Toddler Gift Guide {Our Tried & True Favorites}

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t buy any toys for our kids for Christmas this year. I know, I know, worst mom ever. And truth be told, we don’t really have that many toys in our house either. Clothes and bows? That’s a whole different story. Since Caroline and Thomas are in daycare full time there is really only about an hour after work to “play” and we usually try and spend that time outside. Same with the weekends, we prefer to be out and about. Oh and our home is very tiny cozy so our 10×10 family room doubles as our play space, which means there’s really only a corner of toys. So yes, several reasons why we have minimal toys, but that being said, the toys we do have are well loved and used often. Today I want to share some of those tried and true favorites if you’re looking to buy a gift for the toddler in your life! I highly recommend any of these…

Christmas Gifts for Toddlers

KidKraft Vintage Kitchen: Our play kitchen and wagon easily tie as Caroline’s top two all time favorite things. A gift for her first birthday, this kitchen is so amazing it literally sits in the middle of our living room and Caroline plays in it daily. It also doubles as storage for the rest of our toys, including play food, utensils, pots & pans. You can also find this kitchen in a variety of colors and styles here.

Radio Flyer Grandstand 3 in 1 Wagon: I honestly think we’ve put more miles on our wagon this year than my car. I cannot even begin to explain all of the ways we’ve used the Radio Flyer wagon. There are lots of options for wagons but our favorite features in the Grandstand 3-in-1 wagon are the folding seats so the wagon can be used for storage/hauling things (great for the beach), one side is removable and serves as additional back support for bench seating, holds two kiddos and 4 drinks. Also,
I am kind of obsessed with the fact that you can custom build your own
wagon (fabrics, storage, comfort, sun protection and nameplate options)
through Radio Flyer here. Another tip, we found this wagon without the sun shade for $99 at Target here. Worth every single penny. See this, this, and this

Children’s Table & Chairs: Once Caroline transitioned out of the hi chair and to the table at daycare for meals, her teachers recommended we get a similar table for home too. Another item we use daily, this little table has been the place where we share many meals together, color and more! We purchased ours from Ikea.


Water Activity Play Table: One of our favorite warmer weather toys, Caroline absolutely loves her water table. Families that didn’t own one of these before attending Caroline’s first birthday party definitely grabbed one before the end of summer after watching all of the kiddos happily splash around for hours. The only downside of this has been storing it when it’s not in use. Same with our kiddie pool, only it was inexpensive enough to toss at the end of summer.

Infant-to-Toddler Swing: Another favorite outdoor toy that is guaranteed to kill 15 minutes while dinner is being cooked each night.

Favorite Toys Under $20!

Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine
Pop! Pop! Piano Toy! (actually $22, sorry!)
Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank
Hide N Squeak Eggs
Stacking Blocks
Baby Stroller (& any Baby Doll Accessories
Bubble Bath (any kind!) & Foam Alphabet

Caroline’s Wish List

As for Caroline’s wish list, this year we’ll be asking Santa for our favorite luxury bath products (we buy the cheap stuff when we run out), an IHOP gift card (see here and here), shoes, pajamas, clothes, this water bottle, this sippy cup and maybe a few other small things.

But if it were up to Matt, this is absolutely what would be under the tree for his mini…

Yep, that is a toddler sized battery operated golf cart. No pink Barbie cars parked here. As soon as Caroline is tall enough to reach the pedals (will likely take years! ha!), I know her daddy will have this charged and ready to go for his little caddy.  

If you’re looking to shop for younger kiddos you may find Caroline’s Wish List last year (7 months old) helpful! You can find it here.




  1. Jenn
    November 19, 2015 / 11:09 pm

    need to get my LO one of those water tables. A friend gave me a great idea to put it inside during the chilly months & fill it with rice! easy to clean up, but still keeps them busy! Just need to make sure they don't eat all the rice 😉

  2. Caitlyn {Home Sweet Ruby}
    November 20, 2015 / 12:23 am

    Love this roundup mama I have been racking my brain on what to get Rowan, I think that wagon might be the winner 🙂

  3. Sarita @ it's my girls' world
    November 20, 2015 / 12:24 am

    We love our kitchen and kid table too!! And yeah, I'm moving and just realised how much stuff we have so not too many toys at all this Christmas!!

  4. Evelina
    November 20, 2015 / 2:09 am

    I have a toddler to shop for and these are great ideas. Thanks Christina!

  5. Alicia Rowland
    November 20, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    We have (or will have after Christmas) everything on your list but the wagon! Definitely our favorites over here too!! Those stacking blocks really are the best.

  6. Jillian Manesh
    November 20, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    great list! pinning this for the future. xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  7. thatwasnttheplan
    November 20, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    That mini golf cart is way too cute!!! Such great gift ideas!! -Megan

  8. Jo
    November 20, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    That ikea table is on Lawtie Santa wish list! I don't care about her having a bunch of toys either but that will be a useful addition! And I guess we have to get the kid a baby doll- she LOVES them at her grandmas' houses and we don't have one. Ha! That golf cart is awesome!

  9. Annie
    November 21, 2015 / 2:04 am

    My favorite is how you're in the wagon haha! We are giving the wagon to Molly Anne this year!

  10. Caley-Jade Rosenberg
    November 24, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    OMG!!! That toddler golf cart is ADORABLE! x

  11. Kelly
    November 24, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    I have a question!!! First — love love love and appreciate this gift suggestion list! I have a 7-month-old to shop for and have been drawing a total blank. So my question pertains to the play kitchen. When I've looked at them, it says they're for ages 3+. Have you had any issues with Caroline or Thomas and potential choking hazards from any of the parts? Since Lilly is my first child, I don't know how strict those age limits are (a suggestion or legitimate "don't give your kid this yet"), so insight appreciated!

    • Christina Marcellino
      November 24, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Hi Kelly! So I actually picked up the kitchen for Caroline before she was old enough to play with it because I found it half off and wanted to snag it at a great price. That being said, she didn't start playing with it until closer to one year old and since then it has only become more and more of her favorite toy. There aren't really any small pieces once it's assembled so I wouldn't worry about choking hazards but this may be a great item to get for a first birthday! Also, many of my friends own this kitchen and EVERY SINGLE dad still talks about how terrible the assembly was. It literally takes half a day to assemble. Just wanted to give you a fair warning if you don't have a place to store it and have to assemble on Christmas eve!Also! Caroline was 7 months old last Christmas and I made a wish list for her that may be helpful. Looking back, we got so much use out of every single item (especially the orbit labels for daycare which we now use on snack keepers and sippy cups) but I highly recommend the sit-to-stand-walker because it grows with baby (and Caroline still runs around the house with it)! luck shopping! xo

  12. Alysa Friesen
    November 26, 2015 / 4:28 am

    we have those eggs for my daughter and she LOVES them!her big gift is a little kitchen this year. she's one and almost at the point where she's walking, so I think it'll be a good one :)xoxo,

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