The holidays are quickly approaching, and no doubt you’re starting to wonder what gifts will bring a smile to your little one’s face this year. Need a few ideas? From great baby care items to toys for the older tots, we’ve got a few baby and toddler-tested items that your child is sure to love!
The ZooCrew Basic Health and Grooming Kit from Graco includes all the baby care essentials for health and grooming but with a playful zoo-themed twist. We love that the thermometer poses as a tiger, while a bright yellow fish doubles as an easy-to-hold handle for the nail clippers. The elephant nasal aspirator is not only cute but also well designed with a curved trunk that prevents over-insertion and a hatch for easy cleaning. The 10-piece set also includes a hippo comb, a dolphin syringe and 4 mini emery boards in a zippered pouch. Both baby and you will enjoy all these great items in one kit, available for $14.99 at Target, Amazon.com and GracoBaby.com.
BabyGanics’ All About Baby Gift Set is a 6-piece skin and diapering care set that includes shampoo and bodywash, lotion, diaper rash cream, protective ointment, wipes and an OXO wipes dispenser. Designed by two dads, these products are free of toxins and created with natural plant-based ingredients so that you won’t have any concerns using them with your child. Also fragrance free, they’re safe and gentle enough for the most sensitive newborn skin. The wipes dispenser is a nice bonus, as it’s created by OXO, a company with an eye towards making products as easy to use as possible. True to their reputation, OXO brings you a wipes dispenser that is great for one-handed operation and has a window to let you know when your wipes supply is running low. Available for $34.99 through www.babyganics.com.
Our daughter has adored Lakeshore Learning’s Colorpillar Sorting Mat (0-3 years) from the moment we opened to box, as she pulled out one delightful object after another and unfolded the colorful rainbow mat. The caterpillar mat stretches to 4ft and encourages older tots to match 18 colored objects to each segment of the caterpillar, while the smallest of kids simply enjoy playing with the different shapes that come in wood, plush and plastic. For the highly imaginative ones, the mat also doubles as a fantastic magic carpet!
Washable Sensory Balls (0-3 years) is another great product from Lakeshore Learning and includes 6 different sized plush balls in a variety of colors and materials that kids love to throw and roll. You’ll love these, too, since they’re washable and won’t break anything in the house – great for babies and older siblings, as well as individual and group play. The Colorpillar Sorting Mat sells for $39.99 and the Washable Sensory Balls for $29.99, with both available at www.lakeshorelearning.com.
The Play with Me Gym from B kids (0-10 months) is a highly portable play mat that sets up in a couple minutes and provides a delightful environment for baby. With a variety of configurations, it grows with your child and is the perfect set up for newborn to crawler. Dangling toys captivate the baby lying on her back, while fun designs on the mat make tummy time more fun. The overhead bars can be removed and the sides laid flat for an older baby who wants room to sit up or crawl. The set comes with detachable hanging toys that include a rattling monkey and a kid-safe mirror, which makes our daughter giggle as she makes faces at herself. Easily fold the mat up to take it with you so that baby has a familiar play environment wherever she goes. Snag one for $69.99 at www.bkidsfun.com.
The Rocktivity Pound ‘N Jam Drum (over 6 months) from Playskool keeps our young musician grooving, as she pounds the drum and it responds by repeating the same beat. With a snare, bass, cymbal and vocals from a spirited octopus, there are an endless number of combinations your baby can create. In addition, the drum plays a few short tunes and lights up to keep our daughter dancing and giggling. This is great entertainment for both you and your baby! Get your little rock star her first drum set for $14.99. Check out this and the entire line of Rocktivity musical toys at www.hasbro.com.
