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Recommended Gifts - Toddlers

Little Partners Safety Tower and Kitchen Helper

Do you have an active toddler who drives you crazy getting into everything and needing your attention?  Toddlers NEED to be involved in the work of daily life; that's how they learn.  Since we spend so much time in the kitchen, every family needs a safe stool that raises a toddler high enough to "help" at the kitchen counter.   That's why I love safety towers; they keep your busy toddler occupied and learning, while happily connected with you while you work. 

Just need to keep your toddler busy for ten minutes while you're at the stove?  Pull the tower up to the sink and let your child "wash" your pans and tupperware. Giving your toddler actual "tasks" in the kitchen (wash the vegies, stir the batter) can spark a love of food preparation that will last through childhood and make your child a healthier eater.

These are worth every penny and then some in  the time they keep kids safe, happy, learning and engaged with you. There are cheaper towers out there, but I'm not recommending them because I'm not confident they're sturdy enough to prevent toppling. 

The Little Partners Learning Tower is sturdy, height adjustable, and non-tipping.  Finished with a non-toxic, lead-free finish that cleans easily with a damp cloth.  Fits flush against the average counter top allowing kids to step up safely, without pinched fingers or falling. Adjustable platform so that it can adapt to your child's height.  It will support up to 500 pounds, making it safe for up to two children at a time. With a few accessories (sold separately), the Learning Tower can also be configured and used as a puppet theater, fort, doll house and other fun activities.

Doctor Kit

Every toddler and preschooler needs a doctor kit.  Why? Because all children have medical appointments during which their body is touched, poked, prodded and sometimes hurt by doctors and nurses.  We know this is to help our child stay healthy, but it often doesn't feel good to children.  Playing with a doctor kit allows the child to "work through" those feelings and overcome any related fears.  It also helps us as parents prepare our child for doctor appointments.  

(Note: The Melissa and Doug kit does not have a blood pressure cuff. It does have a white lab coat. I used to recommend the Fisher-Price Doctor Kit but it has been on lists of toys with high toxin levels, so I have removed it from my website.)

Inside Trampoline - Bazoongi Bouncer

Does your child jump on the couch? All kids need to jump. Kids with sensory issues especially need to jump. At 48", this trampoline will fit into any living room to give children a safe place to jump. I like this trampoline because it is has six legs instead of four, which makes it sturdier and safer. The springs are covered by a oversize pad to keep little feet safe. Of course, parental supervision is still essential.

  • 3.5" Galvanized Springs (30)
  • Rust Resistant Galvanized Steel Frame
  • Handle Adjust Easily to Two Different Sizes
  • Maximum weight capacity: 100 lbs

Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box

This is one of my favorite toys for toddlers and preschoolers.  They cook, play house and restaurant, serve each other food, and pack bundles of food to run away to the forest. Cutting the food is so satisfying.

This set contains eight pieces of wooden food, a cutting board and a wooden knife. Food makes a fun “CRUNCH” sound when sliced. With 25 pieces, it’s also a great way to introduce the concepts of part, whole and fractions. Comes in wooden box with slide-on lid. 

Age recommendation:  Some 18 month olds are ready for this kit, some aren't.  It will depend on whether they're likely to put small pieces in their mouths.  Older toddlers will love it, as will preschoolers.

Potty Seat with Step Stool Ladder

I recommend this seat highly for kids who are hesitant to use the big toilet. It helps kids feel completely secure while climbing up, turning around, and sitting. It gives them a wide platform to push against so their legs aren't dangling, which makes elimination easier. It is very stable and has rubber feet that lock down to keep it secure.

Has sanitary grab areas for kids to hold on. Sturdy, comfortable, safe, built in non-slip steps with anti-slip pads.

