Kids Gift Guide: Toys We Have and Love

I always love to see what sort of toys my friends recommend and in turn what their kids really love to play with. So fellow toy enthusiasts, Meta and Stephanie and I agreed that we needed to swap recommendations, and of course, in turn, share them all with you!

So here's our tried and true list of toys we own and quite simply, love.

a. Charlie and Lola's An Extremely Wintery Winter Activity Kit. This is one of those toys that you purchase for the holidays on a whim but don't expect it to be the super big hit that it ends up being. I mean my boys LOVE this game. Little O asks me to get this out I'd say possibly 2-3 times a week. Winter or summer they love to get this out and the spin the spinner to see who dresses their character up in winter gear first. Oh and the book and snowflake stencils are also lots of fun. Tip: draw in the clothing items with permanent marker to corresponding numbers on the spinner for easy identification. Your kids will be entertained without your help for at least 20-30 min!  b. Brio Anti-Virus train set. I admit that it's harder to find items for this train set these days but let me tell you, if you are a train enthusiast, this set is soo great, and worth the hunt. This hub is a great place to start. Everything also corresponds to all Brio train sets (and really most any train set) so you don't have to purchase everything to start having fun with it. My boys have loved putting it together and collecting all the virus characters and the electronic "emails" that get transported around the track which then make fun silly noises when placed into the slots. Loads of fun. You can see little O playing with our set here in this old post. c. Charlie and Lola dvds. OK, more Charlie and Lola fun. Can you tell we are enthusiasts? The boys love it and I'm a fan of how sweet, funny and educational it is. And the best part? It's a show that can play in the background without grating on my nerves. A dream for road trips to grandmas house. d. Push and Learn Alphabet Bus. This has been such a great find for learning the alphabet. The boys have loved placing the little animals into their corresponding puzzle slots and the wheeling them around in the bus. And I've love that it still looks good when strew across the floor. e. Montessori Pink Tower. OK so I'm sure you know that we are Montessori enthusiasts. But whether or not you want to delve into the educational philosophy, I still highly recommend their pink tower. It's educational for many different learning levels. And I love that it's one of those toys that you can leave out on you living room shelve and it still looks good.  f. Domorino. We love getting out this bamboo tile take on the popular domino game. It's both fun and simple enough to play over and over again.  g. Voltron Robot Print. My good friend, and talented graphic designer, Brooke Daines just started the company, South and Summer, where she offers these really great prints of vintage toys. We are just over the moon about this Voltron print (which takes me back to some great childhood memories). h. Mudpuppy Finger Puppets. OK, so admittedly I'm biased about this toy (as I illustrated them) but my boys, no lie, love to get these out and play with them. I love how they fit nicely into your purse and can be pulled out when you need to stand in line at the post office for longer than anticipated. I also love their monster versions and have plans to add these to either the advent or their stockings this year. i. String Along Lacing Kit. Not your average lacing activity, this is hand down a favorite. It can keep A entertained for at least a good hour. I kid you not. Need I say more?  j. Centimeter Cubes. These are great for teaching simple to complex math concepts. Or just set out a bucket of cubes on the table and see what your littles create with it. So fun!  k. Mudpuppy Flip Draw Books. Again I'm biased but I will say this. My boys are not really into ballerinas but when I brought this home they couldn't wait to color in the different pages and were especially fond of the blank pages in the back where they could create their own versions. I'm thinking St. Nick. needs to bring them the monster or robot one.

Take a look at One More Mushroom and Simply Radiant's tried and true gift guides here and here!


  1. Thanks for the great ideas! In love with the push and learn bus but cannot seem to find it for sale anywhere (that ships to the US at least). :(

  2. You know what? I absolutely love the finger puppets. I should have known you illustrated them. They are my favorite form you fabulous list. Thanks for all the ideas.

  3. I've been looking for the Push 'n Learn Alphabet Bus, too! Any ideas on where to buy it?