Wednesday, 21 February 2018
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Christmas & New Year 2017


Ni4kids round-up of school-gate chat in December...

Baby Names of the Year

The top 100 boys' and girls' names of the year have been announced, revealing what’s been inspiring parents in 2017. The parenting information site, BabyCentre, has studied tens of thousands of parents’ choices for their new arrivals over the year to reveal the latest trends, as well as more unusual naming choices. Extreme nature names are storming up the charts
with Forest, Hawk, Hunter, Fox and Storm proving popular in 2017. Looking to the heavens for inspiration, Luna made a stellar rise of 20 places and Hallie, Aurora and Skye were all new entries into the top 100. Parents took inspiration from bad boys (Peaky Blinders names Tommy, Arthur and Alfie all rose in popularity) and popular culture made its mark on the charts yet again with ITV’s surprise hit Love Island influencing parents. Olivia held firm to the top spot and Montana, Camilla and Gabby all enjoyed more registrations in 2017 than in previous years. Gender-neutral names are also becoming more mainstream than ever before as 2017 saw the gender debate take centre stage. The most popular of these was Riley with just under two thirds of boy registrations and just over a third of girls. This was closely followed by Frankie, where the share was reversed. 

2017 Top 10 Girls’ Names


2017 Top 10 Boys’ Names


They Want For Christmas

Santa gets a letter from children telling him exactly what the elves need to get busy making in their workshop, but if Mum, Dad and grandparents still need some inspiration for a special gift, according to the DreamToys predictive list (created by top toy retailers) the toys expected to be the most sought after for Christmas 2017 (in no particular order) are:

Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set (Mattel £32.99*) Fingerlings (Jazwares/ WowWee £14.99*) FurReal Roarin’ Tyler (Hasbro £134.99*) Hatchimals Surprise (Spin Master Toys £74.99*) Laser X – 2 Player Pack (Character Options £49.99*) L.O.L. Surprise Series 2 (MGA Entertainment £9.99*) Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash (Hasbro £21.99*) Paw Patrol Sea Patroller (Spin Master Toys £69.99*) PJ Masks Headquarters Playset (Flair Leisure Products £49.99*) Star Wars: BB-8 (Lego £84.99*) The Original Stretch Armstrong (Character Options £21.99*) & Toilet Trouble (Hasbro £17.99*)
*NB - all prices quoted as RRPs, final price may vary from retailer to retailer.

Image Caption: Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys selection panel, with The Original Stretch Armstrong, one of the top 12 DreamToys for 2017.

The Gift of Learning

This Christmas, your generosity could bring joy – and the opportunity to learn – to some of the most vulnerable children in the world’s poorest countries. School-focused Christmas gifts from aid agencies such as Concern Worldwide help children get the best start in life, helping them achieve their dreams and start their journey out of poverty. You could help send a child to school by ensuring their school fees are paid and they have the uniform, stationery and books they need. And you could make sure their tummy is full with school lunches, so they can focus on learning.
What’s more, if you purchase a charity gift with Concern before 17 December 2017 your gifts will be matched pound for pound by the UK government at no extra cost to you. Each gift comes with either an e-card or a postal card to give to your teacher, family member of friend, so they can see the life-changing present you have given a child or family in their name. Visit

to the National Autistic Society's Education Rights Service
Recent research by the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland* (NAS) found that a quarter of autistic young people here are unhappy at school. Almost one third of these young people said one of the worst things about school is teachers not understanding them. This study also discovered that half of parents of autistic pupils are unsatisfied with the support their child receives at school and a third said their children are failing to receive an education that meets their needs. The NAS Education Rights Service supports families all over Northern Ireland and now five new volunteers have completed their rigorous training in Education Rights, gaining detailed, autism-specific knowledge of education legislation and processes and are available to support families with queries on every aspect of special education needs assessment and provision, as well with issues like choosing a school, exclusions, transport and bullying. These new volunteers have completed months of intensive training to equip them to help as many families as possible so that parents are informed of their rights and fewer autistic pupils here struggle in school. Parents can email or Tel: 0808 800 4102. More information is available at
* A for Autism report

Number Facts

1.13 billion The number of Christmas cards bought each year in the UK.

£121 The collective worth of the average number of 11 toys, kids up to the age of 11 will receive this Christmas.

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