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2019 Gift Ideas for Toddlers.
As the mum of three kids under five years old and the aunt of 8 kids under six years old, buying gifts seems to be a weekly occurrence in our house. I’ve compiled my Top 2018 gift ideas for toddlers so you can benefit from my endless hour of online shopping, toy shop pursuing and birthday party attending.
Buying gifts for kids are not always the easiest thing to do. If you are like me, you don’t want to waste your money on any old piece of junk that is going to end up broken within a few moments. You also do not have unlimited resources, so cost is always a consideration. You are probably buying for a kid that has plenty of toys already and will likely be receiving plenty more at the time you are giving your gift. With that in mind, when I give gifts to the kids, I am related to I do like to try to make it something practical, but let’s face it, no kid will be jumping for joy about socks or underwear… or will they?
Challenges aside, there are so many great options available, let’s jump right into the list. I’m sure you will find the perfect toddler Birthday gift or any day of year gift!
2018 Educational Gifts for Toddlers
Pretend Play is an essential part of a toddler’s development. Pretend play encourages young kids to use their imagination and creativity. It also helps children develop self-esteem and self-awareness, and it encourages the development of language and communication skills. Through pretend play kids develop cognitive thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. This is all wonderful and great for us adults to know about, but, to a toddler, the most important thing about pretend play is that it is super fun! For all of these important reasons, I am going to focus my education gifts section recommendations on toddler pretend play toys. (Plus, I love giving gifts that keep kids in the real world and not headed back to a screen!).
Pretend Play Food Sets
The games that can be played with fake food is endless. Give a child a food set, and there will be hours of fun having fake picnics and tea parties. Just be sure that you’re prepared to be served a bowl of wooden or plastic food for a few hours. The price points for play food sets vary greatly depending on what you are looking for. The most economical options would be a plastic set of food. The Funerica Cutting Play Fruit Set (1) from Amazon is a great option. It includes plastic vegetables, play knife, mini kitchen dishes, a mini-cook top, a toy grocery basket, and a fun chefs hat. Your kids will be thrilled to be able to cut food and cook up dinner just like their parents.
There are countless other pretend to play food set options available through Amazon. If you have a bit more budget to spend, you can pick up a wooden set for about $30. There are also some fun sets for pizza, sushi, etc. This could be a fun way to introduce new foods to young children or too picky eaters!
Pretend Play Doctor Set
I know the idea of kids playing doctor brings up visions of some family sitcom where the kids get into some embarrassing situation. It’s true, kids love playing doctor, and it is not always awkward or uncomfortable. In reality, it is a great way for kids to learn about the body and to make sense of the world. Kids learn by doing, and pretending to play Dr can help them understand what happens when they go to the Dr. Kits usually run between $8 – $50 depending on the size of the kit. As a midway price point, I recommend the Fischer Price Medical Kit (2). The kit pieces are all sturdy and colorful, the bag fits all the pieces and the moving parts like the syringe work perfectly. These may all seem like obvious qualities, but some cheaper kits on the market this is not always the case. As cheap as they are the cheap kits are not worth the money. They won’t survive long, and that is if they even show up in working order.
The learning resources pretend and play doctor(3) set is also a very popular option. It is pretty impressive and includes a stethoscope, cell phone, forceps, three bandages, eyeglasses, name tag, scalpel, thermometer, tweezers, syringe, blood pressure cuff, scissors, reflex hammer, bedpan, ear scope, and dental mirror. That’s enough medical equipment to run a mini-hospital! The only downside of the Learning Resources kit is that is can be up to double the cost of the Fischer Prince kit (depending on if you catch a sale). If you’ve got a little extra money in the budget, this is a great option.
Pretend Play Kitchen Sets / Pretend Play Shop/ Pretend Play Supermarket
If you’ve got cash to splash or this is an extra special birthday, then getting your little one an actual kitchen or shop is the way to go. With their tools of the trade, kids will be immersed in their play, and their imagination can run wild. That’s the good news; the downside is that often these toys take up a lot of room and require assembly. The price range for these play environments can range from $50 – $400. Personally, I do not think you need to go anywhere near the top of the price range to get a fantastic gift. Some of those play kitchens are nicer than my kitchen!
