The greatest part about the holiday season for me this year is that my toddler is starting to “get it”. My daughter is starting to feel the tingle. Santa Claus is less scary, Christmas trees are magical, and Christmas Carols are so much fun to sing. She does not quite get that the day is coming where she is going to get to tear through wrapping paper and open toys and gifts from Santa, but she can sense that something is in the air.
As I am carefully constructing my daughter’s list to send to Santa, I am conscientious of including items that are fun, education, or a combination of the two. Toddlers have boundless energy and the attention span of a gnat, so toys must be engaging and hold their attention. This is also a time where toddler’s brains are growing exponentially and it is important to encourage their thirst for knowledge.
This list includes a variety of fun and/or educational gifts for your toddler that will build their cognitive, language, and fine motor skills!
Fun and Educational Christmas Gifts for Toddlers
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My daughter loves to cook…for real or when playing “just pretend”. I knew she would love to ask Santa for her very own kitchen, but there are so many options to choose from! After conducting my very thorough research, I decided Kid Kraft would be the best. Check out this article on some of the best toy kitchens on the market. Kid Kraft receives high marks from parents and kids alike.
What is so great about play kitchens? Not only is it great fun for toddlers to push buttons and open and close cabinets, but these kitchens are full of more than leftover Tupperware. These toy kitchens are FULL of learning opportunities! Here are just a few of the skills your toddler can develop:
Language- Your toddler will learn the words associated with household items that will build their vocabulary and allow them to engage in everyday conversations.
Fine Motor Skills- These kitchens offer the opportunity to put things together, cut pretend fruit, stir, mix, and roll.
Literacy- You may ask your toddler to sort items by beginning sounds or create written menus as they get older.
Math- There are so many opportunities to count! You can also set the timer and wait for pretend food to be cooked in the microwave or oven.
Life Skills- Pretend kitchens are models of the real thing. This is a great time to practice role playing real life situations. Your toddler will love role playing cooking in the kitchen, eating a restaurant, setting the table, throwing a tea party, and cleaning up.
I ordered the kitchen above…I mean I asked that Santa sends my little one the KidKraft Grand Gourmet Corner Kitchen because it includes all of the features I am looking for like: a refrigerator, microwave, stove, removable sink, and even a chalkboard for writing things down, as well as a pretend phone! Another all important feature is that it will fit perfectly into the corner of my daughter’s playroom without taking up too much space!
For all of the grandparents and extended family and friends who want to send my toddler something for Christmas, but have no clue what to get, I made a list of accompanying items. These items are not included in the kitchen but will offer all kinds of additional opportunities for play and learning.
This gift is already under our tree from Papa. My father-in-law is great at giving gifts to his grandbaby, but he was a bit stumped this year. He considered getting my daughter a tricycle, but we agreed that she is not quite ready. When we discussed her favorite things, naturally arts and crafts came up.
This easel has so many amazing features that I can’t wait to play with it! It doubles as an easel and table with a chalkboard AND dry erase board. The dry erase board includes LED lights that show toddlers how to draw letters and shapes with a special included pen. If your toddler is an audio and visual learner, this easel also plays songs!
This toy is great for encouraging your toddler’s creativity, fine motor control, and even helps your toddler read and write the alphabet! This is the true definition of a fun and educational toy.
Patterns and Puzzles
Toddlers have a limited attention span and a low threshold for frustration, but yet they are at an age where just love to figure things out. This is why I love to provide my daughter with a variety of puzzles to exercise her brain.There are many benefits of playing with puzzles at this age. As a teacher, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching problem-solving strategies early on!
I love puzzles that are self-correcting, but I also love when my daughter can extend her learning in some way. This patterning puzzle is perfect for that. She can use the shapes to match the pictures or create her own! Pattern blocks are such a great resource that can be used as my daughter gets older, as well. Creating patterns build the foundation for later mathematical concepts!