Best Baby and Toddler Toys, Accessories & Gadgets Christmas 2014
Best Baby & Toddler Toys, Accessories & Gadgets for Christmas 2014
by Julia Paddon
Some focus groups are just more focused than others. Meet On: Magazine‘s female-powered, no compromise, triple-headed review committee of Katie (24-year-old mum-to-be in 3-months’ time), Emily (29-year-old mum of 6-month-old Jack) and Diane (33-year-old mum to 2-year-old Jacob and 4-year-old Jo-Ann).
When it comes to the best gadgets and gizmos for their little ones, only the best will do. So, with Christmas in mind, we asked a selection of our favourite baby-orientated companies for their latest Christmas offerings – and asked the mums and mums-to-be for their opinions.
The dust has just about settled…
1. Domino laying train that sets up a track of perfectly spaced dominoes standing upright. Load the magazine with dominoes, then clip it into the top of the train and set it running to start laying the domino track. Twist the funnel as the train moves to turn left and right as the dominoes are laid down.
DIANE: I love it! Great colours, great fun. Great pay-off at the end when you get to knock the dominoes down too.
EMILY: Lots of bits, though. The kind of bits you find under your sofa for the next three years.
KATIE: It’s really clever actually – and it works brilliantly. Would make a great gift.
£15 from Amazon
2. A cute penguin that creates a steady stream of bubbles inside or outside the bath.
E: Now this is great – hours of entertainment. I sound like a bad mum, but if you can give them something to take their attention for a time it’s a godsend.
K: Everyone loves bubbles, right?
D: It’s a great bath play toy. The problem is it’s meant to fix to the wall via a sucker – but I know my two-year-old will try and pull it off. Bit worried about the batteries getting wet.
K: You can play with it outside of the bath too, though.
£10.99 from Munchkin.
3. Brightly coloured train toy that moves along the ground, makes noises and blows bubbles from its chimney. When activated, the train rolls forward whilst making chugging train noises, producing a vast and continuous plume of bubbles.
K: Trains and bubbles. I can spot a theme here!
E: It’s lovely. One big stocky part and continuous motion. This is a winner.
D: Yes – great toy for all ages and all sexes. I’m all for not pigeonholing toys into gender categories. My girl would adore this.
£9.99 from thegiftandgadgetstore.com
1. Comforters made using soft, contemporary fabrics which can be personalised with embroidery.
E: Well, it’s just a bit of cloth – or am I missing something?
D: Yes! This is the sort of thing a baby will get completely attached to.
E: It’s just packaging. I’m sorry, but it’s just a cloth. Make it yourself!
D: Everything is just packaging, really. Very small babies will adore the softness and the little tags.
K: I agree with Diane. There’s something nice and comforting here. Something old-fashioned with a modern twist. They’re pretty cheap actually.
Raggy-Tag baby gifts start from £2.99 from raggy-tag.com.
2. Dinosaur soft toys that let out a mighty roar when squeezed.
K: Yeah! A squeezy red dinosaur that roars when you press its belly button. Come on!
E: Seen it a million times.
D: Oh yes – a version of a timeless classic. It’s really soft, though.
K: It’s a joyful thing. Every kid needs a proper cuddle toy.
£15 from Fenwicks
3. Squeeze this white teddy’s paw and his face and belly will start to glow, slowly shifting between colours including blue, green, red and purple.
E: Eek! It’s terrifying! Devil bear!
D: (laughing) That’s you projecting, Emily. Kids will only find this scary if their parents do.
K: It’s practical, as it doubles as a night light. Flippin’ batteries though. Everything needs batteries!
E: Ooh, I like the friendly green glow – but the red one looks a bit weird.
D: Can I take this home? It’s brilliant!
£12.99 from amazon.co.uk.
1. A colour illustrated journal inspiring parents to capture the unique story of childhood, from early baby memories, through to the eighteenth year together.
K: I actually looked for something like this the other day. I was getting so fed up of documenting my baby’s development on Facebook. I wanted something more tangible and lasting. I’m taking this home!
D: But for 18-years! Don’t you think you’ll get bored, or forget about it.
K: It’s not like you have to fill it in every day. It’s just key events. Imagine giving this to your child on their 18th birthday. Amazing.
E: It’s a bit sickly.
K: Emily, I’m not sickly! I think it’s a more private way of documenting special moments – lovely design too.
£19.99 from fromyoutome.com.
2. Remember each milestone of your baby’s first year with these Milestone Cards – take the corresponding card and take a picture with your baby.
D: Ahh – more practical. One year – now that is manageable.
K: But not as memorable. Swings and roundabouts, isn’t it?
E: Sorry, but not for me. I’m not joining in with the ‘document every waking hour of your baby’s existence’ group!
D: You’ll regret it! A nice gift, I reckon. In fact, I might buy it for Emily (laughter).
£12.99 from borngifted.co.uk.
2. Four DVDs or Apps, including 160 video clips, narrated by Professor Robert Winston and featuring leading experts talking about feeding, care and development, sleeping, first aid and accident prevention.
E: I need this now. I spent three hours at an ante-natal class the other day – it was good, but a hell of a lot to take in. You can take things in in smaller doses here.
D: It’s really nicely done. Won lots of awards apparently.
K: Robert Winston – he’s like the stamp of authority.
E: There’s an App too. What a brilliant idea.
The complete guide DVD set costs £19.99 and individual DVDs cost £3.99 each from Tesco stores and online – more info: essentialparent.com.
3. Totally clawsome seaside-inspired gifts.
K: Nice branding, nice t-shirt, nice pop-up book.
D: Anything that helps you get them dressed. Here’s a good tip: if you find something they really like, buy clothes with it on. It’ll make dress times so much easier (laughs).
E: I can live with Colin the Crab – he’s alright is Colin. The fabric is good quality.
T-shirts £9.99 from gonecrabbing.co.uk.
1. The rise and shine Sippy Cup.
K: Bit of an obvious brand association thing going on here. Why would they do that?
D: I guess if mummy and daddy are doing it, then so will baby. There’s a practicality to it, I suppose.
E: But why? Why do we need to logo-up our kids as soon as they’ve been born?
D: We don’t need to. Whatever makes it easy. It’s just a bit of fun. Kids like grown-up things, it’s a fact.
£4.89 from borngifted.co.uk.
2. Cleans and sterilises soothers and dummies on the go.
E: Oh good, something practical. Can I have it please?
K: It’s just one more thing to remember.
D: And you need to remember the sterilising tablets too. I don’t want to always sound like the voice of reason, but it is practicial if you’re out for the day.
K: Isn’t it easier to just take extra dummies?
E: Looks pretty good and practical to me! Sorry, I’m not deliberately trying to disagree with everyone!
For more info and availability visit milton-tm.com.
3. An owl night light with a 20-minute timer and handle for portability.
E: Cute! I can see how this will work for those night time toilet visits. Great little handle.
K: Yes, comforting and practical. Is that the magic ingredient then?
E: Looks like it as far as we’re concerned.
D: At last we agree on something! (laughter)
£9.99 from Munchkin.