We get it. While your toddler is dreaming all starry-eyed about the ‘Man with the Bag’, you’re tasked with the reality of actually being him. In the days leading up to Christmas morning, your kiddo will be on their best behavior — gotta make that Nice list so Santa leaves exactly what they wished for under the Christmas tree. You, on the other hand, have to navigate impossible holiday gift expectations (how can you possibly organize a trip to the North Pole so your little elf can celebrate with Santa’s little elves?!). We might be able to help. We can’t get you tickets to the North Pole, but we can suggest gifting alternatives that are easier to obtain. In fact, the 10 gifts on this list are wallet-friendly too, all under $30!
A toy wagon so cute, we want one!
Look at that thing! We can’t think of a cozier way for your child to transport their most precious playthings from one place to another. And if your kid is a smallie, you could even give them a ride in this wagon. It is completely kid-friendly and was made without the use of BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Even printing was done with soy inks!
Best part: It’s made from 100% recycled plastic!
Egg-like crayons that are washable too
We know your tiny tot is still developing their fine motor skills. Holding slender crayons can be a challenge for them. Holding egg-size crayons, however, is fun. Oh, and Crayola’s palm-grasp crayons leave marks that are washable. It’s a win-win for you and baby!
Best part: Because these crayons are the size of eggs, they last longer. In fact, Crayola says they’re each the equivalent of 14 regular crayons!
A bath toy that can teach your kid something
Surely bath time can’t be learning time, right? Wrong. It can be with these colorful little pipes. You just stick ‘em on your bathroom wall and pour water into them. The fun part is watching the little mechanisms in them get to work and the water flow out in interesting ways. These things are a wonderful lesson in what-happens-when, aka cause and effect!
Best part: You can stick these in a row or pattern and watch your kiddo get mesmerized by the way the water flows from one to the next!
A vet set for your animal lover
Children love playing doctor. They also love pets (our Pet Doctor and Fish Doctor games’ popularity is a testament to this!), so why not let them play doctor to pets? This vet set comes packed with instruments for pretend testing & treating pets. It’s a 24-piece treat by a leading toy manufacturer, and it’s an excellent way to encourage STEM learning!
Best part: The set comes complete with little plushie patients: a catto and a doggo!
The coolest-ever non-toy gift
The best thing you could gift your preschooler, this holiday season, is an experience that will stay with them. That’s exactly what this gift is. An award-winning STEM innovation, Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden lets kids nurture caterpillars and watch them transform into butterflies. It’s a fascinating way for a child to learn about the cycle of life and caring for real creatures.
Best part: The kit comes with a journal filled with learning activities!
Kinetic sand, because you’ll love it too
Bring the beach home with a gift that packs the fun of real sand (and is made from it too!) but cuts out the mess. Kinetic sand is perfect for toddlers because it’s crazy easy to use, safe as any toy, and won’t mean hours of cleaning after. Also, look at the colors in this castle set!
Best part: No wheat, gluten, or casein went into the making of this sand, AND it’s hypo-allergenic!
A gift you can make at home
While the rest of this list features gifts you can purchase, this one is a treat you can make
. It barely requires six ingredients, and it makes for a super-safe toy. Head over to Happy Money Saver
for the recipe for this homemade play dough, and experiment with all kinds of colors! It seems like a great way to destress too. Price:
$0 if you’ve already got the ingredients in your kitchen! Best part:
You won’t lose sleep if your kid gobbles up some of this play dough.
A microscope for your micro scientist
If you gift this microscope to your child, you’ll be gifting them a chance to view the things they love in nature in 8x detail. Leaves, shells, rocks, flowers, coins, cloth — they can all be viewed up close by your budding scientist!
Best part: This microscope was built keeping preschoolers in mind, so the adjustment knob is big and there are two eyepieces!
A cleaning toy that does more than just clean
It’s nearly impossible to get little kids to clean up after themselves, and yet, they’re fascinated by cleaning equipment. Luckily for them (and you!), LeapFrog’s Clean Sweep Learning Caddy comes with a mop, hand brush, spray bottle, and more. But the kid-favorite of the lot is the light-up, singing, instruction-giving bucket. It even spins and makes sloshing sounds!
Best part: If you buy this one, you’ll be buying a 2022 Toy of the Year finalist!
A cape-wearing plushie who gives the best hugs
Because holiday hugs are a must! And we want to ensure your child gets only the best ones. This 12-inch version of our super pup, Captain Kidd, is cotton on the inside and cuteness on the outside. He’s also an ASTM- and CPSIA-certified snuggle buddy with a five-star rating! Price:
$29.99 Best part:
Captain Kidd doesn’t just have his own plushie. He also has his own show, which now has new episodes. Watch ‘em here
That’s the list! We hope we’ve helped make your toddler gifting process easier. Oh, and if you do pick up a Captain Kidd plushie, send us a pic of your little one hanging out with him. It’ll be the best holiday present ever.