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New Balance Sneakers for the entire family!

* This post is sponsored by Superbalist. It's the beginning of a new school year and the start of all kinds of extra-murals and sports for our crew... That means shoe shopping. More specifically, sneaker shopping! Growing feet need new trainers for netball, hockey,...

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the best Christmas gifts for kids – 2022

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Celebrations, Gift Guides | 0 comments

In our home quality wins over quantity, that’s why I’m always on the hunt for the best Christmas gifts for kids! We’ve already shared our gift ideas for tweens so today it’s the preschool to 9-year-old’s turn. This gift list has been put together and approved by both of our younger daughters and is sure to include a few good ideas for your little one(s) too…

First, Ava’s best Christmas gifts for kids

What better way to learn than through play…

Open-ended toys that promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics always get a 10/10.

best christmas gifts for kids
  1. LEGO needs no introduction or explication. It’s ALWAYS a winner!
  2. You’re also never too young for your 1st set of magnetic tiles. We have about 5 sets of Imagimags and it’s by far the most played-with toy in our home. Even our 10-year-old still loves building and creating with them.
  3. Wooden Knock-a-Blocks from Stumped are designed to develop important tactile skills while your child engages in hours of open-ended, imaginative play!
  4. The Junior version of the Marble Maze. Choose a card to see your puzzle and place the multi-directional tiles on the board. Release the steel marbles to see if you land your targets. It’s a logic, strategy and brain game all in one! Available from Timeless Toys.
  5. I know you’ve seen these and probably wondered “what’s the hype all about”… The Play Pod modular couch for kids surprised us! Our girls enjoyed the 1st set for Eliana and Lia’s room so much, we decided to get another one for Ava’s room too. Building forts, tents, castles, race cars, a bus… Anything the kids can imagine has never been easier or more fun.
Something to spark the imagination…

Roleplay is such a huge part of Ava’s current development. She spends hours recreating our mundane, daily routine as she starts figuring out her own place in this world.

best christmas gifts for preschool kids
  1. PlanToys have been our number 1 brand for imaginative play for years. Beautiful, durable play sets made sustainably. Themes include tool belts, dollhouses, surgeons-, dentists- and hairdresser sets, just to name a few. The entire PlanToys range is available from Soufi.
  2. The Play Pay Pack by Tender Leaf is just what any “little shopowner” needs… A cute card machine with squishy number buttons and your own credit card to swipe! This set even includes five differently illustrated receipts, a health card, an ID card (all with space to write a name or stick a photo) as well as an adorable little foxy purse to keep all your paper money and coins safe. Available from Make Believe Co.
  3. The sweetest daisies embellished wooden picnic set from Djeco simply screams summer! Available from Timeless Toys.
  4. More PlanToys sets from Soufi for your little chef.
Keeping to imaginative play…
avas top 10 best christmas gifts for kids
  1. Another HIT in our home… BigJigs wooden train sets. We bought Eliana her first set years ago and have been adding on ever since. The girls create magnificent railway lines that may even rival London’s underground. Available from Timeless Toys and Takealot.com.
  2. Figurines in the garden, figurines in the tub, figurines in the car, figurines at the dinner table… Any tiny toy that fits into a pocket of a mini handbag makes Ava’s heart happy and content to play anywhere. Timeless Toys stock brands like CollectA, Safari Ltd and Schleich. These brands enlisted the help of experts from around the world to ensure that every figurine is factually accurate and true to life, so little ones get to learn while they play.
  3. Made from metal with some plastic parts/accessories Siku diecast models are tough and long-lasting. Featuring rolling wheels, moving ramp parts, and lots of other removable/detachable parts. With loads of options to choose from, all are accurately made to scale the real thing! Available from Timeless Toys.
On to dolls…

Gone are the days of toys for boys and toys for girls. All children enjoy playing with dolls – as they should. Here are a few of Ava’s most loved (plus new ones that caught our eye).

best gifts for kids

  1. For preschool age, there really isn’t a better first doll than Lottie. Based on the proportions of a nine-year-old, Lottie isn’t interested in being a mini-adult and therefore doesn’t wear make-up, jewellery or high heels. Lottie is all about enjoying childhood, living life to the full and seeking adventure around every corner with friends.
  2. And just in case you were worried… Lottie has a boy version too – Finn.

Both Timeless Toys and Make Believe Co. stock the Lottie range with accessories.

