The Mums NI team received a very special invite to have mince pies and hot chocolate with none other than Mr Claus himself. This was an invitation that we would never refuse so we packed our trusty notebook and pen and took him up on his kind offer.
Just like last year, he gave us a tour around his magical Toy Workshop and allowed us a sneak peek at the new toys the Elves are working on that will be on top of all the little boys and girls lists for Christmas 2018. This year be prepared for lots of fluffy cuddly characters, a bit of nostalgia thrown in along the way and the usual top toy brands, that always make the list.
So settle down with a cuppa and have a read through the list. Remember, organisation is the key to a smooth Christmas Gift shopping experience, it’s never too early to be prepared.
We love Leapfrog products, so this one is no exception to our rule. This little guy is beautifully designed in bright colours and ready to teach your child numbers, colours, counting skills and plants. Using Leapfrogs amazing technology this interactive garden is an early introduction to the sciences with an easy to understand “Life Cycle of a Plant” book. There are 3 veggie friends (radish, onion and carrot) that your little one can press, pull and push to build up their fine motor skills while learning about colours and counting. Your child can dig into the soil with the trowel to reveal a new friend. The cute watering can will light up and play a song when your child waters the plants. There is also a light up sun which teaches the time of day. Leapfrog know how to do a catchy tune and this delightful toy has 4 songs and over 100 music and sound effects to keep your little one entertained.
We are excited by this new addition to the Furreal Family. We’ve been told that this cute baby dino will be extremely popular, so if you see him and he’s on your child's list, get him. Rex is a very playful and unpredictable little fella. He comes complete with a baby bottle, caveman shaped cookie and chunk of broccoli. Your child can feed Rex but depending on how he is feeling he will either chomp his food down or try to spit it out. With over 35 sound and movement combinations, he’s sure to be a wonderful little companion for your child - they’re sure to get up to some mischief!
If you have child who is really into looking after animals and aspires to become a vet, then this is the toy for you. When you open Scruff-a-Luvs, you will be greeted by what looks like a matted ball of fur. In essence, that is exactly what it is. This is because what you have just rescued is an abandoned pet who needs lots and lots of love, hugs and attention. First things first is to get that messy pet scrubbed - so you will need to wash it in water. Then you will need to dry them off and give them a good groom. At this stage you find out what your pet is (either pink or blue) - a puppy, a kitten or a bunny. Now they are ready to become part of your family and be well looked after. They love having their super fluffy fur brushed with their own brush which is included along with a hair accessory, collar and adoption certificate. Scruff-a-Luvs is a proud supporter of the RSPCA, so with your purchase you will be helping to donate to the RSPCA to help real animals find their forever home.
This Baby Alive doll is the doll you will want to be buying this year. She is available in three different styles to suit your preference. We think that the toggle feature for her to say either Mummy/Daddy is pretty fantastic - perfect for little boys and little girls to enjoy some realistic role play time. After your baby doll drinks from her water bottle, she will do a little peepee dance to let your child know that she needs to use the potty. Once she’s on the potty she will do her business. Your little one can then pretend to wash her hands with the hand wash that is included. Now it’s time to reward her achievement by giving her a sticker on her Potty Training reward chart! How cute is that? Baby Alive has over 50 phrases, which she can say in English or in Spanish - a great way to introduce your child to a new language at a young age. She can also blink her eyes. Included is a potty, pretend handwash, reward chart, stickers, big girl pants, removable outfit, a comb to brush her hair and a bottle. Baby Alive is all grown up!
The Leapfrog Leapstart has gone and got an upgrade with the added feature of a 3D-like screen, giving your child, quite literally, an extra dimension their learning - without having to give them your tablet or smartphone - via audio, print and now video. This updated version is compatible with all the books it predecessor used, but will not use the new technology for the 3D function. There is however a new library of 3D books for this unit which includes your child's favourite characters from Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Trolls, Disney Princesses and Disney Pixar! This is an excellent toy that will grow with your child teaching numbers, letters, colours, problem solving, social sciences, language etc and will help your child grip a pencil the right way. Your child will not even realise that they are learning with this item, they’ll just think they are having fun - win win!
