Gift ideas for animal-loving children

17 October 2016 ( 14 August 2018 )

There's no shortage of fantastic toys and books for animal-loving children. Here, we share our pick of some of the best Christmas gift ideas for kids with a love of animals.

Playmobil Adventure Treehouse playset

While Lego might be the king of construction toys, many feel that Playmobil rules the roost for encouraging narrative play, and the typically European simplicity and attention to detail are very appealing  to children. Playmobil comes in a whole range of different themes - from pirates to knights and hospitals to westerns. 

Animal-loving children will have plenty to choose from with farm, zoo, wild animal and stable sets all available. One set that animal-lovers are bound to love is the Adventure Treehouse, part of the Wild Life series. This beautifully made Treehouse playset includes a grizzly bear and cub, American bald eagle, fox and cubs, and more.

Grandparents on a budget can buy animals with minimal accessories in the City Life Zoo sets, designed as add-ons for the more expensive zoo set. These pouches include animal families, such as mother and baby sets or flocks of birds, and are ideal for children who already have buildings or who don't have room to store them. Prices for the animal sets are from around £5 and up. 

Playmobil Treehouse Playset recommended for ages 4+, RRP £49.99

Schleich animal figures

Schleich is a good quality German brand of realistic animal figures. If you’re sick of seeing many of today’s toys fall to pieces then you’ll love the longevity of these solidly built toys. The variety available is huge, and you are bound to find your grandchild’s favourite animal, but look out for the family sets of adult and baby animals in particular for a winning gift.

Figures are available from all good toy shops, with a wider variety available on the Schleich website and Amazon. 

Recommended for ages 3+

Prices vary, with a lone baby animal costing around £2.99 and larger adults from £4.50 - £7 depending on size. Gift sets available from £10 and up. Browse Amazon for the full range.

Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes

A charmingly illustrated look at some of the wonderful creations seen in nature, including the African weaverbird’s magnificent nest, termite mounds, nesting frogs and much more, this book is full of fascinating information about the animal architects and their amazing creations.

Laurence King, RRP £10.95 hardback.

Buy Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes from Amazon.

Melissa and Doug Show Horse Stable

This simple but well-constructed playset is ideal for children with a love of horses and ponies. It comes with eight flocked horses in different colours, each with their own stable compartment. The stable itself is wooden and features a handle, making it perfect for children to carry around with them when they are visiting friends or family. The set also comes with breed guides to learn about the horses included and stickers so that children can name the horses and label their stalls.

Recommended for ages 3+

Melissa and Doug Show Horse Stable, RRP £19.99.

Buy Melissa & Doug Show Horse Stable from Amazon.

Little Live Pets

Little Live Pets are small animal figures that come in a range of bright colours, from hot fuchsia to cool blues, that interact with the world around them. Hold a butterfly in your hands and it will flutter its wings, stroke a bird and it will sing. Animals in the range include budgies, mice, butterflies, dogs, cats and turtles and start at around £10 for a single figure and up to £60.00 for larger sets. See them in action in this YouTube video.

Recommended for ages 5+, batteries required.

Little Live Pets Turtle Tank, RRP £19.99. Full range available on Amazon.

BrainBox Animals

This fun educational game is perfect for children wanting to test their knowledge on the animal kingdom, and it's also very portable making it ideal to take on car trips, holidays or when staying with family. Each box comes with 54 cards with facts about a huge range of different animal species. Players get 10 seconds to study the facts on the card before being tested about what they just read. It's quick, fun and can help improve memory and animal knowledge. Sets for Predators and Nature are also available, as well as sets for other topics such as sport and history. See the range available on Amazon.

Recommended for ages 8+

Sylvanian Families

These timeless flocked animals are as popular as ever, and what's more houses, items of furniture and animals can still be easily found at boot sales and second hand shops and are still compatible with the newest sets. Prices vary considerably depending on the complexity of the toys, but budget sets include baby animals with a crib for about £5 or a pair of animals for around £10. Families of four cost around £18, while buildings can cost around £40 but do check what is included in the box - often it will be a case of 'figures sold separately' being written discreetly on the packaging. See the range available on Amazon. Also available from Sainsbury's, Debenhams and other high street stores.

Recommended for ages 3/4 + depending on set.

Manhattan Nursing Pets

Children who love 'mothering' their toys will be drawn to these soft toys of nursing mothers with three adorable babies. Choose from cute and cuddly cat with kittens or cute dog with puppies, both designed to encourage nurturing play patterns. Small magnets inside the animals let the babies attach to their mothers

Recommended for ages 3+

Keel Toys puppy

Keel Toys create a range of well-made soft and floppy animal cuddly toys at an affordable price. Breeds include huskies, labradors, pugs, bulldogs and more - plus a wide range of wild animals such as pandas, chimpanzees and lions. They come in a range of sizes, with dinky 25cm toys costing around £8.99, 35cm costing £15.99, and larger 50cm toys £25.99, but check around for offers as discounts are available online.

Recommended for ages 3+

See the full range at Amazon

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