For a mid-range kitchen, I would go with the KidKraft Deluxe Big & Bright Kitchen (4). This kitchen is pretty packed with features for the price. This kitchen has everything – a refrigerator, freezer, oven and microwave open and close and see thru windows on oven and microwave doors. One of the things I like about this model is that it is big enough for more than one child to play at once and it made of wood with sturdy construction. It also has storage above and below the sink, which is great to put away off the pretend to play pots and food. The sink is also removable for cleaning. The first kitchen we had did not have this feature, and it was such a pain to get it clean. My only word of warning with this kitchen is that it did take me a few hours to put together. With that being said, I have also been horrible with Ikea and the like. So just be prepared, but, if you are the least bit handy, know how to read instructions or have some help you will likely fare better than I did.
Another excellent option for pretend play is a shop. We do not have one at home, but my daughter has one at daycare, and she adores it. She loves to get the shop all set up and then ring in transactions with her toy cash register while she is having a blast, this type of play in helping her learn about money, how to count change and giving her a basic understanding of transactions in real life.
There are heaps of shops available on Amazon, everything from a workshop to a fruit stand. I am especially fond of the Tiny Land Ice Cream Stand for Kids (5), I have not tried this exact item yet, so I cannot comment on its physical robustness, but, I have had it bookmarked in Amazon for a while now. It is so cute, and I can imagine my
daughter setting up all of her treasures for sale.
2018 Practical Toddler Gifts
Kids have so many toys these days, that sometimes it is nice to give a gift that has a practical use. Something that will not only make a child smile but their parents too!
Clothing is a very practical gift. I know you are probably thinking, that it is super boring and you don’t want to be the person to give the boring gift. But, with toddlers, this does not have to be the case. There are so many cute outfits available with kids that new clothing can be very exciting for a toddler.
Underwear is a big winner for kids turning two. It is very exciting for kids because it symbolizes that they are becoming a “big girl” or “big boy.” When my daughter was given underwear for her second birthday, so insisted on wearing it over her diaper every day until she was ready to toilet train.
And if you can find underwear with your child’s favorite characters, then you are in with a winner. These Peppa Pig Underwear (1) would have been a total hit with my daughter, and I don’t know a two-year-old boy that would not get excited about Disney Cars Underwear(2). If the child you are buying for is slightly older than I would go for Disney Princesses or My Little Pony for girls and anything superheroes for boys.
Toddler Lunch Box
Well, as difficult as it is to move on from the excitement of underwear, another great practical gift for a toddler is a lunchbox or water bottle. Yes, they may already have these, but they get daily use and parents continually need to replace them. In terms of lunch boxes, I am a big fan of YumBoxes(3). Firstly, they are leak proof! There is nothing fun about unpacking a bag that has had lunch liquid leak through it. Secondly, they are made with all food-safe materials, BPA-free and phthalates-free. Thirdly, they are sturdy and can take a knock or a fall out of a backpack. Finally, they are designed with different compartments for different types of foods, so they are great for helping children learning about healthy eating. In the middle of the box, there is a little space for a great, and it is a great way to show kids that a small treat is okay, but it is important to eat from all the different food groups.
Modern-Twist (5) also make a very cool reusable coloring placemat that your toddler will love. The Placements are made from FDA-approved, food-grade silicone that is free of BPA, PVC, lead, latex, and phthalates. Each mat comes with a set of four toxic free dry-erase markers. The mats are also skid-free so bowls and plates won’t be slipping off onto the floor. The mats are also dishwasher safe and in most cases can easy to clean with a simple wipe down with soap and water. Meal times can be so hard with toddlers that this is a great way to provide some fun at the table. They can also be rolled up and taken out with you and used as a great alternative to screen time at a restaurant. At my last check, there were about 20 cute designs to choose from, so worth checking out! To be honest, your toddler will love these mats, even if they are not used at mealtimes. They also make a great reusable drawing mat for any time of the day.
Tricycle Steer Stroller
Toddlers are not always keen to be in strollers and parents are not always eager to have toddlers running around shops. The Costzon 4-in-1 Kids Tricycle Steer Stroller is an excellent solution for this situation. They feel like a big kid bike, so toddlers love riding in them, but they have a handle so mum or dad can control where it goes. Most models also come with a sun hood to keep kids safe out of the sun. Trikes make excellent first birthday gifts as this is when a toddler will get maximum use of the trike. By their 3rd birthday, toddlers are usually ready to move onto something a little less restricting.
Personalized Toddler Gifts
Personalized gifts are perfect for toddlers. Toddlers are just beginning to take ownership of their name and their identity. Having something personalized gives a child a sense of ownership and security. Thanks to sites like Etsy, Zazzle and a few other boutique shops, you can pretty much get anything personalized these days. Personalization is another excellent way to take something practical and make it super fun for kids. Here are some of my top picks for Personalized gifts for Toddlers.
