If you or someone you know (grandparents, well-meaning relatives, neighbors) have been struggling with finding the right gift for your kiddo, you have come to the right place. This guide will highlight eight of this year’s best sensory, educational and unique gifts for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, categorized by age. It will also show you why these gifts are age appropriate and developmentally beneficial, while keeping in mind your childs’ unique developmental milestones. Sounds good? Great! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Best gifts for babies 0-6mo+
Babies spend the first six months of life getting to know the world around them. In that time, they will go from crying and sleeping all the time to making sounds to express different emotions, mimicking the sounds they hear, and recognizing contrasting colors and various faces. Another major milestone that your little one will go through is reaching out and grasping for toys and other objects that interest them. This begins to form the foundation of mobility, and by the sixth month, your little one may be on the verge of crawling.
The best gifts for babies at this age should encourage their development of first language skills, hand-eye coordination, vision, and problem-solving skills. Activity gyms and toys that can be held in tiny hands, teething toys, as well as toys that have rattles and bells will also be a huge hit.
Here are eight gift ideas for babies 0-6mo+
- Buff Baby Dumbell Rattle
- King Cake Silicone Teether
- Ritzy Wooden Baby Activity Gym
- Louisiana State Learning Lovey Square
- Art Cards
- Mind Shapes Soft Sensory Toys
- Peeka Developmental Mirror
- Indestructibles books
Best gifts for 6-12-month+-olds
Between 6 and 12 months, your baby will go through a lot of developmental milestones. You will notice that the number of people she can recognize will steadily increase. She will also want to play with random objects and many of those objects will go in her mouth, as she begins to teethe.
From about the sixth month, your little one will also start to babble, sit up and start eating solid foods. Crawling, standing, and eventually walking will soon follow. By the time your little one is around 12 months old, she will be on her way to becoming fully mobile and saying her first words!
The best gifts for babies in this age group should encourage your little one to exercise all of the skills she is developing as she plays. Fine motor skills toys, pop-up toys, musical instruments, blocks, sensory teethers and walking toys are perfect for this.
Here are eight gift ideas for babies 6-12mo+
- Wigloo Silicone Sensory Toy
- Sensory Rollers
- Animal Tails Activity Books
- Baby Drum
- Inny Bin
- Dressed to Spill Fisherman Bib & Teether Set
- Multi-Activities Wooden Cat Baby Walker
- Doona Liki Trike
Best gifts for 1-2-year-olds
1 to 2-year-old kiddos are developing more and more independence. Your little one recognizes herself in the mirror and enjoys imitating the behavior of others, whether parents, friends or other children. She may also begin to show some defiant behavior, which is completely normal.
By this age, your little one will start putting multiple words together. She’s recognizing words and learning new ones every day. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find out that she can point at various body parts when you ask her to show you because she knows them!
The best gifts for 1 to 2-year-olds should keep encouraging this growth and development. They should also begin to foster a sense of adventure and fun in your little one. Balls, toys that encourage pretend play, and things that encourage creativity are perfect here.
Here are eight gift ideas for 1-2 year olds
- Wooden Pound and Tap Bench
- Spin Again
- Zippee Silicone Sensory Toy
- Snoball Rainbow board book
- Micro Mini 3-in-1 Scooter
- Baby Stella
- Push Along Wooden Pelican
- Dancing Alligator
Best gifts for 2-3-year-olds
2 to 3-year-old toddlers are at a stage where life is all about getting physical. Your little one may be fascinated with climbing up and down stairs, kicking a ball, jumping off steps, and so on. She will also be reveling in her independence by learning how to do simple tasks like dressing and undressing independently.
From the age of two, your little one will also start coming to terms with her emotions. This is where the terrible twos come in; expect big feelings and lots of tantrums. Don’t worry, she’ll outgrow it before too long!
The best activities for your 2-3 year old’s development include pretend play, reading, physical play and working on everyday skills together, such as “pretend” cooking. The toys you get her should help her practice these skills.
Here are eight gift ideas for 2-3 year olds
- Wautomobile Water FIlled Cars
- Squirtie Bath toys
- Ribbit Waffle Maker Wooden Toy
- Warmies Junior Alligator
- Wooden Name Train
- Runaway Beignet Book & Plush Toy bundle
- Guppy Grips Bath Stickies
- Hape Gourmet Kitchen
Best gifts for kids 3-5+ years old
Kids between the age of 3-5 years are known as preschoolers. With toddlerhood behind them, they are now able to show affection, speak in longer sentences, and are very inquisitive. Preschoolers ask a lot of questions because the world is a fascinating place to them. They also love playing with other kids as they improve their social skills.
The best gifts for preschoolers should open them up to more experiences, pretend play, game play and outside play. They should also encourage creativity and self-expression. Be sure to be super encouraging to your little one, and whenever she has a small win, celebrate it with her!
Here are eight gift ideas for 3-5+year olds
- Glo Pals Sensory Bath Cubes
- Lil Bit Crawfish Boil Kit
- Magneti Books
- Contour Crocodile Puzzle
- Teeter Popper
- Wooden Toolbox Set
- Snoball Tic Tac Toe Pillow
- Learn to Ride Balance Bike
Bonus: Gifts on a budget - Gift ideas under $25
Being on a tight budget these days might seem difficult to buy special gifts for the holidays. However; It is possible to snag great deals for gifts that they’ll love without breaking the bank. Here are some gift recommendations under $25 that are guaranteed to be a hit with little ones:
0-6 months old
6-12 months old
- Bubble Tree Original Bubbles in 4-Ounce Aluminum Bottle
- Monster Truck Party Squirtie Baby Bath Toys
- EcoVessel Frost 12 oz Stainless Steel Kids Flip Top Straw Bottle
Choosing the best gifts for babies and toddlers is not always easy, especially with so many products to choose from. The stakes are even higher when you are doing the gift buying over the holidays or in a time crunch. If this was your dilemma, hopefully, this guide has shown you exactly where to start. The recommendations outlined above have been categorized by age for your convenience. You can rest easy knowing that no matter what you choose to go for from these suggestions, it will hold your little one’s interest for longer while encouraging her to learn through play. And that’s the best kind of toy for kids, isn’t it?