There’s something about the holidays with kids that adds a little extra sparkle to the celebrations. Their joy and enthusiasm is just so fun, and seeing their excitement over a new toy is hard to beat.
While it can feel like you have to get them everything on their wishlist, I’ve found that it really is just as special with a couple of thoughtfully-chosen gifts. My husband and I are still new to the kid game (we’ll have a 15-month-old at Christmas time!), but our intention is to focus on quality, thoughtfully-made toys that encourage open-ended play and to be choosy when it comes to plastic, loud and flashy toys that will find their way to the bottom of the toy basket in just a month or two.
A friend of mine has four kids, and every year before the holiday season they do a toy haul to clear out and donate anything that is no longer being used to a local women’s shelter and hospitals.
As an aspiring minimalist, I love that it not only makes room for the new goodies (and keeps your playroom from being overrun with stuff) but it also teaches your kids how to edit and pare down, and most importantly, valuable lessons on giving.
So, in that vein, we’ve broken down the best gift ideas for kids into age groups: baby (up to two years old), little kid (three to five years old), and bigger kid (six to ten years old), but of course, feel free to mix and match according to your child’s interests! There’s a little something for everyone.
BABY (0-2 years)
My little guy has this balance bike and loves it! It’s cute, comes in six colors, and is super affordable! Try this one if your little one is three to five years old.
These play kits can almost single-handedly replace all other toys. They offer a monthly subscription with each box age and stage-matched towards a specific age, from 0-36 months. They’re simple, yet purposeful and perfectly engage your little one. You can rest assured knowing that each box is full of nontoxic, organic toys that foster your baby’s brain development and are fun!
We love the versatility of this baby walker, doubling as a block trolley, filled with blocks of different shapes and sizes—guaranteed for hours of fun, building and knocking them over! Plus, it’s the perfect walker to help your little one take their first steps.
This set of eight stackable cups with distinctive and fun holes on the bottom for water play, is a favorite at our house. They’re great for boosting the brain and stacking skills and are so much fun outside in the dirt and in the bath.
A new take on a classic toy, the Raduga Grez Earth Stacking Tower features eight circles in beautiful earth tones painted with non-toxic water-based paints. Great for developing hand-eye coordination, teaching kids color names, and introducing numeracy skills, it also looks stylish with any nursery room décor—another one of my little guy’s favorites.
If you want to keep it simple, you can’t beat these gift sets. A perfect gift for a baby’s first holiday, this set includes stacking cups, a wooden pull toy, a key rattle, a plush kitty, and a set of number cards. Full of nontoxic toys, you’re supporting all small businesses when you purchase one of these sets.
LITTLE KID (3-5 YRS)
Inspire your child’s musical creativity! A great introduction to stringed instruments, the Banjolele combines the foot-stomping fun of the banjo with the ease of the ukulele. Sustainably crafted from renewable rubberwood and organic pigments, the three strings make this instrument a bit less complex for young learners. Add these cute little hand drums for some family fun—plus, kids love to bang on things.
Okay, these are both plastic and not made up of a minimalist desert color palette, haha, but kids are obsessed with these magnetic tiles. They even magically seem to engage kids as young as one up to eight-year-olds. They’re colorful, easy to use and encourage kids to use their imagination.
This timeless doctor’s kit is made of wood (instead of plastic), and will provide your little one with hours of imaginative play! We love this super cute one too.
With traditional crayon packs seriously lacking when it comes to skincare, Norman and Jules step in with this amazing set. Made of just beeswax, carnauba wax, and natural pigments these crayons are inclusive and safe in case they find their way into your little one’s mouth.
These dolls are handmade, made from cotton, and completely posable. We love the sweet outfits and the variety of skin tones these sweet dolls come in. Add this cute little baby doll feeding set for the perfect gift.
This fishing game includes a variety of wooden, magnetized fish in the prettiest color palette that your child will “catch” with their fishing rod, teaching your little one about shapes and developing their concentration and fine motor skills.
This children’s low beam and wooden balance board are designed to encourage physical activity and develop balance control. They’ll provide a full-body exercise as your tot walks, rocks, climbs, stretches, dances, and tiptoes across and are fun for even older kids too.
BIGGER KID (6-10 YRS)
For the holidays you can gift single kits or a recurring subscription to Ripple Reads which includes: a picture book, sticker sheets, postcards, and a workbook with a family discussion guide and other activities to help you have meaningful conversations with elementary age kids about race, justice, and empathy in a way that is not only approachable and honest but also FUN!
Everything Ripple Reads produces is crafted in partnership with leading experts and university professors in the field of race, teaching, and curriculum. Ripple Reads is offering our readers 20% off their holiday orders with the code CONSCIOUSGIFT20. They recommend ordering by December 14 to receive orders by Christmas!
Perfect for the gadget-loving kid, this 3-D printer designed specifically for children works with the touch of a button—you simply pair it to an app, feed it “printer food” (made from all nontoxic materials), and choose your desired toy shape from the app’s library of about 500 of them. And once printed, you get to actually play with that dinosaur or race car or mini-planter you watched come into existence!
Whether or not your kid is already a soccer lover, these pop-up goals will provide hours of outdoor fun. As a bonus, they’re uber easy to set up and takedown.
I love gifts that get kids creating and this easel boasts dry-erase and chalkboard surfaces, useful trays for storing chalk, crayon, markers, and other art supplies. Add these nontoxic paint pods and easel paper to round out your little one’s art studio.
We’re obsessed with these LEGO storage boxes. They’re visually clean and minimal and offer fun building surfaces on top of each box that your child can build or display their creations on.