Christmas Gift Ideas – Children

This post contains gifted items

My least favourite part of Christmas is shopping.  Choosing gifts for children however is a horse of a different colour. Whether I am selecting gifts for my own 3 or to donate to our local giving tree I love it! Here is a selection of gifts which I believe will be a hit this Christmas.

Playmobil

Playmobil is such an incredible toy for imaginative play. I had Playmobil toys when I was child and now all 3 of my own children have loved it too. Moose is really into it at the moment and I just know that he will adore the How To Train Your Dragon set.

A little while ago we were sent the Playmobil MARS Space Station to try out. Moose hasn’t stopped playing with it since so the Mars Mission Rocket will definitely go down well with him! I really like that the MARS Playmobil can fit together so that they can be played with as one big set or as smaller modules.

That’s the great thing about Playmobil, it is adaptable and has a range of ways a child (or a particularly eager adult) can play with it.

playmobil rocket

Games

 

Moose opted for Angry Birds 2 as his birthday movie this year at the cinema so it came as no surprise whatsoever that an Angry Birds version of a family favourite might be popular. This one is really easy to play, doesn’t take very long and is great fun.

Flags of the World is a great fun game packed with information about countries, capitals, lakes and populations. The game contains 200 high quality cards each showing the flag of an independent nation. On the back of each card you will find information about the country, its capital and geographic location, as well as clues to its identity such as mountains, rivers, natural resources and so on. There are three sets of rules for adults plus one for children. The rules can be modified according to the levels of difficulty and to your own ideas. Great fun!

Don’t Rock The Boat game is a great one for families. Arrrr ye ready for some fun? Take turns to balance your pirate penguins on the ship but if you rock the boat and send some mateys overboard ye be a landlubber! This 10-1/2×10-1/2×3-1/2 inch package contains a ship with three masts two piece water waves sixteen pirate penguins and rules. For 2 to 4 players or teams. For ages 5 and up.

 

Take N Play Anywhere – Magnetic Travel Game Tins are one of my favourite finds for Moose this Christmas! Not only are they inexpensive (around £7.99) but because they are magnetic they are great for stashing in your bag so you can play anywhere.

Gifts for the really little ones

Whether you are buying for a boy or a girl the Baby Gund Sleepy Seas Light & Sounds Whale would make a perfect gift. This musical soft toy will help your babies drift off to sleep. The whale is presented in an oh-so-soft light blue fabric, with blue ribbons for its hair, and dark embroidery creating a smiling face. Press the left fin and the animated whale splashes into life. Press the musical note on its right fin and the plush starts to play one of five different noises: Ocean Magic, Soothing Ocean Whale Sounds, Brahms’ Lullaby, Bubbles or Ocean White Noise.

Sometimes practical gifts are the best option for new babies. The award winning Microwave Steam Steriliser from MAM now comes in a new trendy grey colour with 6 bottles! The MAM Microwave Steriliser helps make cleaning your baby accessories that little bit easier. Up to six MAM bottles fit comfortably across the two levels and in as little as 5 minutes all of your feeding equipment will be cleaned and stored hygienically for up to 48 hours. The compact design allows for easy storage in a cupboard or microwave when not in use, keeping your work service free from clutter. When travelling, the Microwave Steriliser can also be used as a Cold water steriliser.

 

Something to read

 

How exciting it would be for a child who is learning to read to be able to find a book all about them. We love Mason Goes To Sleep because it’s a great little story which runs through the bedtime routine and is just long enough to entertain.

mason goes to sleep

The Toniebox is something completely new and unlike any other children’s audio book I have seen before. It’s an easy to set up audiobox which plays stories. You place a Tonie character on top and the audiobox uses that to play a story through it’s speakers. Moose absolutely loves listening to The Snowman on his and we even have a blank Tonie onto which we can record our own audio book. Neat!

If you have an older child who loves to read then you should check out Freya Fontaine and the Winged Lion of Aretas. It’s an exciting new adventure story and Bess loved it!

Freya was just a regular eleven-year-old from London until the friend she’d only just met told her something she’d never expected. ”There is buried treasure in Petra Freya, buried golden treasure,” Hiyaam whispered, her dark eyes sparkling with excitement. ”A jewelled winged lion, Freya, and I know where it is.”

