Holiday Gift Guide for Toddlers/Preschoolers

November 12, 2013

holiday gift guide

I’m sure most of you are already done your holiday shopping, but for the remaining 7% of you slackers (myself included) this holiday gift guide is for you. My delay in buying gifts is purposeful because this year I decided to think before I buy (and my husband is so proud). I thought about the gifts Santa brought my kids last year – like the Mickey Mouse that did cartwheels and the Buzz Lightyear that did just about everything but fly. Now Mickey lays permanently crippled in my basement and Buzz has had 2 broken legs and no longer talks. So this holiday season I have some ground rules for the toys I am going to buy for my kids. Yes, rules. This year I am going to be a bit more choosy about the types of toys I give my kids. Why? Because I am the mom and I say so. There are so many toys out there and, in my opinion, most of them are crap (no offense Mickey and Buzz). Holiday shopping can be a daunting task- especially when your kids walk into a toy store and want e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  Instead of buying aimlessly I am buying toys with a purpose with these “rules” in mind:

holiday gift guide

My goal is to buy one toy that fulfills each category in numbers 1-5 and pitch toys that we currently have that fall into the category of a 6 or 7.

Plus I have some special discounts from my favorite Etsy shops for you lovely people…. I’m not totally scroogin’ ;)… and my must-have gift of the season for any kid, big or small… so stay with me to the end! Keep in mind, I have 3 boys, but most of these toys are unisex and many fall into multiple categories. I would say that this guide is geared towards kids between ages 2-4 (give or take a year or so).

*A simple click on any image will give you pricing information for each item.

1. Toy that promotes creativity
a.    b.

c. d. 


a. Make Anything Kit– This kit contains the tools needed to turn any cardboard box into where ever your imagination takes you – a plane, a train, a monster… the sky is the limit!… And we all know that delivery day from Amazon for kids is not what is IN the box, it’s about the box itself (and the bubble wrap)

b. MagnaTiles – These magnetic tiles are amazing! They are so worth the heavier price tag. We already have these but they made it on my gift guide because I want to buy another set. My kids literally fight over them. My sons make rocket ships, caterpillars, houses for their action figure etc… My husband and I like playing with them too!

c. My Giant Busy Box – Oh wait, does this toy claim it will keep your kids busy? I’ll take one! A gift for the budding artist that gives mom a hot second to make dinner.

d. Kid Tough Classic Doodler – A little art sesh with out the mess. Check! Every kid needs one of these.

e. Lego Bricks and More Suitcase – I think my son will be able to build with these independently AND they are slightly bigger than the ones we already have, meaning they won’t hurt as much when you step on them. Win – win.

2. Toys that promote imaginary play:
a.il_570xN.245787346   b. 
c.  d.il_570xN.502126067_oc44

a. Little People Montessori World – Okay. First of all, how beautiful is this toy? This handmade wooden little family, made by Jessica at MamaMayi, is perfect for open ended play and imagination. Each little person comes in a matching “cup” which also builds fine motor skills while little ones practice color matching. And guess what else? The owner and creator is offering my readers (yes, that’s you) a 15% discount through the month of November. Enter the code: SISTERSTOSONS at the check out and stock up! (see below for another toy featured in this shop!) You can also visit her webpage: and the promo code will also apply.

b. B. Dr. Doctor Kit – I can’t believe my kids don’t have a doctor kit yet! Time to change that, especially since grandpop is a doctor – this will be perfect for when he babysits them 🙂

c. Hape Playfully Delicious Cash Register – Well this toy is certainly priceless (no pun intended). I love that it’s solid wood and comes with paper money, coins and credit cards to boot! Now lay off Mommy’s wallet, kids!

d. Personalized Cape – My kids LOVE to play dress up. This cape speaks for itself. A handmade Etsy find by CopusHagenDesigns that is sure to have your kiddos saving the world in no time.

Toys that promote physical activity:

a.  b. 

c.    d.  

a. Y Bike – We already have this and it is the bike everyone wants to ride when they come over. It is geared towards 2-3 year olds, but my 4 year old can still ride it as well as older neighborhood kids. It promotes balance and stability all the while making kids feel like they are going for a joyride on a motorcycle. It’s awesome.

b. Dodge Tag – My boys love pegging balls at each other – why not make it a little safer? This set includes soft balls and 2 vests. I’m all for any activity that my kids can do together, promotes a little healthy competition, and ensures they won’t damage each other too badly.

c. Football Indoor Pass Game – It’s about to get cold out. Really cold. Even though my kids have the highest threshold for bitter weather, this mama doesn’t. Here is an active game they can do in the warmth of our home basement – a little target practice.

d. Spooner Boards – This is a fun balance board that does all kinds of tricks, but for the younger kids, they can simply stand on it and wobble or sit on it and spin… and as they get older they can do all sorts of crazy things (like simulate snowboarding and skateboarding, safely). We have this board and, of course, one of my kids’ fave games is spinning mommy….