  • Turns adult-size toilets into cute kids-friendly ones that make kids feel like to use. Contoured seat offers comfortable and safe seating with anti-slip pads beneath. Fits most standard-size toilets. Created with Adjustable legs that accommodate different toilet heights
  • Foldable design for easy placement, height-adjustable footrest, suitable for toilets of different heights(15-16.5in), and the splash-proof design helps keep children and toilets clean

Medieval Castle Cardboard Playhouse

Kids love playhouses and they are great to have indoors.  You can make one yourself from cardboard, of course. But sometimes it's worth it just to set up a pre-made playhouse and start them playing.  I love that these come ready for kids to draw on and decorate.  Even if you reinforce with duct tape (often a good idea, especially for a birthday party or rambunctious three year olds), you can cut the duct tape when you're done, fold it up, and store it.  Pull it out again in a couple of months for another round of imaginative play.  Rocket ship? (see Shuttle Imagination below)  Adventure castle? They're all fun, and can easily metamorphose into teepees, forts, or simply a game of house. 100% recycled materials. 

Anti-Nausea Seaband for Children

Does your child cry in the carseat? Maybe she's car sick! Many moms swear by the Seaband, a great remedy for carsickness.

Advantages of Anti-Nausea Seaband for Children include:

  • Drug-free, so there are no side effects
  • Can be used in cars, on planes, on boats, on Ferris wheels (anywhere!)
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Safe for ages 3+

Ball Drop

Toddlers love to pound these balls and then watch them move through the levels. Entrancing enough to encourage independent play.

  • FINE MOTOR PROMOTION: This Multi-color pound a ball is ideal for hammering practice, Promotes dexterity, hand eye coordination, manipulation, arm movement, cause and effect.
  • KID FRIENDLY: The design of hammer and balls are specially made for little hands and suitable for an easy grip. your child will love seeing the ball slide from layer to layer
  • EASY PLAY: The smooth-sanded balls drop down after being hammered/pounded, which sends the balls rolling down the ramp to the bottom tray.
  • STIMULATING: There's something about the cause and effect of this toy that keeps toddlers focused for periods of time.

 

Blocks: 60-Piece Standard Unit

Every toddler and preschooler should have at least one wooden block set in their toy collection. (My kids used them until middle school.) The Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks include 60 precision-cut, standard-shaped, solid wooden blocks that will engage your child's imagination in open-ended play for hours. Designed for ages three and up, these blocks feature smooth, rounded edges and are housed in a convenient, sturdy wooden storage crate.

  • 60-piece standard unit block set allows children to build towers and towns
  • Stimulates creativity and hones basic motor skills
  • Features natural look; pieces are easy for little fingers to grasp
  • Excellent tool for teaching math concepts, organizational skills, sequential skills, and spatial relations

Your little architect will love building bridges, towers, farms for her animals and endless other projects. In these days of electronic toys, it's important not to forget the fundamentals of childhood development. Wooden blocks offer children endless ways to exercise their imagination as they improve their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. They also help children establish important relationships between the "part" and the "whole," and the help to provide basic lessons in math, engineering and gravity.

Chewable Necklace

Does your child chew on his collar or sleeve when he gets anxious or excited? The solution is Chewelry! This necklace is great for boys or girls, and there are lots of designs.

  • Made from FDA approved food grade silicone
  • Phthalate, BPA, PVC, Latex and Lead free
  • 18" Safety Lanyard with instruction for cutting to size

Child-Sized Table and Chairs

Every child needs a child-sized table and chairs for drawing, building and working on projects.  If you keep it in or near the kitchen, your child can be near you but happily absorbed in his own "work."  Toddlers and preschoolers also prefer eating at child-sized tables instead of on booster seats or in high chairs, so if your child is eating without you, a child-sized table is usually a better option. This kind of table is also great if your child has a bedtime snack while you read their bedtime story. When my son was small, we had one in his bedroom and one near the kitchen, and used them both daily.

Cleaning Set

As Maria Montessori first told us, children love to clean, when they have child-sized tools they can handle. Great way for your toddler or preschooler to "work" alongside you as you do housekeeping, and a natural way for children to transition to real participation in the household.

