As a mom to 2 toddlers, I am always on the hunt for the best holiday gift that will be practical and in budget. I don't have the mental capacity for another plastic trinket that will continue to clutter up their play space (aka my living room.) So I am always trying to think outside of the box of the normal toys that you see in Amazons Holiday Wish List Magazine that our kids have been drooling over since October.
Below you'll find some of my practical must have's items for the kiddos that won't break the bank or your foot from stepping on another tiny trinket.
Fun bedroom items
Sleeping bags are a fun gift that can be used in many parts of the house or they can pack it in their over night bag to go to their grandparents. This shark sleeping bag is $25 and the mermaid sleeping bag is $25.
Clock: Another idea for the bedroom is a cute Alarm Clock for $24. Toddlers are starting to learn all about night and day and when its time to sleep and wake up. Having an clock in their room can help them not only learn about time, but when its time to run to mom and dads room to start the day.
Play-Doh: Baby Shark Play doh Set, $15 - Let's be real, what toddler doesn't like Baby Shark? Anything with this theme will be a hit and this Play Dough set will sure be with your kids. We have really enjoyed making all of the characters come to live with this set and I promise your kids will love it too. It comes with a bunch of colors and styling tools
Paint: Looking for a mess free activity for $13 bucks? Dot Paint is where it's at! Ya'll I can't speak more highly about this creative activity. There are days I am cool with regular paint, but there are days I just want the kids to have some creative fun with out a lot of clean up after. This stuff is the best, plus it seems like the paint last forever! Just give it a good shake and start dot painting.
Home Economics (Toddler style)
Cleaning kit: Teach the kiddos early to clean up with this fun and durable Melissa & Doug Cleaning set. You can't beat the price of $13 to teach your kids to help you around the house. My kids love this particular set as its very similar to cleaning bottles and rags that I use every day. All I do is fill up the squirt bottle with water and let them clean up anything they want to around the house.
Piggy Bank: Money box Bank, kids love to shop, just like their parents. Teaching them early on how to save, spend and give is an essential learning skill for any age and instilling this in them while their young can be a great win. Our daughter is 3 years old and we have already started teaching her about spending and saving. She doesn't fully understand what the difference the amount of a dollar vs. a coin is just yet. But she understands that when we earn or if we are gifted money, we put some in the bank and some in our wallet. She understands that you need money to get the toy or M&M she really wants. So she saves until she has a lot of coins and then at the right time, we allow her to buy what she would like. With the Money box bank, it makes it easy for her to know where her money goes and what box we can use at different points in time.
Toddler cooking set for $15, how many times have you gone in the kitchen to bake and your toddler is pulling at your leg wanting to help? Go ahead and start teaching them the tricks of the trade with kid size baking tools! My kiddos love helping in the kitchen and having tools that work for their hand size makes it so easy for them to help. *Warning! Be prepared for flour everywhere, but that is just part of the baking game with toddlers.
Outdoor Exploration kit, $22. Let your kids go out and explore; the backyard is their space to discover the world in front of them and that includes those tiny little bugs in the yard! Yes, I said. Bugs. My toddler will watch that little ant crawl from one end of the side walk to the other. She watches the butterfly flutter around the playground. And some kind of way she is always the first one to notice the spider crawling around the house. Most adults may find it gross, but bugs are part of nature, and nature is part of discovery. Give them the tools to see those little buggys in a safe and fun way with this fun Outdoor exploration kit.
Rock collection kit, $16: Some may think that a Rock kit may be for the older kiddos, but if your toddler is anything like mine, she started with her fascination with rocks from the very first rock she put in her mouth. Don't worry, I had her spit it out. But seriously, she has had a love for rocks and collects one every time she sees a patch of rocks on the ground. So a Rock Collection kit was the way to go. Not only does this give her a space to collect, but it gives me (the mom) the opportunity to teach her a little more about where rocks come from and how each of them are different.
Numbers, Shapes, Colors and Time: Ya'll this has to be the coolest little toy all wrapped up into one useful learning toy. It's called a Coogam Wooden Shape Color Sorting Clock ($17 on Amazon). Your toddler can learn all of the important learning things with 1 simple toy. There are no sounds, no super tiny pieces, no overwhelming design. It's simple and practical. What more can a parent ask for in a toy for their learning toddler, right? This is one thing I wish I had for my kiddos, but it has become a go-to gift for us to give to others. You can't go wrong with this fun learning toy.
Writing Tablet, $25: This has been such a fun learning doodle pad for our 3 year old & 1 year old, it's the My First Crayola Touch Lights. We have used this item to practice letters, shapes and to just doodle. It's a creative mess-free toy that is great to use in the home or on the go (it's a go-to for car rides.) The box says for 24 months, but honestly when my baby was 6 months, she was fascinated with it - she would slap her hand on it and giggle when she say the colors pop up. Super fun toy for all ages, heck I even find myself doodling once the kids go to bed.
Sunglasses: How many pairs of sunglasses has your toddler broken? I think I have gone through four pairs of the six-dollars ones so far. Insert the ro•sham•bo sun glasses, these are a game changer for toddlers, even with their $20 price tag. They are nearly indestructible, which is why I love them so much for my active toddlers. Unfortunately you can't find them on Amazon, but they ship pretty quickly from their website. With all of the colors available, you'll surely find the one for your kiddos to wear on those sunny days.
Umbrella: On those rainy days, get out of the house and go for a walk with your little ones. This Reversible Umbrella for $20 on Amazon is a favorite of mine (mom) because of how easy it is to fold up to avoid getting my floor all wet. For my toddler she loves the fun pattern and the easy hook handle that stays in her hand very well.
Watch: Teaching our toddlers about time is important. It helps them understand when it's time to wake up, when to eat, when it's quiet time and more. There are so many watch options out there. Some parents want to focus on teaching their kids by using an analog clock, while others want to go the digital route. There are no wrong options. For us, since our toddlers are young, we are using a digital watch as we are working on understanding numbers. So my thought is that if I say it's 8:30 AM, that will signal to my toddler to look at her watch to see if it says 8:30. Let your toddler help you on the shopping watch venture. I found these 3 on Amazon for under $10
When shopping for little ones, don't go for the hottest toy on the market. Think practical, think fun, think about something that will grow with them and not get old in 1 week. Think outside of the box and think about what you would like if you were their age. One last big tip when on the hunt for a budget friendly practical gift - go to the side bar on Amazon and select the maximum dollar amount you want to spend, or filter the list 'Low - High' so you see the gifts at the price range you are looking for.