Top Christmas Gifts for Kids - The Ultimate Sensory Guide
Tips for picking the perfect gift for kids this Christmas.
Featuring some small businesses we love
We love to throw our hands up and say "it's for kids, anything goes!", but a lot of thought has to go into getting that perfect Christmas gift. It has to be bright enough to keep a baby entertained, it has to be soft enough not to scratch a toddler's face, and it has to be entertaining enough to keep a school-age child out of mischief for a few minutes. It also has to make a lot of noise, as well as be as fun as possible, as engaging as possible. Of course, safety is paramount, as is value for money. There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for a gift, and we've been doing it for years, so we know a thing or two about a good Christmas present.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the toughest when it comes to shopping for our kids. There are so many toys out there, but you don’t want to just get your child anything. You want to get them something that will be fun and engaging, something that will teach them something, and something that will give them hours of joy. We’ve picked out some of our favorite toys for kids, all of which are perfect for the holidays or any time of the year.
The ‘IT’ factor when buying a sensory Christmas gift for kids
- Don't spend money on something your child will only use once.
- Keep the child's interests in mind while shopping for gifts
- Quality over quantity
- Sensory gifts that meet their individual interests/ abilities
Which top brands are on our radar when buying kids Christmas gifts?
One of the best parts about Christmas is giving and receiving gifts. The truth is that it’s not always easy to figure out what to buy for your friends and family. This is particularly true when it comes to children and teenagers. The good news is that there’s no need to panic. We’ve come up with a list of the best brands to choose from. It’s a good idea to keep in mind the age and gender of the child. This will help you find the perfect gift.
Two Aussie small businesses we love:
Adventure Snacks is a Perth based business that has great quality, cleverly designed products that can help make the process of packing school much easier and more enjoyable.
Little Wolfie is a Brisbane based company, with cute baby and toddler wear. All designed in Australia.
THE TOYS WE LOVE AND WHY WE LOVE THEM
What are the best gifts for babies aged 0-2 years of age?
The early years of a child’s life are a time of incredible growth and development. This is a time when children are learning everything from how to interact with their parents to how to speak to others. They need toys that challenge their senses, that engage their interest and that they can explore.
The Melody Music Activity Station is the one stop shop for interactive musical fun. What better way to exercise those musical brain cells than with xylophone, drums and good old maracas. The Melody Music Activity Station allows babies and toddlers to move and groove literally to their own beat of the drum. A fun activity centre for you to engage with the child too.
Little Wolfie’s Script Name Rompers are their best seller! Their snap free rompers make for an easy change with the wriggliest of little bodies. The most comfortable one piece for a babe to roll around in. RRP $34.95
One of our hottest sellers this season has been the Wooden Rain Maker. Everyone is talking about how beautiful it sounds and how soothing it is to watch the beads cascade down. Possibly a gift not only for baby, but also for the parents. No more noisy electronics to drive the adults nuts this Christmas 😹.
We love interactive learning, so why not introduce your little one to the I'm Toy 5 Activity Stacker. Each learning activity has been specially designed to train your child's hands, fingers and brain to work together as a coordinated team.
Need a stocking filler? Check out the Jellystone Sensory Ball. The Sensory Ball is super easy to clean; simply wash it in the dishwasher, steriliser or warm soapy water. Available in colours: bubblegum purple and soft blue.
Which gifts are on our radar for Preschoolers (3 - 6 years of age)?
With kids aged 3 - 6, my biggest goal is to keep them off their electronic devices as much as possible. Here are some top gifts to stay away from those screens, even if it is just for a bit 😆.
Let’s tire those little preschoolers out - especially on the rainy days. This is the ultimate prezzie that will last for years to come. Pikler Triangle with Rock Climbing Wall and Slide is amazing as an indoor play centre. Do you have an active and energetic child who loves to explore, climb and jump? Then this play equipment set is just what you need! It’s a bigger ticket item from Santa - in my opinion worth every penny.
