By Aubrey Everett
Having a toddler typically means constant movement and a never-ending roster of activities. We are treating the holiday and gift-giving season as a time to mix some more toys and activities into our rotation. We know there are cold, snowy months ahead, and with all that time spent indoors we will need some new and exciting toys to keep our family occupied.
There are many things our son would like in the current moment, but instead of only focusing on this stage, we are also looking ahead to the next year and anticipating what he would like to play with in the future, what he will be wearing, and how our gift list can be a useful guide for family and friends. His interests and activities keep evolving and we want to be mindful of that as we put together his gift list.
It is hard to go wrong with arts and craft supplies during the toddler years. Our son is coloring and crafting at preschool during the day, and having something new and different keeps the excitement alive at home. We also use this time to teach colors, numbers and shapes as we draw and doodle. Ideas:
Tiger Carry Along Sketchbook ($13.99)
Chunkies Neon Paint Sticks ($6.50)
Big Bright Brush Markers ($11.99)
Think about what your toddler enjoys and extrapolate gifts off of that idea. If he loves his play kitchen, try a blender kit or new set of utensils. If trains are his number one, ask for another set of locomotives or an extension to his current setup. Have a cleaning fanatic? There are toy vacuums, toddler sweeping sets, and spray bottles to keep him occupied. Ideas:
Fruity Blender ($49.99)
Anticipating what size your child will be in the next 6 months can be tricky, but if you have a general idea of his growth trajectory, Christmas can be a good time to stock up on spring and summer wardrobe staples. Ask for things you know will get used, even if not appropriate for the current season: shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits, sun hats.
Up until now, nursery decorating has been strictly parent driven. But our son is starting to express his own preferences and favorite colors. The holidays are a good time to gift unique posters, night lights, stuffed animals, or even new bedding for that transition to a big kid bed. Ideas:
"Boys Can" Poster ($38)
Our son is right at the age where these colorful building blocks are a hit among his peer group, so we are ready to try them out. The colorful tiles are sturdier than traditional building blocks, and encourage the learning of shapes, sorting and fine motor skills. With an array of extension pack options, this is an easy idea to add to any toddler’s gift list.
Our son’s personality is really starting to come out, and one thing he loves to do is laugh. I am going to encourage that silliness this holiday season by looking for a remote controlled snake or spider. I can see him taunting his dad, or our patient cat, with a silly gift. Potty jokes are also funny at this age, or anything that makes a funny noise.
The holidays are a prime time to continue family traditions and start new ones. Investing in a special advent calendar or holiday decorations that can be used year after year is a great way to set up those special moments between you and your child. Ideas:
Dog Suitcase Advent Calendar ($45)
About the author: Aubrey works in higher education and is the mother to an active and inquisitive son. She lives in the Boston area where she enjoys taking family walks along the beach, reading books, and introducing new foods to her son. Writing about motherhood allows her to connect to other parents and give voice to a challenging yet exciting time.
Photo credit: iStock_Zolga F.