Monday, December 10, 2012

Gift Guide: What to get for...a Toddler

Before I had a baby, when gift giving time would roll around, I would pop into a toy store and reel off the genders and ages (which often had me saying, "I think he's like 3 and a half?  Or maybe seven?  Wears a diaper, but doesn't speak sentences?  Can't tie shoes, but eats with fork?") and wait for a recommendation from the sales clerk.

Honestly, I'm not much better now.  

But, I do know the things that other people have given my kid that she seems to really like, so I think it's safe to give them to other toddlers.

Toddler Gifts

1.  Tegu Magnetic Blocks.  I swear these must be awesome if only because you cannot find them in New York.  They sell out faster than Shake Shack burgers the day after Yom Kippor.  I like the pocket set because it's affordable and perfect for traveling.  Stash it in your bag and whip it out on the plane for an easy distraction that doesn't require food or batteries.  If you want to go all balls-to-the-wall awesome aunt/uncle, you could spring for the big set or you could add in some other travel friendly toys like these Green Sprouts disposable coloring placemats and Zoli snack stack.

2.  Hunter Toddler Boots and Wellie Socks.  Bad weather is here to stay and kids love puddles.  That's what I have to contribute now that I have my own child.  Hunter boots are amazingly sturdy and, frankly, amazingly cute.  The wellie socks add an additional layer of warmth (or are a great gift on their own if you know the child in question already has wellington-style boots).  If you don't know the right show size, go big.  He or she can always wear them next year.

3.  Mini Kick Scooter and Bell Toddler Helmet.  Scooters are everywhere in New York.  Apparently, no one has recovered from the dot-com era and just passed them down to the next generation.  (Not everyone has, but I swear, if I see one more legitimate adult on a scooter, I am going to stick my umbrella in that wheel.)  Toddlers love them...it's a nice alternative to walking or staying in the stroller, they feel like a big kid, and it's fast and dangerous!  What's not to love?!?  Get the helmet.

4.  Green Toys Tea Set.  I know this one comes in a variety of pink and purple colors, but really, this is a unisex gift.  At this age, kids really like to play "food" and "tea" and it's definitely not a girly thing.  Reese can sit for hours (1 hour toddler time equals roughly 20 minutes of actual time, less if you need to make an important phone call) having a tea party, cooking, toasting, making sandwiches, etc.  You could also go for one of the many food themed sets out there like this grocery bag and vegetables, the Melissa and Doug sandwich making kit, sliceable wooden fruits and veggies, or a set of pint sized pots and pans.  If you did want to go for a tea set but wanted something a little more traditional, this Beatrix Potter set is adorable.

5.  Roberta Roller Rabbit Pajamas.  You know how ladies love cool James?  Well, all children love soft pajamas.  I mean, who doesn't?  Reese received a set of these whale print pjs from Robert Roller Rabbit and I just love them.  The cotton is super soft, the print is gag-worthingly cute, and they wash really well.  They are definitely pricey, but worth it.  At a lower price point, I love love love the Serena & Lily/Hanna Andersson pajama sets and these Boden ones come in multi-packs with cute prints.

Also, if you are really rushed on time or the parents of the child in question are low on space (apartment  living means no basement full of huge riding toys!), consider getting a museum or zoo membership or a pass to a children's playspace.  In New York, we could probably spend every day at the Museum of Natural History or the Children's Museum of Manhattan and never get bored.  This is particularly good coming up on winter months when playgrounds are off limits and space to roam is hard to come by.  Plus, you might even get a little tax write-off.  Happy holidays to everyone!

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