  • 6-piece cleaning set for hours of pretend play housekeeping
  • Includes broom, mop, duster, dust pan, brush, and storage stand
  • All pieces durably made and sized for kids
  • Dust pan snaps onto all handles
  • Sturdy wooden construction

Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil for Infant Massage

Calendula Baby Oil is naturally effective and helps add silky softness to a gentle infant massage. Extra moisturizing for dry skin and top of baby’s head too, if it’s dry and scaly. Calendula-infused grape seed baby oil blend moisturizes dry skin and scalp, with virtually no scent and without artificial fragrance or nut oils. Because baby skin comes out all-natural - let’s keep it that way!

Wooden Rainbow Stacking Toy

These gorgeous blocks lend themselves to creative play, whether your child is driving trucks under a tunnel, building a fort for his animals, or looking for gold at the end of the rainbow. Highest quality, long-lasting and guaranteed to be used for your child's entire childhood.

  • Beautiful wooden stacking rainbow includes 12 pieces
  • Stack one on top of another; push them out into a tunnel; turn one upside down for a see-saw for dolls
  • Non-toxic water-based paint rainbow blocks toy are safe for children to play with
  • The Montessori toys consist of 12 different colored and size arcs, together measure 14"length x 7.08"wide x 2.75"thick, which are suitable for little hands to grab

Fishing Set

This is a great gift that encourages eye-hand coordination and problem-solving skills. Kids can play this with others or by themselves.

  • Wooden magnetic fishing game that builds confidence while it entertains
  • Catch the fish with the magnetic "hook"!
  • Includes working wind-up rod and reel
  • Use as a 2-player game or solo activity
  • Great for hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills

Melissa & Doug Locks & Latches Board

If your toddler loves to get into everything, this is the toy you need. Many toddlers love to understand how things work, open and close things, and play hide 'n seek. This toy satisfies all those desires.

  • Brightly colored, smooth-sanded pieces help build early shape, color and size differentiation skills
  • Hide-and-seek pictures behind each door help develop fine motor skills
  • Helps kids build dexterity as they navigate opening latches and locks.
  • Incredible value and superior craftsmanship

Ooze Tube

Very calming for kids from toddlers to teens. (Works for frenzied adults, too!) If you sit with your child to watch this the first few times, and hand it to your child when she's over-excited, you'll find that she gravitates to it when she wants to calm herself down. Mesmerizing And Meditative.
 

Parent and Child Puppet Set

Puppets are invaluable to act out scenarios with children, from planned separations to potty training. Every home needs a "parent and child" puppet set to facilitate these "stories" and these dolphins are plush, adorable, and non-gendered.

  • 13" soft plush toy made with high-quality materials

Pit Balls in Reusable and Durable Storage Bag

These balls will keep kids busy for hours. Just dump them in a kiddie pool or playpen to create your own ball pit.

  • 200 "Phthalate Free" pit balls
  • Provide safety and comfort for children in play tent houses or ball pits
  • All balls are crush-proof, non-PVC plastic, and phthalate free. 
  • Safe, non-toxic, and easy to clean.

Sensory Play Table

All kids need sensory play! And if you have a child who craves tactile experience -- Are you constantly trying to stop her from touching everything? -- she NEEDS a way to get her hands into textures. Solution: A play table to keep messy play contained.

Note: This table has a space for both sand and water, which allows kids to mix them. I love that, because it makes the sand the right texture to build castles. For cleanup, just drain the water, let the sand dry, and put the sand back into its own side. You can also put sand on both sides, water on both sides, or introduce other sensory objects like shaving cream, small animals, ice, pasta or beans.

Here's a great link from "Play-At-Home-Mom" with lots of ideas for using sensory tables:
http://www.playathomemomllc.com/2011/10/sensory-bintableplay/

Spill Proof Paint Cups

Kids love to paint, and like all art, it's therapeutic. These cups make painting very easy on the parents. The screw on lid will not accidentally come off, so spills are eliminated. And because the seal is airtight, the paint can be left in the cups without drying out! That means you can buy paint in cheaper large bottles, pour smaller amounts into the cups, and eliminate the chore of washing the cups in between. You can just leave the easel set up, with a splash mat under it, and painting becomes no big deal. Set of four, with colored lids (red, green, yellow, blue).


