I’m kicking off my 2023 gift guides with my Gift Guide for Kids (part one!) because it is, without a doubt, the easiest gift guide for me to create every year. I have a million and one kid gift ideas in my brain and absolutely LOVE shopping for kids. (I swear my dream job would be people hiring me to shop for their children.) It’s oddly fun for me to pick out gifts for little ones and this year I figured I should divide up my gift guide for kids into two separate gift guides, as our boys’ ages mean the gifts they love and want are becoming increasingly different. (What we’d get for 3-year-old Rhett is quite different than what we’d get for 8-year-old Chase.)
Today’s gift guide focuses on gifts for the toddlers and little ones. I think most gifts in this gift guide would be loved by children ages 2-4-years-old, but of course you know the littles ones in your life best.
As in years past, I’m dividing this years’ gift guide for kids into four categories:
- Something they want (subdivided into a few additional categories)
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
This is the way I approach gifting to our boys as it includes a mix of practical gifts as well as the fun stuff they love. I hope this gift guide gives you some ideas for the little ones in your life!
NOTE: You may find a bunch of these items rounded up together in my Amazon shop! Also of possible interest are the two posts I wrote after the holidays featuring the gifts our boys loved and still played with over and over again after Christmas: Holiday Gifts: The Hits Two Months Later (early 2023) + Holiday Gifts: The Hits One Month Later (early 2022)
Gift Guide for Kids: Toddlers and Little Kids
Something They Want
- Plasma Car: These make my gift guides every year for good reason. We discovered them through the boys’ preschool and all of the kids are obsessed and love flying around on them. We also have this knock-off version and the differences are very minimal if you’d like to save some money!
- Little Tikes Bounce House: Our quarantine discovery and the best for indoor winter playtime. This is the bounce house we got for Chase and Ryder when they were younger and it’s the perfect size for toddlers.
- Push Car: File this under great gifts for a 1-3 year old! We especially appreciated this one when our boys started to protest walks in the stroller.
- Side-by-Side Push Car: A push car that seats two! If you have multiples (or even one kid who likes a little more room), opt for this one! It’s also more comfortable for bigger kids so it will last longer.
- Balance Bike: I credit a combination of the Balance Bike + a small bike with training wheels for making it so easy for Ryder to learn to ride a big kid bike in less than 5 minutes (yes, truly!) when he was 4-years-old. It blew my mind and was night-and-day different from Chase who never really go into the Balance Bike. Rhett is also obsessed with the Balance Bike!
- Bike: We’ve loved this bike and have it in two sizes. It’s passed the hand-me-down test and our smallest version of the bike (12”) has now been through three boys and held up well.
- Scooter: Our boys have all started on a three-wheel scooter at first!
- Chasing Fireflies Game: Such a fun one for kids who love to seek and find.
- Zebco Fishing Rod: The rod all of our boys used to learn to cast and fish.
- Picasso Tiles: These will make every kid gift guide I create for all time. The BEST. If you don’t have magnetic tiles for your little one, let this be the item you get them this year. I recommend getting a pack with at least 100 tiles because your child(ren) will play with them for years and make increasingly impressive creations!
- Costumes: You can never have enough! Costumes are the gift that keep on giving for hours of imaginary play.
- Musical Instruments: Another idea that will be used for years and years.
- Train Table + Trains: A big gift for sure but one we’ve had for 6+ years and won’t get rid of anytime soon because it’s still played with so often.
- Pop-Up Play Tent: Great for imagination play! I cannot tell you how much time our boys have spent in their pop-up rocket ship tent. Bonus: It looks like a BIG gift to a little kid but it won’t break the bank.
- Foamnasium Couch: Our kids drag these cushions everywhere. So great for fort building, story time relaxation, imagination play, clubhouses, etc.
- Unlocking Car Garage: This was recommended by one of my occupational therapist friends and Rhett (2-years-old at the time) loved it last year! He continues to reach for it regularly.
- Tonies: Great for quiet time and road trip entertainment. Our boys love listening to the stories from their favorite Tonies and often put on a Tonies story on to listen to for background entertainment. (Definitely get this carrying case to keep everything together!) Our youngers boys’ favorite Tonies characters: All of the Paw Patrol characters, Super Wings, Christmas Mickey Mouse, Daniel Tiger
- Walkie Talkies: For a three-pack of inexpensive walkie talkies, these have held up great for us!
EDUCATIONAL + CREATIVE:
- Munchkin Color Mix Bath Toy: This is one of my top recommendations this year, especially if your little one likes bath time. Rhett constantly requests a “color bath” and loves mixing colors and playing in the colorful water. We have these Color Buddies that also use the color tablets for a colorful bath. So fun!
- Biggie Beads: Think melty/perler beads but bigger! Great for fine motor skill development. This kit comes with everything you need (other than an iron but honestly we don’t even iron their Biggie Bead creations that often)!
- Lovevery Play Kits: A dream gift! They’re catered to your child’s age/stage of development and the quality of the toys is unparalleled. They’re some of the only toys I’ll be saving.
- Surprise Inside Bath Bombs: Our boys flip for these.
- Water Doodle Mat: Create fun pictures using only water! The mat size is nice and big but folds up easily. Just make sure you get one that comes with a little backpack for easy storage so you can keep everything together and organized.
