Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Every Christmas, my kids give me a list of the toys that they want. No slash that, according to them, they NEED. When they were little, like a good mother, I would buy what I could off of that list. I was so excited to see the look of excitement on their faces, only to be disappointed to find the toy broken or unused soon then after.
Wanting to save money, space and sanity, I started watching, really watching the toys that they played with time and time again. I noticed the type of toys at the kids' pre-school and how, in the end, the simpler the toy the more useful it was.
I love guidelines and so I came up with a guideline to help me buy gifts during the holiday. Below you will find 10 categories and the toys that have been the winners in my house year after year! *For reference, I have three kids ranging in age from two to nine, my oldest two are boys and the youngest a girl.
1. Buy Something They Want
This is the toy they are dreaming about, the one that they saw in the YouTube video or the Amazon catalog. This is their must-have toy! Since this is so personal, I will not list any suggestions.
2. Something They Need
Between endless afterschool activities and hobbies, there is always something that is needed. This is the time of year when I get the new sports bags, water bottles, balls, or any other designer accessories that I may not usually splurge for.
3. Something to Wear
We have been blessed to receive bags full of hand-me-downs throughout the years, so the kids don't typically get new clothes, and when they do, it comes from Costco. Christmas is the time when we can make that exception. Name brand, favorite team attire, or in the case of my nine-year-old his favorite YouTuber’s merch.
4. Something to Read
You can’t walk into a room in my house without finding a stack of books. We continuously visit our local library to find new stories. These are our favorites and a permanent feature on our bookshelf
For the LOVE of Reading
My older son is on the cusp of wanting to read books that are outside of his reading level, so we started doing audiobooks on his iPod and he loves it! This year we are getting him his very own Audible account. They have a fantastic introductory offer you should check it out!
5. Something to Do
In past years we have gotten kids tickets to plays, passes to museums and stacks of movie tickets.
6. Board Games
I'm a sucker for board games with the kids. I love the simplicity of it, how my boys will team up against me. The life lessons of learning how to win and lose gracefully. Below are my family’s favorites:
Pre - Schoolers
Fun for the Whole Family
Are you squeamish about bugs? I was too, but in the last few years we have had ant farms, butterflies, and rolly pollies. It has been the coolest thing to watch these guys grow. Here is a list of my favorite science experiments:
8. Bath & Body
Right after Christmas, I have the best smelling kids. I was joking with friends that ¼ of my kid's gifts are for the tub. But here is how I justify it:
1. They ask me if they can take a bath (hello, yes please)
2. Every year all of the bath bling gets used
3. It is all contained in the bathroom, no mess, no fuss.
This year I have stepped up my bathroom swag and have found some fantastic new items. Check it out!
9. Make Believe
If you are a first-time parent or grandparent of a toddler, I will encourage you to buy from this list. The toys may seem basic, but they have been a staple in our playroom and the kids can do anything with them. Spaceships have been created, pirate ships in search of treasure and fortresses house army soldiers (can you tell that I have boys). But don’t fret. if you have a little princess. Mine is 2 years and will play with the toys once she can get her hands on them.
10. Something for Outside
California weather allows us to be outside yearlong! Here are my go-to, must-have to keep the kids entertained.
This list is my guide for Christmas, I find so much joy seeing the kids playing with a toy years after it was bought, re-reading a favorite book or the excitement on their face as they watch crystals grow. One of the pure pleasures in life is watching the wonder of the world unfold through my child's eyes.
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