As a mother of an 8-year-old and a 10-year old (WHERE DIDN’T THE TIME GO ??!!!It wasn’t until recently that I figured out what to get my 8- and 10-year olds. Listen, they’re all want is endless YouTube time (no chance), crop tops (not yet, ma’am), video game ANYTHING, and any sort of tech that they definitely don’t need….yet. I’m feeling increasingly old-fashioned, wanting them to engage in activities without screens or go outside. I’m so glad I didn’t publish this post a few weeks ago as planned because I’ve done so much more research/shopping and found stuff I’m really excited to get them – let’s just see/hope if they agree. I’m also just going to pepper in photos of my kids when they were toddlers, when I felt more ok to put them on the internet (because they didn’t look like who they were going to become yet). Y’all, they might be the cutest kids on the planet.
But first, for this year’s kids’ gift guide, I’ve asked our kids their favorite toys from every age that they can remember (I filled in ages 1-3), and then at the end I’m telling you what we are giving them. I shopped long and hard to find some new things this year that I really hope they’ll like. On Christmas day, they may act like monsters.!
Listen, these are the waters that we swim in – the Christmas consumer conundrum. So if we are doing this let’s just have them be great hits and things they’ll love and play with for a long time, shall we?
You can buy toys and clothing that you like because you have 100% control. I feel far away from the baby years (but would have another if I could snap my fingers – read about Brian’s vasectomy here) so there are likely other blogs that will do this better, but the classics and the goods are always classic and good.
Loveys For Babies
Both of our kids were obsessed with these blankies with faces – the face was soft but gave them a sense of a buddy, but the blankie part was extremely soft. You can expect them to be obsessed with him and unable to sleep without it.
Activity Gyms plus Quiet Books + Busy Boards
Busy Board| Triangle Activity Center | Busy Board
Both our kids loved activity gyms or blocks (for multiple years) and I didn’t discover the quiet book til I had Elliot (amazing for restaurants, flights, anywhere they need something to do with their hands). Toddlers will also enjoy them. Also, busy boards are great.
6 Piece Water Block Building & Color Mixing Learning Toy
Both are beautiful and fun to play with. After all, I enjoyed building with them.
Rocking You can also find out more about us. – you’ll worry about them falling off, but the moments between terror and joy will be worth it.
Grocery Store + Doctor Set| Doctor Set
When my children were toddlers, I loved to play with imagination toys. It was much more enjoyable to play with this grocery store, which is a bit large and not my favourite aesthetically. This is because the kids felt they were in charge of a real job. The kids played with it until they were five and seven. The belt moves and each item sounds when scanned. Our kids rarely played with the toy kitchen but played “store” for hours and hours.
Faux Wood Blocks | Colorful Foam Blocks
We had the larger version of these faux wood blocks and they were a huge hit for YEARS – they could go so high without fear of tumbling on them when they were little. These colorful ones are a classic.
Interlocking Felt Blocks
Enjoy hours and hours of tactile enjoyment.
Do a large inventory! The kids love legos, but we find that these are more enjoyable, less messy and rewarding.
Bath Bombs in Colorful Designs
You can’t get them in the tub every night. It would be like fraternity hazing. Sure, some nights it’s fun but for others, you need some extra tools. The bath bombs were colorful and always worked.
Playset for Princess Dress-up | Medieval Shield and Helmet Playset
Costume party for Birdie: She loved a Princess dress up set with tiaras. For Charlie, anything with shields and swords was his favorite.
Anything Jellycat and Sqishmallow – whatever secret magical formula these companies have created makes the kids go nuts. It’s like cat nip for kids. Be careful.
Nightfall Blue Foam Kids Arc Playset| Nightfall Blue Foam Kids Arc Playset
Huge wood play-on blocks – We had a version of these til we moved here (kids loved them until 6 years old or so), but these are much cuter (but not sure if they can stack as well).
Nail Polish Water-based
No-stress, washable nail polishes so you can do a manicure with your kids without ruining clothes, carpets, or your own life.
Ages four and up
Jewelry Boxes. (Or any secret box with key). Elliot’s has Pottery Barn boxes (and I have let her purchase trinket boxes whenever she goes vintage shopping with me). Most children like a secret box that they are the only ones who can open.
ATM Piggy Bank
I’d like to introduce you to one of the presents that looks like garbage but they continue to LOVE so it makes the gift guide every year. She ain’t pretty or cool, but they can’t wait to manage their money inside. (Just make sure they write down the pin, it’s annoying to reset). The toy is meant for children aged 9 and up, but our kids are still playing with it.
