Pinch punch everyone, happy November. It’s hard to believe that we’re already staring down the barrel of the Christmas countdown, but time flies and here we are. Never was there a more pertinent phrase when you are raising children than the days are long but the years are short. I’ve had a few ruthless clear outs lately, which got me thinking about all the toys my kids have enjoyed over the years. So I’ve put together this A to Z of gift ideas, just in case you’re in need of present buying inspiration over the holidays (and beyond).

In the interest of transparency I’d like to say that I’ve not been incentivised to write this piece, but was sent the items marked with an asterisk (*) free of charge. I have only included the products that have been a hit with my kids, and rather than share affiliated links, I’ve searched for today’s best prices.

A-Z of Gift Ideas 

Alphabet Lotto by Orchard Toys (£9.50). A gorgeous game which can be played four ways, aimed at pre-schoolers. This was originally bought for Polly and has been played with by all three of my kids over the years. It’s brilliant for learning the alphabet in a fun way.  

*Blaze and the Monster Machines Play Set by Fisher Price (£33.49). I’m not a huge fan of plastic toys, but the one exception I will make time and again are Fisher Price toys. Largely because they are always sturdy and last for ages, whereas other brands will break really fast. We were sent this for 3yo Freddy, and although he loves it, so does 5yo Clara. Have to say it does make me happy when they play with toys typically meant for the other gender.

Cinema Gift Card (any value you would like). We are huge film fans here, and often go to the Odeon kids club cinema the weekend. Instead of costing around £40 for my family of five to enjoy a movie together, it works out just over £10. They usually have one or two films to choose from which have been out for a few months. This half term the Odeon had a fabulous selection including Despicable Me 3.

gift ideas

Dr. Seuss Books (from £5.99). You absolutely cannot go wrong with Dr. S, we love the catchy rhymes and thought provoking illustrations. Our favourites include The Lorax, Oh the Places You’ll Go and The Sneeches. Click on the link to be taken to The Book People, the collection listed is for twenty books and costs just £20, which is great value.    

Ear Defenders (£10.95). If you have a child who is sensitive to noise, these ear defenders are just marvellous for when it all gets too much. We bought a pair for Polly shortly after her autism diagnosis and they have been invaluable over the last two years.   

*Facts! One for Every Day of the Year Book by Tracey Turner (RRP £12.99). Click on the coloured text here to see the full review I wrote for this book a while back. I honestly cannot recommend it highly enough, it’s such a wonderful way to sneak facts into children. Did you know that flamingos pee down their legs to keep cool?   

Grow your own fruit/veg kits (from £4.99). Sewing the seeds (quite literally) for kids to be passionate about growing food is invaluable in my opinion. We  have really gotten into the swing of it this year, and I can’t wait to grow even more next year.   

Helicopter Kit by the Science Museum (£5.99). We’ve bought this as a gift for several of our friends kids now, and it’s always been well received. We love the Science Museum and their build your own kits are great for igniting a spark about how things work.  

I Love You Lucky Coins (£1.99). A Lovely little keepsake for children to squirrel away in their memory box. We all need to be told I Love You from time to time. 

*Journal by My Bright Journal (£13.50). Designed for parents by parents, this journal is packed solid with excellent ideas to help foster mindfulness and emotional intelligence. It’s aimed at 5-10 year olds and the author suggests spending 20 minutes per day filling in the activities together with your child(ren). Activities include gratitude corner, scientific facts and observing nature.               

Kidzania Tickets (from around £20). Check out my full review from our visit last summer by clicking on the highlighted text. My girls absolutely loved going to Kidzania, and have been begging me to take them back ever since.    

Lego kits (from £5). My kids are Lego mad, and love building masterpieces. Although they are perfectly happy with creating something random, thrown together with the bricks we have in our huge box, they also adore the pre-boxed sets. We did one together recently which ended up being a three hour project needing undivided attention. I personally found it really therapeutic to tune out to distractions and just crack on with getting the set built. The instruction manual inside these kits are absolutely fool proof.     

Melissa and Doug toys (from £5). I adore this brand. We’ve had so many of their toys and games over the years, and they are always well made and educational. From building blocks for little ones, to farm sets, dressing up and mosaic kits, lots here to choose from to suit children of my kids ages. 

National Trust Family Membership (around £100 per year). With free entry to over 500 places, and free parking at most of them, a NT membership would come in handy for most families. Perks of a membership also include an NT Handbook with ideas for visit planning, and an NT Magazine sent to you three times a year.

gift ideasOctonauts Sea Snakes and Ladders game (£7.99). This is a lovely take on the original game of snakes and ladders, especially if your kids are Octonauts fans. With two ways to play, this game is suitable for the youngest members of the household, Freddy has been enjoying it since he was two.  

PAW Patrol anything! (from £5). If your little one is like Freddy, they will be obsessed with the Paw Patrol. When it comes to his favourite pups, Freddy’s ethos is more is more. He’s currently hankering after his “very own lookout” guess we’ll have to see what Santa brings him.       

Quilting Keyring Set (£9.99). This first quilting set makes up to six keyrings, and can be made into the shape of a tortoise, penguin, owl, sheep, squirrel or Yin Yang sign. A great introduction to paper quilting. 

*Rubik’s cube (around £10). As well as the original cube, which needs no introduction you can now buy a less difficult version for smaller children. There are four Rubik’s juniors to collect, which come in the shape of animals and are aimed at children four and over. Compared with the original cube, the juniors have relatively few combinations to crack. Great to get the kids into a problem solving mindset.  

