5 Great Toddler Gifts We Didn’t Know We Needed
Since planning my oldest child’s nursery, we’ve tried to make careful decisions about what we and our two kids will want and need at the various stages of their lives. As an avid (or maybe obsessive) researcher, I’ve spent way too much time reading and asking friends for recommendations on any number of things – from swaddle blankets to art supplies.
Friends and family often ask for gift suggestions, which I happily provide, aiming for toys and supplies the kids will love and use. Some of the best gifts, however, never appeared on my radar. These surprise hits stand the test of time, enjoyed by two kids over multiple years. We keep them readily accessible and they are easily stored – a double win in my book.
If you’re looking for a toddler gift idea, check out these 5 toddler gifts we didn’t know we needed. Then, get creative and have the kiddos help make some repurposed gift wrap and DIY thank you cards.
Five Great Toddler Gifts
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Water Doodle Mat
Three years later, my now 5- and 6 year-old kiddos still love this water doodle mat. The mat (with accessories) fits nicely into its box for storage and lives in our living room bookshelf. The kids bring it out about once a month, sometimes more often. The mat is large enough for both kids to use at the same time. Ours came with four pens, stamps, and shape stencils – plenty of different activities to keep the kids engaged. While the suction cups didn’t work on our hardwood floors, the mat stays in place well enough not to frustrate the kids. The mat dries quickly so the kids can draw multiple times in one sitting.
Stack & Pour Buckets
Our long-time family friend gifted my daughter these buckets when she was born. The set comes with five buckets, each with holes in the bottom for water to drip through in different patterns. My kids use these in the shower and bath for dumping, scooping, transferring, dripping, washing and pouring back and forth and back again. An added bonus, they are easy to wash and stack to store.
Friction Powered Cars
My son’s love of cars started early, but really took hold when he received these friction powered cars for his first birthday. Our set includes a dump truck, cement mixer, tractor, trailer and loader/backhoe. The colorful trucks have moving parts that are easily manipulated by little hands. My son particularly loved attaching the trailer to the other cars, then detaching and reattaching ad nauseum. They zoom on hard surfaces with a gentle push and are also fun in sensory bins.
Magnetic Drawing Board
This was another winner from the gifter of the friction powered cars. Both kids still love this magnetic drawing board and we’ve had it for over 4 years. It lives in our living room and any time I try to put it away, the kids pull it right back out. They draw, write and create massive fort plans on this board. The kids can slide the eraser on their own, giving them good independent creating time.
Standing Art Easel
My daughter received this standing art easel on her second Christmas; it’s been up in our house ever since. The kiddos frequently use both the chalk board and dry erase sides for all sorts of creating and playing “school.” They also like to use the paper from the roll in the center. The easel does take some space, but is worth it for how much use it gets from our kiddos.
Do your kiddos enjoy any of these 5 toddler gifts? What gifts were unexpected hits for your toddlers?