kids toys

Best Toddler and Preschool Toy Gift Ideas

 
 
It’s officially Christmas time and we are checking our lists twice.  I am looking for those good, tried and true gifts.  My emotional side wants the “wow factor” on Christmas morning while my practical side doesn’t want a ton of toys collecting dust by New Years Day!  I am sharing our favorite kid’s toys.
 
These are our favorites and worth the investment, most are quite affordable, and are played with all the time around here and stand the test of time!
 
 
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Tricycle

A tricycle is a perfect first bike for toddlers and preschoolers.  This classic radio flyer will stand the test of time.  We have had this tricycle for 10 years and it’s still going strong.  Find this one here.

Play Kitchen

A perfect place for kids to cook up a storm and let their imagination run wild.  Big siblings will enjoy playing with it too!   Shop the kitchen here.

Ice Cream Shop Set

After making dinner in the kitchen, kids can serve up some ice cream with this ice cream shop set.  (Find the ice cream set here)  Melissa and Doug toys are some of our favorite imaginative playsets.  Shop more finds by Melissa and Doug here.

Wooden Train Set & Motorized Train

Build a train track and get those trains moving.  Then, grab a motorized train and push the button and watch it go around the track you built.  Get the train set here and the battery-operated train here.

Doll Stroller with Basket & Small Doll

The basket is critical for little people to place all their treasures in while strolling around.  This stroller is perfect for toddlers because it isn’t too tall and comparable to an umbrella stroller size but WITH the basket.  Grab this 12-inch doll, it’s the perfect size for toddlers and preschoolers to handle realistically.

Grocery Cart

Perfect for early walkers who need a little assistance walking to preschoolers who want to tote around their beloved treasures.  This realistic grocery cart is not only cute but super well-made and fun too.  Get your grocery cart here.

Magna-Tiles

I will save our set for our grandkids.  They are so versatile and truly are a toy so many different ages love to play with.  I was apprehensive due to the price but they truly are one of the most played with toys by all of our kids.  Find magna-tile sets here.

Purse Playset

This is a fan favorite among all our kids because of the fake phone, credit card and keys!  Perfect for a little person wanting to just like a grown-up!  Get your purse playset here.

Play Vanity

Do you have a little one who loves to pretend to do their hair and make-up?  This play vanity is perfect for them.  It comes with pretend hair and make-up accessories.  Get the vanity here.

First Scooter

Give a little more stability to your toddler or preschooler with a 3 wheel scooter.  They will be speeding off down the sidewalk in no time.  Get the scooter here.

Puzzles

Puzzles are perfect at helping with fine and gross motor skills plus this set introduces colors, numbers, and letters.  Get the set here.

Duplos

Duplos are just one of those classic toys that are fun to build together.  This starter set makes a perfect gift.

Play Vacuum

All of my kids have loved pretending to vacuum if only that could handle the real one ;).  This little vacuum looks like the real deal and is perfect to pretend to clean around the house.  Get yours here.

6 Volt Ride-on Toy

My kids LOVE anything motorized that mimics driving a real car.  From power wheels to a motorized scooter.  This little police moped is perfect for a toddler and perfect for driving around the basement until spring!

 

There you go…

 
What are some of your favorite classic toddler and preschool toys?  Please, share in the comments.  I hope these ideas help you with your shopping for that sweet little one on your list.  These toys are sure to spark their imagination and provide hours of independent play!
 

Need a spot to organize all these gift ideas?

 

You Might Also Like These Gift Guides…

 
 
 

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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15 Best Tween Girl Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year where you start wracking your brain for gift ideas for those girls that are a bit past baby dolls but not quite adults.  What do you get a tween girl on your list besides just a gift card?  With my daughter’s help, I have rounded up the best 15 tween girl gift ideas for that hard to buy for tween girl on your list.

15 Best Tween Girl Gift Ideas


1.  Hair Accessories

Scrunchies are back and they are the coveted arm accessory.  It takes me back to my youth.  Get a huge variety pack here so your tween girl can have a scrunchie for every occasion.  Also, how about some foam curlers?  This rainbow set is perfect for adding some fun curls.

2.  Electric Scooter

Our son got an electric scooter for Christmas last year and it was a fun upgrade from the power wheels of his youth!  Our daughter loves to ride it too. 

3.  Sherpa Pullover

Sherpa is having a major moment and tween girls love the trend too.  It’s a perfect cozy addition to any tween’s closet.  This one from Athleta is so soft and big on style.

4.  Vivofit Jr. Fitness Tracker

This bracelet-like fitness tracker is perfect for smaller wrists.  It’s also waterproof while collecting steps.  If you want a few more features, try the FitBit Inspire.  I was super skeptical that my kids would use them but both have had them for over a year and love to track their steps and goals!

If your tween girl already has a fitness tracker, get her some new fun bands to switch up the look.

