Our Top 10 Toddler & Preschooler Christmas Gifts for 2013

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We’ve put a ton of thought into our gifts this year.  We don’t want to create monsters, but we do want to have our home in full holiday spirit.  We want our girls to have something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something the read.  I do, however, always get requests from friends and family each year for what the girls want for Christmas (and birthdays since they are in Dec & January) so I keep a handy Amazon Wish List as a Christmas-style registry – it sure beats splitting up a list for each request.  Here are our top ideas this year.  It’s probably a girl-sided list, but boys will have fun with these toys as well!  We would rather have a few quality toys that our kids will play with for years than a house full of plastic things that will soon be in a land-fill.

2013-toys-and-gifts-list

These are our top picks, parent to parent:

  1. Play kitchen & accessories.  A majority of our kids’ time is spent playing in the “little kitchen” at home, and we hear that the girls and boys both spend a ton of time in the “home center” at school.
    Suggested Kitchens: KidCraft Modern Kitchen | Retro Pink Kitchen (also in blue)
    Suggested Pots & Pans: Metal Toy Pots & PansWooden Toy Pots & Pans
    Suggested Accessories: “Working” Appliance Combo | Tea Set
    Suggested Toy Foods: Fruit Cutting Set | Cutting Foods | Food Groups
    Felt Sandwich Set | Cookie Decorating Set | Cake Set | Ice Cream
  2. Toy vacuum & cleaning tools.  Our kids love to “help out” and I believe we are creating great habits.  Girls and boys both enjoy helping out.  Our nephew loves his cleaning supplies as much as our daughters do.  Our kids even use real Swiffer dusters while we use the “big” one that extends.
    Suggestions: Toy Dyson Ball | Toy Dyson Animal | Swiffer Starter Kit | “My Size” Sweeper | Kids Sweeping Set
  3. Play-doh.  It’s a classic!  Whether you use the store-bought or made-at-home kind, the creativity is endless.  Pair it with cookie cutters and other tools for hours of focused fun.
    Suggestions: Play-doh Play Center | Play-doh Fun Factory | 24-Pack Play-Doh
  4. Art supplies.  We are making the girls art jars (although you can buy these assembled) and requesting painting supplies this year.  They are always asking to do art projects and I love to have things on hand for when I’m out of creative project ideas.
    Suggestions: Art Jar | No-Spill Paint Cups & Brushes | Craft Paint
  5. PJs.  Some kids this age (like ours) are very particular about their day-to-day wardrobe and like to pick it themselves.  Whether or not your kid is their own stylist, pajamas always seem to hit the mark in their favorite characters.  Our girls love Disney Princess nightgowns and anything with Minnie Mouse.  I’m sure it will be completely different next year!
    Suggestions: Princess Night Gowns | Licensed Pajamas
  6. Musical Instruments.  We have always opted for a cheap version of a real instrument and the girls have spend hours jamming on them while the over-thought “toy” instruments sit in the corner.  They love that their guitars are just like mom’s!
    Suggestions: Kid’s Guitar | Harmonica | Maracas | Mini Piano
  7. Books.  Pick something on your kiddo’s favorite topic.  In our house, it’s all about animals and ballerinas.
    Our Favs: Ballerina Rosie | Tallulah’s Tutus | Farm | The Animal Book
  8. Dishes & Silverware.  Nothing helps veggies go down like fun plats, bowls, cups, forks, and spoons.
    Suggestions: Cars, Doc McStuffins, Jake and The Never Land Pirates, Minnie Mouse, Monters University, Planes, Princesses, & Sophia The First
  9. iPad.  We like the Mini version since it fits into kid hands better.  They think they are being spoiled, but our kids have learned there ABCs, numbers, colors, and shapes with the help if the iPad and are now working on spelling & writing.  It’s also great for car trips, doctors appointments, you name it.  It’s fun & learning.  How did we ever function without them?  We prefer Apple because of the App Store and it is easy to sync with our other services and devices.
    iPad Mini on Amazon.com for $315 as of this post
  10. Balance Bike.  Who doesn’t love a great ride-on toy?  We love our Radio Flyer tricycles & our Cozy Coupes, but don’t forget about the new classic: balance bikes. It’s the new step between tricycles and 2-wheelers.  We were lucky enough to get one of these earlier this year and even our then-18 month old gave it ago.
    Suggestions: Classic Balance Bike

What is your gift-buying strategy this year?  What are your most-played-with toys that other parents should consider this giving season?  How are you teaching your children about giving?

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