40+ Christmas Gift Ideas for Toddlers

40+ gift suggestions for toddlers

My kids have pretty much everything: trains, Barbies, blocks, puzzles, doll houses, dinosaurs, Little People (and then more Little People) (and more Little People after that), movies, Pillow Pets… I could go on and on and on.

I had a real spending problem back when we were a two income family.

Who am I kidding? I still have a spending problem; I just have less money now. (That’s a blessing. Seriously.)

When Grace was an only child, I bought her everything I thought she could ever want and a lot of things that she didn’t want. It was insane.

All this to say that it’s been hard to choose and buy gifts for my toddler this year. She needs absolutely nothing.

I did come up with a few things. I’m glad we limit ourselves to 4 gifts (3 from Santa and 1 from us) or I might have had to confiscate and wrap toys from the toy boxes.

On to the gift suggestions:

Every item on this list is something that I have or would spend my own money on. I have not included anything just because it was given to me by a company or PR rep or because it might make a few cents on commissions.

If you have questions, please ask in the comments.

Clothing

  • New pajamas – Our family tradition is that the girls get two presents to open on Christmas Eve. They are gifts from Joe and I; one always contains new jammies.They wear those new pajamas to bed, and all of our Christmas morning pictures feature their cute new pajamas.I haven’t picked up this year’s pajamas yet. I need to get on the ball.

Electronics

  • Apple iPad – The iPad is our very best toy/game/device ever. My toddler has been playing with the iPad since she could physically hold it. My girls argue over it play with it all the time. We have a variety of apps ranging from educational to music to fun and games and a Survivor Extreme-duty Military case. It’s not pretty, but our iPad has been dropped, kicked, stepped on, spilled on, and flung, and it is still in one piece.
  • Kindle Fire – My sister has a Kindle Fire; it’s really nice. I’ve never used it, but my girls love it almost as much as the iPad.

Toys

 