This will not be your best friend if cats are already a source of anxiety for you. It’s weird and expensive (so try to snag it on sale next weekend). These are comfort pets for older people, but the kids love them. It’s animatronic, and meows, purrs, and cleans its own paws, rolls over to pet tummy, etc. WHY OWN A REAL CAT ???? Do some people think it’s creepy? SURE! The 3D Printer, which they are still playing with, was the other standout toy last year. It’s so fun TBH. Maybe this was more me.
Star Flex STEM Building Toys – Magnetic Marble Run| Star Flex STEM Building Toys | Magnetic Marble Run
These take some adult help at times, and are the types of toys that they resist playing with, calling them boring or “educational” but then once they start hours go by and you can check that stem box.
Elliot loved this when my mom gave it to him a couple years ago. Just throw it in the microwave and it’s so awesome.
The Secret Door| The Secret Door
We feel better playing these games than watching TV.
Wood Building Planks Kit
These wood blocks may look boring but aren’t. They were a hit with the kids.
Sculpture Straw Kit
The kids played with it for two hours. (Started at the age of four).
Ages 6 + And What I’m Giving Them This Year
Rainbowcorns Epic Golden Unicorn surprise
Birdie (ages 6-8) and her friends are obsessed with them. Shrugging Emoji. 🙂
Three years ago, this was the main present they received during lockdown. You can hook it up to music and play along with songs which is fun, and yes use headphones so it’s much quieter. We kept it in storage after we moved and I was afraid it would not interest them any longer. But we brought it out again six months later and it’s still a big hit. Charlie plays the drums almost every night. This is a specific item for your child, but it’s a hit with our kids (and their friends).
Toybox 3D printer
It was their biggest gift last year, and they still spend hours making it. It requires an app to create on (or just select an option), but they mastered it very quickly (within minutes) and even yesterday when we had eight kids over during the teacher’s strike they all took turns, for hours, making different little objects with no adult supervision (just how I like it). It’s a splurge and does require some adult setup/learning curve at first, but it has been a huge hit for a full year (and it’s super easy, Brian set it up and we haven’t had to troubleshoot since we got it last year).
Both of our children take watercolor classes. They enjoy it. These pencils that you dip into a cup of paint and water, and then boom! In my cart. I haven’t tried them yet but they have good reviews (and seem so much easier, and less messy than paints).
Music and podcast MP3 Player
These MP3 players have no internet/social media and many parental controls. They can’t add any apps. These MP3 players have no internet/social media and lots of parental controls (and they can’t add any apps). Spotify and Amazon music come pre-installed, we only need to add them into our accounts. I haven’t bought this yet (although I’ve done a lot of research) so if anyone has it let us know! Imagine Dragons and Olivia Rodrigo will be on repeat, I’m sure as well as a lot of kid podcasts.
Fun Room Cinema Letterboard
I know that Birdie would love this for her room, so here’s to hoping it lasts and isn’t too janky.
LED Gloves | Disco Ball Lightbulbs
Here’s to hoping that these gloves don’t become landfill material, but I KNOW my kids will love them so much (they love any “lights off” toys, like the disco ball. This year, we’re giving them disco balls lightbulbs so they can put them into lamps.
Create your own video game set
For Charlie (video game obsessed and a constant battle over here), this DIY Video 8-Bit game will (I’m hoping) scratch an itch. Reviews are GREAT. At least it teaches Charlie coding.
Kits for Making Rubberband Bracelets | Fuse Beads Kit
Both our kids love these rubberband bracelet-making kits and y’all, Fuse beads are still a HUGE time grabber over here. Again, during this teacher’s strike, so many kids have been over here fusing all day (just make sure to get extra templates or shapes to form cool stuff).
These toys were just given to our kids by the Switch Witch. (We exchange all Halloween candy in return for a new toy). They are OBSESSED by these.
From Elliot: I like it because it’s like a little computer, it can open up. It’s fun and you can get 15 different pets and you can level them up by caring for them. it’s like a pet but in your pocket.”
Do I get it? NOPE. These little boxes check the boxes for satisfaction and time usage.
I know the last thing any of us want is to get gifts for our kids that they aren’t going to enjoy so hopefully, this list will minimize that as much as possible! Good luck to everyone:) xx
Photo Credit for Opening Image: From:| From: We Had Portraits Drawn Of Our Pups By A Professional Artist – You Have To See Them!!