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Children’s Gift Guide – Christmas 2014

With 3 children in our house and numerous nieces, nephews and friends with little ones my next gift guide is all about the kids. Every year I search the shops and internet trying to find them the perfect gifts. 

Here are a few gift ideas for boys, girls, older and younger children. I hope the below gives you a few ideas:

If you are planning to buy your little ones a soft toy this Christmas then make sure you take a look at what IKEA has to offer. This year they have teamed up with Save the Children and UNICEF for the annual Soft Toys for Education campaign – proceeds from soft toy sales help fund Save the Children and UNICEF’s educational projects around the world. The 2015 toy collection has been inspired by children’s fairy tales, from cheeky elves and fairies, to cuddly goats and dragons, there’s something for everyone. This year’s newcomers include:

  • KVACK, a soft toy frog that turns inside out to become a prince
  • SAGOHUS, a fairytale house and characters inspired by Hansel and Gretel
  • LILLGAMMAL, a version of Little Red Riding Hood
  • UPPTRADA, a seven-piece bowling set of characters including dragons and queens.

IKEA Foundation also believes that inspiration to read opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children’s book based on the soft toy characters. In this year’s book, “The Frog Prince” young readers visit a fairy-tale forest and learn that Princess Klara will do anything to find and save her friend Prince Karl who has had a spell put on him by a grumpy fairy and has been turned into a frog. The campaign is very simple: for every soft toy, children’s book and children’s card game sold between 26 October 2014 and 27 December 2014, IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children. With 64 toys to choose from and prices starting from 80p, it couldn’t be easier to help a child this winter. These magical toys really are the gifts that keep on giving.

For dinosaur fans how about the very cute Snuggleasaurs. When squeezed Snuggleasaurs lets out a roar.  He is cute to look at, soft to cuddle and has felt teeth, spines and claws. He is suitable for boys and girls aged 6 months plus.

When smaller my boys were a massive fan of trains and bubbles. I reckon that they would have loved the Bump N Go Bubble Train. The brightly coloured train toy moves along the ground, makes noises and blows bubbles from its chimney. When started the train moves forward whilst making chugging train noises, producing a vast and continuous stream of bubbles. It is suitable for children aged 6 months – 3 years and over. You can find this toy from retailers such as Amazon for around £12.
This Wooden Farm playset would make the perfect gift for a little one this year. The set contains wooden animal figures, scenery and lots more. The farmhouse carry case can be used to store all of the pieces, but also opens out to form a piece of the scenery. Inside there are two trees, a carrot patch, a cow, pig, horse, sheep, duck, chicken, two farmers and two fence pieces. The farm is suitable for children aged 3 years plus and priced around £13 from all good toy stockists.
If you have Pokemon fans in your house they would not be disappointed if they found the Lightning Attack Pikachu (£24.99) from TOMY under the tree. You can put Pikachu on your shoulder, on a table top or on the floor. To make Pikachu work his magic you need to load up the 8 foam discs supplied into the back of Pikachu. You then press the button on his foot and pull gently on his ear to hear Pikachu make the discs fly through the air. The set includes an adjustable backpack harness with a storage compartment for keeping all the discs safe when they’re not in use. Pikachu needs 3 x AA batteries but these are included. This toy is suitable for children aged 4 years & up. 
 
Another Pokemon toy available this Christmas is the Kalos Region Pokedex (£34.99). The Pokemon Electronic Pokedex from TOMY will help any young “trainer” on their quest to become a Pokemon Master. The Pokedex has electronic sound effects, electronic speech, physical mode transformation and polar-motion effects. This toys is great for role play and brings alive a childs imagination. They can pretend to scan Pokemon figures when the Pokédex is opened up. If you push the button repeatedly you will see multi-coloured light effects. This is the perfect toy to combined with other Pokemon Trainer toys such as the Gloves With Sounds and / or other role play accessories each sold separately.
Little Live Pets are going to be a must buy this Christmas. We went to their official launch in the summer and fell in love right away. With their adorable realistic chirping these pets are sure to be a big hit with anyone whose lucky enough to be bought one. The birds are suitable for children aged 5 and over. You can buy single birds (there are 6 different birds to choose from) or a bird that comes with a cage (there are two of these). The Little Live Pets Bird Cage gives your pet bird its very own home to sit and swing in and you can take it anywhere with you. Your new pet talks back to you and repeats what you say when you press the button on its back. If you pat or stroke your bird it will tweet happily  away as it responds to your touch. The more you play with your bird the happier it becomes, when your bird is super happy it will even whistle you a special tune! The bird cage is available from all good toy stockists for £19.99. 