  • Gift ideas for toddlers Strider Balance Bike – We got this as a review item years ago, and Grace adored it. She rode that pink bike all the time and would be still riding it if her knees didn’t bump the handlebars. Allie is still a little small for it, but I’d recommend a Strider bike to any parent.
  • My Learning Tower – This isn’t really a toy; it’s so much better. We received our Learning Tower for a review in 2009. We have always loved it, from the very first day. Three years later, Grace and Allie both climb up into it almost every day. Grace helps cook and do dishes; Allie beats things with kitchen tools. We all hang out in the kitchen, and that time together is priceless.
  • A fabulous doll house – We got the Loving Family Grand Doll house at a yard sale a couple years ago, then we picked up different furniture and people for gifts. Grace still loves that doll house (and it’s in her bedroom), but it isn’t big enough for Barbies. This past summer, a friend found us a magnificent wooden doll house at a yard sale, too. The new one is big enough for Grace’s Barbie dolls, so it lives in the living room. My toddler spends every bit as much time engrossed in the doll house as her big sister.
  • Little People A to Z Learning Zoo Playset - My big kid asked for this for Christmas last year. I hesitated a long time because I think she might be too big for it, but she persisted and I bought it. I was right; she was too big for her. Her baby sister on the other hand, has loved that zoo since the moment she laid eyes on it. She plays with the animals every single day.
  • Who Lives Where Wooden Memory & Matching Game - Allie is getting this game this year. It’s a bunch of little wooden houses with animals shapes inside. I’m not sure if she’ll understand the game at this point (she’s turning 2 the week after Christmas), but she loves puzzles and shape in the hole games.
  • Laugh & Learn Learning Piggy Bank – My big kid is in love with her piggy bank, so my toddler sees a piggy bank all the time. I thought she’d like her own, and this one talks and teaches counting, plays music, and had great reviews on Amazon.
  • Counting Bears – 50 little plastic bears with 5 cups, for sorting and imaginative play. Sounds great, right? Actually, it sounds like a cleanup nightmare to me, but I got them anyway. I’m going to get these out, play with Allie and them, and then put them away. Otherwise, I’ll drive myself crazy looking for that one missing bear.
  • Play-Doh Prettiest Princess Castle – We received this from a PR rep early this fall, and my girls have played with it most days since. They even dragged it out as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was cleared. And at Old Grandma’s house. Allie likes it as much as Grace (or maybe more). I would totally buy this.
  • Dough and tools – My toddler loves Play-Doh. She doesn’t care whether it’s the real stuff in the yellow can or stuff from the dollar store. She absolutely loves it. We play with dough pretty much every day. I was really excited to get a set of dough tools – rollers, stampers, and stuff like that for this year’s Christmas.
  • Musical instruments – Both of my girls love music. They love to make music, with a tambourine, a harmonica, a kazoo, or shakers, and to play with musical toys like the Little Tykes Pop Tunes Big Rocker Guitar and the LeapFrog Learn & Groove Animal Sounds Guitar. I’m one of those moms who makes music with them.
  • LEGO Duplo Basic Bricks – These are the larger Lego blocks, sized just right for little hands. We have a big box of them. We chose this set because it will add more than 80 basic blocks to her Lego stash.
  • Weebles Treehouse These were part of a review post years ago, and both Grace and Allie have enjoyed them. Grace especially has experimented with them, finding ways to make them spin around and turn over and wobble all over the place.
  • Dolphin Adventure Boat from Sprig Toys - I love this set. We’ve had it for years, and it gets action in almost every bath. It can go in the bathtub, the living room, the back yard, the swimming pool, and even into the dishwasher. The pieces are made from a composite of wood and plastic and unpainted. It’s a really great toy for encouraging imaginative play.
  • Dino Rig Playset from Sprig Toys – Dinosaurs. That’s all you need to say in order to entice me. I was an earth and space science teacher, and I love dinosaurs. This set comes with a momma and a baby dinosaur, a kid/explorer, and a jeep. It’s awesome. I have to point out that this jeep has great wheels. It rolls very easily, even across our living room carpet.
  • HABA jewelry and a little jewelry case – They’re all make with elastic threads and wooden beads. I think they’re perfect for a little person.
  • LeapFrog Text & Learn – Grace got this for Christmas two or three years ago, and she’s always loved it. Allie loves it, too. It’s like a Blackberry, but bigger. Both girls play games and send pretend messages on it.
  • Fisher Price Little People Nativity & Night Before Christmas Set - I have what may be a sinful relationship with these Little People. Both sets are terrific, and they allow the girls to interact with the ideas of Christmas well in advance of the holiday. I hope I never forget hearing Grace say, Oh, Baby Jesus! You are so precious. and Momma, I love Baby Jesus!
  • A baby doll – Our favorite brand of baby doll is the Little Mommy Newborn. They are cute and relatively small. Grace has had three of them, Nina, Emma, and Rosie, and Allie carries one or two of them most everywhere she goes. They’ve been well loved in the past five years, but only one (Nina, the oldest) has ever needed repairs. They’ve been through the delicate cycle on the washing machine, and they’re still going strong. I really love these baby dolls, too.
  • Rudolph and Clarice (or any friend from Build-A-Bear Workshop) – To be perfectly honest, we are overrun with friends from Build-A-Bear Workshop. Because of my work with them this year, we have gotten a lot of them. Allie’s favorites are her Allie Cat and Playful Pup. Grace’s favorites are Star Bear and Clarice. You can’t go wrong with Build-A-Bear or buildabear.com.
  •  A puppet theater – We don’t have a suitable doorway for this, but my girls would love to have it. They play with the puppet theater at our MOPS group hour after hour.
  • Pillow Pets Dream Lites – I added this at the behest of my 5-year-old who knows she’s getting one for Christmas from Grandma. Because she and Grandma ordered it online together. She’s been talking about this Pillow Pet for months, pretty much since Easter.

School & Craft Supplies

  • Allie wants to paint every single day. My favorite paints (because they’re very washable and come in awesome colors) are Crayola Washable Kids Paint. We go through the box of 10 paints in about a month. Those paints with a collection of painting supplies (brushes, sponges, and Q-tips from the dollar store, sponge shapes, and this awesome bib {even if you strip your kids naked to paint like I do}) would make a great gift basket for any toddler.
  • Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center – I got this for school last year, and everyone loves it. Both Grace and Allie draw on it all the time. We use it for school once in a while, but mostly, it’s for fun.
  • Dot paint – A lot of homeschool resources recommend dot paints, and Grace used them a lot at preschool (when she was still going). We have both this set of rainbow colors and this set of brilliant colors. We also found some sparkly scented ones. Awesome.

