When it comes to Christmas, I was born to be a mom. I am ALL about the magic and excitement and the decorating and finding the perfect gift for my toddler. My Christmas list for Charly is literally endless, I add to it every day; every time I see anything that I think she might love, I tend to buy it. I’m the worst, I know, and this is why I am always broke; but I cannot resist seeing her light up over a gift. Deciding what to put on this particular list for all of you was SO hard, I hate leaving things out! These are some of my very favourites though, so here we go… All I want for Christmas is the perfect gift for my toddler!
The SKidZ Clever Activity box
I can’t even BEGIN to actually describe how amazing this is. It is exactly like Mary Poppins’ bag, only filled with educational toys and activities instead of lamps, plants and mirrors. There are 4 SKidZ boxes designed to help your child reach their developmental milestones through play. We got the 15 – 24 month box, which contains 96 activities, 10 sensory play ideas and 15 nursery rhymes!
You think that sounds awesome, but you really have no idea. The box was created by Chantelle du Toit who studied education and educational psychology at The University of Johannesburg. When she had to return to work after maternity leave, she needed something to leave with their nanny to stimulate her little boy. She couldn’t find anything that was comprehensive, developed by experts in the field and easy enough for their nanny to follow, so she made her own.
When other moms started asking where she got it, she teamed up with an OT, speech therapist and clinical psychologist to put the program together. Each box comes with a comprehensive manual that provides you with a daily curriculum which tells you what areas of development you are stimulating through each activity and includes a developmental milestone checklist. How you use the box is entirely up to you, from choosing any random activity from the list provided to following the curriculum to building your own curriculum using an easy formula they provide.
Charlotte LOVES this box (I mean the contents as well as the actual box). We very much mix and match according to her mood, but I truly love knowing that whenever she is feeling restless I have a “go to” where I will find something she will enjoy and learn from. This week she is obsessed with the chalkboard, puzzles, her bubbles and her musical instruments, so lots of fine motor skill, gross motor skill, language, creativity and rhythm development. No more worrying that I am not encouraging and supporting her development enough.
The SKidZ clever activity box that we got covers 9 months of development and I can see Charly using it for at least the next few years still. At only R825 (excluding delivery), this is a Christmas gift that keeps on giving all through the year.
You can find SKidZ on Facebook or over at SKidZ. Chantelle is offering a 10% discount on the activity boxes to the first 10 people who use the voucher code pict-xmas2015 to place their orders. The deadline for Christmas orders is 30 November.A Unicorn from Cupcake Mommy
Cupcake is a wonderful blogger whose story I have been following forever. She is mom to a gorgeous boy, a cat, two guinea pigs and a hedgehog. When she isn’t writing she is an illustrator and graphic designer; and when she isn’t doing that, she loves to crochet. And she made Charly this!!
Every single child NEEDS a unicorn this gorgeous and soft and adorable, just ask Charly. As she opened up the wrapped unicorn, she help her up and shouted “Sophie” as if she had found a long lost friend (which really creeped us out since she knows nobody named Sophie) and Sophie is everypresent now.
Cupcake has only been crocheting since last year! A friend taught her to crochet rows and then she taught herself to read patterns. After so many people saw the gorgeous mermaids (R450) and unicorns (R350) she was making and BEGGED her to make one for them (me included), she decided she will set aside time to make a few select people these soft gorgeous creatures for Christmas.
Because each one comes to life by hand, they take some time. This means she usually only takes one order a week; so if you want your own unicorn or mermaid by Christmas you need to order yours NOW! The costs include postage in South Africa with a tracking number, so you need to factor the time of postage in too.
Playdough set from Oh!Boy Kids
This is one of the best investments any toddler mom could ever make; each set comes with a personalised apron, matching bag and a set of paydoughs in various colours (R105). Charly plays with hers every single day and only with her special apron that she adores. And she uses the bag for everything (I even use it for all my giveaway draws).
Playdough has become somewhat of a family thing, with Brett, grandparents and even me having to make everything from snakes and balls to pets and elephants. Charly loves using the little rolling pin and shape cutters from her SKidZ box to roll out and make “cakes” while saying the Pat-A-Cake nursery rhyme on repeat
Oh!Boy Kids, which officially launched in May this year, is the creation of self-described arty farty type Eleanor (Ella) who is a gorgeous mommy blogger, married to a homicide detective. Ella is a journalist by trade, but works in layout and design Monday to Wednesday, and then freelance writes, blogs and creates for Oh!Boy the rest of the week. What began as making things for the gorgeous Aiden quickly turned into a business when people started asking her to make things for them too. She does kids accessories (scarves, bibs, burp cloths), toys and room décor.
Other awesome gift ideas are the gorgeous toy storage bags (Two large for R100 or two small R80) and the adorable letter pillows for only R70. Every item is custom made to order, so there is a one week turnaround, and then a 2 days for delivery with postnet (R100) or 7 days through the post office (R50). You can find Oh!Boy on Facebook!
Busy Bee Busy Boards
I have wanted to get one of these for Charly since her first birthday, I just never found one I really liked the look of. And then I stumbled across Busy Little Bees on Facebook and I saw this one! Charly’s reaction was EXACTLY what I hoped it would be.
I have to watch her with it, because part of the educational aspect of the board is teaching her how to do certain things safely – like opening and closing the latch, but I was super proud when she figured it out. These boards are great for tactile learning and development of fine motor skills, so fun and educational – I am a huge advocate of learning through play, as you may have noticed.
Busy Little Bees was started in September this year by Marindi Fourie, mom of 13 year old Kaitlynn and 3 year old Kaiden. A professional photographer by trade, Marindi started making these boards when she realised how fascinated her little one was with all locks, knobs and switches.
The boards come in three sizes, 30cm x 30 cm (R200), 45cm x 45cm (R350) and 60cm x 60cm (R500); and a variety of colours. Again, these are handmade, so orders need to get inASAP if you want to receive yours before Christmas. Marindi can organise a courier to anywhere in South African at an additional cost. You can place an order directly with her through Facebook!
BabyGroup Alex Bath Stickers
Charly loves stickers and she loves bathtime, so when I saw these foam bath stickers with their storage bag I had to get them. They are staying in the cupboard for Christmas though – for real!
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you who BabyGroup is, but for those who have missed out, it is an awesome secure online baby goods store. I have been using them pretty much from the day they started out and I love that they stock the more hard-to-find high quality items and their delivery turnaround time is generally 24 hours. And they have some truly gorgeous things for Christmas or any other time of year!
There are, of course, endless ideas for the perfect gift for your toddler, there were some beautiful ones in last week’s “Something Handmade with Love” and there are amazing things like the entire Sylvanian families sets, which I am building an extensive Takealot Wishlist for, and (also on Takealot) these Melissa & Doug reusable sticker books. Charly cannot get enough of her fairy stickers and my front door and windows are a delightful (easy to remove) colourful fairyland. There is also the stunning Rainbow Magic dollhouse which I covet for myself!
These remain my top 5 though and I can guarantee your little human will LOVE any (or all) of them; they are officially Charlybear-approved
Have you got your decorations from the amazingly talented ladies from the first All I Want for Christmas yet? Their deadlines and Christmas are flying towards you at a crazy pace!
Happy shopping lovelies!
Sending all the love xx