This post contains affiliate links.
Do you really want to wow me this season? Like make it the jolliest holiday? Forget a gift for me. Get my kids an amazing present.
I mean one that makes their eyes light up and their Christmas magical. AND ALSO makes me happy by being a toy that doesn’t break in five minutes, keeps their attention, doesn’t have a million pieces, and doesn’t overstimulate them. Do this, and you will be my favorite.
Looking for a gift like that for a toddler or preschooler in your life? Here are some absolute winners in our book – all of them from personal experience. Bonus – they are all reasonably priced as well.
Our Favorite Toys
Notes: We have both a toddler and a preschooler in our house. My oldest is four, and my youngest is two, for reference. My boys play with a lot of the same toys, even with the age difference.
Musical Keyboard – Ours is actually my husband’s from when he was a kid, but that thing provides endless entertainment. It plays music, and also has all kinds of different instrument noises so they can pretty much start their own band. Although we have to constantly adjust the volume, it’s worth it to see my kids dancing together, and that they’re getting introduced to music too. (Linking a different option than what we have.)
Play Tent – Why do I love a good play tent? Because the kids can enjoy it and use their imaginations to make it an adventure…and then I can fold it up and put it away. Everyone wins. My brother got a rocket ship for my boys a few years ago, which was super fun. Since I can’t find that one online, I’m linking an adorable camper version. This teepee and this castle are such great options too. They REALLY don’t have to be anything complicated.
Activity Mat – My boys love anything on wheels. A good activity mat makes for a great home base for cars and kids alike. They love having a track to race on, and places where they can make stops, too.
Simple Ride-On Toy – We picked up a secondhand fire engine ride-on toy, and my kiddos love it. It’s simple – just a couple buttons and a light – but we could even do without those, because they just love to sit on it and wheel themselves around the house. The one I’ve linked is classic and has no bells and whistles.
Housekeeping Toys – I don’t know why. I DON’T KNOW WHY. But this toy is ALWAYS a hit. It’s a hit at the children’s museum, and at our friend’s house. For some reason, kids love to pretend to clean. Now, teach them to really clean, and you’ll be a real hero.
Play/Working Vacuum – Another cleaning toy that just wins every kid over. This one apparently actually has a suction feature. (Yes!) But it apparently doesn’t work well, so don’t depend on it to clean your carpet. If you prefer wooden, we love this one that comes with little pieces to pick up.
Water Paint Books – My oldest got this as a birthday present, and it is on point. You fill the brush with water, and then “paint” the page to reveal colors, pictures and patterns. It’s no-mess, so I’m happy to leave it with either my kid, with no worries about coming back to a disaster. And they stay entertained for a long time because they love watching the pictures be revealed. Let it dry, and use again and again. Also I don’t have experience with this one, but it’s another mess-free drawing option from a brand we trust.
Cookie Baking Set – A friend just gifted us these, and both my boys are obsessed. They love carrying around the cookie sheet, offering treats to anyone who will listen. It offers the whole process – “slicing” the wooden cookies apart from out of the can, placing them the cookie sheet, and frosting them. We love our ice cream set and pizza set too, if cookies aren’t your bag.
Reusable Sticker Book – This book keeps my kiddo occupied for-ev-er. He loves placing the stickers and then moving them around for a different scene. I do only let my oldest play with it, since the pieces are fairly small, and my little guy will probably lose them. But this one is our favorite.
Glowing Race Track – This was a birthday gift for my youngest, but we’ve been playing with them at the local children’s museum and at a friend’s house, and WOW do my boys love them. The cars light up and race around the track, and the track can be shifted to create different routes for the cars. There’s something just mesmerizing about them.
Squishy Stuffed Animals – My sister-in-law just got these for the boys. They are the softest, squishiest, sweetest little stuffed animals ever! Whether you’re a fox or an elephant or a unicorn fan, you’ll find the pet you’re looking for.
Cute Character Water Bottle – Who says you can’t gift practical? These are our favorite water bottles – strong enough to withstand drops, easy to open and sip, and they come in tons of different characters to fit all personalities. (They typically don’t leak if they’re sitting up, but I wouldn’t let them roll around inside a backpack.)
These are our current favorites! Kid tested, mom approved. However, if all else fails, grab a big cardboard box and some crayons, and let those kids go to town.
What toys are big hits for your kids?