Above all, Christmas is of course all about family, friends and good times. But for some of us it’s also about proving we are the best gift-givers in the family. The process of buying and exchanging presents can get a little competitive during the festive period – and there’s nothing wrong with that if it means that everyone receives something they love! It can be harder to shop for the members of your family, however, with toddlers traditionally more interested in the packaging than the present. To help you ace gift-giving, even among the youngest of your clan, here’s a fun and unusual guide to getting gifts for toddlers:
It’s now possible to buy CDs or tracks online that incorporate the name of the little one in question, for example, Jackflash. You could go for a seasonally-appropriate Christmas song, or some nursery rhymes that will keep them occupied all year. Whichever you choose, this is a great way to help introduce young children to music, and the personal touch to each track will hold their attention for longer. Music is good for the developing brain and when they hear their own name they’ll no doubt sing along.
In the high-tech world we live in it’s easy to forget the joy of simple, hand-crafted wooden toys. Think building blocks, wooden train tracks or carts that can be pushed around the house. These toys are a great antidote to excessive screen time. They encourage creativity, too – the child is sure to develop fun and imaginative uses for the toy! Polly Potters is a great place to try out for wooden toys.
Cookery lessons might be the kind of gift you’d normally think of getting for older members of the family, but toddlers love them too. Some cookery schools now arrange classes aimed especially at teaching young children to cook, often emphasising the importance of using fresh, healthy ingredients. Kids will love the fun of cooking, and it’ll be a great way for them to start learning about healthy eating too. Olive Branch Cookery School in Johannesburg has a Moms and Tots class, I’m sure daddies can go too!
A day out the zoo or the park
Here’s a different take on Christmas presents for little ones – rather than getting a specific object, how about the promise of a fun day trip? This will earn you a spot in any parent’s good books, too – they’ll appreciate a day off! When exchanging gifts, give them a card with a fun destination and itinerary written in it. Zoo Lake, Joburg Zoo, Riversands Farm and other outdoor areas are great options considering the possibilities for scavenger hunts, wildlife spotting and jumping over streams.
A selection of hard-to-find illustrated books
As children start to read, many fall in love with picture books and have a few firm favourites. Win them over with a selection of beautiful, rare children’s books – look for ones you loved as a child. You could also try large bookshops or even art gallery gift shops for an unusual, interesting selection – there might even be special editions of classics available.
Whatever you do this Christmas, if you put a bit of extra thought into the gifts you buy for toddlers, the smiles on their face will make all the effort 100% worthwhile.
Photo credit: Kris