Following one from my first Christmas Gift Guide post, the foodie edition, my second one in the series is gifts for children. There are so many great toys and products out there for children it was quite hard to limit myself to just ten but I've tried to select things I truly love or am buying for my own children this year.
1. Lottie is a new fashion doll that was launched in August 2012 and is aimed at girls aged 3-8. The creators of Lottie have aimed to make her different to other fashion dolls that are available and have tried to address issues relating to body image and sexualisation working with top British academics to create a doll body that is properly childlike. You won't find Lottie wearing makeup, jewellery or high heels either. If you're looking for a doll for your child that's a bit different, take a look at Lottie, they remind me a lot of the old Sindy Dolls I played with in the early '80s. The dolls are available on Amazon and in independent toy shops, retailing at £16.99.
2. I don't know about you but all children I know really love the story of the Gruffalo and these gorgeous Gruffalo's Child Finger Puppets would really bring bedtime stories to life, especially for younger children. The set, available at My Mummy and Little Me is priced at £26.99 includes a Gruffalo soft toy and finger puppets of the Gruffalo's Child, Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and a Tree Carry case.
4. One of the biggest this year in our house has been Lego Friends. The cause of some controversy in the blogging world when it was launched, ever since my daughter set her eyes on it she just had to have it! We were already Lego fans and the Lego Friends sets are compatible with all over Lego bricks. My daughter uses the Friends sets in conjunction with her basic Lego bricks and I have to say, even my son plays with them, despite all the pink. New for the second part of 2012 are some camping and horse-riding themed sets. I loved this camper van and couldn't resist buying it for her. It retails at £29.95 and is available from John Lewis, Argos, Toys R Us and all good Lego stockists.
5. We were recently sent some new Hexbug Warriors to try out. My son is already a big fan of these little critters, I think he was 3 when he bought his first Hexbug and this year he's been quite prescriptive about wanting a "red Hexbug" and "Hexbug track". Thankfully Santa will be able to provide! These new Hexbug Warriors are designed for battle - they are micro robots, available in four colours, that use vibration to propel forward and battle with competitors. They battle and jostle with their opponents until they win or lose by running out of health. A lot of fun for both boys and their dads, the battle arena pictured below has an RRP of £19.99 and the battling robots are £7.99 each. There is also a bigger battle stadium available with a RRP of £29.99.
6. This felt play sandwich set by Melissa and Doug, available from Great Little Trading Company (£15.00) is just beautiful. It has 33 felt pieces which include bread rolls, meats, cheese, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, lettuce and ketchup. The pieces can all be mixed and matched and it's a great set for encouraging role play for both boys and girls.
7. All children need a sweet treat at the bottom of their stocking, mine normally get chocolate coins, but Hotel Chocolat always does a beautiful range of gift chocolates for children. How can you resist the Tiddly Milk Chocolate Reindeer (£5.00), the Flight of Twinkle Toes (£5.00), Dasher the Reindeer (£6.50) and my personal favourite which I hope to find in my own stocking, 12 Chocolate Gingerbread Men (£6.50). You can shop in-store - I recommend this, hover around long enough and they often hand out free samples, or online where there's often a free gift if you spend over a certain amount, so worth keeping your eye out!
8. If you're on a bit of a budget this year (aren't we all?!) then Poundland is the place to go for your stocking fillers. They have some great products on offer this year like the owl money bank, character mugs, dress up sets, children's toiletries, skipping ropes and even teddy bears - I won't insult your intelligence by telling you how much they cost...Oh okay, THEY'RE ALL A POUND EACH! A little bit can certainly go a long way in a shop like Poundland and it's well worth checking out your local store to see what's on offer.
9. Deadly 60 seems to be huge this year for boys, I have to say, I quite like it myself and there's a fab range of toys and games available if you've got a fan in the house. Choose from the Deadly 60 Board Game (RRP £14.99), Deadly 60 Ruckus Card Game (RRP £4.99) or the Deadly 60 Trivia Box (RRP £7.99). Games available at all good toy and game retailers.
10. I don't think you can go wrong, present-wise, with a beautiful edition of a classic book or a box-set of books. There is lots of choice out there and some of the ones that have caught my eye are Harry Potter sets, Horrible Henry, Mr Men and the Chronicles of Narnia but I've also seen Enid Blyton sets and Alice in Wonderland collections which would make lovely gifts. Check out Amazon, and my favourite place to buy books, The Book People - who often have really lovely book collections available for great prices.
Hope you found this list in someway useful. I could go on for days, I'm rather fond of shopping for children, as my spare room would demonstrate if you could see it right now! If you've seen any great gift ideas in the shops this year - do leave a comment and/or link below.
Disclaimer: I have not been paid to promote the products featured in my Christmas gift guide. I may have undertaken product reviews of some of those featured in the blog posts and this will be mentioned where it is relevant. Many of the products I have featured in the gift guide series are there purely because I like them! I always try to be upfront and honest - if you have any questions, please get in touch via email.