More doll play…
christmas gift ideas for kids
christmas gift guide for kids
  1. Tiny Harlow was born in 2018, when a passionate young mother, Ebony Pezzuto was on a creative mission to design beautiful toys that can be enjoyed for years to come. The inspiration for the Tiny Harlow collection came from recreating iconic dolls and accessories from past generations with a modern twist. Available from Make Believe Co.
  2. Snuggle them, dress them and style their hair. The Dinkum Dolls are made from the softest, snuggliest cotton outer, making them the perfect play and cuddle friend. With pretty embroidered details, from their eyes and mouth to the little rainbow over their heart. Each doll comes with its own removable gender-neutral outfit, socks, nappy and shoes and there are loads more outfits and accessories to add. Available from Make Believe Co. (A portion of each Dinkum Doll sold will be donated to Save The Children to support global education initiatives.)
  3. A high chair and a cute baby wardrobe for your baby always come in handy. Available from Timeless Toys.
  4. Ava’s best… the Miniland Educational doll collection. Made in Spain, these anatomically correct, vanilla-scented, newly born baby dolls are dressed in neutral underwear and show well-defined ethnic features to represent most races. Made of smooth, durable, phthalate-free vinyl – they are completely BPA-free and lovely to touch. The dolls have hair that can be brushed, a head, legs and arms that can move and they can sit upright easily. A perfect gift for little ones growing up in our beautiful rainbow nation. Available from Timeless Toys and Nomad & Grace.
  5. Both Timeless Toys and Make Believe Co. offer a wonderful selection of pretty doll clothes and accessories to enrich play even further.
  6. Create ever-lasting childhood memories with your very own rattan dolls pram from Frankie & Friends. This is sure to become a family heirloom.
  7. For gorgeous, locally handmade doll clothes and accessories for your Miniland doll. Visit Nomad & Grace.
  8. Babywear just like mommy in your own Ubuntu Baba doll carrier.
Not too old for teddy bear cuddles yet…

Bere in Klere is a new local brand that makes individually handcrafted heirloom dolls from a linen blend fabric, stuffed with a hypoallergenic filling, completed with lots of love, hand-stitched features and hand-made cotton outfits and accessories. From foxes to farm animals, to bears and bunny rabbits and more! Bere in Klere is sure to steal your little one’s heart too.

best christmas gifts for young kids
  1. Large “bere” measure approximately 48cm(h) x 15cm(w) x 10cm(d) with various dress and dungaree outfit options available.
  2. Baby “bere” all come wearing a onesie, wrapped in a blanket, and measure approximately 15cm(h) x 7cm(w) x 5cm(d).
  3. The Mini “bere” is our favourite and offers the most extras. Approximate dimensions: 16cm(h) x 8cm(w) x 5cm(d).
  4. Medium “bere” are the fanciest for sure with tulle dresses and bows in their “fur”. Approximate dimensions: 32cm(h) x 12cm(w) x 6cm(d).
For little gardeners…

There’s nothing like getting down in the dirt or the satisfaction of seeing something grow. If your little one is anything like our Ava – a little green thumb on a mission to grow a family veggie patch. Then these gift ideas could help get them started…

avas top 10 best christmas gifts for kids 2
  1. Stumped Wooden Toys has an incredible selection of DIY nature kits to build and enjoy with your little one. Anything from Bird Feeders to Little Gardener’s boxes and “Gogga” Hotels.
  2. A Little Bee Home or Little Butterfly Home is a great way to invite nature’s tiny pollinators into your backyard. Give them a place to call home while they help you take care of your garden. Also available from Cabin Kids.
  3. Let your little adventurer run, explore and discover! The Huckleberry Pop-Up Net is a gentle and safe way to capture and examine creatures in the air, water and land. It collapses into a small pouch to take with you wherever adventure leads. Available from Cabin Kids.
  4. My Eco Sprout growing kits are available online from My Eco Sprout.
  5. Surprise your little one with their own kid-sized, metal gardener toolset from Timeless Toys will have the kids feeling just like Mom and Dad.
Baskets, bags and trolleys…

