Christmas Gifts & Toys – The Edx Education Gift Guide

Christmas 2021 – why starting early and buying responsibly is even more important this year, and why an educational toy will put a smile that will last on their faces.

Christmas is almost upon us. Homes are being transformed into winter wonderlands, the shops are playing festive tunes and the television is full of adverts showing Christmas gifts, and toys to light up children’s faces. From Hot Wheels to fidget toys, LOL Surprise dolls to remote control cars – the most popular toys will yet again be in demand. Children throughout the country will be busy writing their lists to Santa, with parents facing additional worry this year of being able to get the gifts they want.

The extraordinarily high costs of container shipping, problems bringing stock in from Asia and the recent fuel crisis in the UK – not to mention the ongoing effect of a global pandemic – have created the perfect storm for retailers. Parents face the prospect of shortages and empty shelves – not to mention disappointed children.

Families have been urged to get a head start to get their toys before the holidays start to avoid the upset of unfulfilled Christmas lists.

Geoff Sheffield, founder of UK toy chain The Entertainer had this to say:

“If you know what you want to buy your child, don’t be chasing around the country in December. I would genuinely recommend putting things away early.”

Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, wanted to let consumers know it’s important to #ShopEarly4Toys this year amid shipping challenges – and to shop only from reputable retailers.

“The best place [to shop] begins with your major mass retailers and your local community toy stores. Online is obviously a big option for everybody but we do caution people who shop online – you need to know your seller, you need to scrutinize those listings. Because unfortunately in the online space is where you can find some counterfeit, unregulated, and frankly dangerous toys. So buy from a reputable retailer. Do your homework.”

So what choices do parents face when trying to source their child’s Christmas gift, if the shelves are empty?

With the emergence of online shopping, a quick Google search on the must-have toys of 2021 will bring up a lot of suggestions. However, how do you know they are the real deal and not a poorly made substitute?

Over the past 12 months, there has been an increase in toys that do not meet safety standards, sold through third-party sellers in both the UK and the US. These are sparking an increase in concern from parents, and from trustworthy retailers and manufacturers, and various organisations including The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“A recent survey has revealed that most U.S. parents would purchase a knock-off/counterfeit toy if their first choice was unavailable (65%) or if it was cheaper than the original item (63%). These statistics are troubling since many counterfeit toys don’t comply with federal toy safety laws, posing a danger to children everywhere. The Toy Association is sounding the alarm on this safety issue, and other potential hazards, throughout November as part of its first-ever Toy Safety Awareness Month.”


Advice from PLAY SAFE is clear. If a deal looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.

Some ways to avoid the potential hazards of an unsafe, counterfeit toy are:
  • Only shop from reputable brands, who toys are tested for compliance with over 100 strict safety standards and tests
  • Make sure the brand has a website and that it looks professional
  • Look at the online reviews – are there any negatives?
  • Poorly photographed pictures are a clue – as are typing errors in the online description
  • If you can’t find the toy from a reputable retailer, then wait for them to restock it.

Play is not risk-free – and nor should it be – but we can control most of the hazard’s children are exposed to. Toys must be safe by law, but how they are used, and the age of the child are important factors in preventing accidents.


Another factor parents need to consider is the age appropriateness of toys. Recent data from Toy Safety awareness month suggests that whilst 76% of parents read the age recommendations of a toy, 40% only see the guidelines as suggestions, not warnings, with an alarming 68% giving a toy recommended for older children.

Edx Education has been researching how consumers can make more informed decisions when buying toys.

Age-appropriate toys can still be fun – whilst more importantly, remaining safe. Whilst children may not be fussy when it comes to choosing a toy, parents must be. Toys can be more than just playthings – whilst they need to be fun, they can be engaging, challenging and safe.