2 reading books

Getting ready for the big day

The toys the kids will love

Lego is always a really safe bet when it comes to Moose so I was thrilled to find this smaller set which will easily fit into his stocking!

Foodie Roos are adorable mini plush collectible characters that look, feel and smell just like their favourite foods!

Each Foodie Roos container gives a hint at which character inside, with a unique “Peek a Roo” reveal!

Super cute plush friends, with 20 characters to collect in series 1.

The food container also becomes the Foodie’s room! Comes complete with stickers to decorate the inside to make your Foodie Roos feel right at home.

It’s my opinion that all parents should know about Paint Sticks. They are a revelation especially for Mums like me who love crafts but hate the tidying and cleaning which usually goes with it!

Paint Sticks are a bit like giant lipsticks in an array of colours. We love them and Moose plays with them most days.

Little Brian paint sticks 2 in 1 Mini art station is a table top double sided easel, featuring a white board and a chalkboard. Features 6 chalk sticks, 6 mini paint sticks, 1 Duster, 10 sheets paper stored inside. The perfect size for table top utilisation and is simple to fold away. Features a handle so you can transport around with ease and to unleash creativity anywhere. The handy clip can be used to utilise the art station as an easel for painting or drawing On paper.

 

Decorate your child

One of the best new toys of 2019 has to be the Face Paintoos. I was put in charge of these at a recent kids birthday party and I managed to face paint 80% of the kids at the party in record time because they are just so simple to use!

Face Paintoos transform the magic of ‘face painting’ into a fun and easy activity for everyone. With Face Paintoos, it is simple to achieve great results every time!

No artistic skills required! Face Paintoos don’t smudge, they are quick and easy to apply and remove.

Face Paintoos Party Pack comes with 20 tattoos, including wild animals, magical creatures and cutest pets! Perfect for parties, playdates, school fetes or for everyday fun!

Removal wipes, applicator sponge and instructions included.

 

A future James Bond?

The Micro Spy Gear set is perfect for mobile Spy Surveillance! Features a utility belt with 4 micro tools, including a Micro spy light (with an ear clip for hands-free), an Invisible ink pen (decoder light reveals secret messages), a Micro Motion Alarm (beam detects movement or vibration) and a Micro listener (features ear piece).

Harry Potter’s all the rage here with pretty much everyone. No surprise then that the Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak was rather popular. You can see what we thought about it here 

 

It’s school time for fuzzi babies! Fuzzikins school pop-up playset comes complete with four students (hamster, lamb, monkey, Mouse) and a wise owl teacher. The pop-up opens to reveal three school sections, all with built-in furniture; the playground, the classroom and the dining room. Have you coloured the classmates and the teacher with the washable pens? When you wish to change your design, rinse in warm water, dry then free-colour! Now, colour The stickers and decorate your school! The pupils can sit at their desks and learn about numbers and letters on the wipeable white board! When it is lunchtime, their lunch will be served through the serving hatch then finally, it is time to Have fun playing hopscoth in the playground! Perfect for story telling and hours of creative play with endless possibilities of personalization. Simply create, rinse, free-colour and play!

Teamsterz Car Transporter is a huge, free-wheeling car transporter with 12 detailed die-cast cars and lots of barrier and traffic cone accessories. Transporter features detailed cab and space for up to 40 cars. With carry handle so you can pack up and take with you wherever you go! Suitable for ages 3+.

This lovable, robotic, remote control puppy is designed to follow you wherever you go. ROBO DASH will follow your gesture commands to perform tricks and actions, like chasing his tail like a real dog. He has two modes: follow me – bringing ROBO DASH to life as he shadows your movements – and manual control mode using the multi-directional remote. ROBO DASH comes complete with touch sensors on top of his head which grow and shrink his spring-like fabric body up to 45cm. ROBO DASH will fetch the ball shaped remote when you roll it on the floor.

Dragons’ tower garden is a grow & play playset featuring a magical tower castle that is home to mummy and baby dragons and the beautiful fairy Thea. Take the baby Dragon anywhere in his egg shell. You can use the egg shell to water the plants as well! Dragons’ tower garden comes complete with pea and grass seeds to grow in 3 growing areas. Just add soil!

