Christmas Shopping Guide: Gifts for Young Toddlers (1-3yrs)

Hey y'all! This is the first of my Christmas/holiday shopping guides. My young toddler just turned two, so we've had Christmas AND a birthday to deal with in our house.

This list is battery, plug-in, flashing light, and screen time free, with the exception of a few books that make noise.

These are all Amazon links with the exception of one or two items. I don't know about you, but I worship my Amazon Prime account. I never have to drag my two year old out to Toys R Us and listen to him whine for toys. It's brilliant.

Seriously though, save yourself some time and energy and at least try the free trial. It's worth it. Some things (like food products) are more, but I've found a lot of items to be cheaper on here. The wooden car track we got Everett was 50% less on Amazon Prime than it was at Kohl's, Target, and everywhere else that I checked. Plus, shipping was free and I didn't have to put on a bra.

I don't know about you, but my toddler will sit solo and look at books for hours. We keep a small basket of (3-5) books in our living room, our work/play room, and the nook by the laundry room. I moved the book storage to a hall closet a couple months ago and now that hallway is also a reading corner. He loves to open the closet door and just pull out one book after another. Reading has been my favorite pastime since I was a kid, and I'm so thrilled to see Everett following that path. I hope it brings him much joy.
10. Baby Animals
12. Busy Books 

All of the book suggestions are fantasy-free series books, and there are a ton of options when it comes to book themes. They are also all board books. The pictures are lovely and mostly very realistic. We love using these books for matching with our animal models and diecast vehicles.

Any other parents obsessed with blocks? I want an entire room for just building toys. Everett is still into the build it so he can immediately knock it down stage, but he'll build Lego masterpieces before I know it.
Mega Bloks are still the favorites around here. He got a bunch last Christmas. Technically he was not at all ready for building with them at one year old, but we found that if you gave him two blocks he would put them together over and over and over. It was GREAT for car rides. His set came with two little cars that come apart into three pieces, and he worked on those when the two-block bit got boring. 

The closer we got to Everett's second birthday, the more we noticed him playing pretend. It is the.cutest.thing.ever!
4. Vacuum
5. Food
6. Tools

Our kitchen and cookware are from Ikea, but I included another brand since not everyone lives in close proximity to HEAVEN. ;) It would be hard to narrow down to a favorite on this list, but his baby doll and his vacuum would be a close tie for first. The vacuum has, quite literally, been worn to death. We ended up putting it in the attic for future siblings and upgrading him to an actual (lightweight) vacuum. He may as well clean the floors while he plays! 

The dolls I suggested are anatomically correct. This really freaked out a friend of mine at a play date when our babies were on the shelf naked. Personally, I believe knowledge is power and there is a lot of data suggesting that kids who can name their "private parts" are less likely to be victims of abuse. We wouldn't give them dolls with blanks where the fingers are supposed to be, so why can't they play with dolls that have a penis or vulva? Food for thought while you do your Christmas shopping.

When we were hosting tot school at our home, we stocked up on small musical instruments. Everett plays with them every single day. He loves to turn on his CD player and have a jam session with Mom.
3. Ukulele
6. Bongo
11. Wooden Rhythm Set

I left off silk scarves since they technically aren't instruments, but they are such a fun part of our music supplies. The kiddos really get into dancing around with them.

We are crazy for art supplies in this house. You can never have too much. We usually break out the art supplies at least twice a day, and that doesn't count all the time Everett spends in the backyard with his chalk. Hours upon hours are spent doodling in his clubhouse.
6. Art Smock 

If your child hasn't started coloring yet, definitely start them out with a "fat" alternative to regular crayons. The regular ones will just snap in their fingers. We love these Left Right crayons because they have an easy grip. Crayola Eggs are another great choice.

Did you do puzzles as a child? I was OBSESSED. My husband says he was never into them. So far Everett has really enjoyed them, and I've been impressed with how quickly he moves to the next "level" of puzzles. Right now we're working on 2-3 piece jigsaws and puzzles that don't have the image behind them (like #6, one of his current favorites).

Puzzles are so important in the early years. Your tot is working on hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, shape recognition, problem-solving, and patience. I also really like the teachable moment that comes when the puzzle is finished - clean up! Everett is expected to put all of the pieces back into a little basket, set the basket on the puzzle, and return them to the shelf.

I don't know what it is about wheels, but my child is nuts for them. We have every ride on toy imaginable. (Thankfully, most were purchased at garage sales for under $5!) Everett can't quite reach pedals yet, even with pedal extenders, but that doesn't keep him from riding around on pedaled toys. He got a Big Wheel for his birthday that he zooms around our dining table even though he's a good 3 inches from the pedals. Where there's a will, there's a way.
2. Radio Flyer Mini Wagon (for toys)
8. Mower

Girl moms, don't let anyone convince you that these are boy toys. Half of Everett's boy friends have no interest in wheels, and half of his girl friends do. It just depends on the kid. Don't let your daughters miss out! 

We used the Pewi as Everett's "push" toy when he was learning to walk, and then it was used as a ride on. Now we've upgraded to the Twista balance bike which has front wheel steering and rides more like a bike.

I have an ACTIVE little boy. He wants to be moving, moving, moving. We are constantly adding to our gross motor toys to keep up with him. My advice is to think outside the box when it comes to where you use these. The bounce house I listed is one my friend uses in her media room. (We have a larger version of that brand and we can only use it outside.) We keep our trampoline inside for rainy days, and friends of ours keep their little slide inside, too.
9. Slide

If you can spring for the backyard playset, I strongly recommend it. We got one from Tree Frog Playsets when Everett turned one, and it was the best investment. Seriously. He plays on that thing every single day. It's my backyard babysitter! If not, the monkey bars tower and the Pikler triangle are much less expensive options. The Pikler triangle can even be used indoors and is great for small homes!


We have every single item on this "miscellaneous favorites" portion, and they get a LOT of use. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays y'all!

1 comment

  1. I have a three year old and I'm pretty sure we've gotten him something from every category on this list! He got that Dyson vacuum from Santa 2 years ago and it was a big hit!

    Great post!

    Lauren | also known as mama


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