This is the time of year when the kids start writing their Christmas Lists for Santa, detailing the presents that they hope will be under the tree on Christmas morning. This year Freddy has requested one of those funny face squishy stress balls with woolly hair. He is very easily pleased sometimes. 😃 However, I'm sure Santa will be delivering more than just that to my little boy this year!
I have come up with a few Christmas gift ideas for the kids that will hopefully provide a bit of inspiration to anyone who is looking for suggestions of what to buy their children or grandchildren this year. These are pretty cool presents that will appeal to kids of a similar age to Freddy, which is seven.
We discovered the award winning Magformers at the Digital Kids Show earlier this year and Freddy absolutely fell in love with it. It is a construction set made up of magnetic geometric shapes that form 3D creations. The pieces connect together using magnetism, which is very satisfying! I was really impressed with the mathematical application of the toy for making nets of 3D shapes. You create the 2D net, then gently lift it and watch the pieces connect into an impressive three dimensional shape. It is a toy that supports brain development through fun and educational exploration. It is also creative and artistic, unleashing a child's imagination. Whatever age the child is, Magformers' educational properties grows with them, from the early skills of shape and colour recognition, through to understanding magnetic forces and building simple 3D shapes right through to KS2 net construction. With the optional addition of wheels, characters, LED light up pieces, engine blocks, power generators and walking blocks, the potential for play just keeps growing.
Freddy loved Magformers so much, we bought him two of the sets from the show and he continues to enjoy playing with them over most other toys. We will be adding to his collection this Christmas.
There are loads of different themed sets to choose from, with prices for all budgets starting at £14.99 for a 14 piece basic set through to £499.99 for the huge Expert Set. Magformers are for ages 3 and up.
You can find Magformers at www.magformers.co.uk
Hexbug Nano V2 Neon Launchpad
Fans of Hexbug Nanos will know that the little scuttling, motorised, gravity defying bugs can crawl, flip and climb - but do you know that now they can also fly? With the Nano V2 Launchpad, the Hexbugs can be launched into the air to hit targets.
The 23 piece set assembles into an interactive shooting gallery in neon orange and white, with three adjustable targets. The central base launcher rotates so you can line up the shot ready to launch the Hexbug Nano V2 using the button. The Hexbug soars through the air and if the shot is on target, it will scurry down the neon tube back to the launchpad ready to play again.
The Launchpad set adds an element of challenge to the Hexbug brand, giving children the chance to test their aim and their target skills. One Hexbug Nano V2 is included in the set so it comes ready for playing with. The set is connectable to other Hexbug sets for added value and fun.
The Hexbug Nano V2 Neon Launchpad is £29.99 RRP. You can find out more at www.hexbug.com/nano/v2/hexbug-nano-v2-neon-launchpad.html.
#StikBot Zanimation Studio
The award winning Stikbots, from Brainstorm, allows children to unleash their inner film maker and produce their own stop motion animations using two fully poseable plastic stickmen characters. Used in conjunction with the free iOS or Android app, Zing Studio, the green screen technology allows the #StikBot characters to star in their own animated movies with cool backgrounds, created using a smartphone. You can use your own photos or choose a background from the app library. Sound effects and audio can also be added.
The set includes two StikBots, which come with suction cups on their hands and feet to facilitate dynamic poses, a tripod and a 2 in 1 Z-Screen glossy cardboard stage. The app is free to download.
This is a brilliantly creative toy that uses technology in an incredible way to get kids making their own movies. It is an accessible introduction to the art of stop motion animation using the app on a smartphone. Kids are encouraged to share their creations with the #StickBot community.
This is a toy that can be added to with other #StickBot sets or used with other little toys to create bespoke animations. As a starter set to this genre of film making, it makes a great gift idea. I wish things like this existed when I was a child. It is brilliant, inspiring, creative and a whole lot of fun.
We'll be sharing some of Freddy's animations in the new year. Who knows? This could be the start of a Nick Park-esque career as an award winning animator!
The Zanimation Studio is £19.99 RRP, available from Amazon, Tesco Direct and Smyth's. Find out more about the #StikBot Zanimation Studio.