Updated: Mar 7, 2019
It's just a few short days until the big day descends upon us again and I've (Daddy) been tasked with the job of finding some last-minute prezzies for the boys, with a modest budget and an Amazon Prime account - thank GOD for next day delivery!
As I'm sure other parents of siblings will appreciate, our sibling sons LOVE to squabble and compete - it's an insatiable instinct; their default setting, if you will. With that in mind, I took a fresh look at the latest toys, books and movies from a competitive sibling perspective, to find Christmas gift ideas with longevity that might encourage the boys to play together, minus the bickering and fuss!
By the way, we try not to promote 'boys' or 'girls' toys in this house - just practical, fun, well made toys with longevity.
So, here goes. In tenth place...
Three years ago the boys received a set of plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle walkie-talkies that kept them busy for a surprising amount of time. Now It's time for an upgrade to something a little more robust and versatile. Hide-and-seek (or hide-and-go-seek for our USA friends) is much improved when the hider is able to provide live clues, "I'm in a dark place... over".
These Binatone walkie-talkies are up to the job and function over a distance of almost 2 miles!
Current price: £23
Guitar Hero Live is an absolute bargain at the moment and fun/clever enough to hold the boys' attention for a good couple of hours at a time. Essentially the guitar controller thingy connects wirelessly to your iPad, iPhone or telly and the kids play along with the guitar to the selection of loud rock tracks on the screen.
Daddy and Dad used to have Guitar Hero some ten years ago on our beloved old PS2 - we thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic trip back to our years before kids!
Current price: £8
I'll be honest here; there aren't many games that the boys will play together for more than just a few minutes before there's a WW3 style fall-out in the toy-room. Enter Bugs in the Kitchen.
A little battery powered bug scuttles around (quite realistically, I might add) while the boys frantically roll the dice and flip the little plastic doors around on the board; attempting to navigate the little bug into the other's kitchen. It's a hoot!
Current price: £15
Another nostalgic throwback this one, especially for 80s parents like Daddy and Dad. The Indiana Jones collection's been awarded a 12 certificate in the UK, but we take that decision with a pinch of salt as the violence in each movie is hilariously dated, not to mention that the movies were intended for families back in the day.
Our brave boys giggle with excitement as the villain who drinks from the wrong holy grail slowly turns into a pound-shop halloween skeleton with a grannie's hairdo. Indiana Jones is excellent family fun.
Current price: £12
This brilliant re-imagination of the ageless Tetris GameBoy game is modelled loosely on the concepts of Connect 4 and Downfall. Players slot their pieces into the game-wall thing in an attempt to block their opponent and get points via a nifty retro LCD screen.
Our boys haven't played this yet so I'll add a little review after Christmas but the packaging looks awesome and we're excited to play it!
Current price: £23
What is there left to say about Roald Dahl's brilliant books? Our boys LOVE them. This boxed collection is beautifully packaged and gets tonnes of use. Matilda's our favourite. What's yours??
The Roald Dahl Collection includes The Witches, Matilda, The BFG, Going Solo, the Giraffe the Pelly and Me, The Magic Finger, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, Esio Trot and Charlie Chocolate Factory.
Current price - £22
We don't usually give in to pestering (I mean, we're pestered so much that every individual pester morphs into a single blur of stuff) however Infinity Nado has been mentioned so frequently that we've taken the plunge. Infinity Nado is a stylish re-invention of spinning tops that bash one-another until one is defeated.
This is a starter pack with two spinning tops and a handheld launcher thing (it's worth mentioning that we haven't looked inside the box yet to confirm this!). There are loads of other variants on the Infinity Nado toy - before you choose one do remember to check that you're not choosing an add-on pack before you've bought the starter pack.
Current price: £20
Every year we build on the boys' collection of Usborne Lift-the-Flap books - they're amazing value for money and robust enough to withstand the kids' heavy hands!
Our personal favourites are the transport book and the 'See inside London' book but take it from us - they're each just as fascinating and beautifully produced as the next.
Current price: £5 - £15
Rummikub is our all-time favourite game. If you haven't played it before, don't be put-off by the colourful numbers on the little tiles; there's no complicated maths or strategy to learn. It's very easy to pick up, whatever your age and it's hugely addictive!
Players take turns to put their numbered tiles into a run in a single colour (1, 2, 3, 4 etc) or a matching set in different colours (1, 1, 1, 1). It sounds as dull as dishwater when you explain the rules, but take it from us, it's EXTREMELY addictive, viciously competitive and marvellous family fun.
We LOVE Rummikub!
Current price: £17
In our top position is a nostalgic dream of a game... Subbuteo!
The boys absolutely adore football and Subbuteo is by far their favourite indoor game. Endless hours pass-by without a single bicker (although a parent is required to take the position of referee).
Even non-football fans (Tom and I, for example) will marvel at Subbuteo's intricate, clever design. The little players are well made, the little ball is beautifully designed with the Subbuteo logo on it and the pitch is the perfect size for our dining table.
Each Christmas the boys receive new add-ons for their Subbuteo game; new football teams, fences to surround the pitch - there's even a grandstand that we'll be investing in next year!
Current price £30