Books

  • Bear Snores On and Bear Stays Up for Christmas – These are part of a wonderful series of books featuring a bear and his friends. Mostly, though, they talk about feelings and situations like being scared and left out and being a good friend.
  • Big Red Barn – This is my all-time A-#1 favorite favorite toddler book. I know every word by heart because I’ve read it to my children so much. It’s about the animals who live in a barn.
  • Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Volume 1 and Volume II – I absolutely adore these books. Both of my girls love them, too. My 2-year-old’s current favorite is in Volume I, Horns to Toes and In Between.
  • Goodnight Moon – Does this book need explanation? It’s a classic board book.
  • Have You Seen My Cat? – Joe hates this little-known Eric Carle book, but I like it. It has two lines of text, repeated the whole way through the book. Allie and I love to read it together.
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You – This is the only Dr. Seuss book currently in Allie’s book basket. She loves all the sound effects, and I like reading this one.
  • The Pine Tree Parable – Aside from I’ll Love You Forever and Let Me Hold You Longer, I never expected a children’s book to make me cry. This is the sweetest story, about a farmer’s wife who loves a beautiful Christmas tree. At the end, she does something I never expected. Grace was still talking about this book several days after we read it. The story will stick with you.
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt - Kids of all ages love this book, especially if you read it with some hand motions and sound effects.

Music

  • Wee Sing Bible Songs – Oh, how I love this CD. Grace and I listen to it almost everywhere we go. The songs are mostly songs I remember singing in Vacation Bible School. Today, my mom told me that she remembers singing a lot of them in Sunday School.
    I love it, even when Grace sings me Bible songs at 4:24 in the morning.
  • Wee Sing Sing-Alongs- This is my second favorite CD to play in the car. Some of the songs have a Christian slant, but most of them are traditional nursery rhymes and songs.
    All Wee Sing CDs come with a book that contains the music and lyrics to every song on the CD. When we move past the banging stage and into the real playing music stage, we’ll be playing some of these songs on Grace’s keyboard.

Stocking Stuffers

  • Ornaments – Another of our family traditions is to give Grace an ornament that represents her interests each year. This year, I took Grace and Allie to Hallmark and let them each pick their own ornament. Grace picked Barbie from The Princess and the Pop Star, and Allie picked a soccer ball.
  • I got a couple of smallish items from Mama May I, a handmade mama-owned online shop with awesome stuff.
  • Make Your Own Ice Cream Mugs – These were not expensive, around $13. The catalog says all you have to do is put ice and salt in one compartment, milk and sugar in the other compartment, and shake for a few minutes. I was interested enough to get one for each of the girls. 
  • Color My Bath! – These are supposed to be really vibrant, and I can’t wait to try them.
  • Gloves or mittens - You know, the really inexpensive stretchy kind, so I don’t feel bad when 3 pairs get lost in one winter.
  • Socks - I am not buying any socks this year, but I love the kids’ socks in the dollar bins at Target. I’ve found Smurfs, Tinkerbell, Snoopy, Disney Princess, and other characters there for a buck a pair.
  • Cool plates & bowls – I also get these in the dollar bins at Target, and I am also not buying them this year. We have too much already.

Get More Ideas

I love the following blogs and their gift guides. There is some overlap with me (because we have similar taste, after all), but you will find many more terrific suggestions in these links:

What are your gift ideas?

I didn’t try to make a comprehensive list; feel free to add your suggestions below.

 

© 2012 – 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

    • says

      It is from Digital Bake Shop. I like to buy clip art from her (I assume it’s a her) because all sets come with a Commercial No Credit Needed license. Many clip art sellers require credit (which is difficult for pinnable images especially) or charge a ridiculous amount for a commercial license. She offers a LOT of Christian-themed sets including several characters from the Bible, the Nativity, and a Passion series. Plus, her images are just plain cute. :) I don’t see that Christmas fairy in her current portfolio, but if you contact her, she may be willing to sell it to you.
      She has a website and is on Etsy. I think her selection is a bit better on Etsy, and she also offers sales there regularly. I highly recommend her!
      No disclosure needed. I’ve purchased everything I’ve used from her, and she has offered me nothing to sing her praises.

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