Christmas can get expensive, especially when you’re shopping for kids! With boundless energy and enthusiasm for the season, gift lists can get long (and complex!). Still, there are ways to keep costs down and treat the littlest ones to some pretty special presents.
To keep you on budget this month, we've come up with a list of some of our toddler's favorite (and cheapest) toys. These six gifts have been tested and approved by a very active 16 month old. Plus, they all can be found for a very wallet-friendly price of less than $15 each (most are under $10!).
We use them daily in the bath as a fun bath toy. After bathtime, our daughter takes them with her, clapping them together as a nice distraction during towel drying, diapering and pajama time.
During the day, she uses them to build (and smash) towers, nest together and pull apart, and as a container for other objects, such as her pacifiers.
If your toddler has discovered your wallet, chances are you’ve also discovered that panicked feeling of trying to fish your credit card, driver's license, or other important cards out from underneath the sofa.
Our 16-month old loves her Dadda’s wallet and especially loves the cards - pulling them out, throwing them under furniture, stacking them, and sharing them.
After the third round of “where’s my credit card,” we gathered up our unused loyalty cards, used gift cards, and old hotel key cards and got our toddler her own wallet to keep them in.
She was instantly drawn to her wallet and cards, and it remains one of her favorite - and cheapest - toys.
You can get a stand-alone wallet for kids, and add the expired club cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, etc. you have. Or you can get a complete wallet playset (we recommend removing the coins, as they’re a choking hazard for very young kids).
If you go the stand-alone route, choose one that unfolds to open all the way, rather than only opening at the top, like an envelope. Look for something with lots of card compartments, as it’s good for their fine motor development to pull the cards out, and try to put them back in.
Our toddler loves clocks and points them out wherever we go. So we bought her her very own clock (actually, a watch), and she wears it with extreme pride and excitement.
We recommend an analog watch, which looks most “clock-like.” Since teaching your toddler how to tell time is overkill, we suggest you remove the battery since batteries are dangerous for young children.
We also recommend getting a slap watch, so your toddler can easily take it on and off themselves. Before letting your kid play with it, check it for any dangerous small parts. If in doubt, supervise closely and teach them it’s for their wrist, not their mouth!
Desperate for some new and different toddler toys on a recent vacation, we bought our little one a memory-style card game with pictures of everyday objects on each card. As it turned out, these simple cards became one of her favorite toys.
As expected, she claps the cards together, puts them on her head, throws them around, sorts them, and hands them to us. But she also inspects them intently and points to the pictures until we tell her the name for each item. From these cards, our 16-month old has learned to say clock, card, burger, and more.
While toddlers don't need flashcards to learn, they do love naturally learning. Giving them plenty of pictures to reference during unstructured playtime, and taking their cues in terms of when they’re ready to learn the names, works brilliantly for us!
For Christmas, we’ve asked for some specific fruit and veggie cards in the hopes of making mealtime more fun for our toddler, who loves to use words.
Kids are natural helpers and love to get involved in whatever mom and dad are up to. No surprise, then, that toddlers love to help with cleaning.
Once our daughter started walking, we bought her a doll’s stroller to push around the house, and around the city. We bring the stroller everywhere we go (it has even come on vacation with us), and set it up for our toddler to push in parks and on quiet squares.
Just as toddlers love to help mom and dad, they also love to imitate. They know their parents spend their day pushing around a stroller and want to do the same.
Author BioCo-Founder of GreenActiveFamily.com, Geoff manages the behind-the-scenes aspects of the website, ensuring everything runs the way it needs to! He also tests out products with his kids and strives to keep the family healthy and active with his passion for all things outdoors and active.