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Gifts for your baby’s first Christmas

 
It may be re-assuring for those with new babies to hear that when it comes to your baby’s first Christmas, expensive gifts are not necessary! Many parents feel the pressure to buy the latest and most costly toys, but with everyone managing tighter budgets these days, parents are looking for cheaper alternatives.
It may be re-assuring for those with new babies to hear that when it comes to your baby’s first Christmas, expensive gifts are not necessary!

Many parents feel the pressure to buy the latest and most costly toys, but with everyone managing tighter budgets these days, parents are looking for cheaper alternatives.

 

Homemade gifts


Sensory boards and Christmas boxes make great first Christmas gifts.
 

Sensory or busy boards

A sensory board or busy board is a fun, hands-on activity for babies and toddlers to help them touch, explore and learn about different objects all in one place.

They have lots of developmental benefits too and are really easy to make at home with things you have to hand.

Find out how to make your own sensory board.


Christmas boxes

Decorate a box and fill it with developmentally appropriate gifts including homemade items they'll love.

Perhaps choose a theme and match all the items to the theme in some way.
 
For example, why not use the 5 senses as a theme? Each gift then needs to fall into one or more of the categories of taste, smell, auditory, visual and touch.
 
Homemade gift suggestions for the Christmas Box include:
 
  • Printed & laminated pictures for each of the 5 senses – mouth (taste), nose (smell), ears (auditory), eye (visual) and a hand (touch).
 
  • Home-made compilation CD of classical music or nursery rhymes from kids albums
   
  • Purses and pouches can also be used to hold red lentils or brown sugar, both of which are strong smelling and tactile. Make sure they are tied or shut securely to prevent your little one from swallowing the ingredients.
 
  • For the ‘taste’ sense, why not include rusks or suitable baby food such as fruit compote made from stewed raisins, apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice in a small pot. You might need to keep it in the fridge though!
 
  • A large (90 X 60 cm) piece of rainbow coloured cardboard with a great corrugated textured effect.
 
  • Home-made shakers made from 2 old kitchen rolls, some high contrast polka dot wrapping paper, lentils for one, and pasta shells for the other. Fasten securely.
 
  • A washed out milk carton with a handle so it’s easy for little hands to grab and hold, filled with a number of things to stimulate both visual and auditory attention eg yellow lentils, colourful feathers, ribbons etc. Fasten securely.
 
  • Use dried rose petals and lavender oil to scent them and put them in a small silk purse.

Other gift suggestions for the Christmas Box include:

  • Interactive books
  • Sensory balls  
  • Fibre optic wands  
  • Glow balls
 
To make the Christmas Box itself, use a large cardboard box from the supermarket or local shop and decorate it with shiny silver wrapping paper. 

You could place helium balloons inside the Christmas Box too so that they float up and out as it’s opened.
 
None of these items are particularly expensive and many of them can be made using items you already have at home.
 

Other age appropriate gifts


Here are a few more Christmas gift ideas you might like to consider too:
 

Birth - 6 months

  • Lullaby or infant sleep CD - Music can be very soothing to infants and can be part of a settling routine for bed.
 
  • Textured floor play mat - Floor play is really important for young babies, giving them the opportunity to stretch and experiment with movement. The texture on the mat will appeal to their stage of learning through sensory play.
 
  • Front pack/baby carrier - Young babies love to feel close to you, adding to their sense of security and belonging. Also on a practical level there is no bulky pram to get in and out of the car if you are going out.
 
  • Sock rattles - Infants learn through cause and effect. Through wearing the sock rattle they are rewarded with sound each time they kick and move their legs. This helps to make connections between the brain and body, and an understanding that their actions have a reaction.
 
  • Their hands or feet made into impressions or casts - They will only be this tiny once! These are a lovely memory for parents.

 

6 - 12 months

  • Infant swing - Most infants love the rhythmic movement of a swing and are exploring their own body and movement.
 
  • Tunnel - A pop out tunnel is great for a newly crawling baby and is a way for children to explore how their own body fits in the environment around them.
 
  • Stacking cubes or posting boxes - Develops the concepts of size and shape as well as cause and effect.
 
  • Anything baby safe that makes a noise or has texture - Young children learn primarily through their senses so sensory based toys are stimulating and interesting to a young infant.
 
  • Baby safe mirror - Is that me or another baby in the mirror? Great for selfawareness and when used on the floor helps to make tummy time more fun.
 
  • Books - Sturdy board books and textured books with pictures of other babies, animals or common objects. Start a lifelong love of reading.

 
More kids Christmas articles to enjoy:


Source: This article was written with the help of Baby Sensory.
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