Whether it’s for your own children or someone else’s, this time of year means that many of us are searching for that elusive gift that will get the kids off of their iPads and have them stretching their imaginative muscles. Sometimes it can be the simplest gifts that spark the imagination and draw the little recipient into a world of magic & wonder. Not only is imaginative play fun but it’s also hugely beneficial to children’s general development & confidence and it’s something I’ve always been keen to encourage in my kids.
I’ve put together a quick list of our five favourite gifts to spark the imagination. If you’ve got any little people on your Christmas list then why not give one of these gifts a go?
1. Art & Craft Kit, £8.99
Drawing, painting and crafting are fantastic ways to encourage your child’s imaginative skills. They can literally create anything they want! A purple monkey playing football? A princess saving a dragon from an evil prince? Absolutely! As Walt Disney famously said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Madeleine loves getting crafty so her face lit up when she saw this carry case stuffed with creative bits and bobs. It’s also available in pink, blue and green.
2. Lottie Doll, £18.99
I am so in love with Lottie Dolls. They are a welcome change from the Disney Princess/Barbie nonsense that Madeleine has become obsessed with lately. Lottie Dolls are the most beautifully made age-appropriate dolls (no skinny waist and big boobs here) all of which have a fascinating hobby such as star gazing or fossil hunting. I want them all! We’ve got Madeleine the Rockabilly doll and Super Lottie accessories for her birthday, at which point I will slowly start sneaking the Barbies into the charity bag!
3. Activity Books, from £4.99
Boolino is a fantastic site for buying childrens books; if you’ve not heard of it I’d really recommend checking it out. It’s easy to navigate and has everything sectioned into age ranges as well as topics, which I love. They stock all my favourites including these fantastic books from Bloomsbury. As you can imagine, the Princess Snowbelle books are right up Madeleine’s street but I’m a fan too thanks to the fact that Snowbelle is actually a child rather than an adult princess wittering on about Prince Charming (I’m looking at you, Disney gang!). We love to colour in the snowy scenes, add stickers and imagine what magical adventure Princess Snowbelle is going on.
The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do is a different kind of activity book and perfect for getting the kids outside to have fun in the fresh air. There’s so many ideas to choose from, you’re bound to find something that sparks the little one’s imaginations! Such a fun book to have in your school holiday arsenal.
4. Nick Baker’s Bug Safari, £13.99
Bug Safari is perfect for little explorers; my two love it! Included in the kit is everything you will need to catch and study garden beasties before setting them free. I do like an educational toy! What 2 Buy 4 Kids is another brilliant site for children’s gifts due to it being sectioned into ages. I find it quite difficult to buy for older kids so I find this a really helpful feature for my neices and nephews!
5. Snazaroo Mini Face Paint Kit, £2.99
I can’t tell you how much fun we’ve had with these mini face paint kits from Snazaroo! They come with 3 colours, a sponge and a little brush as well as a guide to creating that particular design. The paint lasts for ages so we have used them loads of times to pretend to be monsters, witches or fairies and play make-believe games. Madeleine loves to spend ages in front of the mirror creating a new character. So much fun! They’d be a perfect stocking filler or party favour for all ages.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Albert Einstein
It’s so important to encourage creativity and imagination in our children and it doesn’t need to involve complex Pinterest worthy activities. Given the right tools and the right environment, a child’s imagination can take them anywhere!
What are your children’s favourite gifts for imaginative play?