5. DIY Craft Kits

Give them the gift of craft time.  From pottery to friendship bracelets there’s a craft kit for every tween girl on your list.  This DIY window art set is on Vera’s personal wishlist.

6.  Art Cart

I wrote a whole post about how Vera has her art supplies organized in her personal art cart.  3 years later and it remains her favorite gift ever.  She uses it every day!  Read the blog post here and get aa tiered art cart here.

 

7.  Magna-tiles

If you have not invested in a set of these, you need to!  Across the board, these are our most used toys in the house for any age level.  It’s on every one of my gift guides for a reason.

8.  Duffel Bag

Get your tween girl a duffel bag for practices, slumber parties and trips away from home.  This style has lots of print options and folds away small for storage.

9.  Gel Pens

Gel pens are perfect for creating art, writing in a journal or penning the next great graphic novel.  This set is perfect for a stocking or add-on gift.  These would store away great in the art cart above!

10.  Echo Dot

An echo dot is the perfect wireless speaker for the next impromptu dance party for your tween girl.  It also works great as an intercom when you need to talk to her in her room.

11.  Fuzzy Sock Set

Nothing says cozy like a pair of fuzzy socks.  This animal sock set is perfect and can be mixed and matched for lots of new looks all week long :)!  Split it up and pop them in stockings or give them to your tween girl’s friends with a pair of nail polish.  Get the set here.

 

12. Bluetooth Wireless Microphone

Get ready for karaoke or American Idol with this Bluetooth wireless microphone.  Not to mention, the built-in lights, it’s a party in your tween girl’s hands!

13. Nail Polish

Who doesn’t love to paint their nails?  Nail polish is the perfect stocking stuffer or addition to a caboodle.  Get an Essie nail polish variety pack here.

14. Caboodle & Lipsmackers

These are both a blast from my youthful past.  My girls both want a caboodle this year and love Lipsmackers as well.  A perfect beauty accessory for every tween girl.  Get a Lipsmackers set here and caboodle here.

15. Babysitters Club Graphic Novel Set

Babysitters Club books got a graphic novel overhaul and they are a fan-favorite among tween girls.  Get the first 4 books in the series here.

15 Gift Ideas for Tween Girls

I hope these tween girl gift ideas get you thinking about great gifts for those tween girls on your list this year.  Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life so you can do what matters most with those that matter most!

Need help organizing your holiday gift lists?

You Might Also Like These Gift Guides…

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Awesome Books for the Reluctant Boy Reader

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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**This post contains affiliate links**

Create A Toy Closet to Organize Your Toys

If you have kids, you have toys.  I have 4 kids so pretty much I could swim in toys especially with all the doting relatives that just brought armloads of gifts through our doors during birthday season but I don’t.  Toys are a fact for this season of my life but we have made peace with the toys with a simple toy organization solution, a coat closet turned toy closet.

So, how do you organize toys?

Create a space for toys using an under-utilized closet.

Look around your house and determine a logical place you could create toy storage.  Do you have some cabinets you can clean out in your family room or kitchen?  In both of the homes we lived in, I decided to turn our main floor coat closet into a toy closet.  When we have guests over we invite them to hang their coats on a coat rack (like this one).

Look around your home, there has to be a space.  If you there’s a will, there’s a way.  You just have to decide what’s most important to you in this season of life. For me, it was finding a home for the toys!  Here’s our front hall closet before.  It just collected odds and ends mostly.

Once you have a space designated for your toys, prepare it for toy storage.  We added 2 more wire shelves to our toy closet to maximize space and storage.  Don’t buy cute bins just yet!

Ready to make your own toy closet?

Here are the materials to get started –

Metal Closet Shelves (size dependent on space & cut to size)

Wall-Shelf Brackets (2 per shelf)

Level 

Drill

Jigsaw to cut shelves to correct dimensions

Screws (4 to screw to shelves together and 2 per L bracket)

Helpful Tips to Organize your New Toy Closet

Gather your toys and sort.

This is the most important step in the process.  Do not organize toys you don’t need.  Grab all the toys you want to store in the new space.  Grab 2 bins and a garbage bag.  It’s time to sort your toys into 3 categories.  Keep, sell/donate and toss.

By far, this is the most challenging part of the process for me, maybe you too.  Either you or someone you love spent good money on these toys and it’s hard to let go.  However, you know your kids don’t play with certain toys.  Make room for the toys they do play with.  You can either donate unwanted toys to a local charity, church, or family friend.  You can consign them as well.

You can invite your children into the process and ask them what they want to let go.  Letting go and purging is an important life skill you can teach your child now.

If you don’t want to get rid of a whole set of toys like barbies or baby dolls, thin it out.

toys sorted into clear plastic storage bins

Organize Toys into Logical Categories.