Pull My Finger Review

[AD Gifted] We were sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own

This game did not need the hard sell to appeal to 5 year old Moose. Large monkey, detachable bottoms and farting. Yup, pretty much a guaranteed hit as far as he is concerned. 

What’s in the box?

Inside the Pull My Finger box you will find 

  • a large(ish) plastic monkey called Mr Buster
  • a base board 
  • a banana spinner
  • 2 bottoms (snigger)
  • a tail
  • instructions on how to assemble and play

How do you play?

This is such a simple game to set up and play. Once you have attached the tail to the monkey and the monkey to the baseboard you are pretty much good to go. 

Play is aimed at age 4+ and you will need 2+ people to play.

The play starts when player 1 spins the banana. Whatever it lands on is what the player must do. If, for example, the banana lands on a 3 then the player must pull the Monkeys finger 3 times. As well as instructing how many times to pull the Monkeys finger, the spinner also might land on another option such as reverse the order of play or miss a turn or choose another play to take their turn. 

Which each pull of his finger the Monkey’s bottom inflates. When it becomes fully inflated it farts. The aim of the game is to not be the person who makes the Monkey fart! 

pull my finger

What did we think? 

The farting was, of course, absolutely hilarious to Moose. I can’t pretend that there was much educational value but you do have to count how many times you pull the finger, so there is that. Arguably though you are not buying this game for anything more than a bit of fun – and on that score it delivers. 

The only thing I wasn’t massively keen on about this game was that once you fix the Monkey to the base there is no way of disassembling it so it won’t fit back into it’s box. 

A great selling point is how fast this is to set up and play. Moose could easily play this with a friend without any adult help really which makes it quite unique in that sense. 

Pull My Finger retails at around £15 and is available from Smyths Toys

Belly Bashimi Review

AD This product was sent to us for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own

Belly Bashimi is definitely not the sort of game we would usually select in a toy shop. We tend to lean toward the sit down board game when we are looking for something we can all play together. Belly Bashimi is definitely NOT that sort of a game

Moose was instantly drawn to the game as soon as he saw the box. Adorning the front of it is an illustration of a Japanese Sumo wrestler – cue plenty of questions about what that was and a couple of YouTube videos when, frankly, I realised I know precious little about Sumo.

What’s in the box?

Inside the Belly Bashimi box you will find instructions, sushi counters, a spinner, two inflatable bellies and a foam ring to put together. The bellies can deflate and the foam ring comes apart so that it can be packed back into the box when finished.

How do you play it?

The very first thing you need to do is to connect the foam tubes together to form a ring. This is really simple and I recommend getting a child to do it. It will help with their coordination (probably).

Next you need to scatter the sushi counters inside the ring. I have illustrated what I mean with a pic but frankly the house was a tip so I made the ring smaller. So, yeah,like this, but bigger. Make sure the counters are face up.

The Bellies come with an elasticated strap which fixes with velcro. We found this to be slightly problematic for the younger ones as the straps are all a little long. We got around this by having them hold their bellies in place. They didn’t seem to mind.

When your bellies are in place it’s time to play. Player 1 spins first. Wherever the spinner lands, that indicates where the players feet should be placed. Then you have to bounce the other players belly to knock them out of the “ring”. It’s best of 3 to find the Belly Bashimi champion.

What did we think?

Well it was definitely something new for us. It was great fun though! I think it will be a great game for Moose to play with his cousins – the trouble we had was that nobody was the same height as Moose so it made it a bit difficult.

Belly Bashimi was quick to set up and easy to play. Moose loved it and we will definitely be getting out on rainy days!

Belly Bashimini is available at Very and other retailers.

 

WOW! Stuff Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak Review

[Ad Gifted] We were sent this product for the purpose of this post

The whole Harry Potter mania passed me by a little bit. I had a couple of friends who adored the books but I never really saw the appeal. Obviously when the movies came out I was familiar with the premise but again, I wasn’t really “into” it. 

However. When my eldest, Col, started becoming interested in the franchise I did start to pay attention. We rewatched the movies together and it was through his eyes – as it so often is when you have children around – that the magic felt a bit more real. 

