Christmas is my favourite time of year. That’s why this year I even created a brand new Facebook group for my local readers, Christmas in Cardiff. I’ve scoured the internet and tried to find the very best toys you can buy for 2023, including both some amazing brand new entries, and a few tried and tested must-haves too. I don’t gender toys so in my opinion everything in this list is suitable for both boys and girls.
This year for the first time ever I’ve also created a separate gift guide for teenagers. Because gifts for teens tend to be very different to younger children, I felt it was more appropriate that they had their own gift guide so you can have ideas of all the very best and trendy things teens want this year. I did a fair amount of market research for this one so don’t miss it if you have a 13-18 year old to buy for.
First I’m going to share a personalised roarsome Christmas sack from Oakdene Designs. William is going to love it! Oakdene designs also have a lot of options for personalised gifts, from photo gifts like keyrings, bookmarks, Christmas decorations and prints, to fun personalised gifts like bottle opens, guitar plecs, shoe tags, mugs and more!
To WIN PRIZES then scroll down to the bottom or click the quick link in the table of contents.
Newborn to Toddler Gifts
Newborn Teddy Bear (0m+)
Can you ever go wrong with a cuddly toy? I don’t think so! Polar bears are an awesome pick for Christmas, and Pedro the Polar Bear comes with a cute white jumper which is personalized with a letter and name. This could be the name of the gift recipient, or you choose a name for the bear, which could complement a visit to a zoo to see polar bears. Boutique Gifts also sell a wide range of personalised gifts, there’s something for everyone.
Cry Babies Newborn Coney (18months+)
Cry Babies offer a wide range of fantastic dolls, full of interactive features. The newborn dolls are suitable for 18 months plus, but have a wide upper age range, as roleplaying being in charge of a baby is popular throughout primary school. Cry Babies Newborn Coney is an adorable newborn girl who comes complete with 6 accessories (dummy, bottle, identity bracelet, blanket, rattle, magic bracelet). The child looking after Coney gets an interactive bracelet which pairs with Coney’s magic bracelet. This allows Coney to register the interactions and she stops crying and becomes happy by blushing, or goes to sleep. She makes 20 newborn sounds and will really encourage children to be nurturing and loving to others. Available from Smyths and Argos.
TOMY Tommies Swimming Bluey (18m+)
For any fans of Bluey is the TOMY Toomies Swimming Bluey. It’s age rated at 18 months and ideal for toddlers, but also for older kids who love Bluey and baths! My son is 6 and enjoys playing with this both in the swimming pool and the bath. It’s really easy to use for younger kids but great for bathtime roleplay for kids who love Bluey. Stockists include: Independents, Smyths, Amazon, Argos, Very, The Range, John Lewis, Ocado
PolarPlay Wooden Interactive Music Center
What an adorable little music center, ideal for small hands just getting to grips with different noises and feels. It includes a xylophone set with sticks, cymbal, cogs, scraper and drum. It comes in lovely pastel colours and will improve imagination, stimulate hearing and exploration and work on fine motor skills. The best is it’s not too noisy so won’t annoy mum and dad, I promise! You can buy the PolarPlay Wooden Interactive Music Center from OutdoorToys.
Little Brian Bath Paint Sticks (0+)
These Bath Paint Sticks by Little Brian are under £5 on Amazon so a fantastic stocking filler. Suitable for all ages, it’s non toxic, safe, washable paint that your kids can use to paint the bathtub or tiles and just washes or wipes straight off afterwards. Painting in the bath is definitely a new and fun activity. My son is 6 and absolutely loves these, so I really think they’d make a good gift for anyone from babies all the way through primary school.
Club Mocchi- Mocchi- Super Mario™ Mushroom Plush (3+)
For any fans of Mario, the Club Mocchi- Mocchi- Super Mario™ Mushroom Plush is bound to bring them joy. We also have the Kirby Mega Plush and together they make a fantastic pair. They’re so big and soft, ideal for a pillow or a prop or just a big cuddle. The full range also included Banana, Bob-omb, Buzzy Bee, Cheep Cheep, Mario, Piranha Plant and Spiny Shell. They’re listed at 3+ but would be ideal for any child (or let’s face it, even an adult) who loves Super Mario. Stockists include: Amazon, Costco , Independents, Smyths, Game.
BFF Talents – Dreamy & Rym (3+)
BFF By Cry Babies Dreamy and Rym would have been a must have toy for me when I was a child. In this popular series by Cry Babies Rym is dressed as a trendy roller skater, complete with skates, necklace nd accessories. Rym the Unicorn has a light up horn which plays a magical tune when her head is pushed down. Rym fits comfortably into Dreamy’s saddle, and Dreamy has articulated front legs for extra realism and play. Whilst it says 3+, I think this would be an ideal gift for anyone throughout primary school. Available from Smyths, Argos and Amazon.