Toys that promote social skills:

a. b.  c.  d.
a. I Spy Preschool Game – No bells and whistles to this old gem, but sometimes less is more… and I like that there are no tiny pieces that can be thrown across the room when the loser, well, loses. A perfect opportunity for a lesson in social skills 😉

b. Blu Track – This is another toy that we already have. I put it in the “social skills” section because when my boys play with this racetrack they need to take turns and/or work together. They also get creative and make jumps over each other’s knees and heads…. We’ve had this for almost a year and they still play with it. I’d say that’s a winner!

c. Baby Stella Boy – Girls AND boys love playing with baby dolls!…. And what a better way to teach kids about taking care of someone else than to give them a baby?! I love this doll in particular because it comes with a magnetic pacifier, isn’t made of rubber, and it’s a BOY! (something I’ve only heard like 3 times in my life…)

d. New York Doll Collection Umbrella Stroller – This is it. This was the most unisex stroller I could find. Anywhere we go that has doll strollers, my son gravitates towards them…. who says this is a gift just for girls?

Toys that encourage thinking:

a.coloredcupsandballs  b.  

c. il_570xN.373916096_igcs   d.

e.  F.

a. Colored Cups and Balls – A Montessori and Waldorf Inspired Wooden Materials Matching and Motor Skills Toy – This is another gorgeous toy that I would love to have hanging around my living room playroom! Plus….the learning opportunities are endless from color matching, to number/counting practice, to experimentation with volume etc… not to mention honing in on those fine motor skills as they scoop and dump. I could even see my kids using this for imaginary play as a tea set or kitchen toy. This is another toy from the MamaMayi shop and, yes, you can get 15% off this too, or any other toy in her fab shop while your at it! Use the promo code: SISTERSTOSONS … good through November 30th!

b. Melissa and Doug Basic Skill Board -I’d say its about time for my oldest son to learn how to tie his shoes, plus my younger boys would love trying to buckle/unbuckle, button/unbutton etc…

c. Waldorf Montessori Handmade Wooden Puzzle: This handmade puzzle is too cute for words! So I won’t write any. I’m just gonna buy it. Oh, wait. You might want to know that this puzzle is handmade in Germany, made with all natural materials, and hand painted with safe colors meeting all EU standards.. PLUS… you guessed it… you can get 10% off your purchase (excluding S&H) using  promo code: SISTERSTOSONS10 at this shop too! Go visit Michael and Urusla over at Ludimondo on Etsy for a look at all of their masterpieces!

d. Books! – I don’t know about you, but our library needs some new material. This is a little series, Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink, that I love to give as a gift, but I think now it’s time wet get it for ourself. All three stories are universal “twists” – a pea who has to eat his candy before he can have his veggies, a kid who has to stay up all night, and a little pig who’s mommy want him to make a mess – these are sure to get those brains tickin’!

e. Plan Toy Water Blocks – I think I would like to play with these…. and that may or may not be why I bought them for my kids??? I envision using these as a soothing activity to play with as I make dinner, kids entranced with the water inside the blocks, singing softly to themselves..…Yeah,  I’ll let you know how that goes….

f. Hape Bamboo Totter Tower Stacking Game – Another fascinating choice. A game to get kids “in the zone”, challenge themselves, and focus. Plus, if I have to play Candyland one more stinkin’ time…..

…..and my must-have gift for any kid:


How stinkin’ cute is this hat? Simple, classic, and personal. My sister introduced me to the creator of these adorable caps after I asked her for the millionth time where she gets them for my niece. You can find this hat over at her shop, The Wild Hare, on Etsy and personalize it to your liking – stripes, solids, initials, full name… whatever you want! Now go get creative and buy one for yourself too because you are also getting 15% off your order using the promo code: SISTERSTOSONS15 … This offer expires November 30th to ensure this handmade keepsake is here in time for Christmas!

*This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one of the pretty toys and actually buy it, I will get a handful of change in my bank account which will go towards one of those coffee drinks in a red cup that everyone goes nuts over…and I’ll feel like all warm and fuzzy inside. What I’m trying to say is… I appreciate your support because bloggers need coffee (and wine)…but being able to buy wine would require that you buy pretty much everything. Happy shopping!

  • Meg
    November 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    What a great list! I have those The Wild Hare hats for both of my girls and they are just the cutest things ever! Thankfully they still fit from last winter!

    • Sisters to Sons
      November 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you! I know they are too cute! I am getting them for my 3 boys and sizing up a little for room to grow!

  • casey leigh
    November 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    thanks for the coupon codes! love all the etsy finds! and the wooden cash register! and the dr kit! and the monogrammed hat.. my fave!!!! XOXOX

    • Sisters to Sons
      November 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      gee, thanks!… and thanks to ruby (and her mom) for some tidbits of inspiration!

  • NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner
    November 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Great list! Do you have a great set of blocks already? We have very similar guidelines in our house. Our Melissa and Doug architectural block set has been touched EVERYDAY for the last two years by Malone (who is now 4). The price is hefty for blocks, but man are they worth every cent!

  • Christina Haas
    November 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Love!!! Thanks Lindsey!!

  • Meg
    November 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks Linds! Love the list!! Already bought a few hats as gifts!! Keep up the blogging- I love it!

  • Estelle
    November 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Great list and gift guide. I pinned it to my Holiday Gift Guide Board.

  • Lauryn
    November 14, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I love the hat! Also a huge fan of the Mama May I products! Great list!

  • Lindsay
    November 16, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Great list! I love that Melissa & Doug board!

  • Tammy
    November 25, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I love your ideas. When my little boy was growing up, I would buy him the same kind of toys. Something to stimulate his mind to help him learn and grow. I left the “real fun stuff” to the grandparents. Great post.

  • Tammy Doiel
    November 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I have never bought the magna tiles, but have heard so much about them! This is a great list. Thanks for linking up with the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board!

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