Mrs. Superhero came up with the idea to compile a group holiday gift guide based on each of our little one’s ages. So each of the Bees have contributed a couple of toys that their little ones love or have on their wishlists in the guides below. These are tried and true suggestions from real moms with kids of all different ages. We hope this helps you with your Christmas shopping!
Lil Miss Wagon, 3 months
1) Playskool Busy Ball Popper. Since we have so many infant toys left over from Wagon Jr., we don’t need much for Lil Miss Wagon in terms of toys. But this is one toy Wagon Jr. never had and really enjoyed at other people’s houses. I suspect Wagon Jr. will get his share of enjoyment out of this toy as much as (or more than!) LMW.
2) Lollacup. This genius product was featured on one of our favorite shows, Shark Tank, where we discovered that it had been invented by a guy I knew in college and his wife! I was so shocked when I saw him on TV! Due to the high demand after being featured on the show, they were sold out for a long time, but they’re now back in stock and I can’t wait to get one for LMW. We love straw cups in our house and this one addresses so many problems, especially the weighted straw. She’s way too young to use it now, but I want to have it on hand to be her first straw cup next year.
Mrs. Cat in the Cradle, Baby Kitten, 5 months at Christmas
3 & 4) At 3.5 months my little girl loves music above all else. She has a play mat with piano keys that make noise when kicked, and she beats the heck out of those keys so she can have more music! She also enjoys when I play music with a good bouncy beat for her (currently the Rolling Stones are a huge hit). With that in mind, toys that make noise will likely continue to be a favorite for her. A couple of good options are the Munchkin Magic Mozart Cube and the Lamaze Soft Chime Garden Musical.
These toys offer different experiences, and are portable, which is important because she spends at least 2 days a week with her grandparents. I’m sure as she gets more into play, the cacophony all her noisy toys will create will be quite something at times, but it is still much more agreeable than an unhappy baby!
Mrs. Hopscotch, Baby H, 6 1/2 months
5) Manhattan Toy Baby-Ville Activity Ball – We received this big plush ball as a baby gift. We thought it was nice and Baby H occasionally liked to play with it but wasn’t terribly interested. And now she is absolutely obsessed with it! It’s soft so I don’t have to worry about her hurting herself with it, it’s easy for her to grab, it jingles and it has pictures of baby faces on it, which babies love to look at it! It’s my go-to toy for her when I need her to be occupied (like when I’m getting ready for work!) and I can see it keeping her attention as she gets bigger – when she can start play more interactively with it.
6) Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon – Baby H will be 8 months old at Christmas, and since I was walking by 9 months old, I’m trying to prepare myself for the possibility that she may follow in my footsteps (literally!). So I knew that our “big” gift to her this Christmas would be a walker of some sort. After doing my research and looking at everything on the market (or so it seems), I settled on one that seemed sturdy and could be used after she becomes a better walker. I liked the idea of having one that she can put toys in and play with as she grows. While I know she might be a bit young for it right at Christmas, I’m excited for her to eventually be able to play with it!
Mrs. Tic Tac Toe, Liam, 7 months (9 months at Christmas)
7) Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Table – Liam is crawling, but already eager to stand, so I know he’ll be pulling himself up before we know it. I want to get him an activity table that he can play with while sitting, with the legs removed, and also while standing, with the legs attached. My favorite one is the Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Table because it is educational, fun, and compact. It is something he can grow into and use for several months before he is too old for it, and we can easily store it in a closet for any future kids we have.
8) Wooden stacking rings – I try to limit the plastic toys we buy for Liam because wooden ones are much nicer to look at, so I want to get him some classic stacking rings like these from Ikea. He is at the perfect age to learn how these work as he is just starting to really play with his toys instead of just shoving everything into his mouth as quickly as possible. The stick that the rings slide onto is rubber to prevent injury if fallen on, which is a nice feature. Plus, you can’t beat the price tag!