Ava always has a handbag, backpack or basket ready to complete an outfit or take along when we leave the house. Here are a few cute options she would love to add to her collection…

best christmas gifts for a 5 year old
  1. Adorable castle and mushroom rattan baskets made by Olli Ella. Perfect for storage and play. Available from Make Believe Co.
  2. Add a touch of nostalgia to any outfit or storage for your little one’s favourite toys and books with a Retro Mini Sun Jellies Jelly Bag. Available from Make Believe Co.
  3. There was no way Ava could resist leaving this one off the list… Purse Pets. It’s a purse, and also a pet… Basically a 5-year-olds dream. Available from leading toystores.
  4. Rattan Medium Luggy by Olli EllaA beautiful wheeled basket that’s not too big, and not too small, but just right. Available from Make Believe Co.
  5. The tiny traveler backpack from Willow & Roo. Lightweight, designed to be easy to wear and easy to care for.
  6. Retro Red Toy Wagon available on Takealot.com – We have a similar one that my dad bought Eliana for her 1st birthday. 10 years later and the girls still load it up for picnics, poolside chilling and movie nights. It’s a MUST!
  7. Mini Chari Bag also by Olli Ella works great as a bike basket, scooter basket, backpack, treasure bag, or a little handbag. Available from Make Believe Co.
Extras Ava loves…
best christmas gifts for boys and girls
  1. Rock on it, read in it, crawl underneath it, use it as a slide, a bridge, a cave, a doll’s bed, or train your puppy to do tricks on it! The Thornewood Rocker is available from Thornewood Treasures.
  2. A Birch Ply Perspex Easel by Frankie & Friends for drawing with whiteboard markers or bath crayons. Paint using water-based paints or shaving cream. Whatever medium you choose, it’s easy to assemble and you can also peg paper on the easel for a new experience.
  3. Lastly… Ava’s TOP PICK this year… A “big girl bike” with all the bells and whistles! No more balancing bikes in our home, Ava is ready and her “big girl bike” is long overdue.

Now for Lia’s best Christmas gifts for kids

At Lia’s age, brands have become important. These are the ones she loves the most!

A classic that you can never go wrong with…

We are lucky enough to have a LEGO store close to home and simply visiting is an experience all by itself, but when looking for a special set – we always go online. GreatYellowBrick.co.za stocks all the “hard to find” and “LEGO exclusives”. Some of Lia’s top picks this year include:

best gift ideas for kids 1
  1. The Marvel Super Heroes.
  2. Anything Minecraft.
  3. The SUPER MARIO adventure course sets and expansion packs.
  4. Any of the adorable BRICK HEADZ.
Something a little nostalgic…

A favourite from my own childhood. I remember many afternoons spent creating homes and towns with my cousin as we played with the cheaper, more limited version called, “Forest Families”. Years later the Forest Families have gone BUT the Sylvanian Families have stood the test of time, and for good reason. With a variety of families, houses, shops, furniture and accessories to choose from – all of which are very detailed. Every figure has a sweet, unique expression, good form and size. Sylvanian Families is a quality, evergreen toy that promotes wholesome play, learning about relationships (including kindness and love of others) and allows our kids to create their own stories. Sylvanian Families are available at Toy R Us, Toy Kingdom, Marko as well as Takealot.com.

best gift ideas for 8 year olds 2

Five of Lia’s favs include:

  1. The Hedgehog family.
  2. A Family Campervan or Caravan.
  3. The Husky family Tandem Cycling Set.
  4. The Lakeside Lodge.
  5. Sylvanian Families Nursery Friends set of 3.
Doll play is still cool too…

The Our Generation Dolls stole our hearts back in 2019 in and we haven’t found a better doll to date. The girls love all the fun accessories, clothes and extras this range offers. Plus their dolls still look good as new, even after years of play. Our Generation dolls are sold at most toy stores nationwide.

gift ideas for kids 3
  1. Lia wouldn’t mind adding another doll to her collection and has been eyeing the pink heart doll carrier for ages.
  2. Fun Our Generation accessories are always welcome.
  3. With countless outfits to choose from, your doll won’t run out of fashion moments either.
Can’t leave out an icon…

It’s no secret how much our girls LOVE Barbie! Our best Christmas gifts for kids guide would not be complete without her…

best gift ideas for kids 2022
  1. Who can resist the Barbie Dreamhouse? It makes all kinds of sounds, has lights, plays music and even has a lift! The girls are obsessed.
  2. The Barbie Dreamcamper Vehicle with Pool, Slide & Accessories for the Barbie that likes to keep moving.
  3. Barbie EXTRA for little maximalists!
  4. Or keep to the dolls that everyone loves like a Dreamtopia Mermaid or Fashionistas Travel Doll and Scooter.
  5. Keep all your Barbie outfits neat and tidy in a Fashionistas Ultimate Closet.
  6. And remember… Every Barbie needs her Ken.
Lia always enjoys a good Science, Technology, Enginering & Math challenge…

