Baby and Toddler Holiday Gift Guide

Here’s the moderately-cool, but not extravagantly-posh holiday gift list you were probably expecting to see from Thingamababy.

From Birth

Photo of the Wake Up Sleepy Head security blanket.

Wake Up Sleepy Head by Parents — It’s a schizophrenic reversible security blanket. A two-timing lovey. One way he’s a smiling face covered with suns and blue clouds. Turn him inside out and he’s a sleeping face covered with moons and stars. I say “he,” but it could be a “she.” You never can tell with bald heads.

Your baby will be the only one on the block who isn’t snuggling up to an animal face. No teddies. No lambs. No doggies. And it’s not pink or baby blue. Buy two and place the spare in a keepsake box to be opened on your child’s 36th birthday. $16.

Photo of MiYim organic plush dolls, a teddy bear, lamb and dog. The dog looks a little depressed.

Organic Plush Dolls by MiYim — Grab an organic teddy, lamb or doggy. If you don’t buy one, your child might go his entire life without knowing the joy of owning a plush animal. $18-$32.

On second thought, don’t buy the doggy because he’ll drag the whole room down with his sorrow.

Photo of four wooden baby rattled by Sassy.

Earth Brights 4-Piece Wooden Toys by Sassy — When I think of Sassy, I think cheap plastic. They pay attention to trends though and have been getting serious with a range of (comparatively) inexpensive wooden baby toys. $23.

3-Month-Olds

Photo of a Pontino baby floor gym.

Pontino by Selecta — Get your babe a nice blanket and stick this mobile in his face. The company claims it can even support your baby’s first attempts at standing. $95.

9-Months

Photo of a Melissa and Doug Plush Rainbow Stacker.

Plush Rainbow Stacker by Melissa and Doug — Don’t count on these colorful donuts being stacked correctly anytime soon, but they’re not plastic and they’re not wood denting the wall when hurled across the room. $15.

12-Month-Olds

Photo of a Haba Walker Wagon.

Walker Wagon by Haba — Toddlers love to run, and they go manic when they have something to push. Haba offers awesome wood construction with a seat for stuffed animals and a storage shelf in the driver’s area. $129.

Or splurge for the Pushing Car which is all of the above, plus an adjustable height handle.

Photo of a Carrousel Push Toy by Selecta.

Karussell Push Toy by Selecta — This push toy is ten times cooler than that plastic corn popper you pushed when you were young. When in motion, the stringed beads go flying like a helicopter. I’ve seen a number of different styles in action and they’re all spiffy. $33.

18-Month-Olds

Photo of a Waggy Garden Nature Themed Shape Discovery and Play Set.

Garden Nature Discovery and Play Set by Wonderworld — Oh, sure, it’s made from rubber-wood in Thailand, the favorite of green toy makers. But lookie, it’s a shape sorter that’s tilted toward your kid. And it’s not a cube that requires both hands to pick up and manipulate. Your kid can approach it from any direction and use it, or roll it or whatever. $20.

Photo of a Portella Doll Carriage.

Portella Doll Carriage by Selecta — Simplicity is bliss. You’ve got to like that curve. And better yet, tell Dad it’s a wooden German wheelbarrow and he’ll be none the wiser when your son perambulates his trucks around in it. $95.

2-Year-Olds

Photo of a LIKEaBIKE Jumper Kids Balance Bike.

Kokua Jumper Kids Balance Bike by LIKEaBIKE — Learner bikes have no pedals. Your kid learns to balance scooting along by foot and then graduates to a real bike, skipping the training wheel phase. There are dozens of brands on the market, but very few that have what this LIKEaBIKE offers: shock absorption. Simply put, your kid will enjoy bike riding for longer periods of time because his butt doesn’t hurt. For 2-to-4-year-olds with adjustable height. LIKEaBIKE is known for pioneering wooden learner bikes; this one is light-weight aluminum. It has limited steering to prevent jack-knifing, too. $269.

Photo of the Miracle Pounding toy.

Miracle Pounding by Plan Toys — First your kid enjoys emptying the balls of this crescent moon onto the floor. Then he realizes the hammer is fun, too. Whack a ball down and another one pops out the top. Again and again. $19.

Photo of red, green and blue E-Racer toy wooden cars.

E-Racer Suzuka by HaPe — They’re ecologically-friendly bamboo racers. The ‘Suzuka’ is just the red model. It’s also available in Monza (green) and Le Mans (blue). When these cars are still in use at older ages, the roll cage will keep actions figures safe. $18.

3-Year-Olds

Photo of Green Toys Cookware and Dining Set.