Skateboard (£10.99). I bought this skateboard for my husband as a joke gift a few years ago, but the kids have been loving it recently. Especially Clara, who has wonderful coordination and balance skills.    

Times Table Tiles by BigJigs (£5.99). This is a fab way for kids to learn their times tables, and has really helped Polly get to grips with hers.     

Uno (£3.75). I bought Uno for Polly when she was three, and it’s still our go-to card game when we’re out and about or in need of quiet time. It’s a simple matching game, and one that is enjoyed every time we play it. 

*VTech Kidicom Max (£79.99). This is a great first tablet aimed at children who are 3-7, which features a 5″ shatter proof touch screen. Parents can manage their child’s apps, time limits and kid-safe web access, and also download interactive educational games from the VTech Learning Lodge. The Kidicom Max has a 2MP rotatable camera, which Polly has been using to film videos, as she will be branching further into vlogging in the new year.     

Wilson, Jacqueline 2018 Album (£3.49). From the Tracy Beaker Trilogy and Dumping Ground, to Hetty Feather and Clean Break, Wilson’s books are adored by children across the country. This album would make a great stocking filler.    

Xylophone (£14.59). Yes it’s noisy and will drive you mad, but I can’t think of a pre-schooler on the planet who wouldn’t love to play with this. It’s an ideal beginners instrument, which is aimed to inspire children in a colourful and playful way. 

Yellow Minions (sorry this is a massive cheat!) We’ve watched all the films, and we have tons of Minion themed clothes and toys. They are not always fabulous quality, it has to be said, but they do always bring a smile to your face. 

Zebra Fancy Dress (£3.75). My kids love their imaginative play, and our huge fancy dress box is overflowing. Buying brand new costumes gets expensive, so it’s good to have plenty of headbands, bow ties and tails, as contained in this set. That way you can transform any old plain outfit into the animal of your choice.

I hope you found my A-Z of Gift Ideas Useful. What would you add? Tweet me @mummytries

Today is my 38th Birthday, so I’d like to share with you 38 things that I’ve learnt on my journey so far

1. Above all else, know yourself, and always be true to who you are at your core. Integrity is everything, and will help you sleep easy at night.

2. Honesty is the best policy, never be afraid to put your hand up and admit that you were at fault.

3. You can’t argue with, or rewrite history, but you can do everything in your power to create a brighter future. 

4. You won’t win a fight by getting angry. Calmness is key to problem solving. 

5. To prolong a suntan, moisturise twice a day. 

6. The world is a friendlier place at five or six in the morning after your first cup of coffee. 

7. Eating clean is a form of self respect, people who make fun of the term simply don’t understand it.

8. To eat clean without it bankrupting you, it is absolutely essential to find a way of making the very best quality food accessible. 

9. Cooking a meal from scratch (especially for guests) will always feel like an achievement. 

10. Growing your own food even more so, but it takes time, patience and a willingness to follow instructions (the latter is not my strongest trait).

11. It’s better to do five or ten minutes of exercise every day, than say you’ll spend hours per week at the gym, but never making it there. 

12. Running is great in perfect conditions, or with friends, or as a head clearer, but Unless you’re a natural runner, it will feel like torture. 

13. Good friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. 

14. Unless you’ve behaved in an appalling way, and only you will know that, other people’s mean-ness is them projecting their own hurt and little or nothing to do with you.

15. Never go to sleep on a fight, it’ll give you nightmares. 

16. Wasting time on people who don’t appreciate you will make you feel like crap. Beware the fair weather friends who only chat small talk.

17. However, it’s good to remember that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There is a deeper meaning to everything, and everyone we cross paths with has a purpose.

18. You cannot change another persons behaviour, but you can control the way you react to it, which in turn will help control its effect over you. 

19. The only way to have a small influence over rubbish behaviour from another person is to kill it with kindness (the behaviour, not the person, obvs). 

20. Travelling while you’re young will provide memories forever. 

21. Sometimes the only option is to walk away, but good eggs will find a route back to each other. 

22. Saying no is a great skill to learn.

23. As is properly distinguishing between your wants and your needs. 

24. Buying clothes and household goods second hand is not only kind to the bank balance, but easy on the environment. 

25. To combat sleep deprivation, go to bed as early as you possibly can and take the Zzzzz’s where you can. 

26. When the chips are down, Instagram is not your friend. However, a Facebook group hug of proper old mates will do more to pull you out of a deep dark hole than a lot of other things. 

27. Don’t fall foul to FOMO, the grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence.

28. Not doing something you love, every single day, will start to chip away at your soul.

29. Tapping into your creative side will make your heart sing.

30. It is possible to write a book amid a super hectic life, you just need to form a solid writing habit.

31. If it’s important you’ll find the time, if it’s not, you’ll find an excuse. 

32. Sometimes it’s best all round if you zip your lips and throw the key away.

33. There is no shame in taking an extra long loo break with your phone for ten or fifteen minutes whilst hiding from your children. How do you think I’m writing this?

34. No matter how much you love your kids, time out from them is the only way to recharge your batteries.

35. It will pass, no matter how raw or painful it is right now.

36. Laughter is always, always, the best medicine.

37. Some days are best written off with a large glass of vino. 

38. Other days you’ll swallow down all the unpalatable memories, put on your brave face and happy pants/knickers, and conquer the world.

 

All you need is… 😍😍😍

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