Christmas Gift Ideas: Preschool Boys (ages 3-4)

(Please note that many of the links here are affiliate links, which means that if you click through them and make a purchase, I may receive a small compensation at no cost to you! This helps me keep the lights on around here and my self-esteem from plummeting haha so I really appreciate any and all purchases you make through these links! And above all, I appreciate you stopping by to read my little blog! Thank you!) 

I love the concept of minimalist giving that I always see on Pinterest, but for my boys, I have to switch up the categories just a little bit! I like to get just one or two things from each category to give the boys a nice, but not excessive Christmas. I focus on quality toys that will last.

Here are the categories for the gifts we’ll be giving this year: 

Christmas Gift Ideas_ Preschool Boy Edition

(Just click the red links to be taken right to the items shown above!)

Something to Ride: 

These are perfect big ticket WOW gifts for Christmas morning! 

Radio Flyer EZ Glider Scooter

We love this one because it’ll be so easy to toss in the back of the Highlander to hit the trails down by the river. Our boys have been wanting scooters for awhile now! I’ve been picturing them in front of the tree on Christmas morning with a big red bow on the front of each one! And there’s no way I’m giving the credit to Santa for these gifts! I want the credit for making these two so excited!

EZ Roller Mini

These. Are. The. COOLEST. They make them all the way up to adult sizes too. Truly, they’re a blast to ride on. One of our local kids’ places has them for kids to play on, and my twins are obsessed. They holler “boom, baby!” anytime they get to ride one! It’s perfect for flat drive ways and garages and flat walking trails/sidewalks. Perfect for wiggly legs!

The Original PlasmaCar

This is the funnest little wiggle car, and while they don’t make it in adult size, you’re little ones will have fun on it for years to come! It’s great for kids who can’t quite bike yet, but want the thrill of riding something on their own. It allows them to move their body in a different way, and it’s suitable for indoors (no real hardwoods though). The kids’ place I mentioned above has these available as well, and my twins are just as big of fans. Perfect for wiggly arms!

Something to Build:

I’m a big believer in toys that allow for maximum creativity. My boys are very hands-on, and, like all kids, they thrive when they aren’t overwhelmed by mountains of stuff. These toys allow for lots of fun and learning for little ones and beyond. 

Tegu Skyhook Magnetic Block Set 

This is my favorite toy right now! Our boys are obsessed with this little set! I realize that the price tag might seem a little scary at first for such a small set of toys, but I assure you, you’ll get your money’s worth! My boys have played with nothing else for days now, and every creation they come up with a more cool than the last! Plus, the mess has been minimal for me >:) This is THE toy. And made from wood and painted in muted colors, it’s beautiful and durable. This is a set you can easily save for many years and pass on.

We already own the Helicopter set, but we bought this adorable car set for our boys for Christmas as well. It’s also part of the Tegu Stunt Team line, so it will enhance the Skyhook set we already own.

ZoZoPlay STEM Learning Toy: Tubular Pipes & Spouts & Joints

I bought this set for the little guys, and I’m so excited to see what they come up with! It’s a great toy at a great price and they can build so much! This is perfect for an activity bin intended for independent play!

Picasso Tiles 100 Piece Set 

Year after year, I recommend these to people. We’ve got 300 of these magnetic blocks, and there’s nothing else like them. I do think 300 is a great number, because the whole family can get in on the fun and we can build large intricate structures! Our boys love to build themselves into a tower only to come crashing out of it! These blocks are very fun and very durable and inspire creativity like no other!

If anyone in the family is reading this, please don’t give us anymore of these haha! 300 is our max, but we appreciate y’all for gifting us the 200 last year! ❤

Something to Wear: 

Big boys don’t always get excited about getting clothes, but preschool boys still get excited about everything! And these cute little tops will be sure to bring a big smile to your little one’s face on Christmas morning and beyond!!!

Dinosaur Sweatshirt

So we already have this one, and our boys just LOVE IT! The pocket unzips and has a mouth with teeth inside! So cute. And it’s big enough that my boys can squirrel away their little treasures for the day. So precious!