Do you remember all the hype from Christmas 2017 over the fingerlings? Well, get ready for it again this year with Pomsies! They are basically interactive pom-pom pets that have a range of emotions which are communicated to you by changing the colour of their eyes. They are super soft with long tails that wrap around your wrist, onto a bag or even around a ponytailed hair do. Each pet has up to 50 different reaction sounds that are activated by the wearer. There is also a freeze dance game which can be played with friends with the press of your furry friends nose. Quite simply put, these little critters are mega adorable. There are 6 basic ones to collect and a few exclusives such as Luna the Unicorn and Sherbet. We suggest pre ordering these guys as they are going to BIG. There will be folks using store trackers to see when they will be in stock, so PRE ORDER. Like now. We have. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We don’t even know where to begin with this one. Furreal have really went all out with this amazing Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie. Any Star Wars fan, young or old, would snap your arm off for this bad boy! Standing at 16 inch tall, this furry wookie will become your child's best friend who will communicate with growls, roars and laughs. He is voice and touch responsive with over 100 combinations making him super interactive. We love the contented sound he makes when he gets a head scratch. But even more cute is the way he snores when he drifts off to sleep. This is quite possibly the most adorable Chewie we have ever come across. We love him and so will your child. With full facial expressions, loads of noise and arm movements, this toy will be a BIG hit this year.
No Christmas is complete without an appearance from Hatchimals. We think these guys are here to stay, forever! This year the Hatchimal is going to be the ultimate blind bag experience, nobody knows what is in the egg, at all. We are talking no idea at all until that egg hatches. The box is void of any imagery but we know that you will get one of four possible outcomes - a Pandor, a Hedyhan, an Elefy or a Bunwee! We got to see them and they are mega cute with super dense fur, beautiful colours, some have fuzzy wings and some have sparkles - your little ones will love them! These little guys live in the clouds which is why their fur is extra fluffy, just like a cloud. Expect these Mystery Hatchimals to get snapped up as soon as they are available, so get in quick when you see them if they are on your little ones list. They are quite literally a mystery and it will be a case of egg roulette, love the one you get.
Calling all you 90’s children! Looks who's back, back again, Polly Pocket, tell a friend!! The itty bitty world of Polly will be making a comeback at the start of September with various little compact worlds for your child to immerse themselves in. Our favourite from the collection is this Pocket World Snow Secret in the shape of a snow globe which will be quite fitting for the Christmas season. Included in this micro compact are a few secret reveals, micro Polly and Shani dolls, sled, snowboard and sticker sheet. Your child will literally have hours of fun with their new compact world, which is small enough to be taken anywhere, if they can pry it out of your hands. Let their imaginations run wild!
Attention all of you who have a Harry Potter fan to buy for. This is the item you are after, so you might as well just click the buy now button. Lego have produced this impressive 878 piece build of Hogwarts Great Hall and Tower. Your child can recreate all the iconic scenes from the Harry Potter movies such as welcoming all the new students with Hagrid and Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall, then feasting in the Great Hall and using the sorting hat to select the student’s houses. The Great Hall features tables, head table with seats, fireplace, 2 reversible house banners and 4 floating candles, food, brooms, trophy cup and a teapot. The magical 4-level tower features movable Grand Staircase spiral steps at its base, potions room, treasure room with chest and a turret featuring the Mirror of Erised with changeable pictures and roosting spot for Fawkes. 10 minifigures are included in this set, 10 - that’s sure to be enough to keep any fan entertained for a few hours.
We honestly fell in love with this tiny A.I. Robot called Boxer. He is pretty nifty for all the size of him, so don’t be fooled! He comes complete with 10 interactive game play cards and a ball. Place a card in front of him and he will roll over the top of it, scan in its details and is ready to carry out the command, which could be something like football, bowling or jackpot etc. He can also follow movement like the zoomer toys, we have the pony so are familiar with this technology, which means you can teach him to do tricks! There is also an infrared remote control that you can use to race him about. Up to 3 bots can interact with each other so that your children/friends can race their bots or even play laser tag. When one of the robots has been hit with the laser tag, it will fall over! As with these types of smart toys, the more you interact with them, the more they will do. We gave one a little shake and he got dizzy and threw up in the virtual world, we were glad not to have to clean that up. He makes silly sounds and even lets off farts. He really does have a big personality. Although the age range is suitable from 6 years, we feel older kids up to age 12ish will really get good use out of this little guy.
Mums NI Top 5 Tips for keeping Christmas gift buying affordable
Christmas can be a very expensive time of year for some families, so we have put together our top 5 tips to help you reign in the spending and cut the costs of your gift buying. You could save yourself a pretty penny by following these steps: