Stumped on gift ideas for your toddler this year? I’ve compiled this list just for you! Below you will find a mix of toys that my own three year old LOVES, as well as a few that I really think he would enjoy or that his friends seem to like. There will also be a few that he hasn’t tried yet but that I know for a fact he will really love!
We try to stick to (mostly) toys that encourage imagination, don’t require batteries, and are open ended in some way. Open ended toys are great because there is no one way to play with them! They are ‘open’ to interpretation and therefore typically kids don’t get tired of them so easily.
Many of my suggestions will come from toys we have reviewed before, but only our favorites will make the list! So read on if you’re looking for fun, unique and engaging Christmas/Holiday/birthday gift ideas that are sure to please!
This toy from Lakeshore has been so much fun! It’s a great option if you don’t have space for a big train table or don’t want to deal with finding storage for all the parts and pieces that usually come with a train set. All of the parts, even the tracks, fit into the station itself! There are multiple ways you can set the track up for hours of fun!
My son really enjoys this toy! The only issues that we have had (and they may not be an issue for your toddler) is that my son struggles with putting the tracks together and taking them apart (obviously something he will need to figure out anyway) and he needs help stacking the tracks the right way to get them to fit into the station. So it may require a bit of assistance from an adult to set up and take down but other than that it’s great for independent play!
We got a balance board from Kinderfeets not long ago, after wishing for one for a long time! It’s SO neat. Not only does my son love to play on it as an actual balance board, the play possibilities are endless! He uses it as a ramp for his cars, a tunnel for his trains, or a place to jump off of. We take it outside to sit on in the grass, too. I used it as a seat for his 3 year old interview and now he thinks that he is going to answer questions every time we use it outside! It’s solid and well made and he will be able to use it for years to come! I also love that it’s simple and clean looking, so I’m not bothered by it sitting in the living room.
Another great toy from Lakeshore, this awesome castle encourages imaginative play for kids of all ages! Even my 14 year old nephew and my husband were excited to play with this castle with Leopold. It comes with knights, a king and queen, and even a dragon! This is a great alternative to a dollhouse if you’re looking to change things up or have a child who is into medieval times!
Leopold has been really interested in letters and how to spell certain words lately. I was an early reader and would LOVE to see Leopold love books and reading the way I always have. With this pup you can interchange five panels and build words from two to five letters long. Pip the Letter Pup from Learning Resources will be a great tool for learning at home!
I don’t LOVE battery operated toys, but this wand from Educational Insights caught my eye and I couldn’t resist adding it to the list! It got huge bonus points because the batteries are included with the toy. I hate having to make my impatient toddler wait to play with a new toy because it’s lacking batteries! This wand plays music and calls out commands such as “stomp like a dinosaur” “hop like a frog” and “wiggle like a worm”. Leopold already spends most of his days pretending to be different animals, and I know he will have a blast with this! He also loves playing music and having control over doing so, which he will be able to do with this. AND it lights up!
I’ve talked about the Air Fort in a previous blog but it’s such a cool toy, I want to stress what an awesome gift it would be!! This would be the perfect way to keep your kids (and you too) entertained during those long winter days stuck inside.
We received a few toddler games from Pressman Toys a while ago and Leopold has really loved them ever since! The ones they sent us were “Shark Bite”, “Mr. Bucket” “Lucky Ducks”, “Pop the Pig”, and “Let’s Go Fishin'”. We also got a game called “Pop Rocket” courtesy of Goliath Games that Leopold is obsessed with. He has a love/hate relationship with his ‘scary games’ or, the games that pop or snap and startle you, like the shark game and the rocket game! He has a blast scaring himself with them but he has to be close to a grown up so he can hide!
We LOVE our stuffed toys from Mary Meyer Toys. They are so soft and snuggly and cute! There is a wide range of animals, sizes and styles on the Mary Meyer website and they are super affordable!
Dolls from Rubens Barn
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Welcome to the family baby boy! I took this photo after Erik arrived while Leopold was napping. When he got up I brought baby Erik in to show him and he said "a new baby!!" With a huge smile. He then immediately named him "Abe", so I guess Erik will be his middle name 😂. We just spent a weekend with some friends and their new baby, Abraham, which is where he got the idea. I'm not sure who is more excited about Abe/Erik, me or my kid! He is handmade and you can tell that great care was put into his features. He's sturdy and solid but still soft and snuggly. We were sent a diaper changing kit with him and I think Leopold has had the most fun playing with the stuffed pee and poop that came with it 😂. Abe is anatomically correct, can stick out his tongue or suck his thumb, and has a wobbly head just like a real baby! Thanks so much @rubensbarn for sending baby Abe/Erik to join our family! Keep an eye out for a full blog post on this guy…and more photos!
These stuffed dolls from Rubens Barn and the sweetest and cuddliest dolls out there! They are hand made and easy to wash and very sturdy but soft too!
Leopold has been really into ‘Lift the Flap’ books lately. A few of our favorite books right now are:
SPACE and OCEANS from Quarto Kids: Leopold really loves these books! He’s a little sponge and loves to read and learn new things. The flaps answer very interesting questions in ways that are detailed but in a way that little ones can understand. I fully intend to snatch up the rest of the books in this series over time! They also have “Jungle”, “Dinosaurs”, “The Human Body” and more!
We have a good many books from Quarto kids and they are ALL awesome and educational.
I Can Handle It (Mindful Mantras): Leopold got this the other day as a birthday present and we have read it over five times already. He is already telling me “I can handle it, mom!” I think I’m going to have to go back and get some more of the books in this series! (The paper back copies are just under 10$ each, but free for Audible and Kindle unlimited users).
