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Healthy Christmas gifts for kids

(Photo by David Skinner)Keep active!: The mini golf course at Dockyard

I have to start this with a confession. I haven’t bought my kids salad spinners for Christmas. I have actually bought them American Girl dolls. I did my best to pretend they didn’t exist (the dolls, not my kids …) but Chloe is in P2. Six-year-olds talk. A lot as it turns out. So on Christmas morning, Caroline (a long-haired blonde beauty) and Kaya (an American Indian bombshell) will be welcomed into our home. At the exact same moment, the LH might leave. The girls had bikes last year — that was right up his alley. The thought of dressing and undressing dolls, locating lost shoes and brushing plastic hair is not high up on his list. I have bought the dolls some karate outfits to help resolve this situation.

I am torn when it comes to the American Girl idea. I hope the girls love them but it seems like an expensive habit. I was browsing prices in the doll bed section and realised that you can actually buy a bed for a human being for less. What’s up with that?! I found much more reasonable options on a website called Badger Basket. They don’t sell badger baskets, but they do sell reasonably priced doll beds for 18-inch dolls. Perhaps they didn’t think www.reasonablypriceddollbedsfor18inchdolls.com was catchy enough. Not quite sure how they got to Badger Basket though!

The only other items on the girls’ wish lists were iPads and jelly beans. They’ll have to wait for the former but I can handle the latter. There are even some dye-free options which won’t make me cringe too badly as they zip around the house on their sugar high. Supermart and Down to Earth sell Surf Sweets jelly beans and Supermart also have some Christmas-themed options — naturally coloured and non-GMO. All the sugar but none of the chemicals. A festive compromise!

While we are on all things Christmassy, I thought I would give you some ideas for healthy gifts for your kids. If you have holes in your shopping list, or in case Santa needs a bit of a nudge, check these out! I will post all the links on the Facebook page so you don’t get lost in Google.

1. Kids cooking stuff

Teaching your kids to cook from scratch will give them a major advantage in terms of their health. It’s so much easier to avoid junk and takeout if you know how to whip up scrambled eggs or a batch of healthy muffins. The Chef Shop (on Par-la-Ville) has lots of kid-friendly utensils and aprons to encourage your little chef!

2. Orchard Toys Games

These small games are easy to store, travel with and are made from high quality card that withstands all the usual chaos. My favourites are Shopping List, Crazy Chefs and Greedy Gorilla. The Greedy Gorilla burps when you feed him junk food which is very funny for little kids (and adults like me).

3. World Wildlife Fund — front-line heroes or species adoptions

The front-line hero gifts include plush toys (and info packs) featuring a marine biologist, polar researcher and wildlife ranger. A great way to introduce the concept of a career in environmental science and a good way to support wildlife preservation. You can also adopt a species in a child’s name, giving them framed certificates, an education pack and a plush toy to mark their adoption. This covers all the usual suspects like tigers and elephants but also the arctic hare and black-footed ferret. Lots of choice!

4. Lunch box Kids Activity Board Game (ages 6+)

Winner of the Good Housekeeping Best Games Award 2014, this is a great game for children, that reinforces the difference between healthy food and junk. Win golden tickets, have a laugh and get fit!

5. Move & Groove Game (18months+)

This is a brilliant little activity game for toddlers. No competition or right or wrong, it’s a simple game where you toss the cube, pick a matching card and follow the instructions. Lots of fun and wears them out.

6. An experience

Most of us have too much stuff. Consider giving movie tickets, vouchers to mini-golf or a certificate for a sleepover party with their friends. Membership to BAMZ or BUEI are also good options.

7. Stocking stuffers

Rather than packing stockings with candy, try asking Santa to deliver small activity toys (balls, skipping ropes), undies and books. Santa always brought me a satsuma, walnut, dollar coin and a party cracker all of which are good for taking up space and padding out more expensive things! Brown & Co and Gibbons craft department have a great selection of stickers and small craft kits too, many under $5.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda