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10 gift ideas for boys: Christmas 2014, by Kirsty McCabe

Our weekly columnist rounds up some inspired ideas for her sons




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All I want for Christmas...

There's less than a month to Christmas and, given that it's also my eldest son Ethan's birthday, it's time to sort out exactly what Santa will be bringing them this year.

Here's what my two boys will be fighting over on 25 December, presuming they make the good list in the first place, of course:

Like most kids, our two are already frighteningly good with technology and love to play with our smart phones or tablets. Given that Ethan recently broke my mobile phone (and it's not cheap to replace the glass) I have decided that it's time he got his own tablet. We've opted for the family friendly Kurio Tab, which allows parents to control how little ones access the Internet, apps and even when they can use the tablet.

We've opted for the larger XL which has a ten inch screen so Ethan can use it to watch his favourite cartoons on long car journeys. As well as a camera and lots of preloaded apps, you can use the tablet to listen to music, read e-books or even play games using motion sensor technology. What's more – it comes in its own protective bumper!

Again, this one is for Ethan but I'm sure his younger brother Logan will attempt to have a go despite not being big enough yet. I've been on the hunt for a decent balance bike for quite some time, mainly something light and easy to use that won't cost a fortune and this one from Kiddimoto ticks all the boxes.

Both my boys are dinosaur obsessed: we have toy dinosaurs that go everywhere with them, be it family holidays or lunch at Nando's. In fact, it's not unusual to find a triceratops or tyrannosaurus rex tucked up in their beds. They also love remote controlled cars, so Boomer the Zoomer Dino is the ultimate toy for them. This dinosaur can balance on two wheels as he roams around, either under your control or on automatic mode. His eyes change colour to reflect his mood, he interacts with you and he even lets out dino-sized burps and farts – definitely something that will appeal to my boys.

I have been eyeing up this train table for quite some time, as have my boys who spend ages playing with it in store. Not only will it be great for their railway adventures but they can also use the table with their toy cars. And there's a handy storage drawer to tidy everything away in.

Logan adores Thomas and Mega Bloks so this is just perfect for him. As well as honing his building skills, he can practise his counting too with the brightly coloured numbered blocks.

Did you know that DUPLO bricks got their name because they are double the size of normal Lego? Turns out that this is also the perfect size for toddlers' small hands. Logan has already taken a shine to DUPLO so his collection will grow this Christmas with the arrival of this brilliant Batcave Adventure. It might be hard to keep his superhero-obsessed big brother away from the DUPLO but luckily I have a plan...

...That plan is new bricks for Ethan too, and we've found the perfect compromise between bit-too-easy DUPLO and bit-too-fiddly proper Lego. Parents fed up getting roped in to do all the building can rejoice with Lego Juniors – aimed at four to seven year olds. There are more moulded pieces making builds easier, meaning he can do it without my help, and the designs are great. Ethan is still into all things emergency, especially fire engines so this play set will be perfect. Some of the sets, such as the Construction one, also feature a handy Brick Box for storage. 

A huge fan of Igglepiggle, courtesy of a hand-me down toy and book from his cousin (he had no idea about the TV programme for ages and was utterly amazed by it), Logan will love this Night Garden phone. It will also make full use of his new-found skills at saying hello and goodbye repeatedly, and hopefully help him learn colours and numbers.

While Ethan gets to grip with the Kurio, this sliding pretend tablet will keep Logan busy as he matches parent and baby animals, learns names, colours, numbers and even about different habitats. It looks just as sleek and light as a real tablet but will keep little fingers busy and away from the real deal - that's the plan, anyway!

My children love running around with hooded towels on, mainly pretending to be dinosaurs or other creatures. Their baby towels are starting to get a bit on the small side for such fun, so I was thrilled to find large-size hooded towels. You can even personalise them for extra special Christmas gifts. I know two little monsters that will be very excited after bath time this festive season.

Now I just need to find Christmas jumpers and festive pyjamas for the boys (there's some great suggestions in the Junior Christmas gift guide) and I've got everything wrapped up... Glossing nicely over the fact that I've yet to get started on gifts for grandparents, siblings, cousins and the rest of the family. Hmmm, time to crack open the mulled wine and get shopping online.

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine and watch out for the hashtag #somethingfortheweekend every Friday to join in with the conversation

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