Look and Find Books
Leopold has gotten really into “Look and find” books. We are getting some from Clever publishing to use as Christmas gifts and I know he will be so excited!
A fun print or something colorful and durable from Modern Rascals. We love this mama and her awesome shop full of the best prints straight from Europe! The clothes from her shop have stayed durable and wash well for over a year now and Leopold LOVES the prints, like his banana shirt, shark tee, and puffin shirt, to name a few! Luckily we will be able to wear a lot of last year’s clothes again this year and they still look brand new! The Modern Rascals shop also has a large variety of gorgeous wooden toys to add to your list!
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It was a gorgeous morning for picking strawberries!! 70° and sunny could be the weather every day and I'd be happy!! We are exhausted from a fun filled weekend at my sister's house so I'm taking full advantage of nap time today! I hope you all had a fun weekend too! ••• Hat: @lilcaps_hatco Glasses: @whimsysunglasses Shirt and pants: @modernrascals Strawberries: @cottlefarms
A new pair of shoes
If your tot is in need of new shoes anyway, a fun pair like our newest kicks from PediPed would make a great gift! Grab some in your child’s favorite colors to make the gift even more special. I let Leopold pick a pair and he chose the Flex Max in charcoal/lime. I would have probably overlooked these tennis shoes but he insisted on them and I’m glad he did! These tennis shoes are waterproof cold weather shoes that are also breathable. They also come with a removable insert that you can take out as your child grows. That’s a huge plus, since it seems like Leopold is blowing through shoes so fast these days! The removable insert helps make the shoe last through more than one growth spurt ;).
Some new pajamas
We will be getting this winter onesie in the mail shortly from ErgoPouch and I think it will be a great way to keep my big boy snug and warm all winter! I love that the zipper reaches all the way around for easy midnight potty breaks (which I still have to get up and help him with anyway). They cover your child’s toes and hands too, which works well for us considering half of the time Leopold “needs” help it’s because “my toes are hanging out”. The material is thicker than regular pajamas but still breathable. Perfect for cooler nights!
This gift would be a great way to kick off the holiday season! We got the kids matching personalized shirts from Stuck On You so they can wear them to holiday parties and festivals all season long. Make sure to order by December 7th to have anything from the site to you by Christmas!
Stocking Stuffers/Little toys:
This toy from Lakeshore would be the perfect stocking stuffer or small gift! It’s great to keep in your bag when you’re on the go or going out to dinner. It’s a great distraction for bored or wiggly kids to engage in that may save you from handing over your phone or tablet right away!
Why not make bath time even MORE fun with these character pals?! There is a little hole in the fabric of these Soap Sox so you can squirt the soap inside for even more lather! We received the Flounder one but there are so many to choose from!
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I'd like to introduce the newest members of our @terrabybattat family!! Terra sent us this family of elephants along with a tub of small reptiles and Leopold can't get enough!! I LOVE the Terra brand because it stimulates and encourages my little animal lover's imagination. He's always making up stories with his animals and we take them everywhere! Out of all of his toys, the animals by @terrabybattat have been his favorite the longest…for about 1.5 years now! These toys are sturdy and well made without the steep price tag you see on other, similar animal toys. We used to buy one every time we went to Target! They are in the toy section and the individual animals are all under $4 each. 😍😲 • What is your child's favorite animal? Leopold's changes daily but he really loves African animals and reptiles at the moment! • Thanks so much @terrabybattat for the new pals and for being an amazing brand in general. We ❤ you!! #gifted
Durable toy animals like our favorite from Terra will ALWAYS make the list. These friends have been favorites in this house for over a year now and I don’t see the obsession slowing down! They would make great stocking stuffers and they are some of my favorite gifts to give to friends!
Like these from Socksmith!
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Little known fact about me…I love socks. I always have. I was that weird kid that got excited when I received a box full of socks at Christmas time. When I was 11 or 12, my dream was to open a shop that sold fun socks, not unlike the ones we are wearing from @socksmith. • When @socksmith offered to send us some socks to check out I was much more excited than I think the average person would be. My husband teased me while I was shopping on their website because I couldn't stop laughing at the puns used in many of the socks names. For example: one pair I chose has manatees on it and is called "Oh the Hu-Manatee!" Another favorite that I didn't pick were called "Dat's Coo Man" and had a pigeon wearing sunglasses saying "Coo". So that pretty much describes my favorite kind of cheesy humor! • James was pretty excited because he rarely gets goodies as a result of my blogging, so I got him four pair, while the rest of us got three. #Spoiled • So we will just be here, snuggled up in bed on this rainy day, wearing our fun socks :). #noboringsocks #gifted
I know this may seem like an odd gift idea to put in a stocking, but hear me out! My mom typically went above and beyond with my stocking, and there were often things sitting outside the stocking as well as stuffed inside. I don’t want to fill my son’s stocking with too much ‘junk’ that he won’t use, so I’ll probably fill it with bigger objects like some new silicone straws or on cup from Silikids! We love what we already have from Silikids so I know the new cups will be a hit with Leopold. I did let him choose what he wanted and he picked a big 16oz straw cup because it was orange, which is his favorite color at the moment.
Another fun dinner time gift would be a set from Constructive Eating. Their products really make dinner time more fun!
Here are a few more stocking stuffer ideas that need no introduction!
I hope this list gave you some gift ideas, or at least some inspiration!! I tried to add variety without making it ridiculously long. Happy holidays and remember that it’s not REALLY about the gifts, it’s about the memories you make and the people you spend it with!