Dinosaur Jeans

We don’t have these…YET! But I know my boys would get a kick out of this entire outfit, and I love the slim fit jeans from here, and you cannot go wrong with an elastic waistband for preschoolers. Truly, I don’t know why anyone bothers buying pants with buttons and zippers.

Something to Play

These are awesome games to get the whole family involved! 

Feed The Woozle Preschool Skills Builder Game

I don’t have this game yet, but it comes highly recommended! I love that it has three different levels, so your children can enjoy playing it for years to come! Games like this promote a lot of great skills like cooperation, decision making, dexterity, and many others!

Disney Classic Characters Matching Game

We have a great set of memory cards that our boys love to play with! They can play alone, with each other, or, their favorite, playing with mom and dad! These are especially fun because of all the familiar characters!

Solar System Back Pack

I’m a real sucker for Pottery Barn backpacks. I love that they have so many outside pockets (especially those cupholders), and you can’t beat the size variety. The small is the perfect size for preschool through kindergarten.  Oh, and this one glows in the dark. Talk about major cool mom points!

Mini Squigz

My kids LOVE these! They’ll build with them on the tabletop or sometimes they’ll make these really cool designs on the windows with them. They love toting around a few, and I love how quiet and small they are!

Melissa and Doug Farm Cube Puzzle

My boys are officially too big for simple puzzles. Sniff. It’s crazy how smart they’ve become!! I love that this puzzle offers plenty of challenge, while being extra space-saving! I love that it’s a six-in-one puzzle! Melissa and Doug does it again!

Prioritizing Kindness Over Weight Loss: Intuitive Eating

I started this year with the same goal that I’ve had for as long as I can remember: To lose weight and to finally uncover the body that will allow me to have the confidence to live life freely and fully. To type that out feels silly. I don’t think I’ve ever verbalized it in so many words. To me, weight loss has always seemed like an essential. It’s always been something that has to happen before I can feel the confidence to be my truest and most authentic and successful self. It didn’t matter if was 11 and 85 pounds. It didn’t matter if I was 16 and just 105 pounds. It didn’t matter if I was 21 and 115 pounds. No matter what, in my mind, the weight has always been in my way. I needed to shed something. Before I could fully offer myself to the world, I had to find a way to make myself seem more palatable, and that, to me, translated to being skinnier.

I’ve never had a dangerous eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. But ever since I can remember, I’ve always eaten my food with a feeling of guilt. Like it was something that had to immediately be burned off or feeling guilty and disgusted with myself for being hungrier for more than the suggested serving size. I’ve never been free of this lingering guilt alongside my food. In fact, I think that the only thing I’ve eaten without the feeling of guilt or shame is the idea that I have to be thinner to be more acceptable to the world no matter what size I am. I’ve accepted that idea over and over again. The world has fed me that, and I’ve gobbled it up. And it’s the only thing I’ve gobbled up without question or a second thought for the last 20 years.

Until very recently.

I started 2019 the same way that I have started every single year since I was a preteen. I took my weight and measurements and some pictures to compare myself to, and then I set out with a group of friends on what I now believe to be one of the most mentally destructive diets out there: Whole30.

I totally give up 10 days in when the plague hits our house. Giving up tastes amazing, but feels horrible because of all the guilt and shame. Another day, another diet.

By spring, I’m working out and fasting every Tuesday and Thursday and only eating in little 10 hour windows for the other days. I still feel guilty about the food I eat, and on the days when I don’t eat, I feel fatigued and cranky, but proud of myself because I’m not eating, but all I think about is the food I want to eat. Sometimes my friends go out and I want to join, and so I do and I eat and I feel miserable about it. I’m not really losing weight, and I’m dieting during the day and binge eating at night.

I’m working out pretty hard by June, and I’m feeling really awesome about it. I’m enjoying myself and my new-found strength. I’m excited to make this a routine. I’m not really losing weight, and that’s very taxing on my mind. I’m taking daily pictures in the mirror to see if I can catch the change, but I don’t and I eventually stop because it’s starting to make me cry. I don’t want to quit working out the way I am, so I know I have to stop feeding myself my own negativity.

It’s around this time that I start to consider a new kind of cleanse: a social media one.

