Making Christmas lists is something I have always loved to do. Moving them online and sharing all my excitement has made them even more special to me. I nearly ran out of time this year!! But I am on a mission, and these are all gifts you MIGHT still have time to get for your little one this Christmas!! Maybe you, like me, are feeling like you are missing something in your kid’s gifts… That something extra that didn’t make their list, but you KNOW will make them light up like the 4th of July (as they say). Here are a few of our best experiences and products for kids 2016!
One of the things I can feel happening as Charly gets older, is that a gift is no longer just a gift. This may be because so we are incredibly blessed with media drops and samples sent our way to test and try out. But I think it is more to do with her growing up, and starting to value experiences and creativity more than a toy with a single purpose.
That said, the rocking Moo Cow we gave her for her first Christmas remains a firm favourite, as does her push car, her Fisher Price pull-along puppy and her Laugh & Learn puppy. Some things are just timeless.
This year has been an amazing one for special experiences and watching Charly discover joy is small things done just right too. So here we go…
Christmas list for kids 2016
I have wanted to attend a Build-A-Bear Workshop since I first heard of them. We weren’t in a financial position to enjoy experiences like this when I was younger. Which is why it was already on my Christmas list for Charly. And then I received a media invite through Tums 2 Tots and a blogger invite through this little blog of mine. And I couldn’t attend either event on the dates available. I threw a small tantrum (sorry neighbours). And then I pulled myself towards myself and asked the organisers if I could attend with Charly on another date. And they said yes!!!! (Sorry again neighbours.)
It was amazing!! Charly and I both had an awesome time at Toy Kingdom, where the Build-A-Bear Workshops can be found. We went to the newly relaunched Canal Walk store, which is a real treat and we wondered around for ages. Charly loved the play area, exploring all the toys, the bike track and Thomas the Tank Engine. But, sidetracked!!
Your little one arrives and gets to explore all the options to find their perfect forever friend. Once selected, they can also choose a sound (and a scent I believe). There are two different heart options that they have to do a little ritual with, warming it, transferring love and happiness before it gets inserted into the toy. They then get to step on the pedal allowing their helper to fill their toy with soft fluffy stuffing. Before stitching them upand giving them their very first cuddle. They get to create or choose the perfect outfit. And then they do the pledge where they promise to look after and love their Forever Friend… well, forever It is ridiculously cute to watch. If your kids are old enough, they can create an actual birth certificate for their special friend as well.
An added note to that, before they sew up the bear, they include a bar code, which is also on your birth certificate. This means that if a good samaritan finds a lost Build-A-Bear and returns it to a Toy Kingdom or Build-A-Bear store, they will be able to scan the code, get your contact information and reunite your child with them!
This is an amazing expereince for any child (or mom or dad). With the cost of toys nowadays, giving your child the gift of being able to bring their perfect fit forever friend to life with Build-A-Bear is priceless (but also, affordable depending on the package you choose).
A Magical Irish Fairy Door
You guys are well acquainted with my love of Rainbow Magic. In May this year the lovely Charlene Walker purchased the online store from Leigh, when Leigh moved overseas. She lives in Johannesburg where she is a full-time mommy to her little boy, Cameron. She works from home and acts as both agent and distributor for the original Fairy Door from The Irish Fairy Door Company.
I am obsessed with this idea, but was a little worried Charly might be too young for it. But of course, I forget WHO my child is. This has to be one of the best things she has received this year. The idea is so simple…
Your Irish Fairy Door comes with a magic key in a bottle, three stepping stones, the Fairy – Family Lease agreement and a fairy notepad to write little notes to your fairy. The Fairy Welcome Guide outlines everything you need to know to settle your fairy into their new home! Once you have your fairy door, head over to The Irish Fairy Door Company website to register you fairy’s name! This unlocks regularly updated content to continue the magical interactive journey, with exclusive stories and play ideas delivered direct from Fairy Valley. When your Irish Fairy Door arrives, pick a special place to put it. Set up the stepping stones and leave the magic key beside it. If your little one wakes to find the magical key gone, it means you officially have a fairy living with you!
