Oh my isn’t Christmas approaching so quickly. Christmas lights being turned on, Christmas Trees appearing at every window… and the sheer panic is starting to set in about presents and the shopping rush.

You go into local supermarkets/toy shops – there is toy after toy in front of you – one wraps around your wrist making funny sounds, guns shooting things at you, talking figures, computer games, flashing lights here and there, loud noises that you know you will get sick of hearing after two days (maybe less).

Instead of buying the latest gadget/electronic toy out there… think of wooden toys or age appropriate toys or toys that don’t need batteries. I know in my house if the toys run out of batteries it is generally not looked at ever wanted again.

As Christmas is fast approaching I cleared out my ‘Toy Box’ and put a large box into the garage which will not be looked at it again.  I’m now at the stage I don’t know what to do with old toys.  I know you like to keep it for a rainy day in the distance.

This all came to mind when I was watching a short Christmas Film on Netflix’s yesterday with the girls ‘Angela’s Christmas’.  What a lovely simple film which brings a tear to your eye with a lot of memories returned for some.  While I watched this film and noticed how happy and content the children were with no toys crowding out the room or gathering dust in the corner, they entertained themselves by playing outside and actually talking as a family or helping with household duties. The other thing from this film that struck me was the lack of heat in the house and the outdoor toilet.  How spoiled we are to have a fire, radiators blasting and not one but possibly 2 toilets in every household.  This is a time to consider buying less junk for our houses trying to keep up with the Jones (or Kardashian’s in today’s world), a time to think less is more. And as goes for small children… they are more interested in the boxes!

Anyways enough about that and more about what to buy as we are creatures of habit and will buy no matter what due to that guilt building up inside of us.

Birth to 12 months:

  • Baby rattles
  • Baby mirror
  • Stacking cups / stacking rings
  • Baby gym
  • Touch / feel toys
  • Bath toys

1 – 2 years:

  • Shape sorter
  • Blocks
  • Peg Board Puzzles (Melissa and Doug are brilliant)
  • Ride on toys
  • Push and pull toys

2 – 3 years:

  • Tricycle
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • A ball
  • Toy kitchen
  • Musical instruments
  • Large Lego / Duplo

3 – 4 years

  • Pretend toys – fancy dress
  • Jigsaws
  • Threading toys
  • Outdoor toys – bikes, scooters, swings, slides
  • Arts and crafts – play dough, jumping clay, dab and dot markers

4 – 5 years

  • Active toys – football, tennis sets, Frisbee, skipping ropes, bike, swings, skittle sets.
  • Consider paying for some activities
  • Arts and crafts sets – play dough, chunky crayons, paint, safety scissors.
  • Traditional board games
  • Maths cubes
  • Den building sets!

And of course, for all age groups …… BOOKS! BOOKS! And more BOOKS!

We have a book here at the Lifestart Foundation to tell you what toy or gift is suitable for what age. If you’re interested we can send it out for free! Remember the less noises and batteries needed… the better. Your child will use their imagination to make the sounds or make new stories on what they think the toy could do without the toy already telling them what they should do or be with that toy.

Anyways happy shopping and enjoy every minute!