Let me start off by being very clear: small children do not need Christmas gifts. It may be fun for the adults to buy and give them, but toddlers don’t really need toys. If you can believe it, we have very few special toys for our 14-month old. He just plays with the other children. And my pencil cup (unsharpened, don’t worry). And his blanket. And my keyboard. We did have tons of toys for our oldest and as time as gone on, and more people have been added to our home, we have largely cleared out the toddler paraphernalia.
Please don’t be fooled into thinking that a small toddler needs “educational” toys. Talk and read to your kid and they will learn all the pre-reading skills they need. Other than that, my rule is to only have (and give) toddler stuff that makes the parent’s life easier.
I know that some of you are convinced that your child will be bringing up a lack of gifts way back in 2010 in future therapy sessions, so here’s a small list of gifts that are not totally obtrusive. I’m choosing these items not because they are “educational” but because they seem to capture small children’s attention for more than 3 minutes — just enough time to go the bathroom by yourself.
Or finish the dishes. My son, Matthew, plays with a variation of these two items while I’m cleaning the kitchen every few days.
Toddlers love to push stuff — it doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as they can do laps around the house with it. Here are some examples of walkers, but honestly, just buy one off Craigslist.
They will only use it for a couple of months before an older child destroys it by launching it from the top of the stairs (or roof, depending if you have a ladder nearby).
Little Tikes Lap-A-Tune Piano — no batteries required and it looks like something I used as a kid (double bonus). My baby bangs on this for a least two minutes before “rediscovering” my lap.
That’s it. That’s all the cool stuff we have for Matthew.
Other than his older sister and brothers. He really has the best life ever.
Now it’s your turn — What toddler toys make your life easier as a parent?
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