20 Awesome Gifts Ideas for Babies & Toddlers

toddler gift

Over the past three years, I’ve truly come to appreciate the power of a good book or toy: to teach a new skill, to spark creativity and to bring joy to our day.

Out of the many books and toys we have been blessed to receive as gifts, certain ones definitely stand out from the pack. I’ve compiled a list of our top 20 most used and beloved books and toys of the first 2 years. If you are shopping for a baby or toddler this year, here are some tried and true gift ideas!

20 of Our Favorite Books & Toy Gifts

(And Why We Love Them!)


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1. Safari: A Photicular Book (18 Month-Any Age)

What We Loved: This book focuses on jungle animals and uses photos that appear to move when you turn the page! It’s truly a beautiful book. Although we only own the Safari one, this book is part of a series of photicular books with different themes, such as Ocean,Jungle, etc.

2. All of Baby: Nose to Toes by Victoria Addler (First year +)

What We Loved:
This book is a fun way to rehearse the parts of the body with your baby/toddler in a sing-songy way. Very cute!

3. Countablock Board Book (1 year +)

What We Loved:
This book is full of bright, colorful pictures and is a great way to teach numbers! I plan to get Alphablock this coming year as we work on the alphabet further.

4. Peanut & Grape (1 year +)

What We Loved:
Mostly, this book is just adorable. I have it memorized! 🙂

5. Alphaprints: Colors Board Book (1 year+)

What We Loved:
We’ve had fun learning our colors with this book!

6. Alphaprints 123 Book (1 year+)

What We Loved:
This is from the same series as the book above, but focuses on numbers. I love the use of texture and color!

7. What Am I? Look and See Book (1 year +)

What We Loved:
This cute book has a different animal on each page and gives descriptive clues about each one. I must say though, since it has an owl on it, why isn’t it’s called “Hoo am I?” It just seems like a missed opportunity. 🙂

8. Peppa Pig: First Look and Find(2–3 years)

What We Loved:
This book provides opportunities to hunt for items on the page, but also includes visual interest (if your child isn’t ready for hunting yet!) More than anything, I love how big and sturdy this book is!

9. Tree by Britta Teckentrup (2–5 years)

What We Loved:
This book is absolutely gorgeous and should be kept out of reach of a little one and brought down for story time. It takes you through the cycles of a tree’s life through a year. The illustrations are beautiful!

10. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother (Newborn and Up)

What We Loved:
This has been one of our favorite toys ever. It plays soothing (non-annoying) lullabies, lights up and has a moving seascape. It attaches to the crib (or can be freestanding). Your baby can easily hit the on/off button (which they find exciting) and it can be controlled by a remote. My daughter still likes this toy today! 🙂

11. The Learning Journey: Color & Shape Puzzle (1 year+)

What We Loved: This toy has been one of my daughter’s favorites this year. It’s a great way to learn shapes and colors.

12. Melissa & Doug Nesting & Stacking Cubes(1 Year +)

What We Loved:
Stacking cubes are such a great way to teach spacial awareness, stacking by size and nesting and it also has the alphabet on it! These are a well-worn (and even taped up) toy at our house.

13. Megabloks Building Sets (1 Year+)

What We Loved:
Building and creating!

14. Play-Doh Shape Mats (18 months +)

What We Loved:
My daughter learned her shapes using this toy! Roll out The Play-doh, cut it into shapes (using the cutters) and match to the shapes on the mat. Simple, fun & effective.

15. Lauri Shape & Color Sorter (1–3 years)

What We Loved:
When I received this toy, I honestly thought it looked so boring, but it has been one of the best toys we’ve ever had! We’ve spent countles hours learning how to put the pegs in and sorting by color and by shape.

16. Playschool Elephant Ball Popper (6mo- 2.5 years +)

What We Loved:
This toy turns on and allows you to feed the elephant balls and watch them fly in the air through his trunk! It’s so much fun , especially for playdates!

17. Leapfrog: My Pal Violet (1 year +)

What We Loved:
This toy is cuddly and cute and can be personalized to say your child’s name, favorite food, etc. Each paw contains a button with a different function. The boy equivalent is My Pal Scout. So cute!

18. Vulli Sophie la Girafe (2mo+)

What We Loved:
This teething toy/ learning giraffe lived up to it’s weirdly huge reputation. My daughter was obsessed with it! However, I also know people whose kids didn’t take to it. In our case, it was priceless! 🙂

19. Giga Tent Hide and Seek Lucky Tunnel (1 year+)

What We Loved:
We’ve had a lot of great times playing hide and seek and rolling items through this tunnel. It’s compact and can be easily be put away when not in use.

20. Aquadoodle Mat(1 year+)

What We Loved:
I’ve mentioned this mat before, but it is a fantastic way to play, write and learn colors, all with just a waterpen! It’s truly a fun, no-mess way to “paint” and draw. The pens do stop working at some point, so you may need extra ones.

Know a grandma or friend who might like this list? Make sure to share it using the share buttons at the top. 🙂

Also, this month:

4 Replies to “20 Awesome Gifts Ideas for Babies & Toddlers”

  1. Thank you for this and for your other post about great toys to buy. So helpful! Makes it easy for me to shop for my toddler. Now my Christmas shopping for her is complete. 🙂

  2. I love this!! So fun to have all my favorite of her toys on one list!!! xoxo

    1. so glad it’s helpful!

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