When I was a little girl I had many dolls. Each one had a name and they were all my “babies”. If you have a little girl or boy who loves thier dolls the Baby Annabell Brother doll will make a great present this year. This beautiful doll is 46cm long. He is just like a real baby in size and makes very realistic baby sounds and movements. He babbles, gurgles and sucks on his dummy. When drinking from his bottle he makes sounds and his mouth really moves. If you lay him down and gently touch his cheeks, he will yawn and fall asleep. He is happy and contented doll most of the time but if he is woken by a noise he will cry real tears. Sometimes after drinking his bottle he will burp but sometimes he cry’s because of a tummy ache (see I told you he’s just like a real baby), if you then pat him on his back he will burp. You need 4 x AA batteries for him to work – these aren’t included. The doll comes with a dummy and milk bottle. You can find him in most toy shops and online for around £45.

Chocolart Sweet Creatures would be make a great gift idea. You can create your own chocolate treats or gift for your friends. You have to melt down the chocolate drops included and then pour them into the rabbit, horse and teddy bear moulds before placing them into the fridge to set. Once the chocolate has hardened you tap the shapes out of the mould and add the finishing touches with the red, blue, green and yellow icing tubes. Place the animals inside the cellophane wrappers provided and they’re ready to share out. Comes with 75g of ready-to-melt chocolate. This gift is suitable for children aged 6 plus and is available from all good toy stockists for around £12. Other sets are available too.

Children aged three years and up will have hours of fun playing and drawing on the reversible Fun and Games mat from Double Flip. It comes with washable felt-tips, then pop the mat in the washing machine on a cold wash, hang out to dry and play again!   Play, draw, colour:  dot to dot, noughts and crosses, colour by numbers, snakes and ladders (number learning), and letter writing practice. So it’s secretly educational too!  Great for when you have a group of kids over, there is something for every one. Comes with a fabric carry bag, in which you can keep the mat together with the set of dice, counters, and ten washable felt tip pens.   
If you are looking for educational toys this Christmas Leapfrog have a variety of toys available for children of all ages. 
The Learning Friends Play & Discovery Set (£24.99) is the perfect gift if you’re looking for a toy to help with your child’s confidence at school. This toy encourages children to develop key skills, from imaginative play to listening comprehension and motor skills and get into the swing of school routines with an interactive play set featuring three talking animal friends. The teacher, Ms. Giraffe, allows children to become familiar with 5 school activities including greetings, sharing time, story time, break time and free play. Suitable for children aged 2 – 5 years old.
The Learning Friends Adventure Bus (£16.99) is the perfect gift if your little one loves discovering new things and imaginative play.The Learning Friends Adventure Bus travels to the beach, the library and outdoors for a picnic, with more than 20 songs, phrases and sound effects which bring the adventures to life. The interactive features on the bus also help children develop key motor skills. Three learning friends, the Koala, Fox and Penguin, also introduce vocabulary to children for pretend-play fun. 
LeapBand (£29.99) is the first wearable activity tracker for kids and encourages active play with a choice of eight customisable pet pals. Kids play with their pet as they complete physical challenges like ‘jump like a kangaroo’. High-tech features on the device include a built-in accelerometer, high-resolution colour screen, rechargeable battery and splash-proof design. Suitable for children aged 4 – 7 years.
LeapTV (£119.99) is the first active educational video gaming system for children. LeapTV combines three unique ways to play from classic control to pointer play and body motion. Games available include characters including Disney’s ‘Sofia the First’, and Marvel’s Spiderman. The LeapTV system is compatible with a library of 100+ game cartridges, downloads and videos (sold separately) and includes the console, motion-sensing camera, camera mount, transforming controller with wrist strap, HDMI cable, 16GB of memory and built-in Wi-Fi for downloading apps. Suitable for children aged 3 – 8 years.
LeapPad3 (£89.99) is the latest addition to LeapFrog’s family of tablets. This five-inch tablet is the fastest ever from LeapFrog and is kid-smart, kid-safe and kid-tough. LeapPad3 is the ideal mix of performance, durability and safety, has 4GB of memory (enough for 20,000 photos) two mega-pixel front and back cameras and video recorders. Suitable for children aged 3 – 9 years.

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