Christmas is coming! Have you started shopping yet? I have. Online shopping FTW! But it’s tough — especially now that I have a toddler of my own to shop for as well as two little nephews. Even if you know their interests or needs, it’s hard to pick the perfect gift. For most kids—toddlers especially—the box and the wrapping paper is better than the gift itself! And the big gifts get wayyy more attention than little ones. Just how kiddos’ brains work, I suppose. That’s what makes the OTHER part of Christmas shopping—choosing toddler stocking stuffers—so darn difficult. Am I right? I also don’t like to buy junk that will just add clutter to my house, so I am all about finding quality gifts that are fun and practical. Plus, call me crazy, but I actually like my stocking stuffers to fit IN the stocking. 🙂 So I need little gifts! Here are some of my ideas this year:
Whether it’s stacking cups, bathtub crayons, fizzy drops, squirting toys, or anything else, it’s always great to have more toys to add to the bath toy rotation. I hope it’s not just us, but those toys can get gross — fast. I don’t like throwing things out, but I also don’t want our bathroom to become a science experiment. So bath toys as stocking stuffers it is!
You can’t ever have enough play-doh it seems. My 18 month old loves rolling it, poking it, and putting it in his mouth. (But that’s something we’re working on. Ha.) Kids of all ages love this stuff, and it’s great for motor skill development too.
Jumbo Art Supplies
Since my little guy is in fulltime daycare, we’ve been making do on the art supply front with my leftovers from . . . college? I don’t even know. We don’t color at home very often, but my son works on art projects everyday at school. I can tell that he’s able to use the large, triangle crayons and jumbo markers much better than the normal ones I have at home. So I think some toddler-sized art supplies would be perfect for stocking stuffers!
Melissa and Doug does it again, guys. I have heard SUCH great things about these magic coloring pads, and they have great reviews online too. I am buying some of these to have on hand for travel in the upcoming year. Even though my son isn’t within the recommended age (3-5), I think they would be a great supervised activity when he needs to be contained during a trip, a long meal, or the like.
These can be great for helping your child with their fine motor skills, creativity, and also to help them learn animal sounds (if you buy animal finger puppets of course). I have seen a wide variety of finger puppets involving animals, people, bugs, cartoon characters, etc. Since they are small, this can be a great toy to throw in your purse to entertain your toddler in waiting rooms or at a restaurant without a lot of mess. Use the finger puppets along with a story for added fun.
Special Food Treats
Traditionally, Christmas stockings were stuffed with oranges at the toe, since oranges were rare and expensive in early America. My parents always included some sort of food item in our stockings, so this is a tradition I want to continue with my family. I think the key is making sure that the food item is special but still familiar. You don’t want to deal with a food meltdown on Christmas morning. I think I might fill my son’s stocking with a pouch, Goldfish, and even a few pieces of candy (probably from our Halloween leftovers, haha). Those are all things he has and enjoys but does not have regularly.
Especially in the years before your child really understands gifts, practical items are totally okay as stocking stuffers. I would also tend to argue that practical gifts are great even with older children. (But I don’t have that sort of experience so I’m not even going to go there.) Think: a character toothbrush, socks, big kid underwear (for potty training kids or soon-to-be potty trainers), refillable pouches, toddler silverware/cups/plates, batteries for toys, slippers, mittens, hat, etc. The possibilities are endless! Also to add to this list: silicone baking cups. My son loves to stack them and has totally usurped my set. So maybe I can give him my set and buy a new one for me? HA! They’re also good to use in bento-style lunchboxes if you need to pack lunch or snacks to go.
Magnetic Alphabet Set
It’s never too early to start teaching your child the alphabet! Well, actually sometimes it really is, but still. This is a classic kid gift idea so if you don’t have a set, they are relatively inexpensive and will (hopefully) provide you a little bit of peace while your child decorates the fridge.
This is a given! Books are my weakness (I’m a librarian after all), but seriously… You can’t go wrong with giving your child books. Whether they’re new or used, it’s always great to have new books to add to your child’s library. You will thank yourself later. I’ve found lots of good board books in the add-on section on Amazon too.
Play Food or Tools
Whether you have a play kitchen or play workshop, a set of play food, play tools, play kitchen items, etc. is always great for fostering creativity and letting little ones imitate you. We don’t have a good spot to store a play kitchen or play workshop right now, but I am thinking of getting our son some play food for his stocking stuffers. Bonus: open up the package, and it’ll probably fill your stocking up!
Whew! What a list. You can find most of these items at dollar stores, Target/Walmart, your local toy store or gift boutique, or even Amazon. I found many of the items on my list available as add-on items on Amazon. So convenient. Some of them even come in multipacks, so you can fill several stockings at once or buy with a friend and split among your kiddos’ stockings.
Hopefully, this list will help YOU as much as it helps ME! Not only do I need to stuff my toddler’s stocking, but I have to pick one out for him as well! Yikes. Wish me luck!