Friday, 7 November 2014

Christmas Gifts Guide 2014 - Babies to Early Teens



Gifts for Babies to Early Teens Category:

Fashion
Food
Gadget
Games
Home
Toys


Crafts



Crayola Marker Maker rrp £22.99

We highly recommend this craft/ science kit for Christmas! We all had lots of fun mixing colours, watching the marker cores absorb all the liquid and use the colours we created to draw. The materials disappear in no time! Good that they also sell refill pack for making 12 markers (rrp £9.99)! Beware of younger siblings stealing the maker and secretly play Alchemist in a hidden corner though (good that it's washable ink..) You can read our full review here.




John Adams Tatty Teddy Make a Tatty Teddy rrp £16.99

The Make a Tatty Teddy kit is suitable for age 8+ and comes with Tatty Teddy skin, stuffing, needle and thread, pre-cut felt shapes, birth certificate and instructions.

This is perfect for those who would love to make their own bear with their own hands but not sure where to start. Children get to stuff Tatty Teddy into the softness they like, and using the pre-cut holes as a guideline to sew Tatty Teddy up. It also gives children an option to personalise Tatty Teddy by putting nice smelling mini pouch for example, into the belly before sewing him up. There is a sense of achievement by making your own, and it makes the teddy much more special too.

Our Tatty Teddy is unfinished as Abby wanted to do it herself. It's looking and feeling good already though!


Fashion


My 1st Years Personalised Hooded Reindeer Robe  £25

This adorable robe comes in 5 sizes (0 to 4 years), and can be personalised with 12 character name, 2 font and 7 text colour choices.

We had a couple of My 1st Year's gifts and they were made with fantastic, baby soft quality. Their products will make absolutely lovely and luxurious gifts for any children, and they even have a selection of adult gifts too.



dotcomgiftshop Circus Parade Boxed Baby Gift Set £12.95

The box set comes with a playsuit, sock hat and a bib, which are packed nicely in a lovely red gift box. I chose to feature this as a baby Christmas gift because it look just so Christmassy! And as it's technically not a Christmas outfit (Circus Parade!), the baby can wear it any other day too!



Tipsy Elves Christmas Jumpers for Kids  £29.95

It's a tradition, you have to have Christmas jumpers for Christmas! Actually it's a tradition we don't follow anymore, but maybe we should! When we received the Youth Runaway Sleigh Jumper, I have flashbacks of me wearing a Christmas jumper when I was about Abby's age, and it was a happy memory! Abby is really happy with it, the quality is great and it fits nicely too.

They also do adult jumpers, onesies and jumper dresses, which looks really pretty!


Food


Right: Result after boiling all the ingredients together without it being crystalised
If crystalised, it will look foamy
Crumbly on the outside, soft, smooth and gooey on the inside
Fudge Kitchen Kids in the Kitchen Home Kit £22

I love Fudge Kitchen's fudge as it's crumbly on the outside and gooey and smooth on the inside. We even use them for our wedding favours, so I was so excited when I found out that they sell a range of fudge making at home kit!

The kit we were sent is the children's version, containing ingredients and tools for them to make Rocky Road, Vanilla Rainbow and Double Chocolate Explosion flavoured fudge. They also sell a Gourmet Fudge and Jingle Fudge version, depending on the flavours you like.

Each kit comes with 3 packets of flavoured fudge sugar, 3 packets of liquid glucose, edible decorations, a piping bag (if there is chocolate piping involved), 1 big and 1 small spatulas and a really good candy/ jam thermometer from Kitchen Craft (temperature range from 25 to 200 degree C / 75 to 400 degree F), that doesn't steam up! You'll also need water and whipping/ double cream for the fudge.