Tumbling Mat

Every child needs a padded Tumbling Mat. It can be unfolded to allow rambunctious play inside. It fosters motor skills. It keeps kids busy in physical play, so they sleep better. Babies can use it to learn to crawl and walk, toddlers, preschoolers and older to roughhouse and practice tumbling and gymnastics.

This giant, colorful tumbling mat is safe for indoor or outdoor exercise and play. Open, it measures 4' x 6'.  Durable and easy to clean surface.



Melissa & Doug Salad Set

If we want children to love vegetables, we need to give them lots of opportunities to engage with vegetables, including playing with them. These realistic looking veggies are fun for children to "shop" for and "cook" with and "serve" and they help children get more interested in eating vegetables. 

  • 52-piece wood-and-felt play food salad set that includes greens, vegetables, proteins, and toppings. A reusable double-sided menu and salad dressing bottles are also included.
  • This kids play food set replicates a realistic salad-making experience. Kids can slice on cutting board with the wooden knife, toss salads in the bowl, and “eat” with wooden utensils.

Wooden Shape Sorting Clock

Another terrific Melissa & Doug toy! This toy will grow with your child, beginning with fitting the shapes, proceeding to learning numbers, and eventually to understanding how to tell time.

  • Wood Clock
  • Colorful shaped numbers
  • Learn to tell time

Fabric Tunnel

Crawling and tunnel play are excellent for muscle and motor skill development in toddlers and children. Tunnels lead to hours of fun and physical play! This tunnel collapses flat for easy storage and portability.

 

 

Outdoor Toddler Scavenger Hunt Cooperative Card Game at The Park

A perfect first game for little ones! Toddler Scavenger Hunt Cards contain 20 double-sided sturdy cards that provide simple, satisfying questions and prompts to guide your toddler. Playing with the cards builds vocabulary and increases confidence and encourages toddlers to explore the world around them.

  • Tap into your child’s natural curiosity about the world around them by exploring it together with this game! Playing with the Toddler Scavenger Hunt cards will increase your toddler’s observational skills and expand their learning. A cooperative game that both you and your child can enjoy together.

The Floor is Lava - Interactive Game for Kids and Adults

The Floor is Lava! is a game where players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava while spinning the color wheel to jump to the right foam pieces to reach safety. The Floor is Lava! is a family game that promotes physical activity, an active imagination, and engaging excitement for kids and adults. Perfect family activity for moving your body inside or out!

  • This game gets children jumping, leaping, playing, and improving their strength, conditioning, balance, and endurance! 
  • Each of these cushioned, durable, slip-resistant foam stepping stones can be used during outdoor parties or indoor sleepovers.

Grateful Together: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Their Parents

It isn’t always easy for kids and parents to talk. This shared, back-and-forth journal inspires communication and gratitude, doing surprising and wonderful things to strengthen the bond between any child and their caregiver.

  • There’s a huge range of activities and prompts that don’t repeat, so each entry reveals something different.

Our Sharing Journal: Journal Notebook for Kids and Parents

In a little as 5 minutes a day, both parents and kids can enjoy this simple and fun journal. This journal is sure to get you and your kids laughing, doodling (every page has space for drawing) and connecting like never before.

Playfoam

Preschoolers are free to express their creativity, with squishy, squashy Playfoam that never dries out! Just squish up the Playfoam, shape it however you like, then squash it back down and start all over again.

  • Non-Toxic, safe and fun sensory play

Bluetooth Shower Speaker

If you have a teen who listens constantly to music, giving them this iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker will earn you coolest parent status. Wireless and Certified Waterproof, it pairs easily to all your bluetooth devices, so your teen can stream their music from their phone and listen while they're in the shower. Given how much time some teens spend in the bathroom, that's a big plus.