2018 Monogrammed Backpack
All kids need a backpack sometimes be it for daycare, going for a sleepover at grandma and grandpa’s house or just heading out for a day trip. As a parent, I still remember the first time my oldest son put on his own backpack and was waiting at the door to go to preschool. Being able to wear his own bag made him feel like a big kid, but I have to be honest it made my heart melt a little because he not only felt like a big kid, he looked like one too! Etsy has heaps of different backpack options. Make sure you consider the size of the bag before ordering as a full school bag will be much too big for a toddler. (Although they do look cute trying to wear those massive bags). An 11” or 12” bag would be sufficient and something they can grow into. The example is shown (1) is from my Etsy shop, but just search “personalized backpack” and heaps of options will come up.
Personalized Toddler Step Stool
In most houses, toddlers need to use a step stools every time they wash their hands. So, this means they use them a lot. A personalized step stool is a great gift to make the mundane a little more exciting for children. This adorable superhero stool is from SoooooCute (2). If you search on Etsy, you can find a wide range of examples from hand painted to hand carved!
This cutlery is so cool. Its made from polymer clay, Your can personalize with names, dates and get the designer to make design a spoon or fork to look like your toddler! Rada’s store is worth checking out for adult gifts too. She makes personalized knitting needles and wedding gifts that look like the bride and groom. So fun, right?
Personalized Toddler Purse
Alyssa Sanchez from SimplisticStitchery makes the cutest customized purses. I do not know a little girl that would not be excited to receive such a cute gift. These cross-body purses are made with faux leather, faux suede and cotton fabric with hook and loop fasteners and faux suede purse strap. Truly stylish for a girl first purse!
5. Personalized Name Puzzle
A Custom name puzzle provides the child with an opportunity to learn about letters and the spelling of their name. The puzzle from Woodinout (6) is a great choice because it is large enough for a toddler. We had gifted a name puzzle when my son was two, and it looked lovely in his room but the pieces were very small, and he got frustrated when it was too hard for him to complete (the letters were broken into multiple parts). He is now 4 and loved playing with it, but I am continually picking up the little pieces all over the house. So my vote is for a puzzle that has each letter or number as a single piece of wood.
As you can see the options are plentiful and varied. I would recommend you head over to Etsy and Zazzle and browse for “personalized toddler.” You will be wonderfully amazed at the options. Word of warning – it is possible to lose hours of your life getting sucked into the vast array of options. So make sure you search with purpose and a budget in mind!
Stem Gifts for Toddlers
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathcore subjects that help kids develop the skills for future success in such things as computers, robotics, engineering, and sciences. Often people think that STEM toys are only for older kids or require the dreaded screen time! There are however lots of great low tech STEM gift options for little ones as well. The great thing about a good STEM gift is that to a child they are fun. As with the pretend to play gift options mentioned earlier, kids do not necessarily understand they their play is helping to develop useful skills. Here are my picks to introduce your child to STEM learning.
Building Block Sets
Building block sets can help kids learn to about balance, put things together, build foundations and structures. These toys allow children to experiment, build, and rebuild endlessly which can help them develop their excellent motor skills and spatial reasoning. Another great thing about block sets is that they can be used for years to come. As kids mature, they can build bigger and better things out of the same simple set that they used for simple towers as a young child. There are heaps of different options in the market, here are three of my favorites:
Magnetic tiles and magnetic building blocks are fun for all ages. Kids can be creative and build 3D structures and work with different colors, and shapes. With most sets, each tile has a magnet on both sides that makes it easy for kids to form any shape they want. Working in Magnetic tiles teaches kids about math and art. There are heaps of different types of Magnetic tiles on the market, and they are not always compatible with each other so if you are buying to add to someone’s set, be sure to check out what they currently have. If you are just starting with magnetic tiles, Magna-Tiles (1) have a great reputation and will handle some rough play. With that being said, there are a lot of different brands available on the market so do a search and see if anything is on sale. There is no need to go overboard and break the bank for a toddler. Just get a small set which can be added to as the child gets older.