Sometimes kids need convincing to have a bath. So why not give the Waterslide Bath Time Marble Run a go. Perfect for the bath or shower.
Have you ever stuck your hands into a bowl full of Water Beads? It is a totally unique sensory experience- they feel icky, squishy, wet, slimey but are lots of fun!
Magic Wood Marble Tree is Great for developing hand-eye co-ordination, this wooden toy is also a perfect calming toy for children.
The perfect stocking stuffer - a book. My kids love to read, so why not start preparing them for school with Not this Bear, A First Day of School Story. This book will help ease their anxiety about starting kinder or school.
Remember the experience, not the toys - Gifts for Primary Schoolers (6-12 years of age)
You want to get the best gift you can - something that will be fun for them to play with, that will help them learn something new, that will be something they can share with their friends or family or that will keep them occupied for hours on end, but what should you get them? As an adult we reflect back on what were good toys, and it was the ones that we shared, and brought hours of fun.
Now this one is for the kids and the parents - Magblox Magnetic Building Tiles. My kids and I spend hours building everything you could imagine. The current favourite is building a garage for all the cars to drive into. This gift grows with the kids.
Adventure Snacks Yumbox Lunchbox. These lunchboxes make packing lunch for your kids a breeze with pre-portioned sections - all you need to do is fill them with delicious, healthy food! Kids also love them as they make lunchtime fun. No need to send multiple containers anymore (and hope they make it back home), as everything can be placed into the one container.
Do you want to get your child to discover the outdoors? Try this Outdoor Activity Set. This gift will help kids to explore and study their surroundings.
Something a little educational try the Creative Maths Sticks Game. This fantastic educational game features magnetic wooden sticks that children place on a card to recreate shapes and pictures.
The Jellystone DIY Calm Down Bottle kit provides your child with all the creative elements required to create a calming sensory bottle, without the hassle of preparing it all yourself.
Here are some of our favorite Christmas gifts for kids - The Teens (12 + years)
If you're trying to buy for a teen, there are a few things you should know. First, don't buy them something just because it's trendy, but also don't buy them something they'll grow out of in a few months. Here are some things we think are winners for the teen in your life.
If you have a child that needs to do a task or chore for 5 minutes the Sensory Spiral Liquid Timer could be the answer. It looks great in any teenager's room and is available in pink or blue.
A stocking filler for the arty kids (or not so arty) - The Mindful Coloring Set is a collection of beautiful images that provide the user with a few minutes (or hours) to escape and relax while they color.
The Fidget Kit by Kaiko Fidgets is the ideal package for any fidget lover- containing 5 of Kaiko's favourite Fidgets! Kaiko The Fidget Kit.
Magic Cube Puzzle - We love playing this fun, challenging puzzle as it keeps adults and children alike entertained for hours on end!
Must-have toys are those that help children develop and grow. When choosing a Christmas gift for a child, it’s best to choose one that will help them improve their skills and help them grow.
Let's not forget a present for the big kids - the adults in your life. Did you know coffee can really heighten the senses? Coffee has the sensory elements of the aroma it makes when brewing, along with it's creamy texture and warm temperature. We know many adults looking after kids all day might need a pick me up! Right now we are loving Seaford's Coffee For the People Roasting Co. A lovely gift for the coffee lover in your life might be some bags of their signature roasted beans or a year long coffee subscription.
Our kids are still kids and they should be able to get the right toys to build their motor skills and dexterity. We hope you enjoyed our tips and suggestions. Check out our site for the sensory gifts that are sure to put a smile on your child's face.
Sarah and Gemma
Sarah from the Sensory Specialist is a qualified Melbourne psychology teacher and mother of two boys. This article was co-written with Gem Black, teacher and mother of two. Between them they had quite a few well trialed tips to share. But, there is always room for improvement - Have we left anything out of our Christmas list for kids? We would love your input if you have any tips or tricks on buying the perfect gift. Email us with any questions or suggestions you may have.