While Charly is still a little young for the extended play opportunities this offers (years more entertainment to come), the concept of the key disappearing meaning she has her very own fairy roommate was 100% embraced. We first set it up under her desk. She would lie there for ages, whispering to her fairy. At night as she was falling asleep, she would suddenly say “shhhhhh… listen!” and sure enough “it was the Tooth Fairy” waiting to come out and play when Charly fell asleep. Notice, my child doesn’t go small, not just any fairy lives with us… It is THE Tooth Fairy. There was one afternoon, a good 2 hours, where Charly ran around upstairs giggling and singing and chattering away to the Tooth Fairy. There is something breathtaking in watching your child fully embrace their imagination.
Bugz Playpark Annual Pass
2017 will definitely see my family spending a lot of time at Bugz Playpark!! You guys know I don’t travel, but I travelled all the way out to Kraaifontein for this one. And it was worth every single second! Bugz invited myself and my family to spend the day as VIPs in their playpark. My mom, sister, niece, Charly and I decided to kick off the September holidays with a proper spoil and headed through early one morning. My sister had been once before and told me how wonderful it was, but she didn’t do it justice. It is genuinely paradise for kids.
The whole place is never-ending fun, with a very well thought-out goal of little Bugz learning through play. They have everything you can think of! From exceptional tree-top climbing structures, to paddle carts, water slides, horse rides, a choo-choo train, rowing boats, a zip slide, mud kitchens, swings, jumping castles, full size doll-houses, a petting zoo… the list goes on! There are lovely shady areas sprinkled throughout the park, and an endless array of delicious food and snack options for the whole family to enjoy.
We all left Bugz that afternoon, happy, wet, full and exhausted. Charly didn’t stop talking about it for weeks and I have promised her a return trip in the new year.
I can’t imagine a much better gift for a Cape Town child than a Bugz Membership Card!! Unlimited VIP entrance, access to all rides and fantastical fun throughout the whole park for a whole YEAR!!!! There are only 1000 cards available and you can get them at the park entrance for ONLY R299!! Seriously!!!
Parental Instinct everything
I am besotted with the Parental Instinct brand in general, their whole goal is to make parenting life easier… Sound familiar? Parental Instinct is Paddy Muldoon and Chris Baff, two awesome (I got to meet them in person at the Mama Magic show!!) and very clever Cape Town dads who took their experience in design and marketing to the next level by starting a kids clothing range that used stain resistant and release nano-technology, as well as colour-coded snaps for baby grows.
Ok, I saw you double-take at “stain resistant kids clothing”… yup, their baby and toddler clothing doesn’t stain. They combined technology awesomeness with every day parenting problems and created solutions! You can find out more about the cool tech they use for their ranges here.
They keep innovating and coming up with more awesome ideas! They recently launched sun-protection swimming costumes that dry instantly – they actually repel water!! But my favourite has to be the Parental Instinct sleeping bag…
Why? It is mosquito repelllant!! As they describe it “Our sleeping bags feature a mosquito repellent that will last for up to 20 wash cycles at 40 degrees celsius. Irritating mosquitos but not babies. It is embedded in the fibres, so it can’t wash out or irritate sensitive skin.”
Some of you will remember that Charly reacts terribly to mosquito bites. When I heard about the sleeping bag, I instantly wanted to try one and was thrilled when I received a sample product! So far, so good. While Charly is nearing the end of her use of it, it is a little restrictive as she nears the 36 months cut-off for her bag, we haven’t had any bites when she is wearing it! That is massive for her, as most summers result in this…
We also have 2 of their Halloween t-shirts that Charly adores, especially her glow-in-the-dark pumpkin shirt! I love that their items are smart, practical, but also quirky with real personality.
I know I had this on my list last year, and I suspect it always will be. I can’t picture every outgrowing Play-Doh. While last year, Charly had only experienced home-made “play doh” (not made in my home, but still), since then we received a few awesome media drops from the PlayDoh South Africa team. I am almost as obsessed as Charly is. Ok, not really, she definitely inherited her “enthusiasm” for things from me and then puts her own rockstar toddler spin on it.
I am not kidding, she asks to play with her play-doh every day. Usually while watching Play-Doh YouTube videos. She has had several different packs of regular Play-Doh packs to themed packs since then. It has taken omre discipline than I could have imagined to NOT buy her one of the awesome play sets available at the moment! BUT Charly’s birthday in in February, so I had to keep something for then. Her current ones are not so colourful anymore…
You can find Play-Doh most places I would assume. As mentioned, Toy Kingdom has some amazing sets when we were there last month. I know Takealot has some, and Hamley’s had too.
The Play-Doh South Africa Facebook page is a really cool place to find the latest sets available and they run giveaways occasionally too!
Ster-Kinekor Cinema Tickets
When I was young, a trip to the cinema was a fun, semi-regular, affordable outing. With the costs of movies now, the incredible advancements in cinema and the advent of Cinema Prestige (I am OBSESSED!!), a movie date, especially with your little one, is a special treat. With that in mind, family tickets to an awesome new movie, popcorn and candy, followed by cookies and ice-cream at Crumbs & Cream, feels like the kind of gift that memories are made of.
Brett was never a cinema fan, until we discovered Prestige, so I had forgotten how much I loved the cinema. And then I started getting invited to the movies by Ster-Kinekor to check out their latest kids offerings… Now I am constantly on the look-out for movies I think will work for Charly. The latest Ice Age was a little too hectic for her first time cinema experience, I was SO depressed that I missed half the movie as it is one of my favourite franchises.
Charly, Brett and I all LOVED The Secret Life of Pets and the whole cinema experience (prepare them for the loudness though and for the 3D if it is a new experience for your child). There is something so awesome about watching your child as they get involved in the movie. I warn you, you may end up watching the cuteness almost as much as the movie!
I have 2 more movies that I want to take her to. Both have some of my favourite voices in them and the music is epic!
The brand new SING launching on Friday, 23 December; which is an animated comedy about a koala that runs a singing competition to try to revitalise and save his theatre. It is set in an exclusively animal world, and Charly LOVES singing and dancing, so I can’t wait to share this with her.
And then Trolls. One of the negative reviews I read said there was “too much singing”, so now I want to see it more than ever Yes, I want to take Charly because I was obsessed with Troll toys as a child. I love sharing my excitement and passion over things with her. So far her enthusiasm matches and exceeds my own. BUT, I need to do a little more reading (or feedback from anybody who has seen it?) as somebody close to me said it is a bit hectic for little ones… I may need to go see it alone, and then again with her if I think it is ok So far, I get goosebumps every time I watch the intro to the True Colours song…
I have recently discovered the Ster-Kinekor Facebook page and I spend far too much time on it. It has new releases, sneak previews and opportunities to win tickets to exclusive preview events!! What’s not to love?!
I have done reviews on all of the below gift ideas already, so I am not going to do full sections for them, but I highly recommend all of them
The Alilo Honey Bunny is phenomenal. Everybody I know who has bought one swears it is the best ever, and I agree!
Bunchems are still keeping us entertained daily. This is an awesome gift that will keep the whole family entertained for hours.
Holiday Barbie or any Barbie really… While Holiday Barbie is undoubtedly my favourite, there really is an amazing range of dolls available to suit every child and to inspire your child to be anything they want to be!
Real Kids Shades to keep your little one looking cool and protecting little eyes.
b-box EVERYTHING! Their ranges are so beautiful and so clever and really do make meals fun for kids.
The Baby Throne. This is as much a gift for you as for your kid. Toilet training done in a natural and healthy way and removing the stress and trauma from the process.
The gorgeous Malaville Dolls that remain 2 of Charly’s most played with friends.
Allllllllll the Yookidoo bath toys!!! In this crazy heat and with water restrictions, we do bathtime in the afternoon. She plays with the toys for aaaaages and then washes and out she comes. No need for paddle pools or sprinklers
Volvo car seats. Another for you as much as them. For you, having complete peace of mind that your child is as safe as they possibly can be when travelling in a car. For them, the new generation seats are incredibly comfortable, and for the older kids, the Booster seats are also very sleek and stylish while providing complete safety.
And that’s it!! The very late Christmas List for kids 2016!
We have been so very spoilt with samples of so many amazing things this year. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to offer my little one all of this and to have made friends with so many remarkable brand managers and PRs! AND, so often, to have been able to offer you the chance to win the awesome stuff! Thank you to all of you, brands, PRs and readers for all the love and support!
I am hoping to be posting a lot more personal stuff over the season. I have so much to share once I have relaxed a little and reconnected with myself and my family.
Sending every one of you ALL THE LOVE xxxxx