Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: for 18 months - 3 years

This is the second installment of my exclusive holiday gift guide series - all with "Maya approved" toys for your little ones. [Check out my first one for age 0 - 18 months HERE!]

18 months to 3 years was arguably the hardest age for me to parent thus-far, because at this age, toddlers are absolute nutjobs! They have more energy than they know what to do with, they are prone to tantrums, they just won't go to bed, and you'll need a nap by 10am! Seriously, I pray for you fellow parents daily. God bless you.

However, this age is not totally bad because at least one positive is that they are so much more into toys than they were when they were younger and less smart. Many of the toy sets that I got for Maya during this stage were her everlasting favorites, and the kids get quite possessive about it. Another positive is that they will definitely be walking fully by this age, so you can just let them run around (within boundaries). Their vocabulary will also be increasing rapidly, although who knows what the heck they are saying!

Check out my full list with links below! 
*Note that this list is gender neutral*


1. An enjoyable thing to do at this age is get the kids interested in ART! A complete set like this is a wonderful first art kit that has everything you'd need included - and you can take it to grandma's too! Kids love to experiment with lines, shapes and colors and holding an art tool helps improve their pincer grasp which will eventually train them to write later on. Their little scribbles are things that you will treasure forever. Also, they should get into the habit of coloring in case you need to distract them at a restaurant or a doctor's office!

2. This is an upgrade from the average pully-toy that has ABC's, numbers, and animals written on it. Kids love to stack these in rows, pull them in their trolley, stack them up high, and knock them down. Sooner or later they will ask you what they say, and then you can use it as a learning tool to teach them their letters!

3. Who doesn't love a dolly? For boys and girls alike, a dolly is a wonderful toy to have that encourages their nurturing side. Help dress the dolly, push the dolly in a cart, put the dolly to bed, feed the dolly - they like doing all of this to show what a big girl/boy they are. I particularly like this one by Corolle because it is very soft to the touch, and also because the eyes open and close. Also, it has a wonderful baby scent! [You may have spotted this dolly at Maya's 1st3rd Birthday party!]

4. At this age, kids are finally able to graduate to Lego and it will keep them entertained for hours. Not regular Lego, but toddler-approved non-choking Duplo Lego which is easier for them to put together. I like this starter kit because it comes in a box that you can easily put away so you don't step on this crap in the middle of the night...ouch!!!

5. Maya still plays with this cutesy picnic set and the best part of it is that it talks to you when you open and close it! We often like to have a picnic with our stuffed animals and pretend to eat the play food that comes with it. It also teaches children to share, serve each other, and it helps  jump-start the beginning of creative play.

6. This is an absolute must-have for any child, and basically the "big kid" version of the dump truck. They can dump all their toys in there, wave bye-bye, and transport them to another part of your home, take them all out, and repeat. Toddlers love to mimic their parents and your child will have seen you grocery shopping - sometimes they will even put a dolly/stuffed animal in there to pretend that they are pushing their baby. This toy is one that they will have until they are at least well past grade school.

7. When toddlers are so hell-bent on destruction, a great way to encourage them to be a helpful member of the family is to give them a JOB to make them feel important. I don't know what it is, but toddlers love sweeping with a broom. Sometimes if I need to keep Maya occupied, I will set up some crumbs and ask her to clean it up with her "magic" broomstick to be mommy's little helper. She always does a great job and it makes her feel so important!

8. This tea set is so fun and it has been quite popular with Maya's friends when they come over for a visit. Mummies will have tea time, and the children will have tea time right beneath us. The tea kettle makes boiling sounds, pouring sounds, dripping sounds, and sings playful songs.

9. This one is a cheap pick from my favorite Ikea that is so much fun to have around the house or the yard. It's way cheaper than those ridiculously priced tee-pee's that are in every WASP's house nowadays. Plus, I think it's more accurate to parenthood as we are part of a 24/7 circus with the kids anyway. At this age, toddlers like having their own little space and they love to play peekaboo. Plus, you can use it as toy storage during the night! It is also simple enough to fold down easily.

10. Maya's favorite gift that I gave her last Christmas was a little wooden train set. She loved putting together the new tracks and playing choo-choo train. The wood is very good quality and I could see this being used for years to come! There are also a lot of great add-ons you can buy for your train tracks!

11. These are excellent starter puzzles for your kid genius that come in a variety of fun shapes and patterns. They are easy enough for a toddler to do, but hard enough that it makes them think. It is also very well made and sturdy.

12. Another one of my favorites from Ikea! This rocking toy is a classic toy in a cute design that won't break your wallet. Now that your toddler is not falling over all the time, they will enjoy riding this little moose and practicing their coordination. I also love the fact that it's a red moose instead of a pony - tres Canadian!

13. My aunt gave this to Maya last Christmas and it has been a year-round favorite, especially when it's rainy and she misses playing in the sandbox. The sand has a sticky texture, similar to Play doh, so the sand won't go everywhere in the house - don't worry parents! It is nice to have a sensory game like this that they can entertain themselves with.


Stay tuned for more gift guides!
Happy shopping, dear readers!

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1 comment

  1. Good list. I may have asked you already (alzheimer is getting me), but did you raise Maya in both languages and how did you do it ? I'm somewhat concerned about baby T who knows only 5 words at 21 months. - Pad

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