Recycled Cookware and Dining Set by Green Toys — It’s all made from milk bottles, with no phthalates, and BPA-free. You get a stock pot with lid, skillet, 4 plates, 4 cups, and 4 place settings. $33. Also get a tea set while you’re at it. $15.

Photo of the Big Wooden Tool Kit by Heros.

Big Wooden Tool Kit by Heros — This awesome work bench and tool box isn’t awesome by itself, although it’s great for a 3-year-old. $56 (or just the tool box for $32).

Nah, it really shines the next year when you buy the helicopter, crane, plane or other expansion kits for 4-year-olds and go hog-wild building stuff.

Photo of the Spielzeug Varialand tile toy.

Varialand by Selecta — This “game” consists of 80 hardwood picture tiles, 1 1/3 x 1 3/4 inches. It’s an anti-puzzle. You create a pastoral scene composed of two houses (maybe one?), farm animals and people, sky and a stream with the idea of composing a story as you go. Where and how you create the picture changes each time you play. $28.

Comments

10 Responses to “Baby and Toddler Holiday Gift Guide”

  1. Ticia says:

    My only comment is the walker wagon will be used to push siblings in it, in addition to stuffed animals, so will the doll stroller. My kids all try to push each other around in the stroller running at full speed….. Yeah, I’m amazed that plastic stands up to it.

    December 1st, 2008 at 6:21 am

  2. jen says:

    We really like the Sassy Earth Brights around here. Compared to other brands of wooden toys, they’re super cheap and are colorful and varied enough to interest our kid.

    Why not go for the cheaper Skuut balance bike?

    December 1st, 2008 at 11:24 am

  3. AJ says:

    Skuut doesn’t have shock absorbers, other than by virtue of having inflated tires. If price is the deciding factor, any balance bike will suffice. But a kid will ride longer (especially at the park or anywhere not perfectly flat) if there’s some give in the seat.

    December 1st, 2008 at 11:31 am

  4. Melissa says:

    I found a wonderful website that carries several of the items you listed. Its called Landbridge Toys

    http://www.landbridgetoys.com

    They have the best customer service. Its also Mom owned and operated!

    Thanks
    Mel

    December 1st, 2008 at 12:50 pm

  5. Natalie says:

    We splurged and got the kidlet a Carrousel push toy when he was 1. Two years later, he still plays with it. Sometimes it’s a vacuum, other times it’s a street cleaner or a lawn mower or some other gadget. And my dad says the speed of a steam engine is controlled by a spinning widget that works something like this, so it was an educational toy for me.

    December 1st, 2008 at 3:00 pm

  6. MIdge says:

    Thanks for this post! We love the Sassy Earth Brights too, my 7 month old usually prefers it to other “chew” toys.

    Why buy a bike with no pedals? Can’t you just take the pedals off a regular bike and put them back on when the kid is ready?

    I do see some of these other toys in our future.

    Thanks again.

    December 2nd, 2008 at 9:10 am

  7. Nicole says:

    LOVE the balance bike! Last Christmas we bought our then 3-year-old a run bike. We let him ride it in the house and get comfortable and he graduated to a 2-wheel bike months before he turned 4. I cannot rave enough. He still absolutely loves the thing (even though it is officially his 2-year-old brother’s… I kick myself every day for not buying two! Absolutely worth it!) My oldest is very cautious and controlling … and he would be the 7-year-old afraid to take the training wheels off… but he is so confident and great on the balance bike. We take it on the trails and he rides/walks across logs and everything. We went with the Strider for the reasonable price and metal frame… and have no complaints. The seat post did break but the customer service is amazing! I give these as presents to nieces, nephews & close friends…. HIGHLY recommend the balance bikes.

    December 8th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  8. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Please take a look at the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — if something isn’t done, as the law now stands, a lot of the richness and variety in products for the 12 and under age group will go away after 2/10/09 because of a desire to “do something” about recent lead recalls, etc.

    December 9th, 2008 at 7:58 am

  9. Diana (Ladybug Limited) says:

    If anyone wants any of the Selecta stuff, they’d better act quick! Because of the CPSIA mentioned above by My Boaz’s Ruth, Selecta is pulling out of the US market as of December 31st…

    This legislation affects way more than toys– my Etsy shop and virtually every other selling children’s products will disappear because of the costs associated with the new lead testing standards, which ironically, do nothing to address all the made in China toys…

    For a comprehesive look at the CPSIA, see this page over The Smart Mama:
    http://www.thesmartmama.com/bg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=195&Itemid=23

    December 9th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

  10. Janine says:

    I love the security blankets. My nephew loved his blanket but it was big and he tripped over it a lot! It got cut down by my sister. Your blankets are great and I’m such no tripping!

    Janine

    April 20th, 2010 at 1:12 am

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