Timeless Toys has the best collection of S.T.E.M toys for every age! Sign up to their newsletter and create an account for discounts and special offers.

best gift ideas for kids 4
best gift guide for kids
  1. Gravity Maze Game is a gravity-powered logic maze game that builds reasoning skills and visual perception. The colourful, translucent towers can be arranged in a variety of structures but, for each challenge, you’ll have to think carefully to build a path that will successfully carry your marble to its target.
  2. Build unbelievable ball track structures with the Contraptions stacking plank set. Create ramps, funnels, chutes and crazy “contraptions” then put your creation to the test and find out if the ball rolls as expected. No glue, no connectors: just loads of constructive fun!
  3. Our next Imagimags purchase will be the Construction Set which is compatible with your favourite building bricks… LEGO! It’s a match made in heaven.
  4. K’NEX encourages the development of fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and dexterity while encouraging building and cognitive skills too. Sets start small with 21 pieces and go up to 700 pieces with over 40 designs to build. The entire family can get in the fun.
  5. Marble maze 8years+ is the upgrade from the same game mentioned in Ava’s list. Now kids get to explore 64 puzzling challenges!
  6. In case you missed the memo. The Rubrik’s Cube is BACK and everyone is playing.
  7. Q-BA-MAZE is a unique system of colourful cubes that interlock to form an exciting marble run. The big difference? The configurations are UNLIMITED: create runs shaped like rockets, robots, butterflies, or whatever design you want! Timeless Toys has 9 different sets to choose from.
Fun with someone…

Board games are a HIT in our home and not just for family games night. The girls often reach for a board game instead of the TV remote…

christmas gift ideas for kids 1

A few our family enjoys playing are:

  1. Guess Who?
  2. Hungry Hippos
  3. Twister
  4. Battleship
  5. Operation
  6. Jumanji

All of the games mentioned above are available from most leading toy- and bookstores as well as online.

A few last Toys worth a mention…
gift guide for an 8 year old
what to buy ann 8 year old
  1. I spotted this 3 Piece Kids Rainbow Tones Mermaid Bikini on Takealot this week and just know the girls would go wild living out their mermaid dreams this summer.
  2. The Micro Sprite Deluxe Scooter for kids aged 7 and up to adult.
  3. Making roller skating a regular thing is one of our 2023 family priorities. Takealot.com stocks a few options – this Impala Quad Roller Skate pair is top of Lia’s list, (and mine too).
  4. Non-toxic, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, locally-produced, mineral-based makeup for kids by Cassie Kids for future “Kyle Jenners”.
  5. Swingball is a great summer game and ideal training aid to develop hand and eye coordination. Fun for the whole family.
  6. Beautiful Argentium silver Valori jewellery by My Kind Ek Uniek. Rings, necklaces and bracelets engraved with scripture and other motivational words to remind your little one of how unique they really are. All pieces can be personilised to add an extra special touch. And don’t forget a pretty jewellery box to keep those treasured pieces safe. Available from Timeless Toys.
  7. Nerf guns are cool and so much fun! Takealot.com has a great selection and discounts too.
  8. The Spider Web Tree Swing is sure to provide hours of outdoor relaxation. Available from Takealot.com
  9. A big “family gift” we’re considering this year is a “Scalextric Track”. It may be an 80’s baby thing but some of my fondest childhood memories are of Sunday afternoon racing between our family members. The Carrera GO!!! Speed Grip Set track available on Takealot is on our wish list.
  10. Junior Cactus Watches is a perfect first watch. It has a time teacher design featuring numbers that are clear, and easy to read, with “TO” and “PAST” on the face of the watch to help kids learn how to read analog time, in no time at all! Available from Timeless Toys.
  11. Billes & Co. takes marbles to the next level with their beautiful boxes of marbles. Each set is a work of art in itself, hand-painted by Manu in their French workshop. The marble boxes are made with all-natural and recycled materials, presenting an eco-friendly toy that will inspire children’s imagination and develop their motor skills. Available from Make Believe Co.
  12. In our home, the simplest toys tend to provide the most value… Just like these foam glider planes. Available from Timeless Toys, Makro and Takealot.com

That’s our list of best Christmas gifts for kids.

Do you have anything to add?

Feel free to share your picks and suggestions for the best Christmas gifts for kids with us in a comment below.

best christmas gifts for kids 2022 1

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