I get on Instagram and I unfollow all of the fashion and fitness bloggers I had been following. I once regarded them as inspiration of who I could be, but slowly began to recognize them as representations of a standard I could, would, and should never be. These women are are sizes 00 and XXS. At my smallest as a CHILD just entering puberty, I was never an XS, much less and XXS. Some of these women were 5’5” and I’m barely 5’1”. I was comparing myself to bodies that my body can never be no matter how little I ate or how many hours I slaved away on a treadmill. I’m. Not. A. Model.

I eventually found that it was time to start adding variety to my mental diet. I started following body positive accounts. Some weren’t for me. But I found a couple that were. I also replaced Instagram fitness models with actual dieticians sharing real, evidence-based information. There wasn’t a skinny tea in sight on my feed. I even started adding in Enneagram accounts to give me some variety and fun. But the real game changer happened when I stumbled onto some intuitive eating accounts a few months ago.

It felt radical to me. No diet. I was already kind of adhering to the Delay, Don’t Deny principle of intermittent fasting, but, that’s still a diet. Intuitive eating is basically eating what you feel hungry for when you feel hungry for it.

W. T. F. No rules??

I was like, there’s no way to lose weight on that. And the more I read about it, the more I realized, yeah, that’s the point. The point isn’t to lose weight.

Let me say it again: The point isn’t to lose weight.

The point of life isn’t to lose weight.

You’re allowed to not lose weight.

I’m allowed to not lose weight.

I’m allowed to eat what I want, when I want, and to look how I look.

It was a radical idea for me. There were basically no rules. Just live. Live and try to let go of what the world has fed you about your body.

So, I decided to quit the diets. Right out of the gate, my body demanded a lot of food. Lots of major guilt-inducing foods. Sadly, I don’t need to list them for you to know which ones I’m talking about (you’ve probably felt guilty for eating them too. You shouldn’t.). But I just went ahead and said yes. I said yes every single time to every single craving.

And I stuck to this. I didn’t stop weighing myself because that’s a hard habit to break, and I noticed that my weight would go up after a very carb-y day, but it’d typically settle back down around the same weight. I also didn’t stop my early morning workouts because I really like those. They bring me joy. I did and still do give myself very gracious permission to skip them when I’m sick or tired. I didn’t used to do that and very much paid the consequences.

Over time, I’ve noticed that things are bringing me more joy and less anxiety. I’ve also noticed that I don’t think about food half as much as I used to, and my cravings aren’t in the driver’s seat anymore. I’m not going on these shameful “I start/re-start my diet tomorrow” binges like I used to. I actually existed for a few weeks with a package of Oreos in the house without touching them!!! I knew that if I wanted them, I could have them, and I just didn’t want them. I managed to do the same thing with ice cream in my freezer! Previously, a gallon of ice cream hasn’t been able to last in my house more than a couple of days! I also realized that I craved things like salad, eggs, steak, yogurt, potatoes, and fruits. My body was asking me for what it wanted and was readily telling me when it had had enough. I’m so much more in tune with myself and my needs. It turns out I’m not this crazy sugar monster that the Whole30 ladies were telling me I was. I’m just a regular human who has physical and emotional needs and I’m allowed to meet those needs. I just needed to really let myself know that I would meet them.

And because I’m not following all of these teeny tiny little women, I don’t feel absolutely distraught pulling on jeans that fit me. Sometimes I still feel a little disappointed when my “skinny” jeans don’t fit or when my waistband pinches, but I try to gently remind myself that I can just change. It’s okay to be comfortable. I still backslide into old thought and behavior patterns, but I know how to correct.

For the first time in my life, I feel very in control. And that really started with just letting go of control.

I noticed something huge this morning: I was nice to myself.

I’ve noticed that I’m starting to fit back into some old clothes that I kept. That hasn’t been my primary goal, but today all of my regular leggings were dirty, so I pulled out an old pair. I felt a little apprehensive at first. I vividly remembered how they started to feel when I abruptly gained weight and I remembered how much that made me cry. I pulled them on just to see if I could comfortably wear them for my errands, and they fit!!! I did have a sweet little muffin top that certainly hadn’t existed before, but they were downright comfortable. So, I tossed on a t-shirt and sweater. And as I made my bed I said this to myself: “I’m really proud of where you are. I’m really proud of how you’ve continued working out even when you didn’t see the results you wanted to see. I’m proud of how you learned to appreciate the good that was happening even if it wasn’t visible. You’re a good person.”