As there is sugar boiling and fudge folding involved, I'd say that the kit is more suitable for children above 9 years old to make. The instructions are clear, but there are things that need to be done correctly before the fudge forms successfully:

- Make sure that the sugar is mostly, if not completely dissolved before you start heating it up, then make sure that the edges are wiped clean with water and brush to prevent crystalisation. If the fudge syrup crystalises it will affect the finished fudge (it's like eating fudge but with lots of sugar crystals)

- The fudge reaches a stage depending on room temperature. As soon as I poured the fudge syrup on my marble slab, it took seconds to get to the Start Folding stage, but when I poured the second syrup onto a glass plate we had to wait for a while before it got there

- It's much quicker if you use big movements to fold the fudge. My sister in law tossed the fudge like she was stir-frying noodles and it was done in no time haha

- The size of the fudge you get at the end depends on the folding stage. I only made a small log, but my sister in law managed to get it double the size, and based on Fudge Kitchen's YouTube video, it should be even longer.

Overall it's a fun fudge making experience in the comfort of your own home, and it's a bit like a science project as well, watching the fudge syrup turn from crystal clear runny liquid to opaque solid yummy fudge!






John Adams Jelly Fun Jelly Slush Maker  RRP £19.99

This jelly slush maker is going to make a lot of children happy this Christmas! It's suitable for age 5+, and comes with a jelly slush maker, 3 jelly slush cups and straws, jelly gummy tray mould, a spoon and a hook tool (to help push jelly gummies out). Jelly isn't provided but all you need is a few packet of just add water jelly cubes.

The instruction is clear and the kids really enjoy making the jelly and watching them getting squished into slush (the eating is fun too of course!). The only thing is that you'll need to remember to open the cover at the base of the jelly container before you compress the jelly down or they will squeeze their way out through the gaps of the holder (it was quite funny) instead of into the cups! We did struggle a bit to get the jelly gummies out from the tray even though we've added a few drops of cold water in each compartment, so if you have a jelly release trick please let me know!


Gadget



Sparkup Magical Book Reader   RRP £39.99

I can't recommend this reader enough. Schools emphasize on reading skills, which includes listening to others reading and listening to their own pronunciation and expression. Sparkup Magical book reader can help children with all these areas by allowing others to pre-record their readings on the book, so while you are away or trying to rush a deadline, your child can still listen to you reading (it's really clear if recorded as per instructions) them a story, and letting children record their own voice so that they can hear their own pacing, expression and pronunciation.

It is a fantastic gadget and children can really benefit from it. It's currently on offer on Amazon UK as well! You can check out our full review here.


Games

Nintendo 3DS Educational and Fun Games for Young Children

Out of all the consoles, my favourite is Nintendo, because their games are the cutest and most suitable for young children. You can get their 2DS console (our review here), which is made for young children (durability, hold, full parental control, etc) for as low as £89.99, and they can play age suitable games such as

Pokemon Art Academy for learning sketching and drawing skills
Animal Crossing: New Leaf for planning and money saving skills
Yoshi's New Island for hand-eye coordination
Tomodachi Life for problem solving skills

(our full reviews can be found through the blue links)



Nintendo has recently released a Disney Magical World game (pegi 7) on 3DS (2DS) too, where players (with the cutest Mii character faces!) have to solve Disney characters' problems. It would definitely be popular amongst Disney fans! We are currently still reviewing the game, so keep an eye out for it!




Pig Out!  RRP £19.99 (suitable for 5 years+, 2 to 4 players)

A fairly fast pace game where one player needs to try to get 1 piece of fruit and 1 piece of vegetable from the trough using their snout to win, while others are rolling the dice, trying to get their turn to pick the fruit and vegetable. They can also steal and swap fruit or vegetable pieces, or make the one sniffing in the trough oink (the trough makes oinking sound when pressed)! The first player who gets 1 fruit and 1 vegetable wins.

When you are having a big gathering during Christmas, some crazy fun games is definitely needed. These oinking piggies will definitely make everyone laugh! Check here for our full review.




Shop 'til You Drop   £12.95

One of the make-you-jump game! Simply take turn to add or take away an item into the barely holding together trolley according to the dice, and whoever makes the trolley drop (jump!) loose the game!

A great game to practice children's planning skill and steady hands, this will be a really fun game to play during Christmas!




