Kids are changing constantly. From what they are interested in, to the size of their shoes (seriously, growing so fast), it can be hard to nail a great gift for toddlers and young kids. We asked some of our favorite parents to tell us the best gifts they’ve received and compiled it here as an inspiration for you this holiday season and beyond. We’re factoring in growth spurts, interests that change, and the need for interactive experiences.
This insulated lunch box. Soft, leak-proof, and in an array of fun colors, what better way to transport your kids favorite snacks than with a fun new lunch box?
A day trip. Some of the best gifts we can give each other are experiences and memories. Take a trip to a local zoo, aquarium or museum. Make it interactive and fun! Go as a family, spend some one-on-one time, or suggest the grandparents take them for a day.
Art supplies. The options here are ENDLESS: drawing pads, fun paper, glitter glue, puffy paint, stickers. A set of watercolor paints is always a fun place to start, or you could build to a bigger project together like painting a birdhouse or stringing simple beads together. (Also, this mess-free marker set has ink that dries in 90 seconds.)
Clothing (but size up). If you’re planning a family trip in the summer but it’s currently winter, think ahead for bathing suits, cold weather gear and back-to-school wear. Same goes for shoes! Cyber sales have already started here.
An indoor trampoline. Cooped up kids need a way to get out energy even in the winter? This easy-to-assemble trampoline is the perfect way to tire them out. Plus, foldable for easy storage.
A fun take on hot chocolate. Cozy nights at home are a given in the winter time, but mixing up a cup of hot cocoa that’s … purple?! Add these crazy marshmallows for a night of silly fun.
Game night! A few new board games are the perfect way to give a gift that brings your family together. Monopoly Junior is a great pick for older kids (ages 5 and up) and classics like Connect Four and Guess Who are always fun.
An interactive puzzle. Show your kids that learning can also be fun with this brain teaser puzzle. Or get the whole family to help put together a bigger floor puzzle.
Fun bedding. A new set of sheets of pillows with your kids favorite characters or hobbies is always a good way to make bedtime easier. This construction set is cute and an animal lover will flip for these.
Pen pal kit. This is the sweetest stationary set to help kids and grandparents keep in touch. Perfect for starting out with thank you notes for gifts and then going from there! Other cute sets with animals and DIY options.
This handy cup. If your toddler can’t go far without their favorite cup, make it a no-spill option that goes with them anywhere. Comes in lots of fun colors!
Glow-in-the-dark fun. This set of 135 stars will bring your child’s imagination to life and the night sky indoors. (Also serves as a fun night light for kids who don’t need one anymore, but maybe still do.)
A wooden food set. Let your kid start their own ice cream shop or take sandwich orders. You’ll get hours of pretend play out of these fun sets. (Don’t forget to practice your “Yummmm!” reactions.)
A classic book. Make story time sweet with fun book options like this one that’s a new edition of an all-time favorite or this one that inspires girls and boys to be anything they want to be.
A personalized suitcase. Perfect for visiting the grandparents or going on your next family vacation, help your toddler feel all grown up by having their very own bag. This one glows in the dark and these feature all your kids favorite characters.
A scooter, strider bike, or wagon. Is your little one ready to move and try out wheels? We loved our Micro-Kickboard Scooter. Check your local listservs or parents’ groups to see if anyone has one they are passing on or selling used.
Want to try a bicycle? Start with a balance bike (also called a strider bike) before you add wheels to the equation: a balance bike lets a kid play with wheels and get used to balancing and pushing off a bike before graduating to a bigger, actual, bicycle. Great for kids around two or three, depending on skill level. (Our neighbor’s kid scooted around on his when he was eighteen months, but our kiddo didn’t really get the hang of it until closer to three years old.) It all depends on their development and there isn’t a “right” age—the right age is when they feel ready and want to!
Kids also love being pulled in wagons. We found this Mac Collapsible Wagon that folds down to 6” wide and stores in a closet (brilliant!). We carted them around in the wagon for Halloween and take it to the beach with us. We even use it to travel with and carry suitcases to and from the car!
What about you? What are your favorite toys, games, and experiences for kids?
Leave a note in the comments and tell us what your favorite gifts for your kids are —or for other kids!
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[…] What on earth do you buy kids when their needs (and sizes) are constantly changing? Holidays can be so hard because not only are you traveling, schlepping suitcases, and enclosing yourself in small places with family—at least, that’s what happens in our house, I’m not going to presume that it’s that way for everyone—but then there’s the added pressure of holiday gifts. […]