Evenflo’s Jungle Quest Jump & Learn ExerSaucer entertains with 58 stimulating activities that encourage physical and mental development. My daughter literally leaps with joy as she engages with the spinning hippo, light-up flip book, rotating elephant and many other great toys, all of which can be removed for play on the go. The springy base provides a soft jumping platform, which is something I previously hadn’t seen on similar structures. The peace of mind you get from having a safe place to keep baby happily occupied while freeing up your hands makes this an absolute must-have in any household with a child under 1. With 3 height levels, you’ll be set for months. The Jungle Quest ExerSaucer retails for $119.99. Learn more at www.evenflo.com.
A popular brand at our house, Green Toys continues to develop great products from recycled plastic that’s phthalate and BPA free. Their Submarine is our go-to toy at bath time with an easy-to-grasp handle and plenty of openings to fill the vessel with water and pour it right back out. Watch water spill out of the portholes on the sides, flood out the rear to activate the propeller or stream out the front in a sheet of water. My daughter loves submerging it herself, as well as letting me use it to wash the soap off her back and belly. Available for just $14.99 from www.greentoys.com.
Babiator’s BPA free baby sunglasses provide stylish sun protection for only $19.99. Your fashion-forward youngster will love having his or her own cool set of shades, while you’ll be relieved to know that your child’s eyes are 100% protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. The glasses are also BPA and phthalate free, which is great since they sit right against baby’s skin and have been known to end up in my daughter’s mouth, especially during moments of teething. Made from rubber, these sunglasses are durable enough for Babiators to confidently offer a 1-year guarantee. But, really, the best part of these glasses are how amazingly hip your kid will look wearing these awesome shades. Plus, they bring a priceless smile to her face when she checks herself out in the mirror. Babiators come in an assortment of brilliant colors. Pick out a pair at www.babiators.com.
The Grand Walk-in Kitchen & Grill (ages 2 and up) from Step2® Company is a deluxe play kitchen that your budding cook will absolutely adore. As a somewhat enclosed kitchen space, my daughter really loves having her own “house” and happily occupies herself, mimicking my husband and I as we prepare dinner. It comes complete with sink, fridge, microwave, stovetop and grill and includes pots, pans, utensils and plenty of play food. It even has a play telephone, which my daughter is constantly using to call grandma. I love watching how focused she is as she cooks up eggs or prepares coffee. As a relatively spacious toy, this set is great for multiple kids and keeps them entertained in imaginative play for quite a while. The set retails for $259.99 and can be found at www.step2.com.
Let your toddler ring in the holidays with her very own set of jingle bells! B. toys continues to be a favorite in our household with yet another great lineup of toys. Their Carousel Bells (ages 3-13) will delight your toddler as she enjoys tapping out cheerful tunes on the spinning carousel, while parents will be thrilled at the pleasant sounds emanating from this toy.
Meanwhile, Odd Balls (6 months to 6 years) from B. toys will entertain the younger set with an assortment of four balls of different colors, textures and squeeze-ability. A great toy for individual play or an entire play group, these balls are ideal for rolling, tossing and even chewing – they’re BPA-free! Carousel Bells sell for $29.95 while Odd Balls retail for just $9.99. Learn more about both at www.justb-byou.com.
Our Generation recently launched a new line of dolls that come complete with accessories and their own storybooks. As our daughter has a newfound appreciation for dolls, she was thrilled to bring Jenny and “The Sweet Shoppe Mystery” Deluxe Doll Set (ages 3+) into her collection, especially with Jenny’s open-and-close eyes, which make it possible to give her doll a nap. This delightful doll/book set includes cupcakes and all the baking tools needed to whip up a new batch, including bowl, whisk and ingredients. In addition, this pose-able 18” doll comes with a full outfit, though the littlest of fingers may still have some trouble getting the oven mitts and shoes in place. The package includes a clever reversible panel so that you just need to flip it to “wrap” it, a nice time saver as you’re prepping all your gifts this year! See the full assortment of 22+ dolls at OGdolls.com or pick one up at Target for $28.
With these gift ideas for baby, we hope that this year’s holiday shopping will be quick and painless, leaving more time to relax, celebrate and enjoy time with family. Happy holidays!