Amazon is my go-to for shopping for a lot of things, and definitely for Christmas!! I only like to recommend things that I own, genuinely want, or want to gift to someone in my life. I don’t have much to recommend for older kids since mine are 2 & 4, although several of these gifts will age with them!!!
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Toy Vacuum – we have this and I love that I can get the vacuuming done because each of my kids have a toy vacuum and “clean” alongside me. 😉
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Doctor Set, 19 Pieces, Blue – we love this doctor set!
My whole family loves these Mermaid Pillows! There is something relaxing and just plain fun about them. Pillow inserts are super cheap at IKEA but if you’re not near one this 2-pack of inserts from Amazon is a great price!
Simon got one of these Magnetic Dress-Up Play Sets and loves it! There are a couple different versions, thinking about getting the Julia version for Betsy!
We played with a similar Marble Run at a friends house and I’ve been meaning to get one ever since!
We do lots of art projects, but never science projects and this Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit looks so great! Simple and fun and I’m sure my kiddos would LOVE it!
There are several well-reviewed kids shopping carts, but we own and love this Step2 Little Helpers Kids Shopping Cart. It is sturdy, great for early walkers, and while it may not be as “cute” as the realistic looking Melissa & Doug cart it is half the price.
We have collected various play tools over the past few years and they’re fun, but I feel like Simon inevitably gets in trouble with them (you know, for hammering things he shouldn’t) because he doesn’t have anything to build with. This BRIO Builder Construction Set Building Kit looks amazing because you can build things that you can actually play with, and you actually have to use the tools, the pieces don’t just snap together.
This Melissa & Doug baby doll is a great 12” size and very cute (as in NOT creepy!) and durable. There are lots of little accessories you can get to go with a baby doll like “magic” bottles, clothes, the cutest Ergobaby lookalike doll carrier, and even little baby doll diapers.
By far the most used doll “accessory” in our house is the stroller. Both of my kids love to load the stroller up with baby and other items and go for walks around the house.
There are so many doll house options out there and I decided I didn’t want to go through several different versions, I just wanted one doll house that could grow with the kids and we could add furniture to as the kids get older, so we got this Hape Doll House! It comes with furniture for four rooms which is plenty to start with. The only other thing I got at first was a family of dolls. I plan on adding some of the other “sets” when the kids get older, like the family car, kid’s room furniture and accessories and dining room set.
We are getting by with some old iPads right now but if they ever bite the dust we will absolutely get these Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablets. They come with the case, there is a 2-year worry-free guarantee (as in no questions asked, if it gets broken in any way, they will replace it), one year of FreeTime Unlimited (gives you access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more), and they claim to have the best-in-class parental controls allowing you to manage usage limits, content access, and educational goals. Yes, please!
If the kiddos have a tablet they’re going to need headphones! These are inexpensive, well reviewed and have the noise limiter so they can’t get turned up too loud. If you have trouble with headphones staying on their noggin try these “CozyPhones Kid Headphones” that are like a soft headband!
I kept wavering between Magna-Tiles and a less expensive brand and am happy to report we have been using this Magnetic Stick N Stack brand for a year and love it!. This is the kind of toy I am all about – good for ages 2-100 and encourages creativity!
This KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen is super well reviewed and I LOVE that it is classic and cute, not all bright colors and plastic. I would be OK having this in my living room for the kids to play with and not just in the basement play room. I find that less is more as far as food and utensil accessories and I like these Melissa & Doug pots/pans/cooking utensils and this Melissa & Doug wooden pantry bundle.
I am a photographer and really wanted to get my son a camera, but not a cheesy kids camera, a real camera that he could use. I did my research and settled on this Nikon COOLPIX W100 that is shock proof and water proof and Simon has LOVED it. I added a comfy neck strap and he loves taking this on trips and taking pictures of the places we go.
This Fort Magic: Fort Building & Construction Toy Kit is $100 and probably too old for my 2 and 4-year-old but it looks SO cool! It comes with all these sticks and connectors so you can build really cool forts, and then you use your own sheets and blankets on top.
We are big Richard Scarry fan’s and I had this Wonder Forge Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Eye Found It game on my Amazon wish list for a long time and then nabbed it at Goodwill, score!
One of my friends with a girl the same age as my Simon recommended HedBanz as one of their favorite games! We got it a year ago and love it!
We love matching games and we love Richard Scarry so this Richard Scarry Matching Game looks perfect for us!
I got this Shopping List Memory Game a while ago and it’s a fun little memory and speed game to play with kids ages 3+!
I got this Glide Trike for Simon several years ago and he liked it, but WOW! Betsy loves this thing. I love that it’s super durable and can be folded up, we bring it on road trips!
