Notice of limitation: It is my personal belief that Christmas is not about giving gifts but about the greatest Gift we were given through Jesus Christ. However, our family does exchange gifts as an example of the love God showed to us when He gave us His Son.
As a mother of four, I have seen a LOT of toys move through our home. Boat loads. Some toys where instant successes while others just collected dust. Some toys were worth the price and others were a waste of money.
If you are looking for gift ideas for babies and/or toddlers – pretty much anyone under the age of three years old – consider this list of my recommendations.
Items we have tried and loved
Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset
This Little People musical playset is what we place under the Christmas tree each year since presents do not begin appearing until a couple of days before Christmas. I love this nativity and that the children can actually PLAY with it. Includes 12 exclusive Little People figurines. We also have the shepherds which are sold separately.
Picnic Fill and Spill Basket
Here’s everything you’d see at a picnic (except the ants!). Remove and replace the four colorful picnic treats from a flip-top picnic basket. This soft play set features a wedge of watermelon, a bottled fruit drink, a take-apart sandwich and an ice-cream cone. Constructed of high-quality fabrics and plastic, this durable set will provide hours of pretend picnic fun!
Load up the train with bright, colorful shapes and get learning off to a rolling start! The 15 easy-to-grasp wooden blocks slot onto rods on the flatcars, providing a great opportunity to practice fine motor skills. For even more play value: The blocks can also be used for stacking, building, and sorting, and the smooth-rolling train cars detach to shorten the train or let children play with the cars individually.Extension Activities: More Ways to Play and Learn:Ask the child to count the number of cars on the train. Ask the child to point to the car that has only one shape of “cargo” block. If the child is not familiar with the shape, explain that it is a rectangle.Ask the child to remove all the blocks from the train and to sort them by color. Count each color group with the child, Repeat the activity until the child is able to count each group independently.Place all the blocks in a row. Ask the child to count all the blocks. Repeat the activity until the child is able to count all 15 blocks.Ask the child to count the wheels on the train and to identify their shape. If the child is not familiar with the shape, explain that a wheel is round like a circle.
Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks
Young construction workers and architects will spend hours with these lightweight yet durable cardboard building blocks. This 40-piece set features three sizes of “bricks” for constructive imaginative play. Made of premium, extra-thick cardboard for strength, they are easy to assemble and feature a wipe-clean surface. The red blocks hold up to 150 lbs! (Psst… we got our set at Sam’s Club last year.)
Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set
Includes an oversized rim and junior size basketball. Develops social, motor skills and coordination. Base needs sand (not included) for stability and you can pick that up at your local garden center. Age 1 ½ to 5 years.
Fisher-Price Little People Happy Sounds Home
I am a sucker for Little People. Great sound effects in different rooms of the house create a realistic feel. Charming house features two levels of fun. Comes with complete family, Mom, Dad and baby. Easy to store by folding closed.
Fisher-Price Rock, Roll ‘n Ride Trike XL
I love a toy that grows with the child. A sturdy trike with three fun ways to ride. Lock the base in place for ride-on, rocking fun. The base converts to an extra long push handle so you can comfortably stroll behind. Foot pegs fold up for easy independent pedaling. Recommended for 18 months – 5 years.
LeapFrog My Pal Violet, Frustration Free Packaging
Honestly, our first three children did not like this type of toy but Ariary LOVES it. Download your child’s name and favorite things to this cuddly customizable puppy, Violet (internet connection required). Listen to any of 5 pre-loaded songs, 4 learning songs and 3 playful melodies or select music from an online list (internet connection required). Press Violet’s paws for lullabies, learning songs and activities with numbers, animals, food and more. Appropriate for ages 6-36 months. Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path for customized learning ideas and insights from LeapFrog. “Scout” is green and available for children who do not like purple.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
Large easy press button toggles through 7 high quality classical melodies. Colorful lights dance across the screen to each song. Colorful Baby Einstein caterpillar handle is easy for little hands to hold and take anywhere. Off/Low/High volume switch. Promotes auditory development and music appreciation.
