Hexbug - my 6 year old chose to buy the Hexbug Black Hole set with his birthday money and it's proven incredibly popular. We didn't review it on the blog, but we later got the chance to review the Hexbug Nano Glow-In-The-Dark. They're excellent fun, and the sets are brilliant for increasing understanding of Science
Zip Stix are ace. They're so cheap they really count as a stockingfiller - they start at £2.99 for a single pack. We reviewed the Zip Stix Stunt Pack which has cones, a ramp and 2 Zip Stix and still only costs £7.99. Plenty of fun for your money.
Big books are traditional at Christmas and my children always get an annual as well as a couple of other books to keep them occupied when they need to be calm and peaceful. They lap up facts and can learn so much, as well as having a more mature brain and now being able to enjoy a story without pictures. One of the most read books in our house this Autumn has been The Top 10 Of Everything, which is where our 6 year old seems to get most of his opening conversational gambits! RRP £14.99
Early Readers - As well as the big heavy hardbacks children of this age are beginning to read stories independently and we love the Early Readers from Orion Books. Nothing like your traditional school reading books, these feature a wide variety of stories and characters, one of the best known being the ever-popular Horrid Henry. Priced around £5.
Board Games are brilliant for this age group. They help reinforce patience and sportsmanship, and bring the family together. One of our favourites is Articulate For Kids, which we've only had for a short while, but have played tons of times. Being able to read the simple words on the cards by himself gives our 6 year old a huge sense of pride and is expanding his reading skills in a really fun way. Don't Laugh! is an excellent game for this age group. Adults will find the jokes a little lacking, but 6-9 year olds will think they're absolutely hilarious.
A slightly more unusual gift is one that keeps on giving. Children of this age really enjoy reading comics and magazines, and can get an awful lot from an annual subscription and there is something to suit everyone, from The Beano and National Geographic Kids, to Adventure Time and Playstation. Stew - The Magazine For Curious Kids is one of our favourites, a bit quirky and different, and treating children as smaller intelligent people, it'll be great to keep and revisit as my younger 2 get older.
There is an awful lot of LEGO which suits the 6+ age range. Children's hands are far more competent and strong, and their clutch power means they can build and take apart tiny pieces now. LEGO Minecraft is going to be absolutely massive this Christmas, but if your children aren't into that then there are all kinds of options. We particularly like the Ultra Agents and Arctic ranges, and of course the LEGO Movie sets, but one of the most used models with my boys is the Heartlake City Pool from LEGO Friends!
This is the modern world, so my last recommendation is technology. Children of this age are reaching the point where 'what Jacob said at school' is becoming more inspiring to them. They want to be a part of the tribe and fit in, and keeping up with what's happening on Nickelodeon alone may not cut it any more. DVD's and CD's are something I would consider for this age group, and also games. There are plenty of Playstation/X Box/Wii and PC games around that are designed especially for younger children and aren't obvious 'learning', even though they will be solving logic puzzles, building hand-eye co-ordination, reading and typing and practising all kinds of other skills. All of my children have spent time playing LEGO games on the Playstation, and Club Penguin on the PC, and I'm more than happy for them to do that. No.1 rule as far as we're concerned for this age group and technology is "always know what they're doing, and always be more of an expert than your child". I've completed LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean several times....purely for research, obviously...
Some giveaways featured within review posts may now be over - for all of my current giveaways please see my giveaways page. All prices shown on this page were correct at the time of posting.
No-one gave me added incentive to include these items. These are my pick from the reviews I've done this year....