Choosing an age-appropriate toy or game can increase independence, creativity and curiosity while exploring problem-solving, feelings and social interactions

Here are a few ideas from Edx Education to get you started…

0-18 months

Babies are keen to learn about the world around them – with much to learn. Colours, shapes, textures and sounds are all new to them – and giving your baby toys that are safe yet stimulating will help them to discover their senses. Rattles and toys that make a noise are favourites, as are bright contrasting colours and unbreakable mirrors.

Foam Surround Mirrors set from Edx Education are the perfect size for small hands to hold, observing self-reflection and having fun making silly faces. The mirrors have a 30mm thick foam surround making them safe for young children.

18 months – 3 years

Toddlers can explore a wider variety of toys. They are fascinated by cause and effect, and newly developed motor skills. Toys with buttons, interactive toys, sound effects, shape sorters and puzzles will entertain whilst helping them to learn colours and shapes.

Junior Rainbow Pebbles Activity Set by Edx Education is fantastic for children to play, learn and get creative! These safe, smooth and tactile pebbles will spark your child’s curiosity and help with imaginative play. The playset includes double-sided activity cards for inspiring ideas.

Clear Junior Rainbow Pebbles by Edx Education have calming rainbow colours and a tangible texture, making them ideal sensory toys for children with special needs.

They work well on a light panel, and can also be used for learning colours sorting, stacking and sequencing.

Giant Lacing Buttons from Edx Education are a fun and interactive way to learn about size and colour. Each button has threading holes, helping to improve fine motor skills. The playset is colourful, and ideal for sorting, pattern making and counting.

Geo Pegs & Board Set by Edx Education is a fun and interactive way to help your child play sorting and stacking games. Perfect for learning colours, improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reasoning and problem-solving

3-4 years

Once children reach pre-school age, it’s time to start learning about letters, language and numbers. There are many toys that encourage this learning – from alphabet puzzles, puppets and water toys. Things they can pick up and drop and build with are firm favourites – plastic bowls, large beads, soft blocks, balls and nesting toys.

Linking Cubes from Edx Education are a great way for your child to get hands-on with learning maths skills such as counting, area and measurement. The children can connect the cubes vertically and horizontally, with 10 bright colours for sorting, pattern making, counting and basic measuring.

Geostix Letter Construction Set from Edx Education allows children to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to form interesting and colourful designs and learn letter formation. Geostix is the only construction sticks with multiple points of connection making possibilities endless. The playset includes activity cards for guidance and inspiration.

Joey Jump by Edx Education is a fun and exciting way to practice catching skills independently. Place a bean bag on one end and stomp on the other end to propel the bean bag into the air, ready to catch! For indoors or outdoors use, easy to clean and the perfect way for your child to develop their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.

4 – 6 years

Luring school-aged children away from technology is no easy feat. Capture their imaginations with toys they can build, crafts they can make, action figures to encourage imaginative play and STEM-powered toys that will help encourage learning.

Fun Play Number Rods by Edx Education are an excellent tool to support your child with mathematical concepts at home through fun activities. Colour-coded rods allow children to solve mathematical problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

1 Litre Bucket Balance by Edx Education is a fun and interactive balance scale that allows children to understand and explore the mathematical concepts of weight. Children can fill the buckets with different materials to see what is heavier or lighter.

Learning Through Play with Edx Education: hands-on learning experiences, award-winning toys, home learning activities, downloadable resources, educational play ideas and advice, and so much more…

Edx Education has been creating educational toys for schools in 90 countries for over 25 years.  The extensive product range has been designed and developed with educational experts and focuses on the philosophy of ‘learning through play’, which has been proven to be a highly effective method of teaching in the early years.

Edx Education now provide expert advice on their play blog and podcast, with advice from educational experts and downloadable resources for the extension of their education toys, including activities for parents, caregivers and teachers. Head over to and sign up for the monthly newsletter for all the latest news, advice and information on Edx Education’s educational toy collections.

Play, learn and create!

To find your local Edx Education retailer head over to  Where to buy – Edx Education.