By Emily Church
I don’t know about you, but 2020 seems to have lasted for about 1845241 days thanks to corona. For my children, December seems to have lasted a similarly epic amount of time but for a different reason – Christmas is around the corner and the agony of waiting to open gifts sat glistening under the tree is a daily temptation. Every morning I am greeted with the question: “Is it time to open the presents yet, mummy?” I admit I am starting to wonder if my kids listen to me at all (spoiler alert: reader, they do not) given the sheer number of mornings I have had to repeat myself – but I simply cannot bring myself to lecture them on the real story of Christmas being about Jesus. Because, truthfully, at 5 years old it is ALL about the toys.
With one week left of solid Christmas shopping time to go, we’ve cross-examined the parenting community of Newgate in a totally scientific way to bring you the top-notch recommendations for children’s toys across a range of ages. If, like me, 2020 has spun your head so many times that you STILL need to find that ‘Hero Present’ for your little darlings, godchildren, nieces and nephews or distant third-cousins-twice-removed, then worry no more – Newgate has done the thinking so that you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
- Lego Duplo Cargo Train – A sizeable gift trainset of everyone’s favourite building block that sneakily introduces kids aged 2-5 yrs old to coding via an app and special ‘Action Brick’. Will your child grow up to invent the next tech giant thanks to this toy set? Frankly, you can’t afford to NOT find out!
- Crayola Ultimate Light Board – This fun and funky electric art pad will unleash your kid’s inner banksy, lighting up their designs in neon with 3 fun light effects. For ages 6 and over, this is the gift for your family if your fridge is creaking under the weight of paper drawings that your child has emotionally blackmailed you into keeping on display.
- Beginner’s Kite – Kites have come a LONG way in the past decade. No longer content with twee designs and running on the village green trying to throw it up in the air and failing miserably (no? Just me?), kites are now made from state of the art materials and pack enough of a punch to pull you off your feet if you catch the right breeze. Suitable for ages 8 and over, this could be just the thing to tear your tween or teen away from the xBox for a few hours.
- Electric Scooter – Remember the days when all you needed to scoot was a sense of adventure and your legs? Well, those days are officially IN THE BIN now that the only mode of transportation to be seen on is battery-powered. It may not be the most eco-friendly (or cheap) gift, but when your teenager is tired thanks to a night spent playing Minecraft, this e-scooter will come to their rescue.
- Superhero Costume – Lockdown has been pretty tough for entertainment venues given they have had to close for most of 2020, but that shouldn’t stop your little one from dressing up to their heart’s content as their favourite cinematic or literary icon. Newgate highly recommends costumes for the whole family for the Ultimate 2020 Christmas Dinner Scene. Just try to avoid Game of Thrones characters.
- Grimms Sunset Rainbow – Do you know someone who welcomed a new baby during lockdown? Then consider investing in a beautiful piece that is suitable from birth, environmentally friendly, and will provide years of entertainment helping their child develop fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. It also looks pretty good for the ‘Gram so, ya know, win-win.
- Teepee – If building a den with your kid simply isn’t your idea of a good time, a teepee is exactly what you need. Effortless to put up, sturdy, and easily stored away at the end of a playdate- you can hide in the office with a drink while they play, safe in the knowledge that your sofa cushions and furniture will stay put.
- 100 Paper Dragons – This excellent book uses origami techniques to allow kids to make their own flying dragons out of paper. Featuring stylish dragon artwork, your kids will practise important geometric and spatial visualization skills as they fold and create. Even NASA engineers use the principles of origami when designing spacecraft, so you can assure your kids they are in good company.
- Kigu – Before onesies could be found in every local corner shop, the Kigu (short for Kigurumi) was the high quality onesie of choice for those in the know. Originally from Japan, Kigus are known there as ‘disguise pyjamas’ and are regularly worn on the street as well as at home. We suggest getting one each for the whole family – they may come in handy for that 2021 work from home life…
- Junior ISA – We couldn’t let a list like this go by without suggesting perhaps the ultimate gift for your little ones – a Junior ISA invested in the stock market. Establish one early for your child and invite friends and relatives to add to the pot yearly. Stock market returns typically outperform rates on cash ISA savings by a country mile over the long term, leaving your child with a cool nest egg to spend wisely at the age of 18, as teenagers are so well known for doing.