Now, that you have thinned out your toys, sort them into logical categories.  Once you determine the amount of each item, choose a toy organization tool.  Clear plastic tubs (like these) work great because everyone can see what’s inside.  Kids can easily ask for that toy and when a missing toy is found, it’s easy to put it inside the right tub.

Create Toy Organization that is Logical.

Above all, you want this to be functional long-term and for the kids to be able to pick-up independently so make the organization easy enough your child can put a toy away.  You will not keep up the organization system if it’s tedious, no matter how cute it starts out.  Trust me, I have made that error.

Place organized toys into a toy closet or designated space.

Now it’s time to load up your toy closet.  Make sure to place items kids frequently request in a place that is easiest to access.  Place items that you want to help with, items with tiny pieces, up higher.

A Few More Frequently Asked Questions Answered

How do get your kids to clean up their toys?

Once toys are organized, your kids can grab a bin and play for a while.  When they are done, they can clean up and put that bin away.  Sometimes, we even set a timer for 5 minutes and try to beat the timer as we clean-up!  Clean-up is part of the process.  Another life skill we can teach our kids.

How do you deal with toy organization over time?

In our home, we have two toy closets.  Rotating toys to different levels bring new vibrancy to toys that kids have become bored with.  Just the other day, I rotated the girls’ dollhouse to the basement and it was a brand-new toy again.  Storing toys in tubs means when you pull out a new tub, it’s new fun!

Toys are constantly coming into our homes.  Make sure you are consistently taking stock and decluttering old toys as you can.  If a toy bin can’t close, it’s time to thin it out.  Toys are a fact of our life but it’s possible to make peace with them and find them a functional home!


Now, tell me where you store your toys?  How do you store them?

You might also like –

DIY Garage Toy Organization

Shared Kids Closet Organization System

10 Steps to Clean Out Your Clothes Closet

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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This post contains affiliate links.

Best Board Games for Families

Who doesn’t love playing a good game?  One of our favorite ways to spend time together as a family is playing board games.   I thought it would be fun to share our favorite board and card games to play since it’s always fun to add new games to the collection!  If you have a favorite game, please share in the comments.  You always have the best recommendations!  If you are looking for a birthday gift idea, games make great gifts!

 

If you are looking for a great game for preschool+, this is the game.  It comes with little pads that you step on when the prompted tells you to go to a specific item like an animal, color or shape.  Lucy loves to play with us too!  It doesn’t take too long either and it’s a great wiggle release!
 
2.  Snipe
 
The object of this game is to hide your opponent’s snipe creature and then be the first to find your snipe and return it to the nest. The creatures begin to chirp and then light up as time passes.  It can be played one on one or as teams and inside and outside.  This is a great party game and great for ages 2+.
We love Ticket to Ride, now there is a kid version.  Collect colored train cards and build to claim your route.  The first person to claim 6 routes win.  Solon loves to play this game.  Ages 6+.
Once again we love the adult version, Settlers of Catan.  In this version, you are earning commodities with the roll of a dice and then trading them in to build ships and lairs.  The first person to build all their lairs wins.
Are you sensing a theme?  We love Sequence but now there is Sequence for kids.  Collect cards and work to place your chips on the board.  When you get 4 in a row, you win!
6.  Memory
A great classic family game that never goes out of style.  If you have younger kids, you can modify by just pulling out 1/4 to 1/2 the matching cards.  You will be surprised how good your kids are at remembering!
Push the hot potato and then pass them either shouting the person’s name or in a circle.  The person holding the potato when it buzzes and they are out!
Spot It is a fast paced matching game. Place a circle card in the middle and then distribute the rest of the cards to the players.  Then each player flips a card and races to yell the matching animal their card has to the one in the middle. Play continues until a player runs out of all their cards.
10.  Old Maid
11.  Qwixx
A fun dice game where you are crossing off numbers and working to fill your card.  Kids young and old will like this fast paced fun game.
A pirate version of the classic crazy 8’s.  You can”t help but say “ARRRRGH!” when you play!
Each player gets a set of cards and they try to place them on their opponent’s area and then fill their opponent’s area with a moose.  The person with the most moose loses!
 
15.  Bellz
Take turns trying to grab your bells (of various sizes) with a magnet wand.  The first person to get them all wins.  You can’t grab any bell but your own so you have to be careful!  It’s harder than it looks.

Here are a few more favorites – 

Blokus

 

Labyrinth

 

Rivers, Roads, and Rails

Tenzies

 

Left, Center, Right

 

Pit

Qwirkle

Rack-O

 

Things

Games are a great family gift.  If you are traveling, some of these will fit right into your suitcase.  All these games are sure to create laughter, fun and some special family time with those you love.  What are your favorite kids’ games?

You might also like…

Best Family Board & Card Games

Book Series Like Harry Potter

Favorite Kids Toys

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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