Wonder Baby, 9 months
9) Fox Stuffed Animal – Wonder Baby has a lot of fun playing with all her sister’s toys, and doesn’t need much (or anything) of her own yet. I do think it’s nice for the girls to have one or two special stuffies to sleep with, however. I love this fox from Land of Nod. He looks really soft, and who doesn’t love a fox?
10) Skip Hop Hug & Hide Mirror – Wonder Baby has recently discovered the awesomeness of mirrors, but we don’t have any down at her level in our house. I think this Hug and Hide Mirror from Skip Hop is too cute, and looks big enough for her to see herself in properly.
Mrs. Stroller, Baby Stroller, 10 months
11) Baby Stroller is into any kind of ball right now. His favorite toy is a plastic whiffle ball that looks like it’s 10 years old! He also loves his B. Parum Pum Pum musical band set. He loves to beat the drum with his hands, beat mummy with the drum sticks and shake the egg maracas. Everything stores neatly inside the drum. It’s a popular toy that often goes on sale at Target, and maybe other stores too.
Mrs. Hide and Seek, Noah, 11 months @ Xmas:
Noah’s gifts are more simple because 1. He has an older sister and therefore has access to all her old baby toys. He doesn’t need more stuff! 2. He’s going to be 11 months old come Christmas, so he doesn’t need a lot to interest him! The boxes from everyone else’s gifts will be entertaining enough, I’m sure! But, I still want him to have something that’s just for him he can enjoy, so here are 2 things of a handful I’m getting:
12) The “Things That Go” wooden book is a perfect toy for the diaper bag while we’re out and about. Noah loves to try and turn the pages and he also loves to chew on it. The pictures are very bright and attractive and it keeps his interest with each turn of the page. I like that I don’t have to watch him with it (normal board books get shredded by his teeth and I also don’t want him chewing those!).
13) I got Noah this wooden blue whale knowing that at only almost a year old he’s still exploring the world through taste and touch. This wooden toy is simple, sturdy, and can stand a bit of beating. It’s attractive and will look nice in his nautical themed room when he’s not playing with it. I figure he’ll get a few good years of imaginative play from it! Who doesn’t like a cute whale?
Mrs. Bee, Olive, 13 Months
1) Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere Chair – I bought this chair for Charlie when he was a year and a half, and it’s been played with pretty much daily since. Olive adores this chair even more than Charlie, and sits in it like she’s a queen. It also helped her learn how to stand. We would get her one of her own, if we only had the space!
2) Matching pajamas – There are tons of toys I want to get for Charlie, but Olive is just not that into toys. She’s more than happy to crawl and cruise around, and of course Charlie has plenty of toys that she can play with. Her favorite toys are the PBK chair, the play kitchen and the train table (she takes the trains and goes “vroooom!”). So rather than buy her a toy, I just purchased matching pajamas for Charlie and Olive from Skylar Lunar on Gilt Groupe today. I’ve purchased pjs from Skylar Lunar in the past for Charlie, and they’re so adorable! They’re going to look so cute in pictures in front of the Christmas tree!
Mrs. Hula Hoop, Maxwell, 13 months
3) In addition to his vintage wooden blocks, the Melissa and Doug Car Carrier is Maxwell’s favorite toy. He received this as an “Almost 1″ birthday gift when he was just 11 months old. The manufacturer recommended age is 3+ years (and you should be careful with the small wheels on the cars), but Maxwell has since been obsessively carrying around one wooden car in each hand! I think he loves the cars so much because they are the perfect size for little baby hands! He likes to “zoom” the cars around on the ground; chew on them; and take a car or two with him wherever he goes, which seemed to be his way balancing himself when first learning to stand up, and then later, walk on his own. The bright colored cars have been a good instructional tool, too; he can now seek out “red car” versus “green car” upon command!
Mrs. Bicycle, Olivia, 13 Months
4 & 5 & 6) We love Little People, Olivia really loves the Princess ones she got for her birthday. We also love Ikea’s play utensils, baking pans and dishes, and books, books and more books! We love all the “If you give a Moose a Muffin” books, Eric Carle, and Richard Scarry.
