Gift Guide for Toddlers

Today is the first post of this year's holiday gift guide. For the next few weeks I will be sharing a new gift guide once or twice per week to give some shopping inspiration. First one up is for toddlers. When shopping for toddlers, I try to be mindful of what a child will enjoy now AND how an item will be used at the next stage of development. Toddlerhood is such a short period of time in a child's life, but it is also one of the most important periods developmentally. For that reason, I tend to avoid character branded items and focus on learning enrichment toys and games. As a personal choice, I also opt for primarily wooden, non-electronic toys in the hopes of inspiring more imaginative, creative play. The items on this list are either ones Merle owns or are on her Christmas list. 

I spent the past few months researching marble shoots for Merle. This series of marble shoots quickly rose to the top because of their customizable construction. Made by stacking blocks and railings, Quadrilla helps older children learn about the fundamentals of physics and takes up very little space when taken apart. A local toy store had the shoot set up and Merle fell in love, which reaffirmed my selection. 

Hape Master Builder Set
Merle may be a girl, but a construction set is on her wish list (I don't believe in gendered toys). This set allows her build physical items from her imagination. I also like that the set is mostly made of wood and subtle coloring. 

We have two of these sticker pads (this one and this one specifically) and they have been one of Merle's favorite activities for the past year. Stickers are beloved by children of most ages, but this product allows for stickers to be used over and over again. It comes with several scenes, as well as stickers creatures, people, or objects that belong in a scence. Merle originally enjoyed just peeling and placing the stickers, but has started to create narratives around how she places the stickers. It also helps practice colors, numbers, and vocabulary. 

I bought this for a plane ride last year and Merle is still finding new ways to play with it. The set features an alphabet puzzle, shape puzzles, lacing cards, and stacking hexagons.  

At this age, pretty much anything from Playmobil is a hit. I like that most sets require some assembly in the beginning to challenge Merle and playing with them afterwards can reinforce her sense of accomplishment. Merle loves the water and animals, so I'm considering the animal ark set, but it's so hard to chose a favorite.

Merle is at the stage where she wants to do everything herself. While I'm generally encouraging of her independence, post bath I'm not always willing to let her take five minutes in the chilly air to get dressed herself. A robe will help keep her warm and let her take her time. This one from babyGap is soft and cozy (and 40% off today). 

While I can't afford to outfit Merle in organic clothes 24/7, I try to do so at night when her little body is busy replenishing itself. Hanna Andersson are my favorite organic cotton pjs because they're high quality (still like new after hundreds of washes) and stylish. Although the price tag is steep, they are worth every penny. 

Speaking of the nighttime routine, slippers make a cosy addition. Merle currently uses Hanna Andersson's slipper socks, which are great for year round use. 

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