The Story Telling Game  (£10.95, suitable for children 6 years+; 2 or more players)

The game comes with 150 cards, a timer and instruction leaflet. The idea of the game is each player will use the words from their deck of cards to continue the story the previous player was telling. Each player will have to finish telling their part of the story before the timer buzzes, otherwise they will have to add the pile of used cards to their own pile. They can use the Smiley Trump card to make the next person collect the pile of cards instead, so it's definitely a life saver card! The first player who gets rid of all their cards wins.

The game is fast pace and really got our brains going! It's great for Abby to practice her comprehension skill and creativity, and since it's fun it will encourage children her age to practice without knowing! For younger children, simply stick to using the yellow phonetic words for the game.


Home


Map International Glow in the Dark Map of the World   £30  (Currently on 2 for 1 deal)

Abby has started learning more about the world map this year, and our Map International's Personalised Children's Map (see our full review here) came in really handy. When they offered us another map to review on the guide, I thought that the Glow in the Dark one would make a pretty cool gift for students. Like other glow in the dark products, simply let it absorb enough light during the day, and it will start to glow when it becomes dark. It really looks amazing! The paper quality is good and doesn't tear easily. There is a 2 for 1 deal at the moment too, which is great if you have 2 children that won't share!




Flamingo Gifts Gummy Bear Lamp   £22.94

This giant gummy bear have caught my full attention while I was browsing their website, doesn't it look edible?! It looks like a gummy bear, feels like a gummy bear, and we all swear that it also smells like a lemon gummy bear! It was an instant hit and the kids have kidnapped him as soon as I was done with my last picture. When it glows at night, it becomes sparkly all over, just like a sparkling jelly under the sun!

It takes 2 AA batteries (not included), and it turns on and off by simply pressing on its belly. Apparently it can be wall mounted as well, although I think that the kids prefer to carry it around.



Poundland Children Party Crackers (pack of 8) £1

When I saw this, I immediately thought of stocking filler! These children party crackers comes with a hat and a joke, perfect to put them in stockings with the rest of the goodies!


Toys




Pink Lining Hop Skip Jump to Bed Musical Cot Mobile   £35

A beautiful musical cot mobile with rotating 3D wild life felt figures dancing around to the lovely tune of Do-Re-Mi. It is very well made and unique, and will look lovely in a pastel/ neutral coloured nursery. It is really easy to assemble and will hold tight on the side of the cot. I would love it more if the tune is at a slower pace to lull the baby to sleep, but with the rotating mobile it probably wouldn't be a big problem.




These teddies are hand knitted using natural wool and dyed with natural dye that can be found in the kitchen (such as berries).

Last year's Summer I bought a knit your own rabbit kit, hoping that I can knit it for Abby, but it has proven difficult and I had to give up. Although this premium teddy isn't hand knitted by me, I still think that it would make a special and lovely present.




Munchkin Bath Tea and Cupcake Set (Suitable for 24mths+)  rrp £9.99

The set comes with 2 tea cup strainers, teapot with beads inside and a pink lid, and 2 cupcake squirts. The bath set is really pretty and both Abby and Clay loves it. They would make each other coffee and tea, and feed each other cupcakes before it turns into a water squirting fight! I've definitely heard more giggles from the bathroom since they started playing with the tea set, I think it's because there are more interaction between the 2 than them having to fight over a a toy that they can't really play together with.

If you or someone else you are buying for have 2 children that take baths together, this set will definitely provide lots of bath time fun!



Munchkin Bath Fun Bubble Blower (suitable for 12mths+)  rrp £10.99

Every child and most adults love bubbles. It's a fact that does not require prove (haha). We have a mini bubble machine for the garden that the kids really love, so I was really excited to see Munchkin's penguin bubble blower that can be used in the bath. The problem I have is that I don't want to use bubble solution in the kids' bath, which works best with any bubble machine. After all, bath soap are suppose to be kind to the skin, so their bubbles are weaker. Hence I found myself playing with soap and water, trying to create the best bubble solution for the bubble blower by adjusting the water and soap ratio. I was getting close when I ran out of bath soap! I heard that adding corn syrup to bubbles will make them stickier hence last longer, I must try that next!

