Once again, it’s our favorite time of year! Just when you thought your house didn’t have room for even one more toy; it’s the holidays! If you’re like us, it’s not practical to brave the holiday hordes to go shopping with kids in tow. Instead, we plan to shop at work (shh!), during nap times or with a glass of wine once the kids are asleep.
Whether you’re looking for gifts for your own kids, nieces and nephews, or any other favorite little people in your life, here’s our roundup of tried and true gifts to give by age. Any of these are great choices for boys and girls alike.
(And check out our bonus section with some favorites for new and expecting moms!)
Infant Gifts (6 months to 1 year):
Spinagain Toy. We’re also a fan of this stackable toy by Fat Brain Kids. Your little one will grow into it, and until then you can show him how it’s done.
Activity Cube. The fact that this activity cube is wooden is a huge plus. It’s nice to have a break from plastic and flashy lights. This will continue to be a favorite as your child develops!
Musical collection of shakers. These are wonderful because the whole family can get involved. There are cheaper options out there, but these are high quality and will last a very long time.
Bath animals. Little ones love these, and you can turn bath time into a learning experience by talking about the animals too!
Pound and Tap Bench. A creative twist on a favorite classic to help promote motor skills and musicality in your favorite aspiring woodworker.
Toddler Gifts (1 to 2 years):
Teepee. Teepees are perfect for a basement, a bedroom, or really anywhere in the house. Kids get gleeful hiding in one, playing peek-a-boo, or enjoying some quiet time with their stuffed animal friends.
Pretend kitchen. If you have the space and are looking for one “big gift,”look no further. This pretend kitchen is amazing (it may be nicer than some of our actual kitchens!) and will entertain kids for hours. Warning….do not try to set this up two hours before “Santa comes”....
Basketball hoop. This one has gotten a lot of use at Hayley’s house. Inside, outside—it doesn’t matter. The balls are soft so your breakables might just stand a chance.
Mini Dyson. It’s fun, it works, and it teaches responsibility!! Hayley’s son loves it!
Play Doh. We can’t get enough of this “Poop Troop” set. Genius! Just make sure your kid doesn’t try to put it in his/her mouth. It took ours a little past age 2 to be remotely trusted with Play Doh…
A Learning Tower. If you have the space, a learning tower is awesome. It lets your kid be where you are so they can hang out, draw, help cook, and feel like part of the action.
Color Matching Egg Set. The egg set is a must have. It has consistently held our little one’s attention. We first started talking about the colors, but now we’re moving on to numbers.
Keyboard Piano + Microphone. We’ve gotten a ton of use out of this keyboard and microphone. Let your little musician play DJ and start dancing.
Preschool and up Gifts (2+):
Red Flyer Wagon. The wagon is multifunctional—let your little one pull it on a scavenger hunt or take her for a ride around the neighborhood. You can’t go wrong with any version of this wagon, but we like the “all terrain” one. It provides for a smoother ride and the sides are 50% deeper than the classic, so we don’t worry as much about our little one bouncing out.
Thomas the Train set: We’re giving this a go this year in our house. The great thing about this set is that you can build it over time, and family members can add on too! If you feel like splurging, we’ve heard amazing things about the Brio train as well.
Duplos or Legos. We LOVE duplos and legos here at ellie. They’re great for developing fine motor skills, patience, and creativity. The Duplo “My Town Family House” is one of our favorites.
Magna Tiles. Build a tower, break it down. It never gets old over here. We love that it encourages fine motor skills, and you can also talk about shapes and colors!
Art Easel Set. Encourage creativity with an art desk and easel. If you are looking to go all out and have space to spare, we love this art center. We also love this simpler, streamlined version—it’s great for small-space living.
New and expecting moms gifts:
Bath robe. It’s soft and cozy, perfect for post-shower or nursing a tired baby. We’ve tried a lot of bath robes through the years and this one is our favorite.
Eye mask. This is perfect for getting back to sleep after early morning wake-ups. Hayley has had this exact mask for five years and it’s gotten LOTS of love.
Enzyme Scrub. Why do we love this? 1) it works and 2) you only have to leave it on for 1-2 minutes. Rub it into your face before you get in the shower (before you brush your teeth) and rinse off after you shampoo your hair. Multi-tasking accomplished and you feel like you gave yourself a little lovin’.
Bath salts. Bath salts are super relaxing, and having some may motivate a mama to take a little time for herself. For use while pregnant, or once you’re cleared for baths post-delivery—check with the doctor either way!
Bebe au lait nursing cover. This is hands down our favorite nursing cover. It’s breathable, and the structured top lets your peer down and check your baby’s latch, while still offering privacy. There is something satisfying about a nursing cover you don’t have to wrestle with.
Cocomama Hot Chocolate. There’s nothing better than cozying up with some Fair Trade hot chocolate at the end of a long day. We love this mama owned brand.
What’s on your list for your kids (or yourself!) this holiday season? Let us know in the comments or on ellie’s social pages!
About the author: Hayley Nivelle is the Co-Founder & CEO of ellie, the new app for parenting groups. Originally from Kansas City, she lives in the NYC area with her husband and two boys. She has relied on her moms groups for everything from breastfeeding supply tips to dealing with the fun and challenges of a two year old!