Some of my single mum friends have been really struggling this year (one family in a refuge now even, yikes), been thinking of getting each of their kids something for xmas. I'm not great with what kids are into though, any parents/guardians here got any tips? They're all between the ages of 2-5ish I think

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Ideally something creative/educational/not too much of a burden/annoying for their mums haha

@Shrigglepuss If the parent is struggling financially, maybe clothes and stuff like that would be best.

but if you want to make sure it's somethng the kids enjoy do make sure it's not something that will drive parent up the walls with sounds or whatever.

and yes, this stuff is hard.

@maloki Well they know I've got their back for clothes and essentials if they need them, I wanna get something special for the kids to enjoy x

@Shrigglepuss that makes sense.

unfortunately not able to gather my thoughts further.

@maloki I was thinking Lego/Brio stuff, but I think they're probably too young for Lego, I'm not sure

@Shrigglepuss @maloki Lego Duplo is mostly age 2+, and our kid, who's turning 4 soon, still loves playing with their Duplo bricks, even as their slowly learning to play with (tiny) Lego bricks (which are generally 4+ for the simplest packs)

@Shrigglepuss Brio and Lego (Duplo) stuff is great, but expensive. If you're lucky, you can get a box of second hand Brio stuff. Because the more you have, the more the kids can do with it. (It's imho much better to have a lot of either Brio or Lego than having only a little of both.) -- Another thing most kids that age love are play kitchens, for which you also need some toy dishes and food, of course. Relatively easy to find second hand offers for that, I think.

@KAOS One of the kids likes helping their mum with cooking so that's definitely something for me to explore. Gonna keep my ear to the ground for some used Duplo to clean up for them too, seeing as I've had this idea early and have some time to get something together =D

@Shrigglepuss Cool! 😁 If you should then feel there's still something missing from the Duplo collection, here's this site where you can buy second hand Duplo parts (and Lego in general) from various sellers:
For example, I found we didn't have enough "basic" parts, archs and figures, so I bought some there. If you want something special, it can still get expensive, though.

@Shrigglepuss *looks at living room* Judging by mine, toy cars. Not every child is obsessed with them, of course, but it seems to be a popular choice and is easier to organize and clean than, say, a craft set. Play-doh and Legos are also safe choices, but messier and more of a hassle than a toy or a doll, especially for the family in the refuge.

This is a really sweet idea, I'm sure your friends would appreciate it.

@Shrigglepuss Not simple to do but IMO greatest thing would be to take the kids out for a day of forest/playground adventure & give the mums some space. A day of babysitting can be more valuable than any object :)

@ilumium Honestly this would make them incredibly anxious, I'm the last person anybody wants to babysit because I'm so clueless with taking care of children. I babysat an other friend's teenage kids once and took them to a gig and crowd surfed them a whole bunch, apparently that wasn't a good idea oops. *I* wouldn't trust me. Car seats perhaps so I can take them places and help taxi them though πŸ€”

@Shrigglepuss it's crap shoot. Any parent only has a 50% hit rate, so don't feel bad if it doesn't hit.

Dolls, cars, trucks, trikes, scooters, kid sized version of kitchens etc. My 3yo has loved and ignored all of them.

@Shrigglepuss And really with gifts for kids, ASK the parent(s). Any gift that is duplicate #8 or something they don't approve of is just stocking landfill.

Suggesting 3 very different gifts (Doll, Dinosaur, blocks) and asking which is best or if they have something in mind can reduce the stress of being asked but increase your chances of an easy yes.

@LovesTha @Shrigglepuss a trike or scooter might help the kid tag along with the parent for longer walks, if that's something they do and are currently carrying the kid around; spendier, though.

@Shrigglepuss stuffed animals are usually something kids that young like

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