Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Having a large extended family and a young son in nursery who constantly gets invited to parties I need a lot of children’s gifts throughout the year. My standard budget is around £10 £15 for parties and up to £25 for special occasions and finding good quality robust presents for this budget takes some research. Here are a few of my favourites that we have been sent to review which have also been great hits with children and their parents.
I love traditional wooden toys and for the younger age group you can’t go wrong with the Brio Stacking Clown. Suitable from 12 months it is both delightful and colourful and perfect for small hands. With a lovely smiling face the clown splits into 8 chunky wooden pieces onto a thick smooth wooden centre topped off by a bright yellow hat. As well as being great fun its educational helping to develop coordination, manual dexterity and is a brilliant tool for teaching colours. Younger member of my family absolutely loved this toy and it is the type and quality that can be passed down through the generations. The Brio Stacking Clown is available from all major toy retailers and although comes in near the top of the party budget at around £14 the quality of this toy makes it well worth the money.
For the slightly older age group, 3 years plus, there have been two products that have been massive hits with my son and his friends. The first one is a fantastic Paw Patrol Four Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle from Ravensburger. To be honest anything Paw Patrol would go down well in our house, but this is a superb quality set of puzzles in a beautifully illustrated box. The box contains four separate puzzles, with 10, 12, 14 & 16 pieces and each puzzle makes up a favourite character from the TV show, Marshall, Skye, Rubble & Chase. The puzzles are not square but in the shape of the character which makes an interesting change and the pieces are large, around the size of an adult hand, so are easy for young children to pick up. At around £9.99 this set of puzzles makes a perfect gift for any Paw Patrol fan either boy or girl.
The other fabulous toy is something completely different from Brio, the Brio Fun Park Clown Train (suitable for age 3 years +). This set comprises 5 separate pieces in typical Brio quality, a train, two carriages, a clown figurine, and a bunch of wooden balloons. The train and carriages join together magnetically so there aren’t any little hooks to break off and they can be very easily attached to another items in the range. The clown is the right size to fit in and drive the train but can also be played with separately as his arms and legs move. The wooden balloons fit on to one of the carriages with pegs, so you can unload and load back up easily. All the pieces of the train are highly coloured and decorative making a really fun play set. One of the things I like is it fits together with most other brands sets and even if the child you are giving it to doesn’t have any train track they can still use it as it will run along hard floors or carpet . It’s also perfect to add to for other birthdays and Christmas as there is a massive range of additional track, trains & accessories to choose from. A perfect give coming with an RRP of £15.99.
Up at the age 6+ age bracket the colour, create and play range from Pipity Ltd is a fabulous gift idea. The range has several items but for smaller gifts the activity books and Pipity portfolio are brilliant. Two of the activity books that we enjoyed from the range were Dress-up Dolls & On-the-go Games. Dress-up Dolls comprises 4 paper dolls, including both boys and girls doll to colour, cut out and stick together with 30 different outfits to cut out and colour. This works out hours of fun and is perfect for a boredom breaker on a cold or rainy day. On-the-go Games contains 58, 2 player games in one handy booklet complete with instructions. The games include Guess Who, Battleships and 4 in-a-row and are all in black and white so they can be coloured in. To keep these books and games tidy and neat there is the Pipity Portfolio. Coming in a range of 3 colours, red, blue and pink all with white stars the portfolio is the perfect place to keep all your crafts and games together in one place. A handy A5 size with carry handle and 7 separate concertina filing sections the portfolio keeps all your creations tidy. It’s lovely and sturdy and with an elastic fastening across the top it is brilliant for moving from place to place. There are several reasons why the products from Pipity appeal, they are great quality, they encourage creativity and draw children away from screen time and importantly to me they are all designed and packaged at home by a busy mum like myself. With the activity books priced at £4.99 and the portfolio at £7.50 these make great gifts with the added bonus of helping a small business to grow.
For the perfect gift for a baby shower, birthday or Christmas present I loved the “Smilers” Happy personalised prints from Photofairytales. Priced at £21.50 unframed with free UK delivery they are great for a special occasion and with around 15 designs and 5 lovely colours they suit any room. The prints are extremely easy to order, you pick the design from the website, choose a colour from the drop down list and add the required name to the personalisation details. It’s that easy. 3 days later the A3 size print arrived through my door in a sturdy, do not bend, type envelope. The graphics are really cute and also suitable for Valentines & Anniversary presents as they are not at all babyish. I chose the One Cool Kid picture which came with my son’s name on it and a white smiling ice lolly printed on a plain coloured, blue in my case, background, I was really impressed with the design as although it would look at home in a child’s bedroom it is also suitable for a modern house as its clear and simple. It’s also very good quality on thick glossy finished paper. Although unframed being standard A3 size it is pretty simple to pick up a frame cheaply from any high street shop and my son’s print looked fabulous in a plain white frame as it set up the design nicely. I highly recommend have a browse of the website www.photofairytales.co.uk as they have a large selection of unique personalised gifts suitable for all occasions.
Last but not least, an excellent gift for a football mad older child or adult are the personalised mugs from www.personalisedfootballgifts.co.uk. There is a huge range of their designs on their website with a massive list of teams to choose from not just the standard 6 or 7 teams that you find in the shops. We were sent the dressing room mug where the design shows a row of shirts hanging up with the name and number of the player on. You just provide your surname and one of the shirts, number 15 in our case but you can choose, comes with your name printed on it, a really nice touch. On receipt of the mug I was really surprised at the quality of it. The mug is both microwave and dishwasher safe, had a nice ring to it when tapped and the printed picture is glossy and clear. At £9.95, or £11.99 with matching coaster, it makes a really nice present. Amongst the large selection of merchandise on the website other items falling well within the budget are personalised keyrings and one of my favourites, team water bottles at £12.99. Although I haven’t seen one in person I thought these were a great idea for sporty football mad children and adults and if the quality of the mugs is anything to go by they should be good and I will be visiting the site again for gift ideas.
Every one of the above items were both loved by children and adored by adults and I would highly recommend them. Each item reviewed was great quality and stood up to a 3 year old boy’s robust testing procedure with ease. Whichever age group you are looking for you will find there is a suitable gift for you amongst the list above and I urge you to check out the suppliers website’s and save yourself the headache of present choosing this season.