Despite the barrage of advertising this time of year, finding the perfect gift for a child can be a challenge. It is certainly not as simple as walking into a store and buying the first brightly colored plastic thing in the children’s section. You have to consider the child’s age, developmental level, and home-life style.
Some families do not have the capacity to handle more clutter often brought on by Christmas gifts. Some parents would prefer a gift that has more longevity than the average plastic toy. Some desire a more minimal house free of the clutter that Christmas brings.
If this is you, here are some gift ideas beyond the newest toy obsession!
- Art Supplies – This is a great way to keep a kid busy, (but it does require some adult supervision so it might also make mama more busy) foster creative expression, and is a great sensory play!
- Bath paints – As long as mama is onboard with a little mess
- Brushes – Makeup brushes, paint brushes, toothbrushes – no idea why, but toddlers and babies seem to love them
- A Large roll of paper – Great for rolling out over the floor or table to make a masterpiece
- Finger paints – Make sure they are washable
- Crayons, colored pencils, or markers – If the child’s motor skills are on that level.
- Mini versions of real things – Not only does this make the kiddo feel like they are “just like mama,” but it also teaches them useful life skills! Children love to mimic behaviors that they observe.
- Stainless steel mugs or adult cups (rather than sippy cups)
- Kitchen utensils – Toddlers seem to love tongs and wooden spoons
- Mops, brooms, vacuums – perhaps they will clean the house while they play? But even if that is just a dream, they seem to love pushing around the Swiffer
- Aprons for cooking or painting
- A toddler tower or step stool for helping
- Gardening tools or small shovels
- An Umbrella – Something about them always makes children giggle.
- Experiences – Make sure, if the experience requires an adult, that the parents are open to the experience. If not, offer to take the child yourself and give the parents a day off!
- Tickets to the zoo or museum
- A trip to a park – The child does not know (or care) it cost you nothing.
- Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt
- A library book and a trip to the local library – Perhaps even get them set up with their first library card! A nice gesture would be to offer to return the borrowed books yourself once they are due back so you do not leave extra responsibility on mom and dad.
- Toys that inspire imaginative play
- A fort-building kit
- A sleeping bag
- Small tent or Teepee
Remember, at this young age, unwrapping the present is half the fun! Kids hardly care what is in the box. If you just want to see their faces light up on Christmas morning, write down your gift in a card with their favorite character on the front and put it in a tissue paper-filled box.
Then sit back and watch the magic.