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Our Favorite Things – A Guide to Gift Giving This Holiday Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! A reader recently asked me to post our favorite toddler toys/gift ideas. So here are Our Favorite Things (WATCH OUT OPRAH!).
We have all of these items and they have been on our list of favorites for awhile. I have not been compensated in any way by any of these companies!

Top 5 Favorites

scatterpillar scrambleScatterpillar Scramble – We just got this and love it! You are supposed to use tongs to place the balls on the caterpillars hands while he is dancing. Honestly, I have a hard time doing it. So we put all the balls on and then turn the caterpillar on to dance to celebrate when we are done. We also use the tongs for other activities.

aquadoodle wall mat

Aqua Doodle Wall Mat – I love that this is on the wall and available at all times. They also sell mats that go on the floor but having a vertical surface encourages proper position of the wrist while learning to write. Sometimes we use paint brushes and a cup of water on this. We also own some travel Aquadoodle coloring pages (found them at Big Lots) that we have used a ton! **Just looked online for the Wall Mat to get for a friend’s bday and it is out of stock. Looks like they might be replacing it with the Wall Runner**

play food

Play Food – We bought an inexpensive set at Target last year at Christmas time ($10). Although play food ends up all over the house, it really has encouraged B to use his imagination. He has picnics, plays store, and cooks in his kitchen.

Melissa and Doug Magnetic Letters

Melissa and Doug Magnetic Letters – There are SO many activities that can be done with these. The quality makes them my favorite. Uppercase and lowercase come in the set.

Leapfrog Letter Factory

Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD – This video is my hero. I could go on and on about it but just click here to read a previous post about it.

Honorable Mention

Easel – The IKEA easel was a good value and B really enjoys using dry erase markers and chalk. I wish it was magnetic though!

Doctor Kit – This also encourages a lot of pretend play and also help ease B’s mind about what to expect at the doctor.

Play Tunnel – When B was younger he just crawled through over and over again but now it is used for hiding, pretend play, and building forts.

My First Scooter – I was so surprised at how fast B picked up riding it and it also folds up for storage.
Mr. Potato Head
Highlights Hive Five Magazine Subscription – We keep them to read again and again.
Playdoh Kit
Memory Game – Great for matching when they are younger and then playing the real way as they get older.
On my wish list for B this Christmas
(haven’t tried any of them yet):
Hi Ho Cherry O
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Leapfrog Word Wammer
Connect Four
Lite Brite

Do you have a toy or learning activity that has become a favorite in your home? We would love to hear about it!



Jessica Morris

Tuesday 20th of October 2009

what a great, great, GREAT idea!! I think I will do something like this soon! :)

I love the Letter Factory dvd - it is such a great learning tool!!Likewise with most of the Melissa and Doug products - they are such good quality and I just love them!!

We have the hungry hippo game, it's fun and my 2 year old enjoys it when we all play together.

Do you have a Tuesday Morning near you? They have some really cool things. Last week they had felt food. I didn't buy any, but am now wishing I had so will make a trip back there soon! I have gotten a lot of really nice wooden toys for my boys there.

Thanks again for putting this list together. Very inspiring!


Monday 19th of October 2009

Looking for a great gift idea or stocking stuffers for co-workers and friends, the new fantasy novel, "Gateway to DreamWorld," was released last month and has been receiving rave reviews.

During the cold months ahead, they will curl up in a warm blanket or in front of the fireplace and enter a fantasy world filled with excitement and suspense.

The book is listed on, Barnes&, and Powell’s

Jennifer G.

Sunday 18th of October 2009

Hi Ho Cherry O is good for fine motor skills and counting! It's favorite at our house!


Saturday 17th of October 2009

Great lists! We have many of those toys also. The Lite Brite would be awesome!


Friday 16th of October 2009

Thank you for your review! Play Food, will have to add that to the wish list!