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. says

    Leave it to you guys to find the cutest toys! Love that fishing set. :) A word of warning about wooden bowling sets. Clara may be a sweet little one, but just imagine the damage that wooden ball or one of those pins could do to your house. I don’t like the looks of the plastic ones, but I’ve thought of making a simple set for my daughter out of more lightweight materials.

    Merry Christmas – each year is just going to feel so much more magical as Clara gets bigger!

  2. Krissy says

    My nephew LOVES his Jingle! When my sister and her kids were stuck at my mom’s house during Sandy, he kept asking “Can we go home and get Jingle? I think he’s lonely.”

  3. says

    Im getting my niece (well, got) a handmade wooden cradle that I bought from the maker. then im going to make bedding for it and give her a baby doll. She is only 1, but really seems to be getting into pretend play so I think she will enjoy it! She just had her birthday so I decided not to go overboard. She is also getting some RESP monies!! :)

    Oh and my SIL likes to be surprised so her and my brother dont know what im getting her…so I cant blog about it. boo. hahah

  4. says

    These are such cute ideas! My daughter is only 16 months old so maybe next year :) This year we decided to get her a play kitchen. We were going to DIY the whole thing like you guys and so many others to make it more personal but with our schedules we just didn’t have time but I did manage to DIY one thing on it, the stove top burners. Who knows we might add more to it later on. Can’t wait to see what you guys are working on from Santa!!


  5. katalina says

    so cute…. but I have teenagers on my list !

    I have had a bad flu for 9 days so have not done any shopping for parents, siblings or sibling’s teenagers!

    wish you had gift ideas for all age groups!

    do you go to actual stores or do all your shopping online? any interesting online stores you like for the unusual hard to get parents, and family?

    • says

      We’re actually going to post mommy gifts (aka: things I want) and John is doing a dude roundup too! We usually do a mix of online shopping and local shopping – and DIY of course!


  6. Liz says

    Last year we gave our nephew an ‘Imagination Station’ with dress up clothes (read: on sale Halloween costumes from November 2) and foam hats and masks from Michaels. This year, because he is prepping for Kindergarten, we made him a fine motor kit (still working on a better name) with games and activities to strengthen his hands and prep him for writing his name. These ideas are so fabulous… I love toy shopping!

  7. Jill says

    When my kids were smaller (they are big at 5 and 8!) we took our pretend medical kit with us to the doctor’s office during their well check ups. Both my boys enjoyed examining the doctor before she examined them – and the doctor loved being the patient for a change. Also, one of my best memories is my son pulling out his kit to take care of me when I was sick. You AND Clara will love that toy!

    • Jessica says

      My 3.5yo daughter bought a doctor’s kit with her birthday money – Doc McStuffins is her favorite show. She regularly gives me, hubby and her stuffed animals check-ups. It’s opened the door to a lot of ‘how the bod works’ and health related discussions plus the last time she went to the doctor she seemed to really enjoy it! The only bad thing was when she tried to draw viens on her arm with a crayon “to make her blood work better.” LOL It was hard to be too stern in the face of such earnestness.

      For Christmas she’s getting a working stethascope – I found a pink one on Amazon for about $6 – and a mini-lab coat.

  8. Kelly says

    These are great ideas! Our boys both had speech therapy in our home, and the therapist had one of these toys. Big hit, let me tell ya.

    Our boys are 5 and 3 now, and they are ga-ga nutso over Imaginext toys, mainly the dinos and dragons, but the superhero ones are a very close second. They can imagine all kinds of scenarious with these and it keeps them very busy for quite a while and really expands there imaginations…

  9. says

    I bought some of those crayons, in dragon shapes, for my two year olds’ stocking. Same vendor. They are so cute.

    Am mostly done shopping for kids. Some things I got the 2 year old:
    shaped crayons,
    a bunny doll and baby mouse doll (via http://www.splendidavenue.com/product/mouse-girl-in-a-matchbox);
    tube of farm baby animals (for her play farm);
    wooden eggs and pot (http://www.etsy.com/listing/73353694/time-to-play-with-your-food-wood-hard);
    and I knitted a little patch (bunch of knitted squares sewn together) blanket for her stuffed animals. @ two she is excited to get a “present for me” – it seems it doesn’t matter what the present is.

    for the 10 yr old boy: a couple of science kits (how to make gum & sour candy); sherpa hoodie, magic cards, pingpong table…when they are older they have lists!

  10. Alise says

    LOVE #6 (the color wheel). I just ordered it for my graphic designer hubby — it’s perfect for kids of all ages! Thanks for sharing the links to such lovely gifts.

  11. says

    Nooo!! Someone beat me to the squirrel painting! After three years of reading your blog EVERY day, that stinker of a squirrel got me to post for the first time. P.S are you coming to Hotlanta on the book tour or what?!? ;)

    • says

      Haha, that’s hilarious! I hope he makes a lot more of those awesome squirrel paintings! And as for ATL, it’s gonna happen! Can’t wait for them to finalize it!


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