And sadly, I was a little taken aback by how nice and genuine that was. I typically don’t speak kindness to myself without some mental coaching, but this was totally unprompted and not even about the leggings or appearance. Normally, I would have harped on the muffin top and beat myself up for skipping the gym for sleep this morning. But I didn’t even think about that stuff. I just thought nice things about myself.

It was a welcome change that I hope to continue into 2020 and that I hope to encourage in others. ❤

Read, Watched, Listened: March Toddler Edition

Los Bubs and I have clubbed together to compile a list of our favorite books, shows, songs and podcasts for for little ones this month! We hope that you’ll dive in with your little ones and find the same joy we have!

Los Bubs’ Book Club Picks for March:

all the included links are affiliate links, which just means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small commission at no cost to you! 

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

This was by FAR my favorite book of the month. As a mother, I totally feel like Bruce sometimes 😂. As for my boys, they totally enjoyed the funny story and the illustrations had plenty for toddlers to enjoy as well as some adult funnies tucked throughout (when the geese go through their teen years). This is a book well worth buying!

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang illustrated by Max Lang

The boys had a great time reading about Jim Panzee’s bad day. There were plenty of fun animals to name and make noises for along the way, and at the end the message is a good one: sometimes we all feel grumpy, and that’s okay. You’ll feel better soon. We have it from the library, but we’ll be buying it soon!

The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh illustrated by Chuck Groenink

This is such a sweet book with a sweet message. Hedgehog sets out to find friends aboard The Friend Ship, and along the way she finds many fellow animals who board join the quest to find friends. They sail all over the world together seeking friendship…spoiler alert: they find it. The illustrations are darling and the boys love naming the animals.

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith illustrated by Katz Cowley

This is a Los Bub favorite! We read it most days, hee haw! It’s fun to read as a parent, and it’s exciting for kids as they learn to anticipate what rhyme is coming up next and declaring hee haw at every page turn is fun! My boys always love reading about that wonky wonky donkey!

Who Will Plant a Tree by Jerry Pallotta illustrated by Tom Leonard

I don’t think that even I knew the many ways that seeds are spread throughout the world! This book is the perfect illustration of how cohesive nature is in all its forms and in all of its ecosystems. It’s educational, fun, and beautiful.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Reese

I prefer rhyming lyrical books that trip and dance off of my tongue as I read them to my kids. It’s makes the experience so much more enjoyable for me and my kiddos. This book is by far the most lyrical of them all! I love the words and the message (we can all dance when we find music that we love), and my boys love the silly dances of all the animals. This is a nightly read for us.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Okay, so this is a purely mom pick. The illustrations aren’t particularly entertaining and the story has no real moral (except maybe don’t steal haha), but it makes the list because the ending made me laugh out loud. This might be much better suited for older kids, but I’m happy to own it all the same. I’ll gladly save it until then.

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen illustrated by Dan Hanna

If you’ve read this far, then you know that lyrical books are top in this house. Dr. Seuss is the old school, The Pout-Pout Fish is the new. This story rolls off your tongue and you can make the blub-bluuub-bluuuubs as fun as you wish. They’re my boys’ favorite part; we sing them opera style! When someone is feeling pouty, we now ask if they’re being a pout-pout fish and it brings a smile right to their face.

I realize that some folks have taken issue with this book as it pertains to consent. I still think it’s a wonderful book, and it’s plenty easy to add in a question of “can I kiss you?” before any of the fish do any kissing. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. This is another nightly book for us.

Don’t Push The Button by Bill Cotter

Interactive books are so much fun, and this one never fails to get my kids laughing. It’s the perfect book for the 2-4 age group! We love pressing the button and seeing what happens to our friend Larry. Plus, this is an easy book to improv with as a parent. This book is constantly requested and they’ll even flip it open and “read” it to each other!

B&B’s Playlist (visual and audio)

1. The Duck Song: This is Beau and Bennett’s absolute favorite song. We have it on iTunes to sing along to in the car, but we love to watch the little videos that are available on YouTube as well! There are three parts, and each has an annoying little duck doing as annoying little ducks do: annoying small business owners! If you watch parts two and three, you’ll see that the story has a fun ending though!