DUPLO is Lego’s younger sibling. It has bigger pieces, so it can be used by toddlers without you having to worry about choking hazards. There are lots of great Duplo (2) sets on the market, so I would just be guided by your budget on this one. When my kids were 1 and two, they enjoyed the Duplo sets with animals and flowers, but as they got older, they liked the tubs of generic pieces which allowed them the flexibility of building more things and being creative (Be sure to check out the age range on the box). My oldest is now into Lego but still loves playing with Duplo, so it has stood the test of time in our house.
Wooden blocks are the same as when we were little, and they still provide the same hours of entertainment. The only difference I see today is that a lot more of us have hardwood floors in our house, so when the castles get knocked over it’s slightly louder! If you are buying for a younger toddler, the Melissa & Doug Classic ABC Wooden Block Cart is a great option. Toddlers love pulling the cart along, and the blocks allow kids to become familiar with colors, letters, and numbers.
Puzzles in any shape or form are great for STEM play. As mentioned in the personalized gift section of this article, traditional wooden puzzles are great for younger children. If a personalized puzzle is not your things, there are lots of great wooden puzzles available. If you are looking for something other than a stock standard jigsaw, the Imagination Generation has a very near animal balancing puzzle (4). Younger toddlers will enjoy playing with the wooden figures, and older children will have a great time trying to balance as many animals as possible on the barn. This is a great game to play with kids of varying ages. Another out of the box toddler puzzle is the Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Blocks 6-in-1 Puzzle With Wooden Tray (5). When a child correctly creates the image of an animal and puts it on the cube, the puzzle will play the corresponding animal noise. Toddlers love this instant feedback and this puzzle will bring hours of fun.
2018 The Best Toddler Toys for Boys and 2018 Best Toddler Toys for Girls
Most of the toddler gift ideas that I have written about so far are not gender specific. As a mum of both boys and girls, I find that my kids will happily play with each other’s toys. While my daughter does have a real love of all things pink and purple (I have no idea where it has come from), I do not think at the toddler age you need to worry about gender-specific gifts. Girls will play with cars and boys will happily bath a doll. With that being said, the old classics are classics for a reason and toddlers today still love them just as much as they did before. Here is my list of modern takes on classics.
Kids love dolls. Dolls can be bathed, fed, put in a pram and put to sleep. What is not to love about a doll. While there are lots of amazing and fancy dolls on the market, I have found that my kids have been drawn to simpler dolls in their toddler years. I have found that some of the larger (read expensive) dolls were too heavy for my toddler to easily carry around. I found that a smaller doll like this one by Baby Magic (1) is a better fit. This set is great, a doll, a bottle, a crib, and clothes; everything your little one needs to take care of a baby. So there you have it, probably the only time in your gift giving life that someone is going to tell you to go with the cheaper option! If it’s in the budget, I would also recommend a doll stroller (2) A stroller will have your kid doing laps of the yard and house for hours. There are lots of doll strollers on the market, but again we have already been fine with a simple model as per the link.
Cars and Trains
I have a house full of cars and trains and receiving a new one still makes my sons day. He has spent probably a quarter of his life putting cars and trains into lines. Before kids, I would have never known how exciting it could be to put things in a line! In our house, the cars that rule the day are hot wheels, monster trucks, and Disney Cars. The Monster Trucks and Disney’s cars can be quadruple the price of a simple hot wheels car, so that is a consideration. Again, get whatever is in your budget, and they will love it.
For trains, there are a few options out there. In most toy stores you will be able to find amazing Thomas the Tank Engine Train sets. Just be sure to check what sort of trains your toddler already has. In my house, we have plastic, wood, and metal Thomas sets and they do not all work on the same tracks. I find that the wood sets are the best for toddlers as the wheels are a bit bigger and they fit into the grooves of the wooden tracks and make it easier to pull the train along. The metal trains are nice, but I have had one too many dropped on my toy for me to recommend them! I also find that tracks are harder for smaller kids, but preschool age kids can easily navigate them. We have had too many bits break off the plastic train sets for me to recommend them. With that being said, if your kids are a bit gentler than mine, this might be the right solution for you.
I LOVE BOOKS, and I think that they are so important for kids. So I think that the best toddler books deserve it is own blog post! Once It’s ready to go, I will update this article.
The best toddler gifts
So after all of that, what are the best toddler gifts? The best gifts are what you can afford and what you can manage. All too often, I get caught up trying to make the perfect birthday party or the perfect Christmas celebration but what my toddler wanted was my time. Your toddler wants to connect with you, so don’t stress about getting the perfect gift because they will no doubt only play with the wrapping paper and box for the first week anyway!
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