Anyway, the penguin is still worth recommending as no matter how the bubbles turn out, the kids were still very excited and has been fighting over catching the bubbles (Abby wanted to keep them while Clay wanted to pop them). That's the most important thing isn't it, as long as the kids like it.




A flat pack cardboard playhouse that can be put together when the kids want to play, and pack away again when they are finished to save space. At one point of their life, both Abby and Clay were really into cardboard boxes. They were quite dirty and boring, and I can't pack them away unless I cut the cellotapes. This playhouse is much prettier and can be put together easily! Kids are full of imaginations and I'm sure it will provide lots of fun moments!




For those who love tea parties, this gorgeous tin tea set should definitely be considered! It looks beautifully made and will certainly be a refreshing gift amongst all the modern gadgets and games! The set comes with 14 pieces (teapot with lid and 4 sets of tea cups, saucers and side plates) for the child to have a mini tea party!




I think musical instruments will make lovely gifts for young ones who likes to explore with sound. This colourful and well made Xylophone can be personalised as well, making it a unique gift.



Twizzles   rrp £9.99

Twizzles are collectible twirling puppies who love cupcakes. Their hair can be styled, they can twirl really fast and will follow cupcakes everywhere with their nose! These colourful little pups will make lovely stocking fillers. See our full review here.



Mattel Toy Story 12" Action Armor Buzz Lightyear  (RRP £49.99, suitable for 3 years+)

The classic Buzz Lightyear toy has been improved and now comes with light, sound and action armour! It comes with 3 AAA batteries, has 5 buttons and a lever, and plays different sound and phases in 3 different modes. For children who loves to play action figures and play out the Toy Story scene, this Buzz Lightyear is the gift they'd want this Christmas! Check out our full review here.



Character Options Fireman Sam Ocean Rescue Playset   (rrp £34.99, suitable for 3 years+)

The perfect playset for little Fireman Sam fans, the set comes with Fireman Sam and Juno Jet Ski, which can be launched through the spring loaded jet ski launcher. It also comes with light and sound, working tower and fireman's pole. The playset works with the other figures and playsets from the range as well, for example the helicopter can sit on the helipad, and no scene will be complete without a Norman Price! You can see our full review here.




Definitely THE Octonauts toy to buy this Christmas for the Octonauts fans! The Gup S is really cool, it has both light and sound, comes with Captain Barnacles, his Narwhal friend, 3 interchangeable tools, 2 mini-skis and an iceberg. The head of the Gup S (Octo-Sled) is detachable from the Gup S body (Octo-Shuttle), and the treads are retractable too. It is the latest addition to the many Gups The Octonauts use to explore and rescue, and will make great addition to the Octonauts toys collectors too! You can read our full review here




Peter Rabbit Treehouse Playset   (suitable for children 3 years+, RRP £29.99)

The Peter Rabbit Treehouse playset comes with Peter Rabbit figure, working lift and bucket, telescope and planning table. There are also other figures available in the range that is worth getting with this playset so that children can play out scenes from the show on CBeebies.

Clay is very excited when he saw the playset, as Peter Rabbit is one if his must watch show on CBeebies. He had lots of fun with Peter Rabbit and the treehouse, although I think he can definitely do with having the other characters to play with as well! The treehouse is fairly well made and can stand on its own, and even the door and hatch held on and hasn't fallen off once since we got it.



Monthly Toy Subscription Boxes for Children

I don't normally go for toys subscription boxes, as we already have a lot of toys, but I do think that they will make lovely surprise gifts for special occasions like Christmas and Birthdays. For the prize of approximately one toy, I can give them a whole box of surprise goodies, and some of them do really good ones too!

I had a look around and found the following most exciting for children:

Kawaii Box   USD$18.90/ month plus free shipping (approx £11.86; cancel anytime)
- Comes with 10 to 12 hand picked cute items, and you can order the December boxes now. They ship in the first few days each month, and it should arrive within 2 weeks from shipping date. Each Kawaii box for the past few months has been really cute, so I highly recommend it! We will be receiving our November box in 2 weeks time, and I've already ordered the December box for Christmas!

