Still deciding what presents to get your child this Christmas?
Junior tasked Kirsty McCabe with finding out what boys really want. The Very Real Christmas List, was compiled by Ethan (very nearly 6), Logan (3) and their Dad (old enough to know better).
Gifting and gifting again
With a double celebration in our house (it’s also Ethan’s birthday) we need double gifts, which can mean double the stress. This year I decided to get organised with a Christmas wish list survey. Printed off, for each family member, was a list with their name and picture on, with the following criteria:
Something I want
Something I need
Something to wear
Something to read
The lists went up on the kitchen wall and the kids were very enthusiastic about filling them in and even sticking on pictures from toy catalogues. Here is their ultimate Christmas wish list (trimmed down from the initial cries of 'I want that' to absolutely every TV advert).
SOMETHING I WANT
A few years ago the boys got a Zoomer Dino and were so startled by it moving and roaring that they climbed onto the sofa and cried. But a few hours later they were entranced and still play with it today. Spin Master’s latest creation, Zoomer Chimp, has taken robot pets to a whole new level, a dancing, talking, burping and farting level. What’s not to love?
Ethan is desperate to get his hands on the chimp (above). The Zoomer Chimp is pre-programmed to know over 100 tricks, 200 sounds and voice commands, such as “Do a flip” and “Go bananas”. He is excited to see it move "like a real chimp", either upright or on all fours (and apparently it even knows some dance moves!) It also has facial expressions and light-up eyes that change colour according to his mood - something else that Ethan is looking forward to testing out!
Zoomer Chimp, £79.99, Smyths Toys.
PAW PATROL Air Patroller
Like most parents I have watched back-to-back episodes of Paw Patrol and I even baked a Paw Patrol cake for Ethan’s 4th birthday. The boys’ love of the pups is as strong as ever and Logan has listed the Lights and Sounds Air Patroller plane (below) as the toy he most wants.
The Air Patroller transforms from a helicopter to a plane (complete with lights and sounds). Robodog sits in the cockpit (of course) and the cargo bay is large enough to fit the entire Paw Patrol team in, I'm told. Which seems to be vitally important to Logan.
The Air Patroller, £39.99, Smyths Toys.
SOMETHING I NEED
You might think Lego should be filed under something they want, but in my opinion it’s something every child needs. The boys’ bedroom has a special Lego wall made from baseplates, along with shelves to show off their creations. All the more reason to get new play sets this Christmas.
Ethan is desperate for the Lego City Prison Island Playset (below). This large (and comprehensively thought-out) set is as impressive as it is unusual. It has a two-level prison, with a jail yard, police office and helipad with helicopter. As if this bizarre world of role play isn't enough, Lego threw in a jail cell, sewer escape routes with breakout functions, a dock (with boats), a hot air balloon (no idea), police officers, crooks and even a shark minifigure... Presumably because everyone knows the Escape From Alcatraz was almost thwarted by a shark?
Logan was more straight forward with his choice. He loves a superhero, so the Lego Juniors Superman & Batman v Lex Luthor was his choice. Lego Juniors includes some bigger pieces and easy-to-follow instructions for younger Lego fans. He's most looking forward to building the models of the Batmobile and the Batcave, complete with a bat-disc shooter (of course). And, not forgetting the most important pieces: the Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor minifigures.
Lego City Prison Island Playset, £69.99, Lego online and other stockists.
Lego Juniors Superman & Batman v Lex Luthor, £19.99, Lego online and other stockists.
SOMETHING TO WEAR
I have a tradition of giving family members new pyjamas to wear on Christmas Eve and I couldn’t resist these gorgeous personalised PJs from Sgt Smith (below).
Designs include dinosaurs, space rangers and super heroes. I can't wait to see the boys' faces when they see their own names on the front.
Personalised Pyjamas, Ages 18months to 8yrs, £25, Sgt Smith online.
SOMETHING TO READ
We love books in our house and the boys have even created their own book corner in their bedroom. Now that Ethan is in Year 1 he is reading more and more by himself, and Logan is keen to get in on the act too. So this year we’re going to be getting them the LeapFrog LeapReader.
It's quite a clever toy/gadget/thing and will work for both Ethan and Logan in different ways. It comes with a special pen that Logan will be able to touch to the LeapReader books to hear the words read aloud and sound out the words. Or he can use the pen with the special paper for letter and number practise. For Ethan, it comes with vocabulary building games and character voices and activities to make it a bit more engaging. What is also good (for me) is that there are plenty of books that work with this pen, so we can keep the gifting going through upcoming birthday presents, too.
LeapFrog LeapReader, £39.99, Amazon and other stockists.
MORE THINGS THEY REALLY WANT
Christmas wouldn't be complete without a board game, and given the high level of testosterone in my house it will come as absolutely no surprise that toilet humour reigns supreme. My two are particularly looking forward to competing with Daddy in the Gas Out Game. It's a pretty simple premise: put Guster the Gas Cloud in the centre of the board and take turns playing cards to try to stop him farting on your turn. Yes. Before you groan, it's actually a clever way to get the kids counting and recognising numbers - as they have to press Guster according to whatever the cards say. Rightly so, if Guster lets rip during your turn, you're out. I'm not sure what the rules are if one of the players follows suit after too many brussel sprouts, though.
My boys also love Transformers. The Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Griffin Rock Firehouse Headquarters made the list - and ticks all the right boxes.
With the Griffin Rock Firehouse Headquarters play set, Ethan and Logan will spend hours playing as heroes, putting out fires and assisting those in need. There’s a rescue motorcycle, vehicle launcher, secret tunnel, helicopter landing pad, ground bridge and a command centre platform. Plenty to keep an aspiring Rescue Bot busy. Heaven for little boys (and time for a glass of festive fizz for me).
Gas Out game, £14.99, ToysRus online.
Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Griffin Rock Firehouse Headquarters, £29,99, Smyths toys.
FANTASY WISH LIST
Items that didn’t make this year’s list include a real dinosaur and snow...
So at some point over the school holidays, we’re going to visit the Natural History Museum (below), before Dippy leaves the premises, and I’ve promised the boys we can go to Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park next year, too.
As for snow? Well the odds are looking pretty decent for a White Christmas this year, with temperatures forecast to be below average. It only takes a single flake of snow falling on Christmas Day for the bookies to pay out for a White Christmas. Fingers crossed!
Hope you have a lovely Christmas and wishing you health and happiness in the year ahead.
Kirsty is a weather forecaster and presenter, and the Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website - and don't miss her regular column for Junior.