As we approach the holidays this year, our gift to you is a series of Top 10 gift guides which promote active play and healthy development! Click here for other guides in this series.
My Top 10 gifts for Toddlers
Toys for toddlers should hold up to rigorous throwing, dropping, crushing, banging, and pulling. I don't suggest heavy wood toys for this age for safety reasons, especially if you have more than one child. Toys need to be relatively simple, beautiful and inviting. There is no need for toddlers to have electronic toys. I personally prefer natural materials over plastic, but you'll see a few synthetic materials listed below for ease of cleaning. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for movement and play, both inside and outside!
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My Own Backpack
A child sized backpack with pockets for treasures is a wonderful gift. This one is from Hershal, but any smaller backpack with a zipper, Velcro, or fold over flap would work for this age. I recommend a smaller pocket on the back or side, and a pocket for a water bottle.
Simple music instruments are lots of fun at this age, and this harmonica from Hohner is perfect. The bag says ages 3 and up, but I used this with a 20 month old and felt perfectly safe to have it in his mouth.
I believe all toddlers should have a doll, not just girls. I prefer a soft human-like doll that looks similar to the toddler, but animal loveys work too. Dolls are great for practicing care activities, naming body parts, practicing manners, and general companionship. This one is from Bella Luna toys and comes in other skin tones and outfits.
Books to Read Together
Books for this age should have 3-7 words per page, and bright, inviting illustrations. There are plenty of books for children with lovely little stories, don't settle for boring books. Your toddler can understand much more than they can say.
Even better if you make a book about your child! Jordan and Marissa over at Heartwares will turn your photos into a fabric book.
Smaller Tools for Helping
A collection of well-made, smaller tools is a necessity for offering independence and teaching responsibility. Check out For Small Hands for their collections of cooking, gardening, woodworking, and cleaning tools.
Leanne Gray, M.Ed is the owner of The Prepared Environment, which supports families in creating an ideal environment for their children at home. She has over fifteen years experience working with children in both public, private, and Montessori schools, and is AMI primary trained. She particularly loves to hear from you! You can always contact her for personalized support and answers to your questions.