As a teacher, it’s important to me that the things my kids play with have an educational purpose. But, faster isn’t necessarily better, and I want them to learn and discover on their own. Plus, I want my kids to be able to entertain themselves. Mom is NOT the entertainment director 24/7 in this house! So, when choosing gifts or things to get my kids, I consider a few things:
- Can it be used in multiple ways?
- How long will they use it for?
- Is it open ended (allows them to create, experiment, etc)?
- What’s the learning factor?
- What’s the fun factor?
Without further ado, the list of toys and other items that made the cut…
(Affiliate links, so if you make a purchase, Amazon will give me a few pennies for referring you to their site. But, no worries, I won’t get your info or any details, and it won’t cost you anything extra.)
- My kids absolutely love playing and building with magnets. We have a few different sets, or have used these sets.
- Gears are so fun! My kids LOVE this set from Learning Resources.
- How fun do these look!? And, you can even sneak in sorting and recreating letters of the alphabet if you want another reason to get these.
These are another favorite, and are great for 1 year olds too. They’re easier to stick together than Mega Bloks.
My kids love their pegs! These are fun because they have different shapes too. 🙂
Check out this versatile and fun set! LOTS of opportunities for fun in the years to come with this set!
This is geared more towards a 2.5-3 year old or older, but with adult help, it’d be fun for a 2 year old. Plus, they have other sets, like airplanes, boats, and robots.
Random Fun Stuff
Dominos! Great for counting, sorting by color, making a domino train, stacking… Will be helpful for math as your little one gets older.
Did you know they make JUMBO magnetic letters? How cool is that? Make sure you grab both the capitals/uppercase letters AND the lower case. This would make for great matching down the road. Letters can also be sorted by color, used as “stamps,” and paired up with other alphabet activities.
Different style magnets, but shape magnets are lots of fun. Think of all the possibilities with creating patterns, making pictures, sorting by color or shape… Lots of fun!
Puzzles are lots of fun. Get away from the basics and traditional kind with these fun puzzles.
Have a little one who likes vehicles?
- We have the dinosaur set, but I’d love this set. I think Buddy Boy would really like it because he loves his vehicles and wheels.
- This would be perfect for sensory play in addition to just driving around and playing with.
If you have two little ones, this mini construction set might be better because it has two sets of each type of vehicle. (Link works, even if the picture doesn’t display).
These pull back vehicles are fun for little ones. Buddy Boy got a set for his first birthday and he loves them.
Buuuut… these are made from recycled plastic, but without all the bad stuff.
Older toddler or preschooler?
We LOVE our marble run. If you don’t get this set, make sure the set you do choose allows for expansion sets to be added, is open-ended (so there’s not one set way to make it), and plastic. Wood is great, but it’s harder to connect the pieces.
What’d I miss? What should be included that’s not on my list?
Please share in the comments! We need ideas for this upcoming holiday season. 🙂 A personal favorite of mine is experience gifts for local places, but I didn’t list those, as those are limited by where we live. Children’s museums, trains, classes through the city or recreation department, and so on are all great gift ideas for kids!