- Kid-Friendly Digital Camera: The gift we gave to a bunch of the boys’ friends for various birthdays this summer. It’s a small camera that’s a HUGE hit for little kids, especially those with an interest in taking lots of pictures!
- Puzzles: We do puzzles in our house daily! These 4-in-1 wooden puzzles are high-quality and fantastic for younger puzzlers. We have all of them!
- V-Tech Rock and Bop Music Player: So helpful for us for toddler car entertainment! All three boys loved this one!
- Games: Duck Duck Dance (an adorable game for toddlers that gets your little one laughing and dancing), Hoot Owl Hoot (a great game for collaborative play), Don’t Break the Ice (our kids get SO into this one)
- LeapFrog Learning Laptop: I swear this thing helped all of our boys learn their letters early. They still play with it and pretend to “work” on this laptop! It’s a go-to gift for me for a 2-year-old.
- Decorate Your Own Treasure Chest / Jewelry Box: My kids can’t be the only ones who love putting “special things” away in a treasure chest! These decorate-your-own treasure chests/jewelry boxes are great for kids who love to save their little treasures in a special place.
- Easel: We’ve had ours for years and it’s still in constant use.
Something They Need
- Silicone Water Bottle Name Bands: We love these name bands because they can be used on any water bottle and they help easily identify the boys’ water bottles with their name! We went the tie-dye route for their name bands because they stand out a little more in a sea of water bottles. Pair this with a new water bottle (YETI 12 oz water bottles are still our favorite) for a fun gift idea!
- Daily Task Charts: Our boys are majorly motivated by these charts and they’ve been great for teaching responsibility.
- Phone Number Temporary Tattoos: These are going in the boys’ stockings this year after we were out with friends earlier this fall and they could not find their 4-year-old for 30 minutes. It was terrifying and I’m planning to use these temporary tattoos on the inside of our youngers boys’ forearms when we go out to crowded places, amusement parts, etc.
- Memberships/Lessons/Experiences: The best gift!!! Consider gifting a membership to a favorite museum, lessons for a favorite sport or activity, etc.
- Arts and Crafts Supplies: KwikStix Fast-Drying Paint Pens (the best for making posters/banners — we use our butcher paper roll all the time), Crayola Marker Caddy (great for small hands + organized markers), Window Crayons, Retractable Markers (to eliminate the frustration of losing caps!)
- Sporting Goods/Activity Supplies: A new soccer ball for a soccer player, a new leotard for a dancer, etc.
- Step Stool/Name Puzzle Stool or Kitchen Helper Cooking Stand: Our boys all began using our kitchen helper stand right around age 2. It’s great for “helping” in the kitchen but also allowing them to stand at counter-height safely. Pair this one with children’s knives to let them slice soft foods (hard boiled eggs, bread, berries) and feel like a big kid! And a Name Puzzle Stool is always a hit for little ones just beginning to potty train and wash their hands by themselves. We have stools readily available in every room of our house with a sink!
Something To Wear
- Slippers: Our boys inherited my love for slippers and get so excited for a new pair. Some of our favorites include these UGG look-a-likes from Walmart (I got these for them this year!) and these reindeer slippers (their Elf on the Shelf delivered them on December 1st last year!)
- Winter Outerwear: Some of our favorites the boys include this lightweight puffer jacket, this ski jacket and this ski jacket for super cold weather and skiing and these UGG look-a-like boots
- Pajamas: We love these Amazon pajamas so much and they have the cutest holiday prints!
- Crocs: Crocs are taking over the world. Our boys will each be getting a new pair on Christmas morning!
- Cozy Robe: I wear a robe non-stop in the winter months and the boys love robes as well, especially for lazy mornings and cozy evenings. I ordered these smiley face robes for the boys for Christmas and these strawberry robes for my nieces! (I got them at 50% off and checked this morning and the code LTK50 is still working!)
- Rain Boots: If you have adventurous kids who love to explore and get muddy, rainboots are a must.
Something To Read
(You may find a bunch of our family’s favorite Christmas books in this post if you’re looking for some Christmas-themed reads!)
- Little Blue Truck (We have and love them all)
- Daniel Tiger 5-Minute Stories (Our 3-year-old’s favorite!)
- Little Excavator (Adorable and loved by all 3 of our boys)
- Poke-a-Dot Books (Cute and engaging for 1-to-3-year-olds)
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear (A classic for a reason — we love the slide-and-find version)
- Go Dog Go (I think our whole family has this one memorized)
LITTLE KID BOOKS
- The Circus Ship (Such a gem of a book!)
- Pete the Cat (We love this take-along collection, as it has many books in one case)
- Pout Pout Fish (One of my personal favorites! Such clever rhyming!)
- The Gruffalo (Cute, funny and fun to read)
- Excellent Ed (Sweet story and a simple way to teach kids about individuality)
- Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (Don’t forget to search for Goldbug on each page!)
- Press Here (Creative concept and a very interactive read)
- The Snail and the Whale (You can’t go wrong with a Julia Donaldson book)
- Paw Patrol 5 Minute Stories (For kids who are Paw Patrol super fans)
- Are You My Mother? (One of my favs as a kid and still a hit)
Shop This Gift Guide
QUESTION OF THE DAY
If you have any gift recommendations for toddlers and little kids, please share them below!