It's that time of year: gift-giving season! Are you looking for gift ideas beyond clothing and gift cards? We have put together a list, by age, of gifts any kid would appreciate.
Babies may not need much in the way of toys—and certainly they can’t tell you what they want—but there are some useful and educational items out there.
1. Give baby some rattle socks—they can't drop this rattle (until they are able to take off their socks!), and these will give them a way to entertain themselves on long car or stroller rides, or upon waking up from a nap. There are many different styles available at different price points from different retailers, so look around if you want something specific. $11.99/pair
2. Infantino Gaga Balls, Blocks, and Buddies—this play set comes with eight textured balls, eight counting blocks, and four animal buddies. Baby can grab, chew, explore, and learn about different textures with this set. They are soft enough to not damage surfaces, and baby can’t hurt anyone accidentally. $19.99
3. The Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker can be used as an activity center for infants, an activity center and rocker for older babies, and as a rocking chair for toddlers. If you infant doesn’t like rocking—or naps better when not rocking—this chair has a kickstand to keep it still. $29.49
4. A personalized Sherpa Stroller Blanket is something that any child will appreciate—after the stroller years this will be great for curling up on the couch. 100% polyester, machine washable. Want something lighter weight? There are many options available on Etsy. $39.50 + $9.50 for up to nine characters.
Toddlers and preschoolers love to play make believe and are constantly learning about the world and themselves. They need toys with no small parts, as many still explore things with their mouths.
1. Make lunchtime fun! A garden- or construction-themed set of plate, utensils, and placemat can make mealtime a continuation of playtime. $34.99 for garden set, $36.99 for construction set.
2. Did you know that Ranger Rick has a magazine just for pre-readers? Ranger Rick Cub magazine is designed for this age group. Heavy paper, color photography, simple games, letter learning, and more! They can enjoy the pictures alone, or n adult or older sibling can read the text. $24.95 for 6 issues. A Spring 2018 Parents Choice Gold Award winner.
3. Encourage pretend play with the Melissa and Doug Examine and Treat Vet play set. Unlike most vet play sets, this one comes with both a stuffed dog and a stuffed cat. A bag holds all the medical tools that come along—there is even a cone. $29.99.
4. You played it as a kid, now you can gift it to another! Candyland is still going strong, and though the graphics are updated you will remember these characters. $12.99
As kids move into elementary school they are still learning about the world around them, but they can also play alone and with their friends with limited supervision. Toys that encourage their interests and help them develop skills and knowledge are ideal.
1. The Bamboo Dropping Ball Game isn’t just about not dropping the balls—there is also strategy in the setup! Comes with a felt mat to protect surfaces form the dropping balls. $36.15
2. Any kid interested in stop-motion animation will enjoy this Make Your Own Movie kit—but your child will need access to a smartphone. $18.99
3. The Don’t Be Greedy strategy game is great for ages 5 and up. This easy-to-learn game is about risk and reward—players must decide when to stop collecting jewels or risk loosing them all. Games take about 15 minutes, so are great for younger elementary kids.
4. Know a kid who loves STEM and loves experimenting? The Spangler Science Club STEM Starter Subscription box is $14.99/month for 3 months. For ages 5–12 with minimal adult assistance. Are you familiar with the SpanglerScienceTV channel on YouTube? These boxes are from the same Steve Spangler.