I collected things to put on my dresser as a kid. I loved figurines and pretty little things to look at. I did not love sorting through them as my parents downsized over the years. So, I’m trying really hard not to start those kinds of collections for my kids. One practical item to have on a dresser is a coin bank. I think these initial banks are fun and there are lots of options on Etsy for designs and personalization.
JJ loves this All Better! book that comes with reusable sticker bandages that young readers apply to the different animals’ boo-boos. Feed the Animals is on our Christmas list this year. The only down side to these is that that my children have lost some of the stickers. So, I recommend keeping these on a special shelf to read alongside your kiddos.
My kids are not as into mail as I think they should be, but I do know some kids who are. Consider a fun magazine subscription to slip into your favorite kiddos’ mailbox monthly.
These were a gift for Luke’s first birthday and both of my kids still play with them — making them gift guide worthy. These guys fit into my many ways to play category and could make perfect stocking stuffers for even the littlest hands to grab.
We received these off our Christmas list last year and they are still a hit. My kids like to play floor is lava with them and we’ve even used them as a jumping off point for a full indoor obstacle course. They are a bit pricey for a toy, but would be great family gift to someone with multiple little kids to share.
Luke is very into Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer right now. These are great to find on Thriftbooks, library book sales, and even garage sales; so, I always have my eyes peeled. Every once in a while we come across some problematic wording or reactions (in my opinion) in Mayer’s writing, but I use those as quick teachable moments or just skip right over them.
JJ gets really focused on these magnetic maze puzzles at the library; so, they will be on our Christmas list this year. She is not super into regular puzzles, but these capture her attention.
Kites are the most underrated toy - period. I love kite flying, my kids aren’t super into it, you know, because they are way cooler than my. But, whenever we break out our kites around other friends, they are ready to play. I think a kite is a marvelous family present.
Sometimes I come across a book publisher by chance (usually at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, yes, really!) and feel like I have to get my hands on everything they create. We have some beautiful animal and dinosaur books from Salariya Books and I hope to discover some more of their titles in my holiday shopping.
I am a big fan of the Melissa & Doug rubber stamp sets. They have lots of different themes to choose from and include washable stamp pads. These have been a great addition to our project drawer over the last year.
These binoculars convince me that my kiddos are actually seeing what I think they are seeing because they neatly (with padding) smoosh against their little heads.
JJ loves kaleidoscopes and she is always asking to open ours — which does not open, womp womp. These beautiful kits are great for a range of ages.
I like the idea of giving kids a gift they could use with their friends. I would have loved to invite a friend over to make buttons for our backpacks or gym bags — and I might still enjoy doing that ;)
Our bubble machine was a COVID purchase, but it has proven to be exciting on a Tuesday morning with just us and with a bunch of neighbors after school too.
This is basically the only game that Luke really gets really into because he can just whack something, but it also gets him counting and comparing numbers.
I like sets like this to keep outside. It’s nice to have a bunch to share if friends are over to play. Magnifying glasses are such an open-ended play toy that can lead to the best kid adventures.
This is on our list this year. I’m hoping that getting to whack the trouble bubble will fill Luke’s tactile demand, but also gets him counting and thinking. I like Trouble because all the pieces have a place on the board and kids will like it because it's Bluey.
Thanks to a Bluey episode all about Chess, my kids like to play with our Chess board. If you have a school age kid on your list, this teaching version of the game may get them into chess with a little less frustration.
Luke got these for his birthday and he really enjoys figuring out the puzzles. This tangram set is great because the pieces are magnetic and kids can complete the puzzles directly on the tin.