Design & Drill Rivet Pop Workshop (3+)
Build up those fine motor skills with the Design & Drill Rivet Pop Workshop. This is fun, colourful, easy to use, with different picture cards in it to design, or you can make your own design. Using the different tools will work on motor skills whilst the design element will stimulate the imagination. It’s made by Learning Resources with a focus on stimulating education. It’s listed as 3+ but I think would be suitable for any boys or girls in foundation primary phase.
Big Feelings Pineapple (3+)
Another awesome gift from Learning Resources would be the Big Feelings Pineapple Deluxe Set. It’s fun and whacky, but also educational without kids even realizing! It helps to develop emotional responses as well as using those fine motor skills to build you Pineapple face. It has 50 pieces and is bound to be a big hit!
Ultimate Sandisfying Set (3+)
The Ultimate Sandisfying Set is a set of kinetic sand with 2lbs of colourful sand in pink, yellow and teal, and an array of fun accessories for shaping, squishing and cutting. I love kinetic sand and think it really sparks the imagination as well as working on fine motor skills, but is also really easy to sweep up and clean too which parents will be glad to hear! It’s rated 3+ but my 6 year old loves kinetic sand and I think that it’d be a fun gift for foundation phase children.
Klixx Creaturez (4+)
This might be the coolest Fidget toy yet! The Klixx Creaturez range made by Brainstorm features the Klixx Spider, Cobra and Scorpion, each in two colour designs. The Klixx Spider has over 200 points of articulation which makes it a very satisfying toy to play with, and what’s super cool is that it comes with a free App for iPhone or Android which allows you to make stop frame motion movies! At under £10 on Amazon it makes a great stocking filler too.
My Very Own Fairy Jar (4+)
For all the girls and boys out there who love fairies, magic and lights, My Very Own Fairy Jar is bound to go down a hit. You can make your own magical fairy world, with colour changing LED lights and it even has a sound. You can decorate the inside of the jar as well as the handle, and then sprinkle with some fairy dust (eco friendly!) to finalise the magic.
Cat-astrophe is an addictive little game is ideal for developing steady hands and fun for the entire family to play together. The rules are incredibly simple – just stack your cats as high as you can! You can even play solo and just try to beat your personal best, and practice so you can be the winner when it comes to family game night. A perfect Christmas stocking filler.
The Genius Star (8+)
With 165,888 possible star puzzles to complete and always a solution to find, The Genius Star from The Happy Puzzle Company will provide hours of brain-tingling entertainment. You can play this game solo, or battle it out with two players. There’s an extra element of decision making with the addition of “The Golden Star”, where only 57.4% of the puzzles can be solved using it. Players have to decide whether to go for the golden win or not, and there’s a website you can use to input your co-ordinates and see if it was solvable or not. This really gives it an extra element of strategy.
Books for Primary Age Kids
A Personalised Book from Hector’s Post – use code WELSHMUM for 20% off
Hector’s Post offer personalised books to inspire our children. What an amazing gift, and a lovely keepsake that they’ll remember forever too. Being able to cast themselves into the role of a book character really helps kids resonate with the story. Hector’s Post offer a series of different positive books, including Be Brave (as featured here), Be Happy, Honest, Calm, Kind and Unique.
Get a 20% discount off your purchase of any of the above with the code WELSHMUM at checkout.
Meli & Mac: Rendez-Vous with a Flamingo
Meli & Mac: Rendez-Vous with a Flamingo by Elena Joannides and Margherita Ende is a fun way that younger children can go on an adventure and learn French at the same time! I really enjoy this method of learning a new language as it’s natural and entertaining as well as educational. Meli & Mac: Rendez-Vous with a Flamingo is available in paperback (£8.99) at www.mythikopress.com, bookshops and online booksellers
The Very Young Person’s Guide to Ballet Music
The Very Young Person’s Guide To Ballet Music is by Tim Lihoreau, and Philip Noyce, and illustrated by Sally Agar is published by DK and in partnership with Classic FM on 5 October, £20. It aims to introduce younger children to the music that they’ll experience during when going to the Ballet. It includes interesting and entertaining stories introducing each ballet which adults can read out, quotes, beautiful colourful Christmas imagery, and then a push button to play the sound. The sound is good quality for such a small speaker, with identifiable tunes that they can enjoy. This is an ideal gift for any child who is taking dance or music lessons.
