Holiday toy guide for kids
I am always looking for new or different gift ideas for my kids. I love a good gift list. Seriously, I read every one of them; it is a problem! I wanted 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.
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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 2. 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.
Pulling the lever and watching the balls roll out is a great way for babies to learn cause and effect. I have the Fisher-Price version pictured that I got at a yard sale, but there is also a cheaper version.
You will notice my list for dramatic play is longer than my other lists. I think there is so much value in creative, pretend play!
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.
We have received many of these for 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 the chef, fireman, knight, pirate, veterinarian, and construction worker.
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.
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.
Everyone know Lego is extremely popular. I prefer my kids spend most of their time creating their own ideas, so we don’t have a lot of kits. Instead of investing in building kits, I have bought sets of Lego figures, Lego wheels, Lego doors and windows, Lego building plates, and boxes of just bricks.
I am not typically a huge fan of toys that make noise, but I really do like these sets. My 2-year-old can put the track together himself, which is a huge selling point. He loves to make a track himself. You can also buy extra tracks, which makes building much easier and more creative.
We love these tracks and cars. They snap together, so they don’t fall apart every time someone bumps them; and they are flexible, which makes the tracks very versatile. The cars are motorized and put on a great light show in the dark. My kids can spend large amounts of time building tracks and then watching their cars run.
Individual play/learning toys
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.
Active play toys
I am always looking for active play ideas, especially ones we can use indoors in the winter. Anything to get some energy out!
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 game is geared toward toddler and younger preschoolers.
Arts & crafts
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