Oh yes I mentioned the C word – because like it or not, it is coming.
We’re having a rough month with being broke and housebound with hand foot and mouth disease (Zac, not me) – and though he’s getting on with it like an absolute trooper, being cooped up for 3 days straight is a little miserable for us so I’m thinking about happy festive things to keep cheerful.
So, last year I didn’t go mad with gifts for the little goblin as he was only 10 months old. I still will not go mad this year because A. we can’t afford it and B. we are not the kind of family to spend hundreds upon hundreds of pounds on a lot of plastic tat that will be discarded after Christmas Day.
With that in mind, here is a Christmas gift guide for families with a toddler who are like minded in that way, who wish to give their child a few choice gifts that will last beyond the festive period.
This is something you can’t have too many of – surely. The importance of books and reading for young children is well documented. We have a growing collection and enjoy daily story time, pointing at the different things on the page and telling the story with funny voices to keep him engaged.
This year I’m looking at extending our ‘That’s Not My’ collection as these books never fail to be favourites with my son.
Check out this list of best books for toddlers to get some ideas.
2. A Kitchen
A play kitchen like this one is a fantastic and versatile Christmas gift that will last the whole year. Perfect activity centre for busy toddlers who like to being doing things and copying what they see their parents doing (which is all toddlers basically). It’s a good way of introducing cooking and making things in the kitchen, especially if you sit down and pretend with them. Show them how the cooker can be hot, how to carry a saucepan without spilling the contents etc. Should prepare them for when you actually let them loose with you in the real kitchen!
3. A pram and dolly
Zac has a lot of ‘boy toys’ due to his passion for diggers, tractors, trains and other vehicles so I’m obviously worried things will get a little lop sided there so this year I’m introducing different toys so that he can explore different options and learn to play with other things. Plus teaching him to look after babies is a life skill that can begin whenever.
4 . A Day Out Voucher
A day at the zoo or the aquarium or to see a panto! This is a lovely gift idea as they do say experience over things is the recipe for happiness! These are the things your little one will probably remember in years to come.
Try Kids Days Out for ideas, though I haven’t used this site myself.
5. An adopted animal
We did this last year though Zac was too young to understand. This would really suit a child the age of 5 and above. Visit your local animal sanctuary or go online and look for any organisations offering animal adoption packs. You get to do something wonderful for a hard working charity and you give this gift of good-doing and caring for those in need to your child.
6. A teddy
It can be one that talks or sings or dances when you press a button or it could a simple, sweet teddy bear that your babe can sleep next to and drag around for years to come.
You could even give them your teddy you had as a baby, if you still have it. Or have a look at this range of teddies from the Early Learning Centre.
7. Building toys
Building things and putting things together is a super important skill for little people – it teaches them problem solving, helps them work on their coordination and dexterity and is a great confidence builder. It’s also something you can do together, starting with Christmas Day.
Here are some recommendations:
8. Activity Books
Stickers, colouring, toddler puzzles – these are fantastic gifts that will keep your child busy, stimulated, entertained and learning. If your toddler is 2, they may only be able to enjoy the stickers bit to start with but as they grow and develop, the books will continue to be of use as they learn new skills.
9. Dressing Up Clothes
Every kid should have a dressing up box! Encourage imagination, role play and eccentricity whenever you can.
I can’t wait for Zac to get more into this. Want to go to Aldi in a cape or a dress? Hell yeah, son.
10. A musical instrument
Parents everywhere may curse this one, but stick with me. A musical instrument you can shake, bang or press to make musical sounds can be a lovely gift idea for a toddler. Getting them up and dancing is always fun so helping them create their own music could be so much fun.
If your patience wears thin, then keep it somewhere ‘safe’ and have a musical afternoon with them once in a while so they (and you) don’t get bored of it.
11. Toddler furniture
You could get them something for their bedroom or playroom that they can use all year round and enjoy. I’m thinking about things like a teepee, a play tent, a reading nook or a small table and chair for them to sit and do crafty things on. It gives them a little space of their own and help them feel independent.
Hope this didn’t seem like a patronising self important post, but I am always looking up toddler gift guides online and they all seem to offer hoards of expensive boring all-singing all-dancing toys that don’t leave much room for imagination, so I wanted to try find some alternative ideas.
I almost added ‘something handmade’ to the list but thought that would be a step too far. If you want to add something homemade to the gift list for your toddler, make it something you bake instead!
It’s still November anyway, so we all have plenty of time to PANIC! I mean, calmly enjoy some Christmas shopping and festive preparations…..