Mrs. Yo-yo, Little Y, 16 months
7) Dump truck – My son is obsessed with just about anything that rolls, and he loves to put items inside other containers (or take them out). So a dump truck kills two birds with one stone! He currently has a small one, but I’d like to get him a bigger truck that will actually hold more than a few little toys. This Megablocks truck seems like it might fit the bill — and the bonus, of course, is that it comes with blocks! The dump bucket can latch to the truck, too, which will make it easier for him to push around. If he’s still into trucks when he’s older, maybe we’ll invest in a nice steel one, but for now, plastic is best for my little barbarian.
8) Colorful books – Little Y loves to read, and just about any book will do. But he especially loves to point things out — clocks! cars! cats! — and has almost everything memorized in his Bright Baby “First 100 Words” book. He has started pointing out the objects he knows in his other books, too. Richard Scarry’s classic “Busy, Busy Town” would probably be a big hit. He can grow into the story as he gets older; right now, the fact that it has a lot of stuff to point out and explain is the important part!
Mrs. Checkers, Aliya, 16 Months
9) Musical Toys – Aliya has loved music ever since she was born (I’m convinced her love for it began in the womb). So any toys that play music are generally a surefire winner with her. We had a number of toys handed down to us from my sister, and the Fisher Price Little Superstar Sing-Along Stage has been a favorite ever since she could sit up on her own, and she STILL loves this toy! It’s a pretty ingenious toy, as there are all different kinds of instruments that will play their part when your LO pushes it. We have this toy in our bedroom, and when she enters the first thing she does is run to this toy, tap on the instrument, and she starts dancing. The mirror is also fun, because she loved to see us through the mirror and that would always make her laugh. Excellent toy for 6 months – 3 years.
10) My Very First Library Book by Eric Carle. There are 4 different books in this set, and in each book the top and bottom halves of the pages are divided; your child is supposed to match the word on top with the picture on the bottom, so it is very educational and interactive! Great for your little one who is just learning colors, shapes, and animals.
Mrs. Tutu, Baby Girl Tutu, 18 months
11) Our little girl loves the woodland creatures from IKEA: owl, fox and hare. They are cute and cuddly, so she is often walking around snuggling them against her neck. I often find her playing with them under the kitchen table; it’s the sweetest thing! She is our little snuggle bug, so I’m not surprised that she loves these soft toys!
Baby Boy Tutu, 2 1/2
12) Our little guy loves his rubber bouncing horse! I think this is a great toy for him – it gets him moving and promotes physical activity. He laughs and laughs while he is bouncing around; sometimes I can’t get him to play with anything else!
Mrs. High Heels, Noelle, 22 months
13) Play Kitchen – I was eying this Red Retro Play Kitchen ever since Noelle was 9-months old. The first time I read about it was through one of Mrs. Bee’s recommendations. I monitored Craigslist all the time to see if anyone would post this for sale, and shortly after Noelle turned one, I found someone selling a completely brand new one! It sat around for a few months before Mr. Heels finally got around to building it, but ever since he put it up… this has been one of Noelle’s daily obsessions. I have it set up in the kitchen, and she plays while I cook/clean/do my thing. We don’t have too many play foods yet, but she doesn’t mind. She loves putting her actual milk in the “fridge,” and she finds many random trinkets around the house to pretend to cook with. This is a toy that will last and last for years, so I highly recommend it!
14) Toy phone and/or remote – This would be my recommendation for a more budget-friendly gift. I haven’t actually purchased this for her yet, but we were over at a friend’s house and she was obsessed with this toy TV remote. It plays music and lights up… and she treated it like a cell phone. She wouldn’t let it go. I noticed that even at home, she is always picking up random, square looking objects and pretending to talk into it like mommy and daddy do. I am planning on getting either this toy phone or toy remote for her this Christmas. I’m having a hard time deciding!
