The Best Gifts for Toddlers Educational Active Fun Ideas

Toddlers are fun all year round, but especially during the holidays. They can be a handful, but fill my heart with joy as well. Their eyes aglow with wonder at the lights on the tree, singing carols with the words all wrong, throwing a fit during that visit with Santa, caring more about the gift wrap than the present itself… all of it makes for a special holiday season. If you are looking to be strategic with your toddler gift giving this year by choosing gifts that will grow with your child and benefit them throughout the year, I’ve got the list for the best gifts for toddlers with options for every budget. With an 18 month old and 3 year old in our house, we are not looking to pile a bunch of stuff under the tree, but want to give our kids meaningful, useful gifts they’ll love. At this age you get to choose the gifts you want them to have rather than the latest toy they’re obsessed with, because they don’t really know any better. Read on to find our ideas and share your own in the comments section.

Gift Ideas for Toddlers (Ages 1-3)

Bags or Backpacks – Toddlers love to fill bags with things and tote them around. Last year we got both kids these Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid Backpacks and they both love them. They are under $20 on Amazon right now and are super cute. We use them when we travel and for drop off at the nursery at church, but the kids also use them at home to fill and tote all over the place. They are the perfect size for toddlers and preschoolers. This year the Pearl Girl is also getting a tiny purse I found at a consignment sale, and I know she’ll love it and fill it with all kinds of crazy stuff.

handmade dolls for toddlers Designs by MSusan

Dolls & Stuffed Animals – My kids love their lovies. Both of them sleep with stuffed animals, and the Pearl Girl carries her babies all over the house. For young toddlers I love these gorgeous handmade swaddle dolls from Designs by MSusan (from $16 on Etsy) and these Little Mommy Baby So New Dolls ($10.99 on Amazon). For older toddlers we are loving these peg doll sets from Peg and Plum, and the Bear loves his Disney Planes Dusty Pillowtime Pal. My nephews (ages 1 & 2) will be getting Disney Pillowtime Pals from us for Christmas because they both really wanted the Bear’s when we were with them this summer. I love dolls and stuffed animals because they encourage imaginative pretend play and are perfect for snuggling.

pirate peg dolls from Peg and Plum

Blocks – Building, stacking, and knocking down blocks are daily activities at our house, and we have a few favorite types of blocks for toddlers.  Our favorites are the Mega Bloks First Builders  which are gender neutral and priced at $14.99 on Amazon. We also love the Stackadoos by B. because of the spiky texture and ease of use. They are perfect for toddlers and will give your kids hours upon hours of endless fun and fine motor skill practice.

Personalized Gifts – Kids love their own name, and for toddlers who are just beginning to learn their letters a shirt with their name on it can be very popular. The Bear has a great personalized t-shirt from Bright Star Kids with his name on it, and it is his favorite shirt to wear. You can read more about it here. You can get just about anything embroidered or monogrammed, and it adds an extra special personal touch to gifts. Toddlers may not fully appreciate it now, but if you love a monogram (and I do) go for it. I love personalized art work for kids rooms, and this Animal World Map Art Print
from Minted is just about perfect.

Active Toys – My wee ones are full of energy, and with the long, cold winter months ahead my thoughts turn to toys to keep them active indoors. The Pearl Girl will be getting this Gymnic Rody Horse for Christmas this year, perfect for bouncing and sensory stimulation.  Our kids have the airplane from Rockabye Rocker, and it is a favorite. They both rock and play on it every day. Rockabye makes really cute and unique rocking toys with options to match any kid room. The  Little Tikes Junior Play Slide was a past Christmas gift, and we keep it in our living room during the winter. Every kid who comes through our front door loves it. Shopping carts, push and ride toys, and baby strollers make great gifts for toddlers as well. This Radio Flyer Ride 2 Glide Ride On is very similar to what we have and is perfect for toddlers through preschool. This Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
is on the Bear’s Christmas list this year.

Books – You can never have too many, in my opinion. Instilling a love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. Our favorites for the toddler age group include: The Jesus Storybook Bible, Little Blue Truck Board Book, the BabyLit series, anything by Sandra Boynton (Red Hat, Green Hat and Barnyard Dance are our FAVORITES), and Nancy Tillman board books which are so gorgeously illustrated and meaningful. The First 100 Words book has been popular with both kids since they were each 10 months old and it has been amazing to watch them learn the words and now see Bear guide his sister through the book. I could list a hundred more, but I’ll stop here.

Puzzles & Learning Toys – The toddler years are ripe with learning opportunities, so don’t miss the chance to provide your child with educational toys. Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are always a winner and will stand up to the roughest toddler treatment. We gave the Bear a bead maze cube when he was 2, and it is popular with kids of all ages who come to our house. It gets played with every day. Small versions of household tools like this Little Helper Broom Set can be great for teaching basic chores and getting kids involved in clean up.

Practical Gifts – Because toddlers so love the unwrapping of gifts, Christmas can be a great time to purchase practical items and things you want your child to have – shoes, clothes, furniture for their room, bedding, and accessories can all be fun to unwrap even if they won’t be as exciting as the Rody Horse. At this age the unwrapping is the most fun part. New sippie cups make great stocking stuffers – we love these Camelbak bite valve bottles like the ones from Project Sensory because they are sturdy and provide sensory input. The bottle is primarily for ages 3 and up, but my 18 month old uses it and loves it.

kbn gift guides landscape

Find 75 other gift guides suited to everyone on your list here, and knock out your holiday shopping quickly and easily. What’s on your child’s wishlist this year?

We are giving away over $1800 in prizes as part of our Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway through November 17th, 2014. Enter to win gifts for everyone on your Christmas list.

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