Take the hard work out of gift-giving this Christmas with our Gift Guide for Babies. You’ll find plenty of inspiration and ideas whatever your budget. The baby months fly by, so it’s also worth checking out our toddler guide for more brilliant toy ideas.
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Choosing Toys for Kids
In a world where there are so many options it can be difficult to know which toys to invest in! Here are 5 principles that I try to stick to when choosing toys for my own children.
What toys should I Choose for My Kids?
- Toys that are open-ended– these are toys that can be used in a variety of ways and leave room for imagination;
- Toys that grow with your child– This is about avoiding the latest ‘toy fad’ but choosing toys they’ll come back to again and again;
- Toys that are varied– Give your kids a broad range of toys so that they build a variety of skills and interests;
- Toys that have purpose– Think about the purpose behind a toy. How will it benefit my child to own it?
- Toys that last– Choose good quality toys that will stand the test of time.
A word on the Gift Guides…
These guides are meant to inspire, rather than be a list of everything your child must have! Many of these toys and books we own ourselves, or are made by brands we trust and love, but there’s a few new toys that I’ve come across that I’m excited to share with you too.
I’ve arranged the guides into age brackets but children rarely follow a linear path of development. So do check out the guides before and after too. Also many of the gifts featured in the guides will grow with your child and are suitable for multiple ages. For example, a lot of the toddler gifts will still be enjoyed in the preschool years.
The Best Toys for Babies (0-12 months)
There’s something so lovely about giving a personalised gift to a baby and myfirstyears.com is full of lots of brilliant toys and gifts that you can personalise with your child’s name.
Another lovely gift idea is to make a photo book of all the important people in your baby’s life. Babies love to look at faces, especially of those that they know and love, and it can help them start to recognise family members and learn names. I made photo albums for all of my kids for their first Christmas and even today they still look back over the photos so fondly.
I do wish I’d known about My 1st Photos and their ingenious fabric photo books though! Our photo albums are a little worse for wear but these indestructible fabric ones are the perfect gift for a little one, which they will treasure for years to come.
An alternative idea, and one that will certainly grow with your child is to make a photo puzzle. To make this I bought a wooden shape puzzle, printed off photos and laminated them, before sticking them into the puzzle holes.
When my youngest was little she just loved staring at the photos. Now she’s a little older she has started to fit the puzzle pieces into the holes, which makes for a great game of peek-a-boo! Find the link to the puzzle we used below.
High-Contrast Baby Gifts
When babies are born their vision isn’t fully developed. Babies therefore find it easier to interpret high-contrast images like black and white and those including yellow and red. Toys that are high-contrast stimulate them visually and tend to hold their attention better. Fortunately, these days there are lots of fabulous high-contrast toys available.
Newborns don’t need a lot of toys but as they grow and become more inquisitive they need more stimulation. Here are some of our favourite toys to keep a baby entertained. Puppets, nursery rhymes and scarves for playing peek-a-boo always go down well. A bubble machine is a good investment right from the start!
Older babies and toddlers love to explore! Collecting together a range of interesting objects that stimulate their senses is the prefect gift. Lots of these objects can be found around the home, but if you’re looking for something extra special these treasure baskets from Carla’s Treasure are simply lovely. She also sells some other great gifts for babies too.
Luxury Play Mat from Munchkin & Bear
If you’re looking for a practical gift this Christmas I cannot recommend these luxury play mats from Munchkin & Bear highly enough! They are made using a shock-absorbent foam core and honestly are the most comfy things to sit on! They also come in a range of super stylish, wipe-clean designs so you don’t have to feel like you’re compromising the look of your home, as is the case with so many kids’ play mats! Having gone through several rugs in our playroom over the years we wouldn’t be without our Munchkin & Bear play mat!
Brilliant Books for Baby
Books are without a doubt my number one gift for a baby. Fostering a love of reading is one of the best things you can do for a child. In addition to high contrast books, look for ones with flaps, sounds and things to feel. These will stimulate babies and help their sensory development.
I particularly love the ‘Where’s Mr…‘ series for their indestructible felt flaps and the ‘Listen to…‘ series for their tasteful and realistic sounds! And of course every baby needs some Usborne ‘That’s not my..’ books! Don’t forget the classics either like ‘Each, Peach, Pear, Plum‘. There’s a reason why they’re classics and little ones will love listening to them over and over.
Bath time is one of the main play times for baby. We love the range of bath toys from Green Toys that are made from 100% recycled materials. Our Bath Bobbers have also been a big hit and they don’t get mouldy!
Thank you for reading! If you’ve found this gift guide useful please share with your friends and family on social media. Thank you!