Baking, time travel, natural exploration and crafting fun delivered directly through your letterbox

2020 has been the year of staying in and the toys mini ones receive under the tree this year may have a greater opportunity to be played with this festive season if schools are delayed in returning next term. But many parents will still be searching for suggestions of worthier Christmas gifts than the adbundantly available one-trick-pony plastic lumps in shiny boxes (or at least someting to go alongside them…)

So, as they’re delivered directly to your door mat, a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, containing a variety of activities designed to keep your mini ones’ hands busy and minds engaged, it’s no wonder that letterbox subscription services are experiencing a surge in range and popularity.

Mini number two would be looking forward to the launch of Lincoln’s The Back Garden Bakery Bakers Club if she knew it’s been ordered for her for Christmas – read more about it at Inspire your mini baker with lots of membership incentives and, if we manage to harness her enthusiasm into making anything that looks vaguely edible, then be sure to check the blog again in the new year to see what she thinks of it.

We’ve already had lots of fun reviewing Mud + Bloom’s nature-inspired activity box here – Educational, fun and easy ways to inspire children to connect with nature. And Jo from A Rose Tinted World is also a fan of this one – “It is so full of really good information and a really good prompt for learning about nature with your child. It is fun whilst being educational,” she writes in her post Mud + Bloom Subscription Box Review which includes some very pretty ice decorations. 

And there are lots of different boxes to choose from too as some more of my fellow bloggers are keen to recommend.

“The Mysteries in Time box is fantastic,” says Jennifer who writes at Mighty Mama Bear. “It’s a brilliant way of making history accessible and interesting for kids. You get a lot inside the box and my kids loved it”. Find their full review of the box aimed at ages 7 to 11 here – History for Kids: Mysteries in Time Subscription Box Review.

Small House Big Trips’s Kelly thinks that The Learning Club (aimed at ages 3 to 5) is “fabulous”. “This box incorporates the full 7 different Early Years Developmental Milestones into fun activities through the use of 7 unique and fun characters,” she writes – find her full review at The Learning Club.

In her Positivity, Self-Care, and Mindfulness Gift Guide, The Less-Refined Mind’s Kate includes the Letterbox Anxiety Mindfulness Craft Kit from The Breathing Buddy. “This letterbox kit is really, truly lovely,” she writes. “I adore the simplicity of the crafts and the way it has all been put together. Because it’s a small business, it’s not overly commercialised in terms of packaging or items – it all feels very authentic, and the concepts – both individually for each craft, and in its entirety as a product – are wonderful.”

If your minis ones are particularly crafty you might want to consider a toucanBox, recommended by both Shel from The Willow Tree and Welsh Mum Christy.

In ToucanBox Review – A Kids Craft Box, Shel epitomises why these subscriptions are proving so popular at the moment: “With the second lockdown leaving us and being in a Tier 3 area, staying at home seems to be on our agenda more than ever.  Therefore, sourcing arts and crafts kits to keep the kids entertained is high on my agenda at the moment!” Aimed at children aged 3 to 8, Shel praises it’s unboxing appeal – complete with secret compartment – found it very engaging and liked that you can choose the crafts for each box. 

And Christy has had a similar experience, writing in Craft Subscription Box ToucanBox Review that “when we were forced inside this year and I wanted to keep my three year old entertained and educated in a similar way to nursery, crafting seemed ideal”. Opting for a bee and a crocodile craft, Christy found it “stress and hassle free” which is definitely a winning statement for any parent.

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“Being a working mum, I don’t have much time to organise kid’s activities” writes Rowena from My Balaning Act. “That’s why a kids subscription box is perfect for my lifestyle! It means that I can still do cooking and crafts with my son but without having to worry about the time it takes to plan and prepare.” In her post Kids Subscription Box UK: Foodini Postal Club she praises it for teaching kids about food and encouraging them to get creative in the kitchen.  “It is perfect for fussy eaters as it will give them a new appreciation of food, allowing them to explore new flavours and seasonal ingredients.”

Will your mini one be unwrapping something to unbox this Christmas? Let us know your favourite subscription boxes in the comments.

Presents for 6 year olds that pass the parent test

What do you buy a six year old for Christmas when she’s already not lacking in toys but also has a birthday just a couple of weeks beforehand to cater for too?

It’s fair to say that mini number two quite likes December with all its unwrapping possibilities and, with no parties allowed in this year of pandemic restrictions, presents are likely to take even more of a centre stage in her world.

Whilst she may be happy with one of everything from the toy catalogue, mummy and daddy’s bank balance, storage capacity and need to be slightly more intentional than that means we’re open to recommendations from fellow parents.

Nomadi Daddy’s Stephen suggests an “Electronic playdough science kit and Bath bomb making kit” which both sound like a fun way of turning STEM activities into STEAM fun (putting the arts back into science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

unique present ideas for 6-8 year olds

Louise from Thimble and Twig makes lots of interesting suggestions on her blogs Unique Present Ideas for 6-8 year olds and Unique Ideas for Christmas Presents for Children aged 7-10, particularly highlighting that the “walkie talkies and the easy speak microphone were winners with ours and the stop motion animation set was also a good present”.

“My daughter absolutely loves arts and crafts so a box filled with all sorts of different craft bits always goes down a treat!” says Lylia Rose’s Victoria. “I’ll fill a gift box with different coloured papers and sparkly cards, coloured lollipop sticks, wooden beads, stickers, washi tape, coloured strings and glues, etc. Perfect for any six year old who loves to get creative.”

Annette, who writes at 3 Little Buttons, is also getting crafty with her daughter. “My daughter loves these construction sets from Foame. They come in sets to build specific things, such as sea creatures and robots, but also larger sets for free play. They are fab for little fingers as the pieces are soft and also double up as water play toys.” Find out more about the kits on her blog Construction play with Foame.

Amanda, who writes at Mummy 2 Twindividuals, knows a thing or two about what six year old girls like having two of them herself: “My six year old daughters love play dough, Playmobil, Lego, secret diaries and Polly Pocket” she says.

Joanna has reviewed the Cool Maker Go Glam Nail Studio by Spinmaster for her sister’s blog Mummy and Moose and gives it high praise – “There’s not many toys out there that are worth the price tag but this one is”.

“The new Lego Dots sets went down a treat with my friend’s little one,” says Chantele from Two Hearts One Roof. “The jewellery holder and photo frame set are really cool and fun to add to their bedroom decor afterwards.”

“My daughter is six and we have LOVED the Yoto Player,” says Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine. “It’s a clock, nightlight, radio and audio player in one and we use it every day” and you can read exactly how much they like it on her blog at Yoto Player review.

What would you recommend as a gift for a six year old? Let us know in the comments below…

#ToyLikeMe campaign celebrates success

Seeing yourself represented in the world cements the feeling of your own place within it and signals to others that it’s rightful place.  That’s why it was lovely to receive this press release from the #ToyLikeMe Campaign

The team behind the worldwide ToyLikeMe campaign are celebrating a win after Mattel announce the creation of a wheelchair using doll and prosthetic limb Barbie, becoming the latest brand to answer the campaign call of journalist Rebecca Atkinson and play consultant Karen Newell who established the viral ToyLikeMe campaign in 2015.

ToyLikeMe

Atkinson began making over mainstream toys to give them disabilities and posting images online which went viral. The ToyLikeMe campaign called for toy box representation for 150 million disabled children worldwide after the pair noticed there were scant representations of disability in toys.

Atkinson has since seen her creations influence brands including Lottie dolls, Playmobil, HotWheelz and now the iconic Barbie.

“We’re turning triple dipple somersaulty backflips of happiness to see these products from a huge brand like Barbie,” says Rebecca Atkinson, the UK journalist and creative consultant behind #ToyLikeMe.  “This is huge news for 150 million disabled children worldwide who need positive toy box representation.  But it should also be noted that toys like these have the power to grow open minds in non-disabled children too.”

ToyLikeMe works closely with Dr Sian Jones from the University of Edinburgh who has found that playing with disabled toys affect the friendship intentions of non-disabled children. After playing with a wheelchair using doll for just three minutes, non-disabled children are more likely to make friends with a disabled child when they meet one in real life.

Find out more at www.toylikeme.org