For his birthday one year I booked for us to go to the Harry Potter Warner Bros studio tour. Even at this point I was a bit nonplussed. That all changed over the course of that visit. Fast forward to a few hours later when we emerged from our tour filled with Butterbeer and a new found love of all things Potter. 

Since then I have read the books, seen the movies and even worn the t-shirt. I have been sorted into my house (Ravenclaw, since you asked) and can recite most of the spells. 

The cloak of invisibility

When we were asked recently whether we would like to have a play with an invisibility cloak, it wasn’t a tough decision! 

Fans of the books will know that the invisibility cloak was given to Harry in The Philosophers Stone. Previously owned by his father, and crafted from the cloak of Death himself, the invisibility cloak was used many times throughout the Harry Potter series. 

wow! stuff invisibility cloak

What’s in the box?

Well, not a lot to be honest. Inside the box you will find a set of instructions, a phone stand and a cloak. The cloak has been made to look like the cloak in the movies with a grey and silver design on a velvet material. The other side of the cloak is a bright green material. The cloak is definitely long enough for most children and teens (and even adults) to be able to play around with it to great effect! 

wow! stuff harry potter cloak

How to play?

The first thing you need to do is to download the free WOW Stuff app (available on Apple and Android) and enter the unique code on the instructions to link the two together. 

The green lining of the cloak acts in the same way as a green screen. Used in conjunction with the app, you will disappear when wearing the cloak on the outside. 

What did we think?

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to set up.

You have to be really careful not to move the phone while recording otherwise it will fail and you will need to have another go. It is simple to set up. Simple to use too. The cloak itself is great quality and a good size. Definitely a winner for any Potter fan! 

The RRP of the cloak is £59.99 but it is currently on sale at Smyths and many other retailers!

 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop – Bowie Beamheart Review

We were sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own

If there is anything that I have learned from being the Mother of 3, it is this; Toy companies love a bandwagon and children are drawn to slime and gloop. Basically if a toy looks like it will take longer to clean than to play with, kids are IN!

We were recently sent a new slime/gloop themed toy. For the reasons given previously I was pretty sure Moose would like it but me? The jury was definitely out on that. 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop is quite the name isn’t it? Full marks to whoever decided not to go catchy but to go long. I think 3 Goo’s is a good number to be honest. You wouldn’t want anymore, would you? 

I have to admit though, Bowie Beamhart is cute. She (we are going with she) comes packaged in a box that looks like a flying saucer spaceship. 

What’s in the (spaceship shaped) box?

Inside the box you will find;

  • A large Goo Drop Doll
  • 1 x Candy Comet
  • A Goo Drop stand
  • 1 x bowl
  • A whisk
  • 1 x Regoovintaor
  • 5 x glitter fills
  • 2 x slime sachets
  • 1 x passport
  • 1 x glitter seal sheet

How does it work?

The idea is that your child is able to make their own slime. By adding just water (up to the handy fill line) they can stir their way to thick, gloopy delight. Then they can add the glitter bits to customise their very own galaxy slime. 

Each glitter fill packet can be resealed which means they can be used more than once. I quite liked that. 

Once your child has made their slime it is time to move on to part 2. That is, you have to “feed” the slime to Bowie Beamhart. This is done by using the reegoovinator (it’s a syringe)

You are supposed to hold the reegoovinator in the slime and pull the plunger up to fill it. You can but it is a bit slow going – we ended up just spooning it into the syringe. Much faster.

When your reegoovinator is full, you pop it into Bowie’s mouth and fill her up! 

Because Bowie Beamhart has a see through body you can see the slime sloshing about in her tummy. Moose thought this was utterly hilarious. Once this starts wearing a bit thin it’s time to get the slime out. This means taking the Candy Comet out of her mouth and pressing her tummy to make her do a “comet vomit”. 

What did we think?

As predicted Moose liked the slime mixing. He especially liked that he could add the glitter fills. Bowie is pretty cute and Moose loved being able to see the slime inside her. 

The comet vomit was a great touch and much appreciated by my 5 year old who currently loves anything vomit or poo related. I found her surprisingly easy to clean. Just remove her head and wash her out with water. Because she is so easy to clean I think this considerably increases how much play time Moose will get with Bowie. 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop is available from Smyths as well as other retailers and is priced at around £29.99 

hugging on the sofa