12 Holiday Gift Ideas For Kids (2012 Edition)

We’ve received a bunch of requests for a Christmas gift roundup for kids (and some more casual “what are you getting Clara this year?” questions) so here are a few items that we’re loving (in fact, since both my mom and John’s mom asked us to send them links to things she might like, there are actually four things in this roundup that she’ll find under the tree from them). Oh and I tried to keep the price down, so most items are under $25 (some are even under $12, and nothing is over $49).

1. Clara loooves painting and definitely has an appreciation for vibrant colors, so I think she’d love something like this $20 watercolor print from Etsy. Another fun gift idea would be to get some colorful paints and a few pieces of cardstock for some good quality time spent painting together.

2. Clara’s always enamored with toys like this in waiting rooms and other kid’s houses, so when John’s mom asked for links to things she might like, we shot a link to this $22 racer ramp to her right away.

3. Pretend play is one of Clara’s favorite things (she loves making meals at her play kitchen, rearranging her dollhouse furniture, and even pretending to care for her dolls by giving them band aids), so we knew this little wooden doctor kit would be a hit. At $38 it’s hardly cheap, but Nonna (my mom) couldn’t wait to pick it up since she knows firsthand how “into first aid” Clara is at the moment.

4. These people-shaped crayons from Etsy are cute, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly (they’re just $8).

5. Clara has one of these cars in pink and she loves it. It’s one of those simple and inexpensive toys that she plays with far more than most of the other more expensive and elaborate toys that she has been given.

6. I was totally drawn to the pretty colors and shapes in this handmade puzzle, although it’s probably above Clara’s current skill level. Maybe next year…

7. This fun $27 bowling set is handmade, eco-frienly, and adorable. I mean let’s be real – who doesn’t love penguins? I like getting “new experiences” for Clara (like learning how to bowl, or how to fish like gift #9) so although we haven’t pulled the trigger and ordered this yet (we’re building her something special, like last year’s play kitchen) I’m definitely tempted…

8. To Clara, Woody = a hero among men. So I bet she’d love to find this Pez dispenser in her stocking (I saw it in Target near the checkout for about $3 a few nights ago).

9. This is the second item that John’s mom is getting Clara. It’s an under $25 set of fish with magnets that can be picked up with a fishing pole (we played with something similar at a friend’s house and she couldn’t get enough of it).

10. Does this even need an explanation? I think any kid would crack up over it just as much as grown ups would.

11. We already own this awesome balancing wooden cactus from Plan Toys and Clara loves it. We’ve squeezed at least a year’s worth of play out of it and it’s still in heavy rotation, so it’s well worth the $25 we paid for it back in 2010.

12. This is the second item that Nonna’s getting Clara since she loves books and she loves dogs (so what’s better than a dog who barks along to key words in a story?).

So that’s what we dug up. Do you have any favorites of the group? What are your kiddos/nieces/nephews going to find under the tree this year? Are you guys all done with your shopping or still working on it like I am? Is anyone going to build/DIY something too? John and I can’t wait to start working on our little homemade gift for Clara (from Santa of course). More details – and probably a million pics – soon!


  1. Hannah says

    Great round up. I especially like the bowling penguins and the fish!

    When you said about the play kitchen I couldn’t believe that was a year ago! Where does the time go?! Look forward to seeing what you make this year. That was one heck of a good play kitchen!

  2. says

    One of the best gifts I put together for each of my nephews was an art box. I got an inexpensive plastic container at the dollar store and trolled the dollar store aisle for construction paper, scissors, crayons, pencils, stickers and washable markers. I also got some bright folders to put art projects in because there is that age where kids love putting things into other things. Aw heck. When do we outgrow that? I still love new folders.

    I just found as many art things as possible and filled up the box. Then I got little foam stick ’em letters and put their names on each of the boxes. They not only loved their box when they got it (and I received awesome thank you pictures that I framed) but I’ve been told these boxes are still in rotation and still great when the weather is crummy or a friend comes over to play.

  3. Allie says

    What a great list of ideas! I’m halfway done with my shopping – got the husband’s whole side and now have to get my side’s gifts as well. My husband and I like making each other gifts for special occasions. This year I’m surprising him with several gifts under the tree but also building him a workbench in the garage (and organizing all his tools) while he’s out of town this weekend!

  4. says

    I asked my grandfather (an amazing wood worker) to build a kitchen based of four that I had found via the internet. So my two children will be getting a kitchen. I have asked family members to buy some wooden accessories to go with it, so I think my littles will love that. Their nephew is getting a quiet book that I made. Basically it is a bunch of felt pages that allows the child to practice skills, likes snaps, zippers, colors, counting. It was fun to make and I can’t wait to give it to him. We also picked him up a wooden train set from etsy! This should be a fun Christmas for our family with all these toddlers in the house!

  5. says

    I just bought my mom a bunch of patterns for Christmas of crocheted play food, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, etc. I can’t wait to give them to her.. it is a great gift AND I know that our daughter will be getting some great homemade play kitchen items in the upcoming year :) She’s already been making these in felt and wood, so I thought yarn was the next addition for her soon-to-be online shop!

    Who knows… maybe I’ll learn to crochet and make them, too :)

  6. erin says

    You guys! Toys That Teach in Bon Air has those magnetic fish for $19.99. I just got some for my son. I know you like to shop local when you can!

  7. Alli says

    My niece and nephew’s birthdays are in December (the 10th and 15th) amd they are turning 5 and 3. My husband is building each of them their own marble ramp since it is the most used toy at my mom’s house when they visit. Hers is actually one my grandpa made for us when my brother and i were little! He’s adding a few extra features to them such as a stopper at the top so the marbles can be backed up and then unleashed all at once. Another feature is an idea i had to put magnets in the upright supports so the two ramps can be connected and they can race marbles against each other. We’re stainin them tonight, but i’ll have to send you a pic when they’re done!

  8. Angela says

    My youngest is getting something I am making…inspired by you guys. I’m waaaayyy nervous because I feel like I’m not close enough to having it done by now and I am afraid it won’t turn out as cute as it is in my mind! Aggggh! Stress!

  9. says

    Great suggestions. My 18 month old daughter has the car (#5) in both pink and red and we love them! She rolls them all over the house and I like that they look cute on the shelf. I’ve been thinking of getting her one of those dogs from Hallmark – thanks for the reminder to check that out!

    • Alisha says

      My twin 13-month-old nephews have #5 and one bonked me over the head with it earlier today! It makes a fine bludgeoning tool, haha.

      Sherry, thanks for the Plan Toys tip a few months back! I scooped up both #11 AND the stacking pine tree for Christmas presents, but I’m worried 13 months is too young for the 2+ years recommendation (the boys are in full-on “everything in mouth” phase). You say Clara has already gotten a good years worth of play out of her’s…when did you feel it was safe to give them to her?

      (but I’m sure my sis wont mind them as “just decorations” until their big enough either)

    • says

      Oh yes, she has had encounters with them since she was around 1 (nothing is that small if you’re playing with them- and they’re toys that you have to help them with until they’re at least 2+ I think) and around 1.5-2 she really started playing with them a lot and now at 2.5 she loves them and uses them nearly every day (even beyond their intended use, like putting all of the pieces in a lunch box and carrying it around and pretending to buy them at the grocery store- so funny!). Hope it helps!


    • Alisha says

      It does, thanks! Glad to know that they can still be enjoyed at this stage and for the stages to come!

    • says

      I’m actually going to do a me version (stuff I’d love) and I even convinced John to do a dude version! As for wedding showers and baby showers, if you search those terms they should come up since we’ve covered a few ideas for both! Hope it helps.


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