Whether you’re buying for a toddler or a 12-year-old, our round-up of the best children’s gifts combine great visual appeal with innate joy and a covert element of learning – whether it’s how to balance on a bike or how to code a computer.
1. My First Wooden Elephant: £15, Natural Baby Shower
Made from natural Sri Lankan rubber wood, this is an adorable push-along toy to encourage babies to crawl.
2. In the Forest pop-up book: £13, amazon
Will the lazy sloth survive man’s encroachment on his rainforest? A visual pleasure for budding eco-warriors.
3. Hand-knitted fox mittens: £42, Tootsa Macginty
Keep the little ones’ fingers toasty with this blend of British-farmed Corriedale, merino and alpaca wool.
4. Ride-on airplane: £85, IWM Shop
Chocks away! Clear the runway and let your toddler swoop and soar on this retro metal craft.
5. Woouf! cupcake beanbag: £49, Amara
Sprinkle a little joy into their lives with a sweet treat they can enjoy every day.
6. Wooden stacking robots: £11, amazon
Nine wooden robots to piece together as they please, a great way to learn about symmetry and balance.
7. Star Wars Monopoly: The Force Awakens edition: £30, Firebox
Become a Jedi or join the Dark Side to conquer planets and rule the galaxy.
8. Maracas de Popcorn: £25, amazon
Cook the kernels in the king’s head, then infuse with flavours by shaking in his royal maracas.
9. Kano Computer Kit: £130, Science Museum Shop
As simple as Lego, learn to code and make games with this computer you build yourself.
10. Masterkidz scooter: £55, amazon
Vroom! A retro-styled ride made from sustainable beech to help toddlers learn to balance.
11. Light-up rabbit: £30, Handpicked Collection
Hop to it! Wildlife lovers will adore this twinkling silhouetted bunny lamp.
12. Lego City Deep Sea Explorer Vessel: £50, amazon
Look out for sharks while diving down in the submarine to retrieve gold bars from a shipwreck. 717 pieces to fire the imagination.
13. Meccanoid G15 KS personal robot: £300, amazon
A truly remarkable, 4ft-tall kit robot for young engineers that can be programmed by app or by using motion-capture.
To those of us who grew up in the pre-digital age, the Meccano robot is truly mind-blowing, the future we dreamt about when watching Short Circuit. The ride-on airplane is as fun as it looks (though mind your ankles). And the Maracas de Popcorn can be as fun (and tasty) for you as them.
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- Christmas 2015