Have your foster children started counting the sleeps until Santa comes? If you’ve not quite finished your Christmas shopping and are struggling with ideas for what to buy the children you’re looking after, fear not – our elves have been at work doing some research for you.
Before we get started with our list of five top toys for 2015, we just wanted to mention a few things to consider when buying presents for foster children. As we mentioned in our recent post on Christmas and New Year parties, it can be difficult to find a balance at this time of year. Be patient and remember the best gift you can give them is your time, attention and the feeling they are cared for. On a practical level, take time to ask children how they feel about Christmas and be sure to explain they are free to keep any toys they are given, forever.
With this in mind, we haven’t included some of the physically larger toys on this year’s list, nor will you find the Sony Playstation 4 that some older kids may be hankering after. We’re aware that many of the items on the must-have toys list compiled by the Toy Retailers Association are rather expensive, so we’ve tried to pick out options that sit towards the lower end of the price range.
1) Pie Face
This quirky game aimed at those aged four and above. It costs around £20 depending where you buy it. The aim of the game, as they say, is to take turns at loading the throwing arm with squirty cream or a wet sponge and placing your head in the frame. The tension comes from not knowing when the arm will go “splat”!
Why they’ll love it: This silly game will have everyone giggling and is a good ice breaker. Plus, they’ll love it when you get a pie in your face.
The must-have Lego kit for this Christmas is the City Deep Sea Exploration Vessel, but at around £80 this huge set could sink your whole Christmas budget. Luckily there are lots of smaller kits in the Deep Sea range and there are also popular kits for Minecraft, Pirates and Star Wars fans too. If you head to the Lego website you can sort their products by price and suggested age range to find something appropriate.
Why they’ll love it: Lego is a game that encourages creativity and is great for independent play, but it’s something you and other children can join in with too.
3) Ice Cream Truck Play Set
It might be cold outside but ice cream is something kids love all year round. The brightly- coloured Shopkins Ice Cream Truck Play Set costs around £15-£20 and is aimed at children five and up.
Why they’ll love it: This is part of the wider (and popular) Shopkins range, which includes many toys that let children play at doing grown-up jobs. Again, there’s the option to play independently or with friends and the set can be used alone or could be the start of a Shopkins collection.
4) My Friend Freddy
The My Friend Freddy Bear is an interactive soft bear that you’ll want to shop around for as prices can vary between £20-£40. You programme the bear via an app so they know all about the child. The bear can also help with counting, learning colours and naming animals.
Why they’ll love it: Freddy could become a foster child’s special friend and give little ones someone to talk to and cuddle when they are feeling down or lonely.
5) Singalong Elsa
If your foster child is a fan of Frozen, the Singalong Elsa doll priced at around £30-£40 may already have made it onto their list for Santa. The doll comes with a microphone so you can duet with the doll or sing along to the tunes on your own.
Why they’ll love it: It’s Frozen merchandise and this alone will be enough for some. This gift can also help kids find their inner star and build their confidence.
While it’s not a toy, another nice present idea that can help foster children to feel part of proceedings is to encourage each child to choose a decoration to hang on the tree while out on your next shopping trip. It’s a small gesture like this rather than mountains of presents that will make children feel welcome, so why not talk about fun things you could do together over the holidays? Take a look at our 5 fun winter activities post for inspiration.