Ho ho ho!
It's that time of year – time to start filling Santa's sack with lots of goodies. If you have a small child in your life – a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a friend's baby, or you're simply helping your little one write their letter to Santa – you might need a little inspiration.
Walking into a giant toy store can be pretty daunting. Won't baby just prefer the packaging? (Yes). Will the house just become cluttered with noisy and unwanted toys that need batteries and add-ons and a small DIY army just to extract from their packaging? (Yes, yes, and yes).
Some things are classics and will get used for years; some things are just so darned practical every household needs one; and some things are simply beautiful and should be loved and cherished until they are passed onto the next generation.
Of course, you can get some great educational pressies right here at SuperHands. How about our Illustrated Dictionary of Baby Sign or our gorgeous Colour/alphabet chart, or a gift voucher for baby sign classes? We also have a special bundle of a course voucher and book on sale at 10% off! The SuperHands elves can also recommend...
My first suggestion is books. There are so many amazing books for 0-2 year olds, and we have some 'baby' books in this house that 8 year old Little Bird still likes to read periodically. Babies like to read the same book over, and over, and over. There are life-long benefits to reading to your baby so having a little library of great books means you'll never be stuck for some snuggly reading time.
Our favourite authors include Chris Judge, Oliver Jeffers, Eric Carle, Julia Donaldson, Mo Willems, Tim Hopgood, Niamh Sharkey, Lucy Cousins, Chris Haughton, Judith Kerr, Jan Pienkowski... this list is not exhaustive.
Poetry is also a great way to introduce language to your baby so if you can find illustrated versions of poems by the likes of AA Milne, Roald Dahl, Spike Milligan, Robert Louis Stevenson, Allan Ahlberg and, of course, the king of children's poetry, Dr. Seuss, your baby will be delighted at the fun and absurdity of it all.
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
And the Monkeys all say Boo!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the Trees go Ping!
And the teapots Jibber Jabber Joo
Puffin and Usbourne are great for collections of poetry and short stories for tiny people.
Hint: lift-the-flap books are best avoided until baby is a little older, otherwise they become rip-the-flap books.
Check out Amazons Top 100 Illustrated books for babies for further inspiration:
Next up let's look at musical instruments. No need to buy the dear baby a baby grand piano, but introducing age appropriate instruments will have lots of benefits including improving hand-eye coordination, building confidence, and hopefully introducing a lifelong love of music. Yes, it can be noisy, but at least it's not electronic, right?
Check out LittleOnes.ie for great ideas for baby and toddler instruments. How adorable is this bird xylophone?!
For all sorts of puzzles, stacking and push-along toys baby will love, check out this selection:
I wish this guy had been around 8 years ago! This white noise-emitting bear helps sooth babies to sleep. These Gummy Bear nightlights also come highly recommended. These deceptively simple toys are award winning and come with rave reviews.
Dolls aren't just for girls! Every kid will enjoy playing with this gorgeous play house. This gorgeous Moose Rocking Horse will keep you little one rocking in style, as will this super Red Rider. Wish they did them in Mum sizes! This activity cube has LOTS to keep babies occupied!
What about some furniture for the playroom or baby's bedroom?
These tables and chairs are gorgeous and will get years of use. How about a beanbag for your little one to loll on, or this amazing teepee! This castle keep is probably more suitable for ages 3+ but I just think it's so excellent I have to include it here. I mean, babies grow really quickly :-)
Well, happy shopping, I hope Santa is suitably inspired!