18 November 2013

Gift Ideas for Toddlers

I'm having a lot of fun dream-shopping for gifts for my cousins' daughters (ages 3 months and 2.5 years) and of course Owen Max (age 9!). My budget doesn't allow me to be extravagant, and I think it sends the wrong message anyway ... We are so blessed that in our house our problem is keeping ourselves from buying Jane too many toys and gifts because she already has so much, and I know my cousins and sister are in the same boat. But even so it's fun to look at gift lists (here are two great ones I found via Pinterest on It's Always Autumn) and sift through catalogs and Amazon recommended items. I think I'm closing in on what I want to buy for the kids in my life, but I thought I'd share some ideas, mostly things Jane got for her birthday that are A-number-one.

Early Childhood Classics - Old Favorites With A New Twist - We've owned this CD for a month since Jane got it from Grandma Dale and Popeye. We learned about this artist at our library story time, where they use this CD. We LOVE the version of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (if you've been at our house you've heard the version ... "that tiny spider would not quit!") and the riffing on "Patty Cake" that includes rocking a baby to sleep while you wait for the cake to rise. So fun! We've also fallen in love with a song about an elephant, and the liner notes have suggestions for movements with the songs plus identifying some of the instruments (e.g., the elephant's trumpet sound is made by the French horn). The CD includes instrumental versions of all the songs, which is fun for solos and/or making up words (I think that will come more for Jane later, but it's fun for me now). I love this CD, and I may have to add a few more of this singer's albums to Jane's Amazon list!

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wooden Numbers - This is another birthday gift, and I have high hopes for it. We had to leave it behind because we had limited suitcase space on our return trip. But when Popeye and Grandma Dale arrive Jane will have her magnet numbers (and letters). I saw these at a friend's house and they are too cool. The magnets themselves are in the shape of the number or letter, so you can use them on a magnadoodle-type drawing toy. I also think that will make them stay on the fridge/door/metal whatever much better. I have some metal Ikea boards that we haven't used, so we're planning to set those up at Jane height in the sunroom for her to play with these. We saw these at the Louisiana Children's Museum, and Jane had a great time playing with them there. They are for 3+ because they could be a choking hazard, but with supervision I'm confident Jane will be OK playing with them.

LEGO DUPLO My First Circus - This gift was from Gingie, and there is no way I would have thought of it. I'm sure she got a great deal on it, as Gingie is apt to do, but it has actually been a perfect plaything too! Jane can build a little bit and with practice her dexterity will improve, but she loves playing with the figures (tightrope walker girl, clown, ring master (aka "That Guy"), tiger, elephant and horse) and having the people swing. We've had it for about a week and she plays with it every day. LEGOS! I don't think you can ever go wrong with Legos (unless you're stepping on them in the middle of the night ... not looking forward to that eventuality).

Stickers: Jane loves stickers, and they have neat books with re-usable stickers so you can place and re-place them on the backgrounds to make new scenes. Jane needs help to use those, but she still likes them very much. I've added one of those to her wish list!

Books: Jane is definitely a reader, and some of our favorite books of late are:
  • I Love You Through and Through (a perennial Mama favorite)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • Mommy Hugs and Daddy Hugs (Karen Katz is a favorite author)
  • Hello, New Orleans
  • Random garage sale books, especially long ones (oh me)
  • Anything Winnie the Pooh
Experiences:

An idea I like is buying a kid (or family) an experience, like membership to their local zoo or children's museum. Or maybe just tickets to a ball game or something. (We're thinking we'd like to take Jane to a women's basketball game soon, so we'll see how that works out.)

I know I'm going to come across many more gift ideas in my hunting (and I don't want to give away anything I actually buy!). This is a quick post (as per usual), but hopefully it's helpful to someone.

Do you have any great gift ideas for kids? Or grownups for that matter!

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