Shopping for the children is the most exciting bit of Christmas for me, apart from the actual day itself.
I am particularly looking forward to giving presents to my toddler this year, as at nearly three she is finally in to the whole festive build-up. She’s talking about Santa dropping down the chimney, even though we don’t actually have one, and decorating the tree.
Of course presents are also on her mind a lot, which means they’re on my mind a lot too! My baby will have just turned one when Christmas Day arrives, so although she won’t be quite as into as my toddler I still want to treat her too.
These are my top picks for babies and toddlers this Christmas:
1. Paddington Bear colour on roll (£7.99 from Amazon)
With Paddington 2 hitting the cinemas this month, there’s going to be lots of new fans of the bear from deepest, darkest Peru.
This colour roll is three metres long and contains loads of different scenes of the marmalade-loving bear for kids to colour however they want.
This Paddington Spot the Difference game is also brilliant for fans of the film, but it is recommended for slightly older kids. Fab if you’re looking for a gift for an older cousin of friend’s child.
2. Personalised Christmas books from Penwizard (from £14.99 at Penwizard)
Is there a toddler out there who isn’t spellbound by the likes of Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom?
Even my baby is fascinated by these colourful characters, so imagine their excitement to have an adventure story featuring themselves AND their heroes.
The Christmas-themed personalised books from Penwizard are simply fabulous. Ordering them is so easy. With the Ben and Holly book I was even able to create a character that looked just like my daughter in cartoon form to go with her name in the story. You can specify things like hair colour, skin colour, hair length and whether they are a fairy or an elf.
I think these are such a gorgeous keepsake and will be popular throughout Christmas and beyond!
3. Hopster (£3.99 a month, visit Hopster)
This is the gift that keeps on giving all year round. With a huge library of television shows to choose from, as well as ebooks, audio books and games, this is a super investment for the year.
We are living in the on demand generation, and Hopster does for kids what Netflix has done for their parents. Everything, right down to the engaging and explorative moving menus, is geared up for little ones.
You can download TV shows to watch on the go, which is a fantastic feature if you have a long train or plane journey coming up, or let their creative side flow with a fun drawing pad.
At £3.99 a month, its great value considering all of the choice you get and it’s fab to get a selection of both ebooks and audio books. Hopster is aimed at two to six year olds.
4. Play kitchen (£110, from Great Little Trading Company)
This is something I would really love to get for my toddler. Children just love to imitate their parents (we both do some cooking so it’s not just a girl thing!). Some of the play kitchens are so incredibly detailed and have gorgeous features.
I have a real soft spot for wooden toys, maybe because they evoke childhood nostalgia in me. Or it’s possibly because they always look so beautiful. The range of wooden toys from Great Little Trading Company is brilliant and they have so much to choose from. If budget were no issue, I would go for this one. They do larger ones with loads of features, but I don’t have the floor space for anything bigger.
5. Peppa Pig Bicycle (£74.99, from Smyth’s Toys)
As she approaches her third birthday I think my toddler is definitely ready for her own bicycle.
I want one with a basket in the front and I’ve seen a few that have a little seat at the back for a teddy or doll to sit on, which I think is a really cute feature.
This Peppa design would be absolutely perfect for her as she just loves the cartoon. I can just see her face lighting up if we were to surprise her with this.
6. Mini Micro Scooter (£69.95, from Micro Scooters)
I never had a scooter growing up but I think they’re a great alternative to bikes. I can’t help but feel I missed out when I see people whizzing by on them.
The Micro Scooters look so fab for kids. They come in a huge range of colours, have a lightweight feel and there are loads of accessories such as baskets to make them look really cool.
7. Baby Annabell Learns to Swim Doll (£39.99, from Amazon)
My toddler adores swimming and gets so excited. I think this doll, which actually splashes around, giggles and floats on her back in water, would be right up her street.
She comes with a towel and even arm bands.
8. Duplo Lego family house building set (£29.06, Amazon)
What I love the most about the Duplo range is how huge the selection is. From cars and lorries to animals and food, every aspect of life and what children can imagine is covered.
I would love to get a few smaller sets or this Family House Building kit which I know my toddler would enjoy. Her imagination is really taking off and she creates little scenarios for what her toys are up to and gives them little tea parties. A house would give a perfect setting for more play like this.
9. KiddyPlay 2 in 1 Activity Table (£34.99, from Amazon)
Now that my youngest sitting up and crawling, it’s only a matter of time before she wants to climb onto chairs and sit up.
I love the thought of this activity table where they can build their Lego together (harmoniously I hope!). The Lego surfaces can be flipped so that the table can also be used for drawing or for the kids to have their tea on.
10. VTech First Steps Baby Walker (£29.95, from Amazon)
I don’t know many toddlers or older babies who don’t have one of these. My parents got this for our toddler when she was one and now my baby is using it.
The buttons produce a huge range of sounds, speech and music, plus there are various other sensory features to keep a child entertained for ages.
The front panel with all the buttons and lights comes off so it can be laid flat for a smaller baby to enjoy during tummy time.
11. LOL Surprise Doll (£9.99, from Smyth’s Toys)
Peel back the layers wrapping up the ball containing a doll with clothes and fun surprises! Feeding the doll with water from the special bottle causes her to cry, spit and even wee. Then you can bathe her in cold water to see if the colour changes. There are loads to collect and you never know if you’ll get a rare doll! This is not suitable for under 3s, so not for the babies, but my toddler was entertained by it for hours.
Check out my Christmas gift guide for her.