As a mom of three kids (one three year old boy, one 7 year old girl and one 10 year old one) and as blogger I get to test and see a lot of toys being played with by my kids – or thrown on the floor and left there to collect dust!
Sometimes I have been surprised with what made my kids happy and occupied and sometimes I been frustrated with an expensive toy that haven’t been played with at all! So today I want to share with you what I got this year that my kids have been playing with for hours, what new toys we had a chance to test and can honestly recommend, and what I’ll be gifting them more of!
Best of Montessori toys:
If you have been around here for a couple of years you know that when my kids where little I was all about Montessori approach. I still think it’s amazing and just I love getting my son Montessori toys for his bedroom- because this is where we keep calm toys and games that he usually plays early in the morning or before going to bed.
- Loverly kits– I said it before and I’ll say it again- Lovely makes beautiful and well thought montessori toys especially made for different developmental phases- and they come all package in a box , usually with a books to read and a booklet for mom with ideas and tips!
- Bussy Puzzle – their hand made puzzles and wood toys are equally a lovely addition to any toddler room as a great calm toy to play with- plus they can be personalized!
- Cuddle & Kind– not Montessori per say, but on my list of calm and imaginative toys- also handmade and supporting a great cause- not to mention freaking cute!
Best new toys for imaginative play
- Spirit toys– anything from the Spirit movie series is a great hit in our house- both dolls as ponies are made for imaginative play and if you seen the movie you know it’s both encouraging as entertaining!
- Nintendo switch games– My girls favourite is currently Mario Party – I love how it encourages playing together and actually spending time as a family! And since my girls love Spirit – the Spirit Lucky’s Big adventure game is one of the things they’ll find under the tree this year!
Best educative & STEAM toys
- So we had a chance to test Marble Rush from Vtech last month and it’s a favorite of all of my kids- from the 3 year old to my 10 year old and even my hubbe and me- this STEM toy makes you create, laugh and be entertained all at once!
- National Geographic Science Kits – my girls have tested three and loved them all- from Shark Tooth Dig Kit to breaking open Geodes these STEM toys encourage kids to learn more about the world through playing scientists – and are a great idea for kids who don’t play with toys much anymore!
- Vtech Get Ready For School Desk– this educative toy is for younger kids- but both my three year old and my 8 year old seem to equally enjoy it! What I love about it is that it helps learning both letters, numbers, music and general knowledge, while being also a place to draw sing and create. And it lets me make dinner in peace while my busy three year old is calmly playing & learning- a win win!
Every year my hubby insists we get some no-toy gifts to kids in our family and every year it turns out it was a great idea- after the rush of Christmas is over and everything has been unpacked and played with, having family activities planned and paid for is one of the best gifts you can receive- or gift!
- Payed cinema passes- my girls received 3 outings to cinema with grandma last year and they where sooo happy for months after christmas have passed!
- Prepaid zoo days
- Tickets to museum
- Dance/ceramic/sport activities- if you have more than one kids paying for extracurricular activities can be expensive so when grandparent ask to pay for these instead of buying toys we always say yes!
- Circus/theater tickets – if you ever went to see Cirque du Soleil then you know a good show is a one of a kind experience- and gifting tickets to one can be the best gift!
- Craft day coupon- or a craft bucket with supplies a day of crafting planned -my girls love these!
Second hand gifts
And since this year everyone and their mother are talking about items selling out fast and shops having shortages in stock I think it’s the great year to start shopping second hand!
Things that are in great giftable shape that you can easily find in your local Salvation Army, thrift store or on Marketplace or Kijiji:
- Barbies & barbie accessories
- Trucks and cars
- Big dolls ( Our Generation etc)
- Baby toys
- Board games
- Wood toys
- Stuffed animals
I myself have found great books and some cute new/used Barbies for my girls & some great trucks for my son in thrift store earlier this month and I’ll be stuffing my kids stockings with them!
Now it’s time to plan to wrap those gifts! And I hope that my list of toys & no- toys gifts, both new and thirthed can help you with your holiday preparation this season! Happy shopping!