This year has been different to say the least and with us being at home so much this year, 2020 has definitely influenced what I’m sharing in my Toddler + Preschooler Gift Guide below.
What I realized this year more than anything when it comes to toys and the long days at home, is that I appreciated toys that promote open ended play, toys that invite imagination, and toys that can be used multiple ways. If a toy can’t do that, then it’ll get played with a few times while its new and novel and then sit on the shelf collecting dust.
I think we’ve personally done a really good job about curating the toys that we’ve allowed in our home thus far but there were certainly moments during quarantine that I wish we had an indoor play gym for example so Emie could just climb, swing, jump, and release all that built up energy inside her little body because not only were our first few weeks of quarantine a total adjustment to our normal life, but we also had really crappy weather during that timeframe too so we all were in desperate need of new ideas to keep us busy and entertained.
I’ve put together a list of toys down below that either really worked hard for us this year or toys I really wish we had during the early months of 2020. Since this year has been so hard for so many, I tried really hard to source a lot of these recommendations from small shops that I’m sure could use a little support right now after the rough year we’ve had but there are also some Amazon picks in there too! I hope you enjoy what I’ve curated this year and find something to gift the toddler in your life!
Toddler + Preschooler Gift Guide Part One
- Wooden Fold-Up Dollhouse // We’ve gotten so much use out of our dollhouse this past year and I love nothing more than toys that invite imaginative play. Best part – it folds up and saves space! Our dollhouse has been a dollhouse (of course), a doctor’s office, and even a zoo too!
- The Nugget Comfort // I’ve wanted to buy this for our own daughter for nearly two years now and boy do I wish we owned one during the long and boring days of quarantine. Not only is it a cute kid-sized sofa but it can be a slide, a tent, a fort, or heck…a place to launch those tiny bodies safely into.
- Bakery Play Set // This cute bakery set would be a cute addition to your play kitchen – if you don’t have a play kitchen, get one! It’ll provide hours of pretend play fun!
- Go Find It Card Game // We were recently introduced to this game by a friend and the kiddos loved running around the park looking for items that fit the descriptive words but I could definitely see this used in the car or even in the house on a rainy day too.
- Polka Dot Ukulele // Because every Zoom call needs a toddler playing ukulele in the background!
- Marble Run // We spent a lot of quarantine hours building – legos, blocks, magnets – and come December, this will be the newest addition to our building repertoire.
- Pop Tubes // These silly little things provide fun for everyone (even I love playing with them). We use them as pretend hand cuffs, noise makers, to whisper secrets back and forth, and they’re great for fidgety hands too.
- Rocket Launchers // Some friends in our little pod brought these to the park one day and the kids loved taking turns jumping up and down to launch the rockets into the air.
- Balance Board // A great little tool to practice balance and coordination and promotes gross motor development plus you can use it as a chair, a climbing obstacle, or even a slide. I love when a toy is multi-functional!
- Workbench // Similar to the play kitchen, if you have a kiddo who loves to fix and tinker, this workbench is a must!
Toddler + Preschooler Gift Guide Part Two
- Train Set // Another toy that invites imaginative play with countless track configurations. Comes with the trains and the accessories.
- Magnetic Tiles // These were the MVP of quarantine!
- Baby Stella Doll // We spent many hours playing babies this year and I’m obsessed with the Baby Stella dolls. They come in a wide range of ethnicities which I appreciate and the magnetic pacifier is too cute!
- Wood Blocks // Such a great open-ended toy. We use ours and make castles, doll houses, and so much more.
- Indoor Play Gym // This is a little pricey but man…I wish we had something like this during quarantine! If you have a doorway that you don’t mind this hanging from, this indoor gym would provide a great outlet for your kids to expend some energy on – especially when the weather (or the state of the world) isn’t conducive to outdoor play.
- Dragon Cape // Dress-up was also on repeat at our house this year and this shop has tons of really adorable and affordable dress-up options for boys and girls.
- Themed Playdough Sensory Bins // I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these! Megan at Darling Little Details has created themed playdough sensory bins filled with tons of trinkets for hours of play and imagination. Her holiday bins are genius too!
- Climbing Triangle // Another tool for your kiddos to expend that energy. Paired with some a rock climb wall or slide, it’ll provide for hours of fun and play.
- Wood Bowling Set // Bowling alley’s are closed here so why not make your own at home? Totally impressed with the price too!
- Rubber Road // How great is this? These can be used on just about any surface inside or out.
Ok…one final recommendation that I CAN’T BELIVE I forgot to include above but this bounce house from Little Tikes was a serious life-saver this year. We set it up in the garage on rainy days and let Emie go wild. We’re pretty fortunate with decent weather almost year round, so we use this outdoors too, but if you live somewhere that gets a lot of inclement weather, you and your kids need this!