion controllers are hidden under the table, the tooter is kept anonymous.
My 3 year old kept forgetting about hiding the controller which was the only downside to playing with a 3 year old. Other than that, she got the concept of the game well. Players then have to choose who they think made the noise. It really is a game of Bluff as the tooter can keep a straight face or giggle (lie) their way through and pass the blame to someone else. Score is kept by moving little standing characters around the board, moving along the fart clouds.
We completed the game in just over 30 minutes, so attention spans were kept easily. Great when playing with such young gamers. Keep your eyes peeled for a full in-depth review of Who Tooted over the next couple of weeks, when we aim to publish a series of board games to enjoy over the Christmas period.
Who Tooted is made by Goliath Games and has a RRP of £19.99 and is available in Toys R Us, Smyths and Amazon.co.uk
This lovely little art set is honestly one of my favourite stocking filler ideas this year. In just 3 simple steps children can create pretty colourful paintings in the simple glide of a brush. There are lots of ways to create amazing rainbow coloured paintings. The set comes with a variety of brushes that are simply dipped into the colours to then create non-drip painty fun.
The set comes with 5 colours but there are over 500,000 different colour combinations ready to create. A lovely no-mess creative toy suitable for children aged 3+, and makes a perfect boxing day boredom buster.
The Rainbow Art Creative set has an RRP of £9.99 and is available on Very.co.uk and Ocado.
Code-a-pillar is an all new fun interactive toy from the clever clogs at Fisher-Price. The caterpillar toy aims to help children with planning, problem solving, sequencing and experimentation. Coming apart in several sections and rearranged as the child sees fit, with the 8 sections that come with Code-a-pillar. Children can create obstacles for Code-a-pillar to move around (think cushions and bottles!) and have fun working out the correct pattern to programme the Code-a-pillar to follow. There are also expansion packs available so Code-a-pillar can make longer journeys. Check out the Code-a-pillar video below.
Code-a-pillar is available in a variety of stores online and on the high street and costs around £50 but do shop around for the best deal.
A wonderful game for big kids, little kids and adults of all ages! This colourful game sees players spin the chicken field, lift up the chicken coops and collect the hens! But, players must be careful because a nasty fox is ready to jump up and take away their precious chickens.
My girls worked out how to plat this game quickly and had great fun. The game can also be adapted to suit different ages ranges of the players, so no one needs to feel left out. A stylish game which I think has been very well designed for little children (and little hands) which has quickly become a family favourite.
Pickin’ Chickens is for children aged 4+ but my 3 year old gets the idea of the game and also plays with ease. The game does contain small parts, so please do bear this in mind. Pickin’ Chickens is a Drummond Park game and is available to buy for RRP £19.99.
My Little Pony Chocolate Factory*
Who doesn’t love chocolate?! My girls are all chocoholics (they certainly take after their mum). The adorable My Little Pony Make-A-Bar chocolate factory kit contains 100% Belgium chocolate and a great range of MLP stencils to decorate your bars with. These chocolate bars are super easy to make, with no dangerous heat and super simple instructions, ideal for pre-schoolers who fancy a spot of DIY!
Each portion of chocolate is sealed inside of a foil bag which you just immerse into warm tap water, then you simply snip the corner of the foil pouch and pour the yummy melted chocolate into the plastic tray supplied. The chocolate bar is then put into the fridge for half an hour to set. The MLP Chocolate factory kit contains 2 sachets of dark Belgian choc, 2 white, 2 milk, the mould tray and 16 decorations. The white choc makes the decorations. The kids loved making their bars, had even more fun eating them! RRP £9.99 from Argos and Very.co.uk. Ages 4+.
Our love for the Toot Toot range has grown and grown over the last year and a half. Toot Toot by Vtech are available in a number of ‘themes’. The Newhouse Family favourite Toot Toot range has to be the farm set, but there are also Toot Toot Friends and Toot Toot Drivers to explore. The ranges have grown and expanded a lot over the last few months, with so many more toys in the range to explore. Last year we started our Toot Toot set with just a chicken and a pig, we have since gained 10 more and they are played with daily!
Inkredibles Thomas & Friends mess free painting*
This lovely little painting book is mess free, reusable and perfect for smaller children. The painting book says 3+ but my 1 year old loves it! The Newhouse Family are huge fans of these books, and own quite a few of them now. The Thomas The Tank Engine version above has a wonder selection of paintings and games to enjoy over 4 pages.
The book comes with a paint brush which you simply unscrew and fill with water. The brush is then ready to use and is wiped across the paper. As if by magic, lovely colours start to appear! I stood the book on its side with the pages fanned out for quick drying to then be enjoyed another day.
There are also Inkredibles Paw Patrol mess free books available, and can be purchased from Smyths for the RRP £4.99
You may have guessed by now that we at huge fans of games in our house. Not just board games but story games, silly games (Cards Against Humanity wins that race – NOT FOR KIDS BTW!) anything goes really. Story Cubes are a really simple game. You play it in exactly any way that you want to play it. Roll the dice, look at the images shown on the dice and whip up something astonishing. “Once upon a time…”
Story Cubes has some special edition packs too. Batman, Moomins, Loony Tunes, Scooby Doo and Dr Who all have their own special packs. The packs each contain 9 story dice and cost £9.99 each. Expansion packs are available.
Hallmark Itty Bittys*
All kids love cuddly toys, fact! As a parent, it sometimes feels like I am drowning in soft, cute fluffy teddies but Hallmark have made a little and very adorable plush toy for small people to enjoy. The Itty Bitty range launched earlier this year and has proven to be very popular. These adorable plush toys are designed by Adan Chung who wondered what popular characters would look like if they were shrunk down to an ‘itty bitty’ size. The results are adorable!
Willow loves Star Wars, this is a relatively new obsession after watching the films with daddy one weekend and a close buddy of hers is also obsessed. So a little Star Wars themed gift seemed an obvious choice. She’s too young to appreciate SW figures and Lego kits so a cuddly soft plush seemed to be the best option. Welcome Itty Bitty Darth Vader and BB-8…
How cute are they?! Standing at just 13cm high and fitting in the palm of my hand, the toys feel well made from excellent quality materials. They also look sturdy enough to withstand the constant cuddles and trips everywhere that toddlers would rigorously put them through. Itty Bittys vary in price, but the BB-8 costs £6 and Darth Vader is £6.75. Check out the Itty Bitty range on the Hallmark website here.
PS: The Itty Bitty Chewbacca will make your heart melt. Quite possibly the cutest cuddly toy EVER.
I am a self confessed book hoarder. And so is my husband. And so is his mum, his dad, his brothers and so are our kids. Books everywhere. We. Love. Books.
Kindle for Kids is a superb feature on the Amazon Kindle. Your child can safely read and enjoy books while letting their minds grow and their imagination run wild, through parental controls and password permissions. Every child has the right to enjoy reading, no matter who or where they are. The Kindle runs with this concept, and creates a learning environment in which reading goals and achievements can be set.
To read a full in-depth review on the Amazon Kindle, including our thoughts on the Kindle’s style, battery life, features and accessories you can find the link here.
Write Size Pencils*
Little hands love to draw. Letting young children explore mark-making is a key part of their development. In today’s modern world where parents often hand kids an iPad over a colouring book, it is more important than ever before that we get kids exploring pencil and paper. Let imaginations run wild and those first written words flow with Write Size. The pencils aim to provide less strain on smaller hands so neat handwriting can be practised an achieved much faster and easier.
A neat little stocking filler gift, that children can enjoy at home and at school. Olive holds the aged 2-6 year range pencils with ease and has been practising writing her name (on Xmas cards for her class mates)!
Note: All gift ideas marked with a * have been sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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