Feeling stumped about what to gift your toddler? Girl, same. As a mother of an almost-two-year-old myself, I’m in the same boat.
From online retailers to brick and mortar stores, we’re up to our ears with toy options. I mean, even Toys R’ Us is making a comeback for crying out loud. No wonder so many of us are plagued by analysis paralysis.
Let’s cut through the noise, shall we? Here are some of the hottest gifts for a toddler that I’ll be adding to my cart this year.
1. Checkout register
According to the CDC, your child will likely hit many emotional, cognitive, language and physical milestones by his or her second birthday. One of these expected milestones is playing make-believe games.
This checkout register is a fantastic way to encourage your child to explore imaginary play, either by himself or with others. Every time I take my daughter to one of our local children’s clothing stores, she makes a beeline for this register in their customer playroom. Since I know she loves this item, I feel extra confident about adding this item to her personal toy collection.
2. Art easel
This fall, we enrolled our daughter in an 18-month-old toddler program at our neighborhood preschool. Two mornings per week she plays with friends and learns from her sweet teachers. One afternoon I received a text from the school director showing me a picture of my daughter on the playground. She spent the entire 45 minutes outside drawing on a dry erase board with a pink marker. Her teachers were impressed with her focus and skill, and I was blown away by how much she clearly loves art!
This year I’ll be purchasing this Little Partners 2-Sided A-Frame Art Easel for my little artist. Friends of mine rave about this item, sharing that their children (slightly older than my own) spent hours with this activity over the past year.
Have you discovered your child’s passion yet? Identifying their favorite activities is the first step to selecting great gifts for a toddler. It will help you choose toys they’ll not only love but feel encouraged to pursue their interests.
Tip: if you haven’t done so already, check out Facebook Marketplace, Amazon and Craigslist for used listings. Parents may be selling gently used items that their children have outgrown (which means you can find the items your child wants, for less!).
3. Bathtub glow toys
Sometimes the monotony of motherhood can feel rather mundane. Burnout occurs when daily routines become stale and boring over time. I’ve often wondered, perhaps burnout doesn’t just happen to parents, but to toddlers too? While consistency and structure are absolutely important, surely little ones must tire of the same ‘ol same ‘ol from time to time. One way to shake things up is to introduce cool new toys during activities like bath time. These bathtub glow toys turn this standard nightly ritual into a party in the tub.
When it comes to toys, my philosophy is quality over quantity. I don’t want to accumulate a bunch of stuff that gets crowded and overlooked for years. I think these gifts for a toddler fit the bill: fun items that will bring my daughter joy for months to come. What is on your shopping list this year?
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Katie McCall is a lifestyle portrait photographer, content strategist, and producer based in San Antonio, Texas. When she isn’t behind a camera or laptop, she's exploring the world with her husband, darling one-year-old daughter and tiny pup. If you’d like, please follow their adventures on Instagram (@hersideproject)!