Nerd Block Jr  USD$13.99/ month plus shipping ($10 to the UK; approx £15.05 including shipping; cancel anytime)
- The past boxes looks quite good, so I'm hoping that they will be even better when it comes Christmas time. There is still 8 days to go before you can start ordering the December boxes, and they ship within 6-10 days from the US, so hopefully these will arrive before Christmas!




No Christmas gifts guide for children is complete without a LEGO product on it. I chose this to feature because it's so WoW, but I think any LEGO playsets, especially the bigger ones that are worth splashing out on during special occasions, will make fantastic gifts for children who loves to play with LEGO.

LEGO is more or less unisex, but for those who love the more girly version of LEGO, LEGO Friends and/ or Disney Princess is the way to go.



My Magical Mermaid   RRP £11.99 (suitable for 3 years+)

Last year's popular Robo Fish has launched the pretty magical mermaids this year, and they swim just as well, if not better! With the playset that comes with an LED tank (rrp £24.99), your child can watch these mermaids swim all day and night! The LED light turns the tank into a night light with soothing effect. 

As a Christmas present I would recommend the playset. You can check out our full review for the mermaid.



Robo Fish - Pirates   RRP £9.99 (suitable for 3 years+)

These fish were the thing last year, and they have launched more products this year to continue the robo fish craze. Not only do they come in pirate form and you can buy a playset that comes with a tank, they have also launched a remote control that works with the Robo Fish (£24.99 for the set) where you can control the fish's direction inside the tank, as well as using the RC as a charging dock for the Robo Fish, how cool is that?

For Christmas, I'd definitely recommend the remote control Robo Fish set, it's just more fun and definitely impressive!



My Friend Cayla   (rrp £59.99, suitable for age 4 years+)

Out of all the Christmas worthy toys we've reviewed, the most debated one is Cayla. A lot of people misunderstood her when she was first released, thinking that she is some sort of Artificial Intelligent doll that can interact with children the way the teddy did in the movie A.I. Some think that she has hearing problem when the TV is on in the background with more than 2 person asking her questions. Others didn't read the instructions fully and ask her questions at the wrong time (she is ready after her necklace blinked once and the tablet/ smartphone vibrates), or too impatient to wait for her to get her answer together.

Cayla runs smoothly on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone (ie Android), she heard us loud and clear when there is minimum background noise (the environment where your child would do homework in), and gave us detailed (the amount of information she tells is adjustable) answers that impressed us.

I'm also glad that the developers used a safe system for her to run on, and blocked some of the things that isn't appropriate for Cayla to talk about to our children (they are too young for politics, war and different religious ideas from the possibly biased resources on the Internet). 

Apart from a great "dictionary" and study companion, she is also a gorgeous doll children can play with. The only thing we want is more accessories to dress her up with!

Cayla is on most retailers' Top 10 Christmas Toys list, and came at the top in the Toy Fair's Top Tech Toys category, and I'm sure she'll make a lovely Christmas gift. You can read our full review here that shows you different ways of playing with her and videos of how she communicated with us.



Teksta Robotic Kitty (4th Generation, rrp £59.99, suitable for 5 years+)

An adorable, well shaped robotic kitty that comes with her own pet mouse, Teksta Kitty is quite clever and can do many tricks with the help of the child and her mouse. There is also a free downloadable app that can make her do even more things, including for you to compose a step by step dance routine for the kitty to follow!

Each year, there are children who'd wish for a real pet for Christmas, without understanding what's involved in looking after them. If you have a child who'd like a real pet, why not gift them a Teksta robotic pet instead? They don't come with all the fuss, and children can learn what it takes to look after a pet and keep them happy. Ever since Abby got Candy (the name of our Teksta robotic kitty), she has stopped asking us for a real rabbit. I guess she understood now that it's not easy to look after a pet! You can check our full review here.


Don't forget that I have 3 giveaways running on the main Christmas Gifts Guide post. Do pop back over there to enter for a chance to win a bonus Christmas present!