Vulli Sophie la Girafe Teether
The price can be scary, I know. But, this has been played with more in our home than any other toy. Phthalates and BPA free. Facilitate baby development. Numerous parts to chew and play safely. Made of 100% natural rubber and food paint.
Lamaze Soft Chime Garden Musical Toy
One of Ariary’s favorites toys! Soft Chime Garden has five smiling faces that light up, chime, and play songs at the touch of baby’s hand. Colorful flowers encourage baby to reach, tug, and bat, developing hand-eye coordination. Choose from three modes of music to awaken baby’s auditory awareness. Crinkle, ribbons, and lots of fun textures for tactile stimulation. Easily attaches to a stroller or carrier bar for on-the-go fun.
Tiny Love Musical Nature Stroll Toy Bar
Perfect for strollers and baby carriers with universal attachment clip. Each toy can be angled towards baby and the versatile arch caters to 2 stages of development. Baby activated musical mirror and propeller with teether handle. Other engaging toys include transparent lion prism and parrot rattle. 3 playful tunes to enjoy.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn: Learning Piggy Bank
Baby will learn about counting, colors, animals and sizes. Responds with songs, music, speech, and activities. 10 colorful coins to drop into the slot. Open the door for put-and-take play.
Boikido Wooden Push And Play – Rabbit Wagon
We love this wagon. Attractive and easy to assemble Push and Play Rabbit Wagon. Must have for every child as it encourages walking and balancing. Maze on both sides of the wagon will satisfy children’s curiosity. Tested to meet European and U.S. safety standards. Recommended for ages 12 months and up. (Psst… we got this from Zulily during a sales event last year.)
Melissa & Doug Wooden Take Along Tool Kit (24pc)
Take-Along Tool Kit Assembled Dimensions: 9.9in W x 5.5in H x 4.8in Thick. Features 24 Wooden Pieces Including Tools, Nails, Screws, Nuts and Bolts. Recommended Ages: 3 Years and Older. Develops Fine Motor Skills
LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table
Learn & Groove with 15 activities and over 40 songs and melodies! Activities provide opportunities for baby to explore with a roll, tap, slide or spin. Includes a variety of music styles for baby to enjoy.
Mega Bloks 200 Piece Duffle Bag
Big, colorful blocks in a comfortable bag for easy transport and storage. Encourages discovery and open-ended play. Perfect for children 1 and up. Compatible with other Mega Bloks Maxi system building sets.
Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon Red
A sturdy plastic body, easy steering, front axel with no-tip turning, and exclusive Dura-Tred tires make for a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride. Exclusive convertible feature – 2 Wagons in 1 – seats fold up or down. This wagon features four molded cup holders, an optional storage compartment, and two seats with seatbelts. This wagon has won the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, National Parenting Publications Gold Award. Also won Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s Gold Seal Award, and Canadian Toy Testing Council’s Three Star Rating.
Items I think look really neat
A plush cube and 48 game cards provide endless learning opportunities. Encourages creativity, active play and gross motor skills. For ages 18 months and up.
Caterpillar Grasping Toy
Curious little ones love to grasp, twist and turn this cute wooden caterpillar! With bright colors, an easy-to-grasp body and twisting wooden segments, this appealing bug buddy encourages basic skills with its simple, bright and inviting design.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches Board
This beautifully-crafted board has polished brass locks, latches and clasps. Brightly colored, smooth-sanded pieces help build early shape, color and size differentiation skills. Hide-and-seek pictures behind each door help develop fine motor skills.
Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox
Sandstone color and boulder texture look realistic. Cover protects against weather and pets. Cornerstones provide seating. Holds up to 200lbs of sand. Fully Assembled.
Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table
Wide receptacle funnels water over spinning wheel, into inner and outer harbors. Molded-in sections create moats, lakes, canals, and harbors. Elevated design makes play accessible while keeping children out of the dirt and mud. 4-piece accessory set with boats, cup, and water wheel tower.
Magneatos (36 Piece Set)
Magnetic construction set. Jumbo-sized pieces are made for small hands. 36-Piece Set. For Ages 3 and Up.
Have a favorite gift idea for babies and toddlers?
PLEASE, leave your thought in the comments.
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