Any suggestion on gifts for the kids for Christmas?
Every year, I get asked by members of my extended family, “What do your kids want for Christmas?” When I ask my kids, their answers are generally “I don’t know,” although they have had specific requests like an Elsa doll, Lego, or a ski trip! We don’t watch television, so our kids don’t know about all the cool toys that are out there for their consumption. 🙂 It means that I get to think about toys that they might enjoy and suggest them to our family.
I have often asked for experiential and enrichment gifts, but I also understand family members desire to have their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews tear open Christmas gifts and watch them delight in receiving something new.
I have compiled a list of some terrific gift ideas for kids ages 1-5. These were some of our kids most beloved toys when they were little. Even though they are ages 6 and 8, they still enjoy playing with some of them. Our favorite toys tend to be things that can grow with the kids. Furthermore, they are quite affordable.
When I choose gifts for my kids, I ask these questions:
- Is the gift developmentally appropriate?
- Does it encourage creativity and imaginative play?
- Is it versatile? Can it be used for independent play during a quiet time, as well as for cooperative play with siblings and friends?
- Is it durable? Will it last a couple of years?
- Can it grow with our kids?
- Will my kids enjoy the gift?
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At this age, I suggest toys that are durable, safe, and versatile. Our kids loved nesting cups. They spent hours stacking, nesting, putting things in, taking things out, rolling them, putting them in their mouths, and banging them together. Then they evolved into cups and bowls when playing family or a restaurant. It’s a great toy for this age. Here’s an example.
I also love roll-up tunnels. They spent a lot of time going through them. As our kids got bigger, they loved standing inside it and pretending to be monsters and a dancing tunnel. Your kids will enjoy playing peek-a-boo and just going in and out of their indoor pop-up tent!
For books, our kids enjoyed the Eric Carle. Brown Bear, Brown Bear series.What am I is a fun book and the kids loved entertaining themselves with the different sized eye-holes. Lift, flip, touch, and make noise books were always our favorites. The kids love repetition at this age so a few beloved board books go a long way.
We also loved Aqua Doodle Mats. Kids can doodle without having to worry about kids chewing on crayons or markers. This is more appropriate for a toddler.
This is a great age for kids to grow in imaginative play. You really don’t need much at this age to get the kids imagining and playing. It is also the age when kids learn to play along side but also play with one another. Kids learn to cooperate, share, take-turns, and negotiate play. I love this age!
For this age group, I seriously think about multi-age usability. The items you purchase at this age will last you for a really long time.
Whether it is adding to your train track set, lego, magna tiles, puzzles, or pretend play items, consider toys that have the best potential to last until age 5 and beyond. More than the toys itself, if you spend time playing with your kids using these toys, they will last much longer. They love interacting with you as you build, make, and pretend together. But be forewarned: don’t get ahead of yourself and try to micromanage your kids play. Let them lead and you can follow along with their imagination, even if they’re not using the toys “as you think they should.” Give them space to tinker and figure things out rather than doing things for them!
Here are our favorites:
Train set: You cannot go wrong with a train set. Boys and girls both love them. Some love the engineering aspect of the toy. Others love the interactive and pretend play. It’s a win-win. Although my kids are no longer interested in the train set at ages 6 and 8, they loved playing with their tracks and trains between ages 3-5.
Magna Tiles: These are expensive. It is more fun if you have more pieces, so I would recommend that you slowly build up your collection and the different types of shapes you own. It’s good to start early so that you can purchase them over the years.
Puzzles: These are more age and development bound (this teddy bear puzzle is great for two’s and three’s.). Depending on your kids capabilities, the types of puzzles you get will vary. My kids loved big floor puzzles. They can all work together.
Kitchen items: These will last you a long time.
Our kids had lots of “parties” using them. We love the ones with velcro attached as they are great even for younger age (even at age 1 or 2) because they love slicing pieces. They are durable, versatile, and safe!
One time, I said to one of our children, “I love that you know how to have fun!” She responded, “Mom, what kid doesn’t know how to have fun?” I thought, “Duh?! She’s right!”
We know that kids will find ways to have fun with just sticks, stones, pots, pans, and some wooden spoons. But, we all do love giving gifts to our loved ones, especially to our little ones during the holiday season. Hopefully, this post will help alleviate unnecessary shopping stress for you or one of your family members! 🙂