I didn’t know anything about PlasmaCars until recently and have heard so many great things about them! My in-laws are getting one for each of the kids for Christmas. It says ages 3+ but I’ve heard people keep them basically forever and even the parents can have fun on them!
Since we are getting the PlasmaCars and already have trikes I won’t be getting these Mini Kick Scootersthis year, but this is definitely a possibility for next year!
Protect those noggins with a Toddler Bike Helmet! These are $20 or under, come in cute patterns and are from a well known helmet brand.
This Coloring Cardboard Playhouse is a fun Christmas break activity!
We have and love these Easy To Hold Toddler Crayons!
I have heard so many great things about these Stockmar Beeswax Stick Crayons and think I will get them this Christmas. They don’t break and they blend more like a pastel.
I put these Kwik Stix in Simon’s Easter basket and he LOVES them! He has used them weekly since Easter and I think he’s only used up one paint stick so far. Such a great way to “paint” without a mess!
My mom got Simon these LYRA Waldorf Selection Unlacquered Triangular Giant Colored Pencils and I definitely recommend them!
Get this big set of Crayola Artista II Washable Liquid Tempera Paint and you’ll be set for a year or more! This stuff is great and truly washable.
There are a plethora of free do-a-dot printables on Pinterest and I tried to use the Dollar Tree Bingo dobbers but those were way too messy (my son said they were “too juicy”!). These Do A Dot Art! Markers are perfect. I love taking do-a-dot printouts and markers on road trips to keep the kids busy and it helps them work on hand-eye coordination!
So, teaching kids to sniff markers is probably not the best idea, but my son just loves smelling things and he gets such a kick out of these Mr. Sketch Scented Markers!
I have a cart from ALDI (it was a limited buy, they have identical ones at IKEA and Michael’s) that I set up as an “art cart” and it has made letting the kids “do art” so much easier. I like this 3 Shelf Metal Rolling Utility Cart from Amazon because it has shelves that you could put smaller bins on more easily than the cart I have. And it’s available in white, black and teal.
Betsy is getting this set of mini Wet Brushes for her birthday so I can keep one in her room, one in my bag, and have one spare – and then my regular size Wet Brush won’t keep getting misplaced!
Good shoes are so worth it in my opinion, if I buy a good pair to begin with I only need that one pair. For fall/winter these UGG Jorgen Booties are my recommendation for toddler girls, my top sneaker pick are these See Kai Run Sneakers and my summer sandal of choice (for myself and the kids) will forever be Saltwater Sandals.
We do not have these yet but these KEEN Kootenay Winter Boots are super well reviewed and would be my top pick for a toddler boy for fall/winter. My favorite sneaker for Simon is the Saucony Jazz Hook & Loop Sneaker and once again my favorite summer shoe is Saltwater Sandals.
The OK to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock has made a big difference in our mornings! Simon is a super early riser and this helps him remember to stay in bed until it lights up (we have it set for 6:15am) and then he plays quietly in his room. No, he doesn’t always obey us or the alarm clock, but…. he’s three. I’m thankful that the mornings he does outnumber the mornings he doesn’t. 🙂
A sleeping bag is a great, practical gift and this Coleman Plum Fun 45 Degree Youth Sleeping Bag has great reviews!
We don’t have this book YET, but I love that 1 2 3 Count with Me (Trace-and-Flip Fun!)has the added learning element of being able to trace the grooved numbers.
A Is for Apple (Trace-and-Flip Fun!) is like the last one! Large grooved letters that the kids can trace with their fingers add such great tactile learning to the book.
B Is for Breakdancing Bear Alphabet Sticker Activity Book is a really fun and well done activity book! Instead of a coloring book try this!
I got this Maps book for the kids for Christmas last year and it has been a huge hit and has lived on our coffee table all year. The illustrations are beautiful and Simon loves to study this book.
We just have the Farm Anatomy book but I wish we had the whole The Julia Rothman Collection (Farm Anatomy, Nature Anatomy, and Food Anatomy).
Simon loves a book he can study and this Scholastic First Picture Dictionary looks right up his alley.
I love that This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World introduces kiddos to different cultures!
The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps! What can I say?! We love map books!
I bought The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New a while ago and haven’t dug into it yet but I love the concept of it. It’s basically a beginner theology book for kids of all ages to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. It’s organized into a traditional systematic theological framework, and I especially LOVE that each truth in The Ology is connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture.
We used The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name in the kids rooms at the church I grew up in (after I was a kid) but for some reason I hadn’t gotten it for my own kids until recently! I just loooove the way it is written to tie everything to Jesus.
I love how simple The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes is and that each story is short and has some questions to engage the child.
We bought The Action Bible for a boy in our church years ago and after we saw it Kyle bought another for us to keep on hand! Great gift for kids 9 and up!!!