2. Sesame Street Podcast: This is a great alternative to YouTube videos! You can easily just use it for audio in the car or home; your kiddos will recognize the familiar voices and be able to follow along. But you can also use the video if you’re ever in a pinch in a doctor’s waiting room or something and you can download them onto your phone or iPad to use without wifi.

To Sum Up 2018: A Brain Dump

I always like to end the year with a brain dump to look back at the year. Reflecting on the year always helps me to make resolutions for the new year. This is a rambling dump of my reflections. 

I love the concept of tangible beginnings and ends. First of the month. Mondays. January 1st. These are constructed beginnings and I love them. I absolutely LIVE for when January 1st falls on a Monday.

I’m also SUPER thoughtful about resolutions. I make flow charts and really analyze my life and feelings to determine the direction I want to take things. It’s painstakingly detailed. I had two big ones for last year.

At the top of the list was a pretty great goal: To read the entire Bible.

I’d never done it before, and I felt very called to do so. I was seeking spiritual growth and understanding, and I craved a closeness to God that I hadn’t really felt. Having never read the Bible before in it’s entirety, I knew that I seriously lacking in my spiritual life.

So I bought an incredible Bible with footnotes, and I downloaded a wonderful one-year daily reading plan.

Second on my list was a goal that was definitely a cliche: To lose some weight.

I was becoming deeply unsatisfied with my life as it related to my body, which is, hello, a pretty big part of a person’s life. A large motivator was how I felt. I felt so…unfamiliar with my body.

So, being Type A, I got to work on making goal charts that included strategies and milestones. I was very goal oriented. I was also very exercise focused.

The start of last year sucked. Bennett was admitted to the hospital with RSV on December 31st (for the second year in a row). We were, without Beau, at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for the first week of the New Year, and it sucked.

I have a New Year’s ritual that doesn’t involve sick and miserable kids and sleeping on couches in the hospital. It’s not weird, I just clean everything and declutter on New Year’s Eve, and I stock us all up on essentials for the house and healthy foods. This always helps me to start the year with a good mindset. I like to wake up to a “clean slate,” or at least as close as I can get to one. And I always wear yellow underwear. I’m not really superstitious, but it can’t hurt, right?

Well I rang in the New Year with a messy house, a sick kid, a lonely kid, and a cheeseburger in a hospital. And my underwear were black. Not a good omen. Not a good precedent.

2018 wasn’t all bad.

It was a great year for my boys and for me as a mom.

It was a great year for me as a wife.

It was a great year for me as a Christian.

It was not a good year for me physically. Probably because of the black underwear. Or, more likely, because I love food.

Here’s the good:

As a mom: My boys have grown SO much! They’re so much smarter, stronger, healthier, and funner than they’ve ever been! Honestly, they’ve had so many experiences this year and we can do so much more together than ever before. 2018, the second year of Beau and Bennett, has been a good year. A very very good year indeed.

As a wife: Man, has this been a good year for Mr. Martin! He was working a commission based retail job (he worked 12 hour days and weekends and holidays. UGH). He’s still working on his college degree after being in the military, and so traditional 9-5 jobs are hard to come by. BUT ONE DID! In March, Brian and I started sprucing up his resume so that he could apply for an entry-level job in HR (which is what he’s majoring in). AND HE GOT IT. It was a traditional 9-5 with weekends and holidays off, and it’s been AMAZING. And a few months ago, Brian was even promoted! Like, God has moved absolute mountains for us this year in this respect. I’m so incredibly thankful. As a wife it absolutely fills my heart to the brim to see my husband enjoy his work, his coworkers, and the work culture. And it makes my heart overflow in abundance to have so much time with my best friend.

As a Christian: This has been a powerful year.  I’ve never had such an understanding of his true nature and grace and love. I’ve always harbored a little anger since my brother died, and I’ve never been able to really shake it until now. It still makes me so sad, but I’ve been able to let go of so much anger. And I’ve been able to feel true and genuine joy at the concept of life after death. God’s plan for humanity has never felt more real to me. I’ve been able to feel his love on a more personal level because I understand it so much more for finally having read his word in its (near) entirety and taking it in context (I’ll finish up my reading plan in March!). I found an incredible church home for my family and we have an incredible Bible study group with other young families once a week. I feel very full in this regard. God has been good to me.