Mrs. Marbles, Little Marbles, 20 months
15) Teepee – After seeing how much fun Little Marbles had at a play date where the hosts had a teepee, we thought it would be the perfect holiday gift. LM liked to hide and play in the teepee and we liked the portability factor. I have been on the search for the perfect gender-neutral teepee and was excited to see one offered at Land of Nod for the holidays. I love the fun and modern orange stripes.
16) Click Clack Ball Track – We visited the Boston Children’s museum recently and they have one room filled with baskets of golf balls and various tracks and raceways for kids to place the balls and watch them go. We spent the most time in this room and the bubble room. I have been looking for a toy the incorporates ramps and various for LP’s age group– it’s definitely hard because the more popular models use marbles, which are a huge choking hazard for children under 3. This one is a bit spendy, but maybe Santa will be generous this year.
17) Vintage Fisher Price Little People Playsets – When we last visited, Mr. M’s parents brought down their vintage Fisher Price playsets that Mr. M used to play with when he was a wee one. At first, we didn’t think LM would be interested, since there are no bells and whistles. But she really loved playing pretend with the farm animals and setting them up. Her favorite game was to hide them in the various rooms of the barn or house. LM literally spent hours playing “hide the pig” with her grandfather. I loved that it required a lot more imagination and LM learned to identify a lot of the animals in the process. Unfortunately, the modern Fisher Price play sets do not have as many compartments and doors, and the figures are solid so you can’t adjust the arms and legs. I scoured eBay and found a few sets in great condition.
Mrs. Superhero, Toddler Girl, 32 Months
1) Dress up Doll – TG has a baby doll, but she’s constantly dressing all her toys up in anything she can find so I think she’s ready for a proper dress up doll. I’m in the process of making her a handmade one from Wee Wonderfuls with some clothes that will be easy for her to put on (no snaps!). So far, I’d say that the pattern is fairly straightforward, even if you’re a beginner sewer. The doll (which I think I’ll name Lucy) will probably get a blankie and a couple other items to help with role play.
2) Train Set – TG loves trains, and has a lot of fun with the train table at our local kids’ boutique. I don’t have room for a big set up, or the cash to spring for it, but I think she would have a ton of fun with this simple set from Ikea. I might need to pick up some additional track pieces. I’ll have to try and restrain my urges to create a huge scale model train room.
Mrs. Wagon, Wagon Jr., 34 months
3) Toy Trumpet. This is specifically what Wagon Jr. has been asking for lately. I told him he should ask Santa for it, and since then, every time someone asks him what he’s going to ask Santa for, he replies with “trumpet!!” Ever since we attended the big Flag Day parade in our town, he has been OBSESSED with parades. He leads parades in his classroom all the time and while he has plenty of drums and cymbals at home to play with, he doesn’t have a trumpet, so I guess this is next in his instrument repertoire.
4) Sling Bookshelf. I’ve been wanting to get Wagon Jr. a bookshelf that displays the covers of his books a little better, and now that he’s choosing his bedtime stories by himself, this bookshelf would be a great addition to his new big boy room. It’s tough for him to choose books just by looking at the spines in his regular bookshelf, especially books without spines like his Curious George softcover books.
Mrs. Bee, Charlie, 35 months
5) Blocks – Charlie has been obsessed with building for pretty much the entire past year — he’s more into building than he is his train table! Blocks are a classic toy for a reason, and I didn’t fully understand how awesome they were until Charlie was a little bit older. We have some Megabloks, Lego duplos, and Tegu Magnetic blocks, but I’d love to add a nice set of wooden blocks to our collection. While this rainbow set from The Land of Nod is beautiful, they’re above our budget. This 60 piece wooden block set from Melissa and Doug is classic, affordable, and a wonderful gift for children 3 years and up. We could even customize it by painting them!
