Christmas Gifts for Toddlers (and Beyond)

I’m so excited, Mamas: I’m finally done with holiday shopping. Hallelujah!

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that you should always start your Christmas shopping early. Did I learn this last year, and also the year before?Yes. I did. But that’s beside the point. 

I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite holiday gifts for toddlers. Yes, we went a tad overboard this year because it’s Liam’s last solo Christmas, and we wanted to make it special, but, 1. Many of these toys will not be outgrown within the next few months (they’re smart investments!), and 2. We have a second boy on the way who will collect the hand me downs. No guilt trippin’ in this household!

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 2.20.20 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 4.25.16 PM.pngThis ride on PonyCycle is one of the most genius toys I’ve come across this holiday season. They’re not your standard rocking horse – far from it! Ranging from classic horses to zebras and unicorns, these toys actually move throughout your living room… and your child has full control of their movements and speed! By essentially raising and lowering themselves off and back onto the PonyCycle, its legs move in and out, causing it to move forward. Amazing! I’m so excited to take a video of Liam when he gets the hang of this thing. It’s going to be epic!

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Can’t go wrong with some puzzles, stamps, and crayons. I love the Alex brand finger crayons because my son loves anything finger related. His obsession with “Mommy Finger” on Youtube is so real, you guys. If you have no idea what I’m referring to… Good. Don’t look it up. Especially if your kids are around. Just don’t.

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Liam might be two and a half, but he looks five. He’s a lot taller and bulkier than a lot of toddlers his age (he’s already over 40 lbs and a size 10 shoe!) so his coordination isn’t always all that. Poor boy has a lot of body to work with. We thought this would be the good time to introduce a nice, sturdy scooter to teach him balance and coordination. I love the affordable price of this RadioFlyer scooter, and that it’s really simple for little ones to use.

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 2.21.02 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 4.33.21 PM.pngMy son loves everything tool-related, so this work bench will be a perfect toy for him this year. He’s going to freak out!

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This classic hopper toy will be one of those fun indoor toys to have this winter. I have a feeling Liam will love it.

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 2.20.53 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 4.37.14 PM.pngI love the idea of having a play pen full of colorful balls in the playroom, especially in the winter. Kids love the distraction, the colors, and how much fun it is to dive in! I got this amazing foldable school bus that acts as a large play pen. All I needed was a set of 100 balls like this one, by Adventures at Home, to complete it. So fun! Another great idea is to buy one of those Little Tikes kid slide and connect it to a kiddie pool full of those colorful plastic balls. Hours of fun guaranteed!

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Liam used to hate building. It was all about destruction! Now, however, I’m starting to see a shift in him. He likes to build super tall towers first, THEN destroy them. To prevent our dogs from getting concussions, I opted for these thick cardboard blocks by Melissa & Doug (not wood) that will do the trick in our living room.

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 2.20.43 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 4.39.28 PM.pngI actually got this Melissa & Doug grand piano purely by chance: one of our neighbors was selling theirs for a third of the price. Mom win! Regardless, if your child is musically-inclined, this piano is super sturdy and looks just like a miniature version of the real deal. Super cute.

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 2.20.39 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-21 at 4.40.54 PM.pngI’ll make this one short because EVERYONE has heard of these stupid monkeys this year. I’m shocked I managed to get my hands on one (Thank you, Black Friday deals!) but considering my son’s obsession with all sorts of finger toys and puppets, this fingerling is sure to be a winner.

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There are many different roller coaster toys on Amazon, but this one, by Radio Flyer, had great reviews. It’ll be super fun in the spring, or even indoors on those restless winter days!

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My son loves to doodle. He loves craft projects, coloring, painting, anything that involves being a little artist. I got him a giant doodle board for him to express himself without holding back, and I just know it will be used for many, many months to come.

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I was shocked when I realized Amazon didn’t sell any actual fairytale anthologies for kids. I’ve been dying to tell my son the stories that mesmerized me as a kid: The Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks… My grandmother was an expert storyteller and definitely traumatized me with some of her versions back in the day! A nice fairytale book for bedtime, like this one (from Barnes and Noble), is a great Christmas present for your little one, and another one of those gifts that won’t be outgrown in the next few months. It’s all about those gifts that keep on giving 🙂

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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