Here’s a mixed bag:

Physically: Man. I had plans. I had goals. I still have them. I’m actually about five pounds heavier than I was at this time last year. Getting dressed and ready is something I dread and avoid. It sinks me into a small depression every day. Everything feels tight and out of place. I hate where I’m at physically.

I started last year with the mentality that exercise would fix my problems, and that my diet only needed mild tweaking (I was so wrong). I’ve never had to cut more than five pounds in my life. Exercise can fix five pounds, but it can’t fix 35 pounds on its own, and dieting was not in my realm of expertise.

I also found that despite all of my cardio and strength training I was feeling like I was in worse shape than when I started. I was gasping for breath all of the time. I finally found out that I was severely iron deficient. My stored iron was so incredibly low. The more I was working out, the more I was depleting my body, and, hence, the more out of breath and weak I always was. I was also severely low in folate and vitamin D. I’ve been on supplements for a few months now and I have noticed a huge difference. I have more energy (I don’t even need daily naps anymore!), My hair is thicker and smoother and shinier, my skin is brighter, and I don’t break a sweat for everything.

But I let myself backslide. I wasn’t seeing any progress because of deficiencies and because of the changes I hadn’t made in my diet. In September I eventually ended up crying at the gym and that was the last time I went. I felt so broken and low. I gave myself a mental and physical healing period. I think I was right to do that, and I did use the time wisely. I’ve been able to identify, with the help of a nutritionist and countless articles and podcasts, what I did to get myself to this place and what I can do better to get myself to a place I want to be.

So, to sum it up, 2018 was not a bad year. It wasn’t a great year. I spent a lot of time hating/losing myself. But I also spent a lot of time enjoying my family. I spent a lot of time with the Lord. I spent a lot of time learning about myself and health. I’m looking forward to the future, and I’m appreciative of the growth that I’ve been allowed this year.

In all things God is good, and that is and has always been true. 2018 was another year of his goodness. And 2019 will be too. Here’s to hoping that I’m able to make the most of it!

2018 Christmas Gifts for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links, which just means that if you click one of my links to purchase an item I’ve recommended, then I receive a small commission from the vendor at no cost to you! So I really appreciate when you read and shop! Thank you! 

Christmas time is the perfect time to refresh your children’s toy stash. When they’re little bitty it’s a good time to donate toys that are no longer age appropriate and rotate in some that are developmentally appropriate and challenging.

I have a criteria that my boy’s toys must fit before I even consider buying them:

They must be easily stored: I’m a toy rotating parent, which  means that I like to have only a few toys out at a time for my kids. You can read about the benefits and how to do it here.

They must be educational(ish): Toys are educational period, really. Playing is how children learn, so you don’t need to restrict your children to just an abacus and flashcards.  But I like toys that my kids have to manipulate and allow them to create or role play. Although kids can do that with just about anything.

They must be low tech: I had kids who needed speech therapy. And most parents who do speech therapy know that toys that do nothing are the best for language development. You and your child should be the ones supplying all of the sound and action. My boys are still taking off linguistically, so I prefer to do as much as possible to help them. And I don’t miss hearing constant little jingles and seeing crazy flashing lights all day long as they press button after button haha.

Bonus points if we can play with it together as a family!: If it’s building blocks or role playing or a creative project, everyone is more excited to take part. My New Year’s Resolution is going to be to do more with my kids. I sometimes get caught up in distracting them so I can do housework or other projects, and I really need to make them my only focus. It’s a tough balance for mothers in all situations.

Now here are my top picks for Christmas this year!

Magnetic Tiles 

Toddler Christmas 2018 - 3These are the absolute funnest ever. Our whole family is obsessed with building with them. Parents, grandparents, and kids alike. We all love building intricate structures and even watching them all crumble down (my boys’ favorite part). We personally have a set of 100, and we’re already planning to give the boys another set just so we can build even taller buildings. These are great for learning because they’re all different shapes and colors and the problem solving opportunities are endless. They’re also much easier to store than traditional building blocks. These are my top pick because they will truly be enjoyed by your kids for years and years to come. It’s a set absolutely worth it’s weight in gold.