The Extraordinary Books
These two books are absolutely magic for kids that are interested in either STEM, or the creative arts. First we have the Book that Invents Itself which turns into 30 inventions, from rockets, code-breakers, bionic hands, acrobats, demolition balls and more! For the creative little minds, The Extraordinary Book That Makes You An Artist turns into an art portfolio! It includes projects for sculptures, paintings, colour wheels, viewfinders pop art and more. Each invention and art project is introduced in simple concepts that children can easily understand but with plenty of potential for adults to join in and create something together too. It comes with templates, tips and instructions and both books are perfect for indoor activities during the rainy, dark and cold days of winter.
My First Space Atlas
My First Space Atlas (Available on Amazon) by Jane Wilsher and illustrated by Paul Daviz introduces space, the solar system and beyond to children aged 5+. My son is 6 now and he loves reading this book with mummy or daddy and to be honest, I’ve learned a lot from it too! It’s ideal for any kids who are interested in space at all, is really educational but in a colourful, entertaining, easy to digest way.
The Jolly Christmas Postman
If your kids love The Jolly Postman then they will definitely enjoy this festive take and it’s definitely worth having both books in the collection. In The Jolly Christmas Postman, it’s Christmas Eve and The Jolly Postman is off on his rounds, delivering some very special letters to fairytale characters. You’ll get to open and read the letters and it contains lots of activities and interactive ways for children to get involved. There are lots of bright and attractive drawings and pullout items and the language is perfect for little ones to be read to, or for older ones to enjoy too. Although it’s listed at 3-5 years, the main text is definitely suitable for younger (with a fair amount of help from mum and dad). The reason that it’s listed as not suitable for under threes is because the pullouts, so this is a book that just needs to be supervised if reading to younger kids so nothing gets eaten or damaged. On the flip side, I can also see those older than five still enjoying the book by themselves, so it’s a gift that will last a while.
For Christmas themed books for younger readers, check out my 10 must read Christmas books for age 0-5 and to WIN a copy of this book, scroll down to the bottom!
Heading outside in the winter for outdoor activities or family walks can be a challenge. It’s cold, wet and muddy. Above are my three recommendations for this year. First we have an amazingly wind and waterproof Moss Rain Jacket from Helly Hansen. It’s a brand I’ve only been introduced to this year, but I’ve now been using coats and shoes for both men, women and kids. Their range is huge and the quality is absolutely top notch on all their products. I don’t like dark coats, so loved the bright yellow jacket, but it is available in black too if that’s preferred. My second recommend is a pair of waterproof trousers to go over their regular trousers. Waterproof trousers don’t have to be too fancy if it’s just for a casual walk, William wears this pair from Amazon.
Finally, you can see William wearing some fantastic bright red wellies. These are Start-Rite’s Big Puddle wellies. I’ve previously bought Start-Rite on several occasions for their amazing school shoes, but they also offer slippers and wellies, both of which would make an awesome winter gift. I’m very impressed by the durability of these Start-Rite Wellies and so comfortable according to William!
WIN WIN WIN A Sweet Treat with Swizzels
Swizzels are a classic sweet brand that everyone will know. This year you can buy a Swizzels advent calendar, or sweets like the barrels, gift boxes or tubs make excellent stocking fillers. Check out the Swizzels shop for the full availability.
I’ve got one of these sets to give away to a lucky reader – that’s a Swizzels Advent Calendar, Sweet Shop Favourites, Drumstick Barrel and Love Heart Barrel. Competitions runs 1st November – 18th December 2023 and will be posted to UK addresses only, with arrival in time for Christmas!Win a Swizzels Sweets Package
WIN WIN WIN The Jolly Christmas Postman Hardback
WIN WIN WIN A £25 Amazon Voucher
And finally because I know that Christmas is a time when spending is high, I’m offering a £25 Amazon voucher to enable you to buy a lovely gift for someone, or treat yourself. This will be a digital voucher, delivered to an email address, and can only be redeemed on Amazon UK and not any other regional Amazon website. There is a link to click to go to Amazon using my affiliate, where I may get a small % of the spend back, but it’s entirely optional, as it is throughout my entire website. Good luck and Merry Christmas!Win a £25 Amazon UK Digital Voucher
You may also like the following gift guides and competitions:
- Men’s Gift Guide, with competitions to win an Aeropress Coffee Maker, The Hangry Box and Wahl 10 in 1 Electric Shaver
- Women’s Gift Guide, with competitions to win and L’Organiq Women’s Beauty Set
- Teenager’s Gift Guide, with a competitions to win a Popcorn Gift Set