Christmas is the most magical time of the year. There are family gatherings, delicious treats, beautiful decorations, joyful songs, and snow-covered lawns. Seriously, it just doesn’t get much better than that. If you can’t tell, I’m a Christmas nut. However, Christmas also brings about a feeling that isn’t so magical. That feeling is stress. As a mama, the holiday season is almost guaranteed to be equally magical and stressful. Why? Well, because us mamas are hard at work trying to make this season straight-up Disney level magic for our families.
It’s safe to say that a good chunk of that stress comes from trying to fill everyone’s wish lists. That becomes extra stressful when you have a toddler that requests a shark, a dog, a chicken, a bunny, and a lamb for Christmas. I mean what am I, a freaking zookeeper? I think not. Seriously, the most difficult part of the holiday season is trying to get your kids the Christmas presents they asked for without breaking the law (like having a shark in your home) or going bankrupt (like buying an entire farm).
My number one goal every year is to help alleviate some of that stress from you hard working mamas. That’s why I scour the internet in search of the perfect gift ideas for toddlers. My gift guides are always geared towards open-ended, unplugged, and imaginative play opportunities. I search hard for products that will be worthwhile investments for your family to enjoy over the years. Most importantly, I want this gift guide to be a great jumping-off point for your holiday shopping. While you might not fall in love with the exact toy or product listed, I know you will fall in love with the brand and be able to find a great option from them. Happy Shopping!
Lakeshore Learning Button Size-Sorting Box
Here’s the truth, I get so tired of electronic single-purpose toys piling up in our playroom. Come on, you know the ones. The toys that light up and play music (somewhat obnoxiously) and are really only able to be played with the single way they were designed to. They don’t grow with your child and more than likely they get dumped to the bottom of the toy box after a couple of play sessions. That’s why this Christmas I am determined to surround our tree with toys that provide us open-ended and unplugged pretend play. My ultimate source for those types of toys is Lakeshore Learning.
My top pick from Lakeshore Learning this year is the Button Size-Sorting Box. This product is equal parts toy and learning tool (as many of Lakeshore Learning’s products are). I love being able to disguise learning as playtime! The Button Size-Sorting box is perfectly designed to help your little one master fine motor skills as they practice sorting their colorful shapes into the different slots. However, learning doesn’t just stop there. Remember, this company is all about multi-purpose learning opportunities. You can also use the shapes by themselves to teach colors, shapes, sizes, patterns, and sorting. Heck, you could even include them in a sensory box for additional fun. I told you, the possibilities with this product are only as endless as your imagination.
Cuddle + Kind Doll
Can I tell you a secret? My daughter is obsessed with stuffed animals. She reads stories to them, cooks them lunch in her play kitchen, tells them all goodnight every day, and tucks her favorites in before bedtime. So, it’s pretty safe to say we have a ton of stuffed animals in our house. Do you know what still ends up on her wishlist every holiday? Another stuffed animal. I hate just grabbing another generic one from the store that I know she will discard a year from now, but it also breaks my heart to say no when I know how much she loves them.
When my daughter was a baby, I stumbled across Cuddle + Kind. Let me tell you, they have solved all of my stuffed animal woes. With Cuddle + Kind, I am able to give my daughter a new doll that she will love without having to feel guilty for spending money on another stinking stuffed animal. That’s because Cuddle + Kind is a company with a very important mission. For every doll purchased, Cuddle + Kind donates 10 meals to a child in need. Defeating childhood hunger is a mission this mama can get behind! Every doll is ethically produced by artisans in Peru and meant to last your child a lifetime.
This year, we decided to get our daughter one of their inspirational prints to hang in her playroom as well as a doll. Each doll has a coordinating print that you can add to your purchase. These prints are full of beautiful and inspirational messages that are perfect for playrooms or nurseries. Each print purchased will donate an additional 5 meals to children in need.
Schoenhut Baby Grand Piano
As a parent, I fully recognize the benefit that music has on young children. That’s why I do everything I can to help my daughter’s love for music grow. Right now her musical obsessions consist of singing Baby Shark at the top of her lungs and playing on the piano. She is constantly climbing up the bench of the piano in our family room to get her music on. So, this Christmas I decided to get her one of her own.
The Schoenhut Classic Baby Grand Piano was easily the right choice for our family. This piano is perfect for parents wanting something perfectly sized for their toddlers without having to sacrifice the overall design. This piece will easily blend into the decor of any room. It’s important to remember that while this piano is beautiful, it’s still a toy designed for small children. So, the sound it produces is more like chimes than traditional piano music. Don’t let that deter you though. Your child will love the whimsical notes they are able to play on their very own instrument! If you are wanting to encourage a love for music in your children, then this is the perfect way to start.
Guidecraft Classic Kitchen Helper Stool
How many of you have put on a cartoon, handed your kid a juice box, and prayed to the sweet lord above that they left you alone long enough to make dinner? You better be raising your hand because we’ve all been there. Trying to prepare a meal with a toddler clinging to your leg is a hassle. BUT what if you had a solution that didn’t involve a television or a clingy child? That’s where the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper Stool comes in.
A kitchen helper stool allows your child to be a hands-on participant in making dinner. It puts them up on your level where they can easily see what is going on and safely help prepare their meals. It may initially seem like cooking dinner with a toddler would take longer than cooking it alone. However, you have to factor in how many times you have to replace their snack, walk them back to the living room, and pull out every distraction known to man. In reality, you are actually probably saving yourself a lot of time (and a few headaches).
The Guidecraft Kitchen Helper Stool folds almost completely flat for easy storage. It features an adjustable platform to keep your child at the perfect height as they grow. There is even a non-slip mat included that keeps your child safe and secure during all of your adventures together. Get this, it even comes in a variety of styles and colors to perfectly match the vibe of your home. I can guarantee you that this will be a gift that parents will enjoy almost as much as their children.
Melissa & Doug Cleaning Pretend Play Set
Toddlers are not exactly known for their cleanliness. In fact, whenever my daughter finishes playing it looks like a tornado has blown through our house. She also has a newfound hobby of sneaking snacks into the living room and then tripping and spilling it on the carpet. Oh, and she is a freaking crumb machine. So, when I saw a toy that could actually cause my daughter to enjoy cleanliness my first thought was, “where in the world do I sign up.” Seriously, what parent out there wouldn’t buy a toy that made cleaning fun?
When I saw the Melissa & Doug, Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set online I instantly put that bad boy in my cart. It is the perfect toy for encouraging screen-free and open-ended pretend play. Our favorite kind of playtime to be honest. I also love how realistic this set is. It was designed to look exactly like the real thing. So, I know my daughter will get to enjoy feeling like a big girl as she “cleans” next to mama. The very best part is that I know this set is built with the quality I’ve come to expect from Melissa & Doug products. I know it is built to last.