Click this link to buy a set of 100 magnetic tiles.

Toy Cars and Road Rugs

Toddler Christmas 2018 - 1

My boys, like most boys, are already completely infatuated with vehicles of all sorts. I like Melissa and Doug’s line of wooden cars for a lot of reasons: They have a really charming aesthetic, they’re very easy for little hands to hold onto and don’t get lost easily, and each box of them comes with suggestions on the bottom for unique ways to use them for teaching opportunities. I really love that about most Melissa and Doug products.

I linked some of my favorite items: 

Melissa and Doug Road Rug  

Melissa and Doug Car Set 

Melissa and Doug Construction Vehicles Set

Melissa and Doug Service Vehicles Set   

Melissa and Doug Public Buildings Set

Dress Up Clothes

Toddler Christmas 2018 - 2

Dress up clothes are a must at this age. Role playing is everything to kiddos, and they’ll be so excited to find some of their favorite costumes under the tree! These are also great for kids to grow into for a few years. My boys are going to love the fireman outfit! They’re obsessed with firemen and firetrucks!

I linked my favorite dress up items: 

Cowboy Costume  and Stick Pony (Can’t have one without the other!)

Captain America Cape and Mask (This vendor does several different heroes, but amazon and Etsy have several. My favorite custom cape on Etsy is this one.)

Fireman Costume  

Construction Outfit

Doctor Costume or a Doctor’s Kit 

Scooters

The tale of two scooters is a tale as old as time: One is a little more manageable for tiny tots, the other will more easily grow with your little one and has *gasps* flashing lights. My guys are obsessed with the idea of of scooters, although they haven’t yet grasped the concept. I’m debating between these two to give my boys a different option for when we’re outside. This allows for different motor skills than needed on a bike and scooters are easier to store.

The Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter is the super stable looking one on the left hand side. It’s appropriate for 2+. 

The Radio Flyer Lean and Glide Scooter is the flashier one on the right hand side. It’s suitable for 3+ and has flashing wheels. 

Art Supplies

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Art time in our house is a great time. My kids are willingly contained, the mess is rarely terrible, and they get to flex their little creative muscles and work with their hands in a way they don’t always get to. Play Doh is a MUST in our house. It’s not messy because I only let them play with it at the kitchen table, and if little pieces fall to the floor, I can just let them dry up and sweep them the next day. I love this little set because it’s got lots of simple tools that allow kiddos to practice different motor skills safely (like those plastic scissors yo!). And a tabletop easel is great because it takes up half the space of a regular sized one. This one has a white board, a chalkboard, and a roll of paper for painting or coloring on.

Here is this adorable, functional, and affordable little Play Doh starter set.

And here is the Melissa and Doug tabletop easel.

Puzzles, Brain Games, and Other Toys

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I love this game for a lot of reasons. It’s got counting, it’s got coordination, fine motor skills, and social skills (taking turns), and it’s a great prop for role playing.

Check out this adorable fishing game here. 

Matching games are great for kids at this stage, and you can easily play them as a family, and when they get older, they can play them alone during quiet time.

These are my favorites: 

Disney Classic Characters Matching Game 

Barnyard Matching Game 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Matching Game

A custom name puzzle allows you to begin familiarizing your toddler with the letters that specifically go in his/her name. And it’s a great custom gift. I also really like this Tetris puzzle because it’s unique and there isn’t just one way to solve it.

Order a custom name puzzle through Amazon. 

Check out this unique and affordable Tetris puzzle.
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This barn toy is an absolute classic. I love this one because it’s made of wood and is almost identical to the one my dad had growing up. He gifted my sons this exact barn last Christmas and they have so much fun with it. They’ve even added several gators to their little homestead. We like to practice the animal sounds, and it, like all the best Melissa and Doug toys, comes with amazing suggestions for teaching opportunities on the bottom.

Check out this classic toy barn.

I hope that I was able to provide some fun suggestions to either start or round off your Christmas shopping! Have a very Merry Christmas Season!
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