If you’re like us and have what feels like a house FULL of toddlers, you may also be struggling with what to buy those toddlers for Christmas. We’re all about high value toys (value, not price) rather than buying a bunch of plastic junk, and asking for experiences, so we’re going to share our toddlers’ Christmas wish list with you.
- Picasso Tiles $49 We actually have a smaller set of these that we were gifted for our older toddler for his birthday, and he LOVES them. They’re a great STEM toy, so we decided to add to his collection so that he can build larger structures. They’re also nice quality.
- Bouncy Unicorn $30 We have a similar bouncy cow for Parker, our three year old, and after watching Parker and Charlie fight over it we decided she needed her own. These stay inflated really well and the kids love them.
- Octonauts Plushes $17-19 Our kids love the Octonauts (the show is actually pretty good and educational, Jordan and I have definitely watched it without the kids before :). If you have Octonauts-obsessed kiddos, these are high quality plushes that are a nice alternative to plastic toys.
- Bubble Bath $12 This is our absolute favorite bubble bath for the kids. Not only does it smell amazing (we have the whole line of lemon-lavender products!) but they’re also a women-led and fair-trade cooperative that we feel good about supporting.
- Paw Patrol Motorcycles $16 The only cheap plastic toys we’re buying this year, our son has been asking for a motorcycle for months. He also loves Paw Patrol, so we’re combining two ideas into one with a few of these bad boys.
- Anywhere Chair $175 We have a puppy Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn for Parker, and Charlie loves sitting in it, so she is getting her own this year. These chairs are super soft, and big enough for an adult to plop into when you’d prefer not to sit on the ground to play with your toddler.
- Glow Stars $17 Did you have these as a kid? I definitely did! We bought a back for Parker as a stocking stuffer. He has been having trouble staying in his room at night and hopefully having something fun to look at on the ceiling will help.
- Gym Membership. As I mentioned, we are looking for more experiences and less stuff for our kids. The YMCA close to our new house offers family memberships which include group classes (for me!), daycare options while you work out, and swim lessons (for the toddlers!). We’re hoping someone gifts us with a few months to get started, but if not we’ll sign up when we move in the new year.
- Arboretum or Botanical Garden Membership. We love the Dallas Arboretum (it’s where we got married), and we enjoy taking the kids to play in their kid-friendly zones including the splash pad. If you have something similar nearby a membership is always a good option for kids, and generally is a good cause to support.
- Zoo Membership. We’ve asked for memberships to the Fort Worth Zoo the last few years, and our kids love it! If you’ve got a nice local zoo it’s another good option to give as a gift.
- 529 donations. Your gift recipient will have to have one of these set up already, but donations to 529 accounts for kids’ college tuition and expenses are always a great gift option. See below for more information on these.
We hope this list helps with your toddler and kid gift giving this year! Experiences are always welcome over things in our house, and we suspect the same holds true for a lot of people.
A note about 529 Accounts
One final note regarding 529s for those who may not be familiar with them. We set up 529 accounts for both of our older kids for college savings as soon as we could after they were born (we’re still waiting for Finn’s social security card to set his up). For every holiday we ask for donations from the grandparents to their 529s, as we believe a paid education without the burden of student loans is one of the best gifts and opportunities for success you can give your children.
If you’re interested in setting up a 529 for your child(ren), here’s a little info to get you started. Since we live in Texas, our state does not have any benefits for enrolling in a 529, however, some other states do have benefits including matching and tax breaks, so definitely check and see if you should use your state’s plan. We ultimately chose the New York 529 (you can read comparisons on plans here) because it is a Vanguard plan with low fees, typically has a high rate of return, and has an excellent easy platform for grandparents and others to donate. 529s are versatile and able to be used for other educational expenses outside of standard college tuition, including trade school, housing, books, etc. They can also be transferred to other children if the intended child doesn’t use the entire amount. We are hopeful that our kids will have enough in their accounts for their tuition and expenses to be fully paid for at least their undergraduate degrees by the time they head off to college.
Have a great week!