  • Fully Submersible and 100% Waterproof (IP67 certified)
  • Excellent, loud HD sound with an impressive 5 watts of power
  • Connects to all Bluetooth Devices in less that 6 seconds
  • Up to 10hrs playing time before recharging
  • Dedicated suction cup included (detachable) & Carabiner Hook
  • Built-in-Mic for hands free calls
  • 33ft wide Bluetooth range
  • Pairs easily to any bluetooth devices such as phones, tablets, computer, radio

Monkey Noodle Stretchy String Fidget

Stretch, pull, twirl, wrap and squeeze the Monkey Noodles - then watch them bounce back to their original shape! They're perfect for sensory and tactile stimulation.

Balance Stepping Stones

10 Soft and Durable Stones that encourage early learning and physical activity.

  • Develop balancing skills while jumping from stone to stone, playing play hot lava or crocodiles in the water.
  • Create a new obstacle playground everyday
  • Can be used indoors or out!
  • 2019 TOY OF THE YEAR AWARD for excellence by Creative Child Magazine
  • May slip on some floors - consider adding grips to bottom if you find them too slippery.

Magic Doodle Mat

This extra large water drawing doodling mat encourages hours of creative expression!

  • Fill the magic pen with clean water and draw on the magic drawing mat. After 3-10 minutes, it magically disappears, and kid can doodle on it over and over again.

Indoor Scooter Board

Work on balance and coordination while having fun with this scooter board for kids! Children will have fun building motor skills inside and out. Safe to use inside on a rainy day or outside on pavement. 

Sensory Stepping Balance Buckets

This Stepping Balance Buckets Set includes 6 buckets for kids to play alone or together. Inspiring children to jump, stretch and balance for full-body exercise, this set promotes gross motor skills, balance and coordination through physical activity. It also encourages important social skills when playing with others.

  • Each oversized bucket provides ample room for stepping.
  • Can create a complex obstacle course for loads of fun.

 

Crocodile Hop Floor Game

This floor game can be used for individuals or as a group to get their bodies moving, build skills and have fun!

  • Reinforces a range of early learning skills: color and shape recognition, numbers and counting (1-10), problem solving and gross motor skills
  • Helps children practice following simple directions

Indoor Swing & Ring Combo

This swing and ring combo generates tons of indoor fun for kids! Snow, rain or shine - Be active all the time!

  • Attaches in your doorway
  • Includes trapeze bar & gymnastic rings combo and rope swing.

NinjaLine Intro Kit

Encourage your kids to be physically active while having a great time!

  • Ninja Training with seven obstacles including: a three piece 10" x 2.5" nylon rope knows, two piece 16" monkey bar holds with triangle safety carabiners, and two gymnastics rings with textured finish
  • Hang Slackline webbing between two posts or healthy trees

Sensory Swing

This sensory swing can be installed indoors or outdoors for use with children or adults. This swing is awesome for sensory seeking children or adults, can accommodate a wide range of body shapes and sizes, and helps with balance & motor skills. Gives kids of all ages a safe place to self regulate. Easy to install with a drill and a stud/joist finder. 

  • Swinging is a way to help with brain development, bring calm and peace or just to entertain.
  • Stretchy & comfortable, this snuggles kids with a deep, enjoyable pressure.
  • Easy to get in & out of.
  • Works for preschoolers through teens, up to 200 pounds.

LCD Writing Tablet

Encourage endless creativity in your kids with this writing and drawing pad! Erase and start again or lock the screen so there's no accidental deletion. A great way to be creative without wasting paper!

Kids' Toy Storage Organizer

An organized play area makes it easier for kids to choose which toys to play with and can lead to a more peaceful family dynamic! This toy storage can make organizing your child's toys easy to do and easy for them to see and choose the toy they want to play with.

  • Removable toy storage bins for playtime and easy clean up
  • Easy to assemble toy organizer