When shopping for our children’s Christmas presents I think it can be easy to stick to big character toys or expensive electronic items when, in fact, the smaller gifts often end up being enjoyed for longer. I’ve spent the last few weeks researching some great preschooler gifts which also include an educational or interactive element, and I wanted to share them with you:
Caterpillar is obsessed with both Play Doh and Kinetic Sand so when I discovered Nutty Putty, and realised your creations can actually be baked into a rubbery, waterproof toy after moulding, I was really excited to give it a try.
This set comes with eight colours, including glow in the dark, as well as six cutters, rolling pin, play mat and a baking sheet. I love the vibrant colours and detailed instructions and ideas. It’s a great way to introduce children to sculpture and art and then you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to what you can make. I think it will be pretty fun for the adults too! I can’t wait to see what Caterpillar thinks of Nutty Putty and what he makes. Price: £15-£20
Caterpillar loves books with a personal touch and it doesn’t get much more interactive than these great quality story books from Amazing Pages. There is a choice of three themes and each book contains several personal elements including name, hometown, school name, best friend, favourite hobby & favourite food. You can also include a photograph of your child and you can free-type a personal message to be printed on the first page, should you wish. Unlike similar personalised products we’ve used in the past, these books include a lot more details and your child’s photo is included throughout, as opposed to just on the cover.
The website and ordering process is so straight-forward and delivery was really swift. I can’t wait to see Caterpillar’s face when he sees his photo and favourite things included in a great story. Price: £19.99
We bought Caterpillar a small set of these last year and he really loves playing with them. Magformers consist of plastic shapes with magnetic edges for connecting together to create either simple or complex 3D geometric shapes or other recognisable items, such as vehicles in the case of our 16 piece Wow set. It comes with over 30 high quality, colour illustrated instruction sheets to make it really easy for you or your children to recreate all the options shown.
Their range is really huge and covers so many brilliant themes, colours and techniques. It’s the sort of toy that will grow with your child as it can be as simple or as complicated as you choose.
The magnet design makes this construction toy very easy to assemble, my son has been able to make basic boxes and pyramids since he was just turned three, and frankly it’s hugely satisfying for the adults too.
I’m excited to see Caterpillar exploring this larger set and I’ll be back soon with a full review. Price: £29.99
Fiesta Crafts – Wobbly Garden
Caterpillar is hugely into games at the moment – in fact they make up the majority of his Christmas presents this year. We also really love wooden toys so this Wobbly Garden game from Fiesta Crafts combines the two beautifully. It’s a simple weight balancing game where you take it in turns to add the various garden-themed pieces without toppling the board over.
It’s really lovely quality and the wooden pieces are great designs and fab colours. The pieces are smooth and chunky so I think this would be a great first game for slightly younger toddlers too, excellent for improving fine motor skills. Plus, kids just love knocking things down so that’s a bonus. If you have two children close in age this would be a great game for them to enjoy together. And at only £18.99 is a good stocking filler product. Since it’s wooden and traditional-looking I’m definitely going to be including it as one of Caterpillar’s “From Santa” gifts as it looks like it could have come straight out of his workshop. Price: £18.99
Fiesta Crafts – Animal Threading
Threading activities have been on my list for Caterpillar for a last couple of birthdays and Christmases but I never got around to it. I thought maybe I’d missed the boat and that many would be too simple for him now but actually this colourful, durable animal set, also from Fiesta Crafts, is at the ideal level for him now.
The set, priced at only £10.99 includes pieces for a total of five animals, and co-ordinating cord for each. Connecting the head, body and limbs using just threading will challenge their problem-solving abilities and I’m looking forward to seeing Caterpillar try them out. This is much more creative than the usual reel threading activities and the use of animal designs is really fun as I think Caterpillar will have a good giggle mixing and matching the different animal heads and bodies. Price: £10.99
Phonics is a word I’ve heard more and more now that Caterpillar is in preschool. It’s something I need to research in a lot more detail before September but this beautifully drawn and detailed set of wildlife cards from Oaktree Designs is a great start. This set contains three separate friezes, created to attach to your child’s bedroom wall, or even a classroom, and uses clear lettering and accurate wildlife drawings to introduce your child to phonics and expand their vocabulary.
Some of these animals may not be familiar to your child and therefore they are learning about nature, as well as reading and letter recognition. As a bonus, the illustrations look beautiful on your child’s wall.
I plan to write a lot more about phonics in a future post and will feedback on how Caterpillar gets on with his Wildlife Phonics. Price: £23.95
Disclosure: We received these items in exchange for honest reviews. Words & opinions are all my own.