As you probably know, the Christmas shopping madness is well underway and Black Friday sales have left a giant hole in most of our pockets. I thought I would mention how I shop savvy for my family at this time of year and what I do to ensure that the toys my kid’s have will last.
You see, as a mother of three children age 6 – 2 and both genders, all with VERY different passions, it’s really hard not to fall into the trap of buying the latest branded toys that cost a fortune and don’t really suit anyone for longer than a few months (if you’re lucky!). If I buy something that is branded for Reuben from his latest TV show love then it is something that Toby and Edith just won’t use, or will cause a meltdown because they have tried to touch it and it’s undeniably his. For me, toys that match to a TV or book or whatever character tend to have two issues: the aforementioned mine mine mine syndrome (always Edith), which makes it harder for my kids to play together, and the fact that they cost a FORTUNE and limit their imaginations to a degree. Bumblebee will always transform into a car, Sofia the First will always be a princess.
Don’t get me wrong, I do buy these toys – of course I do, my kids are exposed to commercialisation just as much as every other child, but I also try to mix it up with toys that are diverse, well made and don’t cost the earth because the label is a name we recognise. Some of the best days the boys have had playing together have been with their train track and as Edith gets older I’m noticing that this is being brought out again – free from “I want that character” and something that can be done as siblings, Reuben often setting up the track and Edith pushing the trains along whilst Toby brings in the dinosaur to demolish.
That’s why this Christmas I’m so impressed with Tesco’s range of toys called Carousel, the toys are designed to be inspiring, educational and oh so much fun – whether they are building their social side and relationships playing together, or they are leaning about music and getting their sensory fix, Carousel have something within their range just for it, but never compromising the fun that children thrive on and come back for every time.
I love the mini guitar because it’s something that we’ve never had but the kids have always wanted. We actually have a keyboard with a mic set so as a trio they have been delighting us with their band and musical skills. Again, that playing together without the arguing I’m just so used to, and actually enjoying spending some time together and creating with each other.
Tobes and Edith have really been playing, almost constantly, with the double sided train track, which I absolutely love because it has track on one side and road on the other – so I don’t have to buy separate sets for them to enjoy with the extra fancy branded Cars wooden figures we bought in the US years ago, or the trains and carriages that come with the set. I love that there are so many extras too – Toby took great delight in pretending to be a piggy on the track whilst Edith let loose with her crazy side and ran him over time and again. That was the fun side of things!
As if that isn’t enough to convince you that this is a range you absolutely want to have a good gander at then ponder this. The Carousel doll Feeding Fun Emmi, complete with bottle and spoon/bowl, will laugh, cry, snore and more. She’s a total of £20 – affordable for a lot of parents, especially as that wonderful doll to make a child’s Christmas. In comparison: a well known branded doll who has a similar amount of accessories and does similar things is £55 and on the Christmas lists this year. As the owner of a doll lover I can only tell you how frustrating these branded price differences are – not to mention the million and one accessories that go with them and make you want to sob as you watch the money wither away from your pocket.
Lastly, the convenience – did I mention that Tesco offer delivery on all these products? Well, they do. So you can literally sit in your pjs, with your glass of wine and your slippers up on the sofa whilst you compare and shop.
As you can see from the pictures, we’re 100% impressed with the products and my mini testers are giving these the thumbs up whilst my bank manager pops the bubbly behind me.