You know us. When we’re stuck for advice we turn to the people who know best: other parents. So, as we struggle with ideas for Christmas presents this year, we’ve decided to ask the parent blogging community what purchases have gone down well with their kids
in the past.
From the big buys to the smaller, handmade ones, here’s what they told us.
Young kids love the little things
When it comes to presents, bigger isn’t necessarily best. Young kids especially can become fixated on the most random of gifts, that are often the cheapest.
“I’ve always found the stocking is the thing that goes down the best on Christmas Day,” says Vicky who blogs at A Cupcake Mum.
“I fill my son’s stocking with bits from the pound shop and home bargains. For some reason, he plays with these more than the big presents which seem to overwhelm him. Last year, he spent two hours playing with a snowman shaped balloon!”
Family games are always a winner
They don’t have to be the most pricey of games, as long as they encourage interaction
and give a great opportunity for family time. Children love playing as a family and with most of us on holiday over Christmas it seems like a great time to make the most of these types of games
“My daughter was five last year and absolutely loved her Top Trumps cards,” says Louise
who blogs at All The Camping Gear.
“They’re great for numeracy and a bit of literacy and you can get them in all kinds of versions, not just the Top Trumps brand. They’re also really easy to just drop in a handbag or glove box and literally give us hours of entertainment – perfect for a few quid!”
Buy things you can add to
Children are fickle. They can go off presents and toys faster than you can say “Boo!”
Buying gifts that you can add to later on is a great way to keep their attention.
“It’s handy and cost-effective to get things that can be developed as children grow older, to avoid them growing out of their present too soon,” says Cat who blogs at Cat’s Yellow Days. “For example, starting with basic lego and getting more complex sets over time that still work with the original stuff is a great way of making the sure the first gift is still used.”
“Also, don’t feel bad about giving hand-me-downs. You can easily give older toys a new lease of life with new stickers or paint and children are just as pleased with the gift which is new to them.”
If you go big, do your research
Larger presents like computer games can be received with huge excitement, but to make sure you’re not throwing your money away you need to do your research. What will your child really get out of such an expensive present and will they really play with it for longer than just Christmas Day?
“Last year my dad bought by daughter a Wii and we bought her a drawing tablet with a couple of games,” says Jayne who blogs at Mums The Word. “She suffered a bit with shaky hands and lacked fine motor skills because of her traumatic birth, but since she started using her tablet, her fine motor skills, reflexes, literacy and numeracy skills have all improved massively. It’s something that will grow with her too, because it can be used with newer games.”
Kids love giving – so teach them about charity
Children love the excitement of giving gifts on Christmas Day, so what better way to introduce ideas of charity and sharing? After all, it’s a great opportunity to help children learn some of the key messages behind the festival.
“The year after the Boxing Day Tsunami we decided to do a ‘giving something back’ Christmas,” says Mummy Barrow.
“We lost two friends in the Tsunami, so it was important to us. I got a lot of Oxfam
donation gifts where you see what your money has gone towards. For example, my father in law got a latrine in the Sudan, but the gift he actually opened was a small doll’s house toilet with straw on the ground! We made 12 boxes, with a different item in each one to symbolise what we’d bought with our donations. The kids loved putting them all together and buying the bits, like toy goats etc. It was great and the children have never forgotten it.”
Give a gift to inspire their imagination
Here at Mums and Me, we love presents that inspire children and encourage them to play in their own world. This is why we really love the wooden play kitchen set on offer here.
Any toys that encourage imaginative play are right up our street – it could be something
as simple as an empty cardboard box, if it encourages children to enter their own world
then we think it makes a brilliant gift!
Mary, who blogs at Keynko says a large cardboard box was one of her children’s favourite ever toys! “We’d had furniture delivered and we painted the box and decorated it to make it look like shop counter. Extra boxes and cardboard tubes were used for shelves. We’d collected empty packets and boxes, filled empty jars with lentils and beans and bought a cheap set of kitchen scales for measuring. It lasted about 10 years in the end and gave them hours of amusement.”
Photographs last a lifetime
Children love to look at photographs of themselves and familiar faces. This makes a photo album full of pictures of your kids with family and friends a really lovely idea.
“Photo books are always a huge hit here,” says Ruth from Dorky Mum. “We fill it with pics taken of our son throughout the year on days out, with family and friends and on holidays etc. He loves looking at them on Christmas morning and they last longer than most presents do. He still likes looking at the ones from 1,2 and 3 years ago!”
Have you got any suggestions to share? What presents have gone down well in your house over the years?