The toddler gift guide...
For the first time, I've put together a toy gift guide. The reason I haven't done this before is because last year, even though Reuben was one, I felt it was a bit boring as he was still very much into 'baby' toys and I didn't go mad on him on his birthday or for Christmas. This year however, he's just turned two, so he is now into so much and he enjoys playing with so many different things. He loves cars mostly, but he also loves role playing, toy foods, puzzles, electronics, music, basically everything! I've tried not to go too mad on him as his birthday was only a few weeks back, but due to my job, we have been sent some extremely lovely things that are making their way under the tree for him this year and I wanted to share them to maybe help some other parents with gift ideas for their little ones. Some of the toys we were sent were given to him early, due to me taking photos for the brands and just wanting to give him some new things to play with - as I'm sure most of you can imagine how difficult toddlers are to keep entertained when you work from home! Most of it is stored away though for Christmas so I have tried to show you what I can and I've used images from online to help. SO. Without more of me rambling on, keep reading for some toddler gift inspo!
Just a quick disclaimer, that I was originally sent these bits from Littlewoods for an Instagram campaign, but I think they're so brilliant that I wanted to also share them in this gift guide - even though I have no obligation to do so. The first thing that Ru is utterly obsessed with is the VTech Innotab Max - a tablet designed especially for kids. I really really wanted to save this for him for Christmas Day, but with it being full of educational games, I didn't see the point in keeping it in a box for two odd months. Reuben is at the prime age at the moment for developing and learning new things, I don't know the scientific term but it's something to do with his brain! Anyway, this tablet is packed full of entertainment for toddlers, and games that encourage his development. He absolutely loves it, he sits and does little puzzles and learns about new shapes, words and colours. I couldn't recommend it more for little ones - I think it's currently on sale too!
He's also loving the VTech Toot-Toot Amusement Park, if you have or know a little one who loves cars then they will be as obsessed with this as Reuben is. It did take a bit of building, screwing things together etc - but it was all so, so worth it. It's got so many different things to it, it's fab for his motor skills and keeps him entertained for ages. It comes with a little car but also works with other toy cars as it's essentially just a plastic track. It's quite pricey but well worth it in my opinion! The last toy that I really recommend from Littlewoods is the LeapFrog Number Loving Oven which Ru plays with so much. This one is the most affordable out of the three and just as good! It's got loads of music and sounds and little plastic cakes, bread and pizza for little ones to have lots of fun with and learn about counting and sharing. He sits there pretending to make his little pizza in the oven and then shares it out giving me my dinner - super cute!
Vertbaudet kindly sent us over a load of toys - all of which have been safely hidden away for Christmas as he's already had far too much early! The first thing I picked is the Wooden Car Park which I know Reuben will be thrilled with. That guy is just obsessed with cars and vehicles and he will have endless fun playing with this. He's got a similar wooden car wash type thing that he plays with nearly everyday but it's a lot smaller than this, so I can't wait to see his face when he opens it. It comes with quite a few cars and plenty of little accessories for him to have good fun with. They also had a fire station that looked really good too! The next thing I chose was a star print teepee which I'm so excited to see Reuben's reaction to. He's never had anything like this where he was his own little 'den' - my plan is to set this up in the living room for him to come down to on Christmas day, we were also sent a printed round mat to go with it and I'm going to make it all cosy with lots of cushions and blankets amongst his other Christmas presents. I can't wait! I think Vertbaudet are currently sold out of the teepee that I selected but they have a couple of other gorgeous options on the website.
Another first for Reuben is a dress up costume, I picked the Firefighter Costume which I think is so cute. I have no idea what his reaction to this will be, but it's a lovely little dress up set for kids and they come in loads of different sizes! There's loads of other costumes too from dinosaurs and doctors to builders, lions and frozen characters! The next thing I selected was the Wooden Pizza Set, something I thought would go perfectly with another Christmas present I've bought him. He loves his toy oven and plastic food so much that I thought it would be nice to get him some more bits to role play with. If you love wooden food bits then I'd really recommend having a browse of the Vertbaudet website as they have loaaaaads of different sets, there was a gorgeous wooden fruit box that I was really tempted to pick too. The last thing I picked was these Duck Water Scoops for the bath, Reuben loves bath time that much that he literally spends about an hour playing in it every evening and bath toys are the worst for constantly going mouldy so we were well overdue some new ones. His favourite thing to do in the bath is fill the jug with water and empty it again so I thought these water scoops would be ideal and he loves them!
The last sort of 'big' presents that I've got Ru this year are these bits from Aldi. Aldi have an amazing Christmas toy range this year - I've never actually looked it before this year so I don't know if it's always this good, but I thought there was so many amazing things! It's perfect for people on a tight budget as everything is so affordable. The first thing that I got my mitts on was the Grey Wooden Kitchen, which I think is gorgeous for only £30! I've been after a toy kitchen for Reuben for ages but all the ones I liked were around the £100-£200 mark and I couldn't justify it. I've heard mixed reviews on this one so far but haven't actually built ours yet as I'm setting it up on Christmas Eve like with the teepee. I can't vouch for the quality but my dad is a woodworker so any issues we have can easily be sorted hopefully. The next little Aldi pick I got was the Wooden Smoothie Set which obviously ties in with the whole kitchen theme as I wanted him to have some little food sets to play with too. I think this one is super cute and comes with lots of little bits and bobs. The last toy I picked up was the Wooden Garage which is very similar to the Car Park from Vertbaudet, but I'm really happy to have both as we can set them up in different rooms in the house as he has toy boxes in about three different rooms!
I don't know about you but arts and crafts with toddlers can get hella messy. Sometimes it's nice to have messy play but other times when I'm busy working - not so much. We were kindly sent a few bits from Little Brian to feature in this years toddler gift guide and I wanted to tell you about how much we love them! They sent us over a pack of their Paint Sticks, something which we already own and love. They're essentially a big chunky crayon but in paint form, they require no brushes, no water and make no mess. They're so vibrant and it's just like painting - an absolute dream for toddlers with the bright colours, but also a dream for parents with no mess! I can't recommend them enough actually, I'm so glad to have a spare pack waiting for us when we finish ours. They also sent over a pack of the Mini Paint Sticks, something we haven't tried out yet as they're in Reuben's stocking this year, as well as the Fabric Paint Sticks. The mini paint sticks are perfect for using as stamps which Reuben loves to do, so I know he will love these. And I can't wait to let him get all crafty with the fabric ones, I'm thinking these will come in super handy for handmade birthday presents in the new year!
For cheaper stocking filler type gifts, I've picked up things like chocolate coins, milk chocolate lollies and sticker books from places such as Iceland, Wilkos and Home Bargains. I think it's just a case of shopping around a bit in supermarkets and things as you can pick up so many affordable odd bits and bobs. I've put some in his Christmas Eve basket and the rest are going in his stocking - technically we have a sack this year but you get my drift!
As always, if nothing above has taken your fancy, I've popped a few more bits that you can have a browse of below...
This post contains products that have been sent to me for review.