2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR BABIES & TODDLERS

It’s time… the busiest week of the year for holiday shopping. If you’re looking for ideas for your kids or wish lists for the grandparents, here are some of our favorites.

FOR BABIES

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Bannor Toys makes these beautiful, wooden toys for babies that I just adore. The cars are limited edition and from their Holiday collection set, and I especially love that they offer personalization on many items. It’s hard to see on the keys, but I had “car,” “house,” and “my heart” (can you even?!) engraved on them. The memory game is so cute as a entry level game that can be easily modified for young toddlers.

FOR TODDLERS

Click the arrows in the image above to see commentary on each item. All available on Amazon for easy shopping! Linked here: Plus Plus. Snowie. Cash Register. Gears. Beads. Magnets. Sorting Set.

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Overview here. A few pictured but not linked above that we have and love: Cuddle and Kind dolls, Strider bike, and Magnatiles.

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FOR THE BATH

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If you’re taking any mid-winter sunny trips, I love this spray on zinc sunscreen as a stocking stuffer. The stick and face formulas are also pictured, all with a EWG rating of 1, 2, and 3. The Lavender bubble bath scores a 3 (clean!) on the Think Dirty App.

More fun stocking stuffers: if you’re looking for specific holiday scents, Tubby Todd has a holiday trio of hair and body wash, lotion, and bubble bath that all smell amazing and are so festive and fun.


FOR PRESCHOOL/KINDERGARTEN PREP

The Kindergarten Toolkit is a workbook of activities and ideas for parents to teach kindergarten readiness. It has ideas along with cards of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and shapes, for teaching recognition early. I like that the toolkit presents simple lessons plans and an introduction to core concepts.

FOR TEACHING THE SPIRIT OF GIVING

The Giving Manger is a wonderful holiday tradition I just discovered and am already implementing with my family. It’s a set that includes a book, a beautifully crafted wooden manger, baby Jesus, and hay. The concept is, when children do something nice for others, they get to put a piece of straw in the manger. On Christmas, the manger is full of all the pieces of straw representing the gifts of service, and baby Jesus in placed in it. I am really loving this tradition already and am so glad to have found something to help me shift the focus of the holidays from getting to giving.

MORE CHRISTMAS BOOKS

I love adding seasonal books to our collection. These four are just released titles from Candlewick Press. Little Christmas Tree (beautifully illustrated), Where’s Santa Claus (lift the flap), The Christmas Eve Tree (sweet story of hope for a boy without a home), and Christmas, a perfect first book for babies with soft, crinkly pages and a hook to attach to a stroller or play gym.

SOMETHING TO WEAR

Tea Collection has a holiday line out, perfect for Santa photos and other events this season. I love that they’re ethically made and give back, right now contributions are going to the Wildfire Relief fund, helping with all the fires in California. They’re running a Black Friday sale this week, with many styles under $15.

Shared in partnership with most companies, selections are my own, affiliate links in post.

BABY TOY FAVORITES

Baby toys! There are tons out there. While I typically lean towards neutral everything, most of these fall outside that category, because that's what developmentally appropriate toys are: full of color, pattern, and texture. Highlighting some of what we've enjoyed so far, including a few that are socially minded and give back.

TEETHERS

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Ooga makes cool plates/bowls/place mats and other mealtime things for kids, all out of silicone, including this octopus silicone teether. I choose silicone whenever I can over plastic, because I don't want to worry about unknown chemicals (even beyond BPA free plastic) and it's dishwasher, freezer, and even oven safe.

We love our Sophie so much that we got her friend FanFan the Fawn (very similar to Sophie, just slightly smaller) and their newest release, this ring. I like that these are all made of natural rubber from Hevea trees.

Innobaby is another company making mealtime accessories as well as teethers. These have a fun fruit shape with varied textures; the handle is also flexible and designed to be chewed on.

TOYS

Oli & Carol is a cool small company started by two sisters (at ages 18 and 23!). They make more of those natural Hevea rubber teething toys I love, plus, no holes on these, so they're perfect for bath time without having to worry about mold growing inside (and they float!). That gold polka dotted duck is my favorite. Handmade, nontoxic, and they're a socially responsible company, partnering with an organization in India to provide at-risk children with access to education. (Also making my happy: those footed Christmas PJs sent by his great grandma, and #wristrolls.)

My B. Toys. Another company with a social mission, this one gives to the WE foundation, helping families alleviate themselves out of poverty globally. These toys are well made and beautiful. I love these ABC Fabric Blocks, they have little inserts that can be placed in and out of the blocks, some have beads or other fun sounds. We're also enjoying their One Two Squeeze Blocks, they're super highly rated on Amazon (5 stars and over 800 reviews, earning a spot on Amazon's Holiday Toy List). Blocks are such a versatile toy, great for a variety of ages and all kinds of play.

Floorchestra Play Mat by My B. Toys. I wanted a foam play mat but didn't want to get an entire alphabet, so this one fit the bill with just six pieces. It also comes with an optional musical attachment, great for speech and language development with sound matching during play.

Lamaze. We stayed with friends on a trip recently and they had a Lamaze toy, and maybe it was because it was brightly colored and Trey has only seen grey and white in his life (ha), but he was mesmerized! A lot of their toys have that great crinkle paper sound (Trey has always been super into that one) and they are all brightly colored and soft. I have Freddie the Firefly clipped to his car seat, and we also have the Mix and Match Caterpillar that comes with velcro on each segment, and the Octotunes that plays a trumpet sounding note on each leg. All are well designed and entertaining.

Cuddle And Kind. Really cute and super soft fabric dolls that are ethically made by women in Peru. They come in sizes Little (13", what we have) and Regular (20", which is the size of an actual baby!) Each purchase of a doll provides 10 meals to a child in need. We're big fans.

Sassy Baby is known for it's widely available, developmentally appropriate and budget friendly toys. Highlighting a few: this Bumpy Ball with varied colors and textures is a number one bestseller on Amazon, I like that the size is larger than I was expecting and it's soft and easily grabbable. This Floor Mirror is great to encourage longer tummy time. We have quite the block assortment and these Sensory Blocks come with Stay Trays to help with learning how to stack. These Links are super cheap and a great way to transform regular toys into a car seat hanging attachment (I also attach a variety of teethers and take it traveling, it's awesome on planes for keeping toys off the floor.) This Wonder Wheel is designed to stay in place on a countertop or high chair tray, a great distraction while sitting up. This Book is interactive and teething friendly.

To keep everything contained, I'm storing them in Pehr Designs bins. You might recognize the name from this post here. These bins have been a great place to stash everything baby related, and, unlike my toy selections, I can stick to my ever-loving neutral color palate. They recently released this new size pictured here, the drum, which is slightly wider and shorter than the previous bins. Sign up for their newsletter for 15% off your purchase.

NON TOYS THAT MAKE GREAT TOYS

Right now Trey is also into: his feet, cardboard boxes, water, ribbons, tissue paper, wrapping paper, paper of all kinds really, my hair (ouch), all the silicone plates/bowls/spoons that I have for us to start feeding soon, and other assorted kitchen items like spatulas and water bottles. Because it's always the things that aren't intended to be toys that make the best toys, right?

Happy playing!