6) Alphabet Puzzle – Charlie has been really into his Gruffalo puzzles lately, so we wanted to get him a lot more puzzles. They’re not only fun, they’re educational! Charlie has also been “reading” ever since we taught him Mrs. Cowgirl’s name song. Now he sings his name song, Olive’s, mine, and Mr. Bee’s, and loves to point out our letters every chance he gets. This wooden alphabet block set combines three things that Charlie loves — blocks, the alphabet, and puzzles!
Mrs. Cowgirl, Lil’ CB, 3 years, 2 months
7) This is a gift Lil’ CB got for his 3rd birthday and it has been such a huge hit, that I had to include it! For over a year, we were looking for a balance bike for Lil’ CB. Unfortunately, with him being on the shorter side (37.5″ right now), we couldn’t find one that allowed his feet to comfortably touch the ground. A friend of ours recommended the Strider Prebike to us and we loved that it had both an adjustable seat that went down much lower than other similar bikes, and also adjustable handle bars. Lil’ CB can sit on the seat and comfortably scoot himself around. He loves going down hills with his feet up and on the launch pad footrests. The bigger kids in the neighborhood think Lil’ CB’s bike is super cool and always remark that he doesn’t have training wheels. And the proud look on Lil’ CB’s face as he scoots around independently is priceless!
8) When he was still attending daycare, Lil’ CB loved playing with the big girls and the Barbie Dream House (much to Mr. Cowboy’s chagrin). I wanted to get him a doll house that he could play with, while also incorporating his love of rescue vehicles and transportation in general. Lil’ CB plays independently with his trains for up to 2 hours, so I think this fire station “dollhouse” would be the perfect gift for him this Christmas! He could play with the fire station independently, or easily add it to his never-ending scenarios with his trains, cars, and trucks. While I think he’d love a doll house, too, I do think he’d play with this one more because it includes a bedroom and kitchen as well as a fire engine and helicopter — what a dream come true for a 3 year-old! :)
Mrs. Hide and Seek, Paige, 3.5
9) I got Paige the Kid-O “Deep into the Forest” play scene. The images are silkscreened onto wood pieces depicting animals in a woodland setting. She can put the animals anywhere on the different tracks to create different scenes. And the background is double-sided to create a winter scene as well. This encourages language development through story-telling and general play with all the animals. I like how she can choose where everything goes. I can see this coming with us to restaurants as her entertainment after the meal (or before!).
10) I snagged this great toy for Paige a while back. It’s a wooden laptop that is made to look pretty much just like a MacBook Pro. The I-Wood Laptop is really a chalkboard! There’s even a spot for chalk where the “touchpad” would have gone. Now, Paige can be like her Mama as she creates her own “work” on her very own laptop! I love how it encourages fine motor skills through drawing with chalk. Did you know the tripod grip used to hold chalk is PERFECT for learning the fundamentals in holding a pencil properly? Again, this is another great portable toy, despite it being a bit weighty.
Mrs. Paintbrush, Spencer, 4.5
11) Here’s my all-time favorite gift. Spencer received his first set at age 3, although he’s been playing with them at the Children’s museum since 2. And it’s still going strong at 4.5 here. (In other words, it can go in a category that might be running “light.”)
Magna-Tiles: Spencer has never really taken to traditional building with blocks or duplos. Sure he’ll do it here and there… but it’s not his passion. These, however, are. He’s not at all a kiddo who sits and plays for extended periods of time with any one toy. (He’s more of a destroy and disappear kind of kid). But these… these allow me a whole cup of coffee, solo meal prep time, or even some email time. I think that he is most drawn to the fact that he can take flat objects and create dimensional shapes. He’s built skyscrapers, tents, rockets and so much more. Even when he was too young to actually get the dimension aspect of building, he loved just lining them up and having them “snap” together as the magnetic force pulled them in.
We’ve adopted the gifting guideline of “One to play with, one to read, and one to wear” here… and last year Spencer got the “big” set for his “to play with” … and didn’t even open his other two gifts for hours!