2016 gift guide for kids
I’m always looking for new or different gift ideas for my kids, and I love a good gift list. I have worked hard to make a list of toys that my kids love and that have held up well over time. The majority of the toys on the list we own and love; a few are ones my kids will be getting for Christmas that we have tried out somewhere else.
Free shipping from Target and Amazon: As you’re doing your shopping, keep in mind that Target has free shipping on everything now through Christmas, and if you don’t already have Amazon Prime, now is a great time to sign up for a 30-day free trial.
This is what my kids are getting for Christmas this year, and I am so excited about it! Fort Magic is a 354-piece fort building set. Not only can you build forts, it comes with instructions for many different construction projects. I love that it is creative, but also that they are big sturdy pieces to make forts large enough for kids to really play in long term.
My 6-year-old son has been wanted a doll for a while now, I’m so excited to have found this Superhero Will doll. The Superhero Will doll, also comes with a cape and mask for your son or daughter.
There are probably hundreds of kitchens to choose from; many of my friends have made their own. Our kitchen is hands-down one of the 5 most used toys in our house. It always surprises me how early my kids started playing with the kitchen. I think a kitchen is a great gift starting at 18 months.
There are so many options when buying play food. Personally, I love New Sprouts play food. We have quite a few sets, but if you are looking for something a little different, check out some of our favorites: waffles, soup, and seasoning set.
My kids also love this felt pizza set from Melissa & Doug.
We have received many of these as gifts over the years and they are the only costumes we have owned that are still in great shape despite their daily use. They are super easy to put on, which is also a big selling point. There are many choices available. We have chef, fireman, knight, pirate, veterinarian, and construction worker.
Oh, I love PLAYMOBIL! A lot of the sets are recommended for ages 4–10, and they do have lots of little pieces. These sets are so well made and so detailed. They also have SO many options! No matter what your child is interested in, they probably have a set for you. We have one of the PLAYMOBIL Castles and the Animal Care Center.
I love these playsets. There are so many options to choose from you can set up a whole town! Calico Critters are great quality but very pricy. Li’l Woodzeez are the Target version and significantly cheaper. My daughter has sets from both brands and they work really well together.
There are a lot of options when it comes to marble runs, I’ve found Marble Genius Marble Run Super Set to be easy to use and put together for a variety of ages. If you have older kids, Trix Tracks may be a good option. We have several sets and while our kids really do like them, they need an adult to help set them up.
My boys love this garage. They especially love that it includes a car wash. I like that it has a lot of elements of play, without taking up a ton of space. It has also held up so well with tons of play.
I recently bought a KidKraft Train Set and Table off of Craig’s List and my boys love it. I like it more than other sets because it isn’t just for trains. It also has cars, boats and whole play scene.
If you don’t have room for a train table, they also sell sets without the table, which are really nice as well.
I will be honest and say I wasn’t sure if this would be worth the price, but it definitely is. The mat has a timer built into it, so you can try to beat your own time or someone else’s. We have had a lot of fun with this at family gatherings. Everyone from the kids to the grandparents try to beat each other’s times.
I love balance bikes so much someone should really pay me to advertise for them! All 3 of my older kids started riding a balance bike around age 2. During bike rides, people have often stopped us to ask about the balance bike and commented how impressed they are by it.
My kids each transitioned to a regular bike in one day with no issues because they already learned how to balance on their balance bike. I should also add that my kids also rode theirs in the house, which helped get their energy out in the winter.
This one is on my son’s list this year. I am excited to see him out exploring and treasure hunting.
My kids received two of these as gifts a few years ago and it is still one of their favorite toys. I love it because it really isn’t very messy and it keeps them entertained for a long time. There are many themes to choose from— fairies, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses, construction, a farm and more.
Set up the traffic challenge and battle the gridlock as you slide the blocking vehicles out of your way to find a path for your red car to exit. This game features four levels of difficulty, allowing players to progress at their own pace. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Kids ask yes or no questions in order to guess what the picture is on their headband.
Busytown is a great co-operative game for preschoolers. Players need to work together to make it to their picnic lunch.
Arts & crafts
We love these mats. I got them right after Titus’s 1st birthday. He loved climbing on them then as much as now at age 3. What surprised me is how much my older kids play with them. The mats get used almost everyday in our house. There are a bunch of options to choose from— we have the tunnel, the wedge, and the stairs.
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