As the years go on, Christmas shopping for the kids seems to get harder and harder. We have so many hand-me-downs and open ended toys at this point, that it becomes a challenge to think of what we can give them that will stand the test of time, they’ll love and actually use, and won’t be in the donation pile after a few months.
This is my first year curating a comprehensive gift guide and I decided I would start with the easiest category, toddlers, although most of the items on this list have no age limits! — I might still be scratching my head over my seven year old come the week of Christmas.
As a preface, we have been through lots of phases with toys in our home. We’ve done the noisy toys, the character toys, the stuffed animals… but a few years ago we realized that these things we were bringing in were only being played with temporarily and then left to sit and collect dust. Sidenote, I did buy my daughter the Uh-Oh Gotta Go Flamingo last year because it was #1 on her list, and guess how long she played with it? 5 minutes!!
We did a big audit of our toys and only kept things that were open-ended, things that would spark their imaginations and creativity and I will say, it has completely changed the way my children play, and the things they even ask for when they create wishlists.
So now to the part you came here for…These items are all tried and true in our home or are what will be under our Christmas tree this year. I hope this helps if you’re stuck and maybe give you some ideas.
As a note this post contains affiliate links, which means if you shop through my links I earn a small commission.
- Magna-Tiles ($19.99+)- I truly cannot say enough about Magna-Tiles. I’m pretty sure we have just about every set they make, but they still all get played with regularly. My 1.5 year old loves to stack them in piles, and my 4 and 6 year old work together and build the most fun creations. I also gift these to our nephews and nieces every year because building a collection takes time. The one gift I will always recommend.
- Nugget Comfort ($229) – My kids got their first Nugget as a Christmas gift 3 years ago and I cannot count the number of times it has saved the day. Rainy day forts, TV lounging, open-ended play, movie nights, sleepovers, gross-motor skill building, jump pad, the list literally could go on forever.
- The AirFort ($49) – The AirFort is such a fun concept. It folds into a tiny drawstring bag so storage is a non-issue and all you need is a box fan to operate it. Blows up for hours of fun.
- Building Blocks ($100) – A classic set of building blocks can’t be beat. These are an heirloom toy that can be passed down through generations. Worth the investment. Our set has been used for the last 6 years for castle building and ball ramps of all kinds. This set is a little less expensive at around $50 when you catch them on sale.
- Stepping Stones ($50) – These are going to be under our tree this year. A great invitation to play for so many things. Floor is lava, anyone? I see these being a great tool to help with gross motor skills on developing toddlers, too.
- Wobbel Board ($210) – This is one of those things that even I as an adult love to play with! It can be used as a seat, a lounger, a bridge, a safe spot..our favorite is using it along side our Magna-Tiles and Candylab Toys cars as bridges and parking lots.
- Balance Bike ($40) – My daughter got this for her first birthday and LOVES it. The double front wheel makes it stable enough for early riders, yet helps them to develop the skills they need to eventually ride a bike.
- Easel ($249) – I just love this easel – timeless and beautiful design from West Elm. This will be our big gift this year, and I know it will be used for so many years to come.
- Baby Doll Stroller ($59) – We have two of these strollers and they are used constantly. They come on our family walks, or just around the house for all sorts of babies!
- The Conscious Kid Board Book Bundle ($35) – We love this series of books and in board book form, the perfect way to introduce the topics of equity and how it’s represented in literature.
More Toddler Gift Picks
Click the photo for links to each item.