Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is warm, the prawns are cold and there are days-upon-days surrounded by family and friends. I have distinct memories of Christmases right throughout my childhood and every one of those memories is filled with happiness and joy.
A small, but significant part of those memories is the gifts I received. While my family’s Christmases certainly weren’t centred around presents, there was always something magical about opening a surprise package and finding something wonderful. And the best gifts were those gifts that then became part of the fabric of my childhood – the toys that lasted years and years, that I played with long after all the others were forgotten.
I want Hannah to have similar experiences. As I contemplated potential gifts for Hannah this Christmas, I thought carefully about their robustness, their potential for lasting enjoyment, and the ways in which they could enrich Hannah’s life by helping her to develop new skills. The result was a small, but excellent list of must-have gifts:
Disclosure: Gifts in this guide were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge.
If your toddler is beginning to show an interest in all things music, this may just be the perfect gift for them. Hannah can’t get enough of singing, dancing, and banging out a tune on whatever she can find that vaguely resembles an instrument. Just last night she turned her toy watering can into a makeshift trumpet!
The Yamaha PSR-E363 struck me as the perfect keyboard on which a toddler could begin to explore their interest in music. Far from being a toy, it is a legitimately brilliant keyboard that they will be enthralled with as they move from exploring-toddler to competent-musician. The sound is beautiful (which I, as a parent who will have to sit through many hours of practice, value very highly…) and the various modes are great for supporting little ones as they begin to learn.
Best of all, while Hannah is having bucket-loads of fun, the Yamaha PSR-E363 keyboard will be providing her with the opportunity to learn incredibly valuable skills that can stay with her for a lifetime. If that doesn’t sound ideal for a Christmas present, I don’t know what does.
It wouldn’t be a Blog of Dad Gift Guide without the inclusion of a LEGO product. My regular audience know all about my love affair with the little plastic blocks that dates back to… about the same age that Hannah is now. While I don’t expect Hannah to have a carbon-copy of my own childhood, or to have the same interests as me, it is obvious from the smile on her face and the creations that she makes that DUPLO has captured her imagination, just as it did mine so many years ago.
This year, Hannah is in for a treat. Under the tree on Christmas Day she will find the incredible DUPLO Steam Train. This beauty takes DUPLO to the next level of interactivity and engagement. We certainly weren’t able to control our DUPLO via a Bluetooth connection to our phone when I was a kid, but that is exactly what Hannah can do. And if that isn’t enough, she can ask Alexa to fire up an interactive story, to really get the imagination going.
DUPLO is a brilliant toy, but it is so much more than just a toy. It helps to develop creative thinking, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, mathematical skills, engineering… the list goes on and on. But even more important than all that, it is just SO MUCH FUN!
Do you want your kids to develop new skills like coding, but also want to limit the amount of time in which they are glued to a screen? Primo Toys has you covered, with their brilliant Cubetto.
Cubetto brings screenless coding to children aged 3-6. It uses blocks (albeit high-tech blocks) to introduce the basics of computer programming through an adorable wooden robot. Primo Toys state that Cubetto is “Montessori approved”, so you can bet it has educational value as well as being amazing fun to play with!
Cubetto’s colourful coding blocks and simple-to-understand control board make the basics of coding easy for tiny tots. Toddlers can start by randomly placing tiles and watching the result, then move on to more deliberate and focussed placement as they attempt to achieve their goals. Cubetto is brilliant, open-ended fun that simultaneously helps toddler to develop important skills. What a brilliant present idea!
It is my humble opinion that toddlers can never have too many high-quality picture books. Fortunately, 2018 has been the year of absolutely brilliant picture books, so this Christmas we parents are spoilt for choice. This year we have reviewed over 180 brilliant picture books through the monthly roundups, so I’d like to think that I know what I’m talking about when I present to you my Top 20 Picture Books of 2018. Any of the books on this list would make a wonderful Christmas present! Follow the links below for my overview of each book.
Top 20 Picture Books of 2018
Of course, choosing just 20 from all of the brilliant books we have read this year was a massive challenge. Some incredible books missed out. Why not head on over and read through the monthly roundups from 2018, to find the book that is perfect for your toddler? There is something there for every curious mind.