Nikki Bush presents her Christmas Gifting Guide for Kids

With Christmas fast approaching, Refiloe Mpakanyane's Weekend Breakfast show has featured recommended toys for children of different age groups. Here's want our resident expert Nikki Bush had to say...

The best festive season gifts for babies and toddlers

Nikki Bush says the baby and toddler years provide a wonderful opportunity to develop your little one's sensory abilities. It's important to establish a routine which also includes play time, during this phase.

It's an incredible journey of wonder. It's the miraculous unfolding of this little human from a foetal position, actually greeting the world and starting that multi-sensory adventure.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

It's about getting the balance right between stimulating and not overstimulating your baby because they need a lot of sleep.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush runs through a variety of toys appropriate for the developmental stages up to the age of two.

For the sense of sound (for example) you'll have rattles and you'll have crinkly things that they can touch.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

On her list Bush includes cot toys that can also double up as car seat entertainment. Listen as she gives her top pick of sensory-stimulation toys for children up to the age of two...

Kids' festive season gifts: top picks for children aged 2-4

On Weekend Breakfast with Refiloe Mpakanyane, she focuses on the age group 2-4.

This is the time when children start developing their social skills.

Up until about the age of two they're playing next to each other. They acknowledge that the other child exists but they don't play _with _the other child.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush says kids says from the age of two, it's good for kids to start spending time in play groups so that they learn to share, take turns and simply to communicate.

They're also acquiring some of the basic skills and disciplines that are going to be required once they get into the pre-school years.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

What parents should be looking for at this stage she says, are toys and games that develop fine motor co-ordination.

We're looking at things like play dough, sand and water play, shape and colour games, basic number games and beginner puzzles...

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Listen as Nikki reviews toys and games that develop fine motor co-ordination...

Developmentally appropriate toys and games for children aged 4-6

At this age children should, ideally, be attending pre-school. Bush says this will help them acquire the pre-reading, writing and numeracy skills required for school readiness.

It's a developmental stage where essential skills can be developed in an informal non-stressful learning environment through play.

You're not sitting down and saying 'I'm going to teach you how to hold a pen' or 'your numbers 1-10'. That's not how it works. It really is about experiential learning.

Nikki Bush, Parenting Expert

Kids of this age are interested in how stuff work and it's the perfect time to let them put things together and pull them apart, says Bush.

They should also have mastered their basic shapes and colours, which can be now be combined with numbers in board games.

They're also starting to understand the concept of winning and losing. Especially on a rainy weekend, this is a great time to get first board games out where we learn the rules and take turns.

Nikki Bush, Parenting Expert

Rather than handing four to six-year-olds devices like tablets and phones to keep them busy, she suggests toys which involve a three-dimensional learning experience.

Listen as Nikki reviews her top pick of gifts which stimulate multi-sensory learning, some of which are also useful when travelling during the holidays.

Festive season toys 6-10 year olds

Big kids still want to play and have fun, even adults. Play is another language that keeps families together even when tweens and teens stop talking to you for a while.

Even though your child is going to start making their own way in the world, they still want to be able to come back to the safe harbour – that’s you.

Nikki Bush, Parenting Expert

She's independently selected her top picks of toys and games for children in the 6 to 10-year-old category. These include:

Listen as Nikki recommends play to continue building strong relationships with your child.

Toy Talk® tracks trends, innovations and what’s new in toys and games as well as championing classic evergreen items that every child should have during their formative years.

<b>Find Nikki's full list of highly recommended toys at www.toytalk.co.za</b>


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