Baby & Toddler Gift Guide

How to get the most out of your gift-giving this season!

Guest Blogger:

adrini fobes

Gwinnett County Teacher & Parent

No matter how your family celebrates, the end of the year festivities can be such an exciting time for all of us! Let’s extend that joy to include growth and development with gifts that are fun and rewarding. Here are several toys and books that will capture your little learner’s imagination through play. 

0 to 1 Year Olds

Infants and babies are learning constantly – holidays included! Consider items that will grow with your learner.

Colorful foam or rubber blocks feel great in little hands. They’ll also be useful down the road for stacking, sorting, building, and even identifying letters and numbers if your blocks display them!

Water toys provide practice scooping and dumping, which will translate to movements like eating, throwing, and writing. Helping your child’s little hands get comfortable with fluid twists and turns will reap big benefits down the road!

For infants and babies, reading books is an adventure! Help them be successful by keeping your book experiences short, catchy, and tactile.

Board books are always a great idea for eager hands. Books with bright colors and a rhythmic feel will excite little ears all the way through Pre-K and Kindergarten!

Some letters may be made for use in the bathtub, but your future bookworm will love holding on to them anywhere! These will also come in handy for letter and number recognition.

2 to 3 Year Olds

Toddlers are on-the-go and learning critical social skills. Pretend play and fine motor practice are always a safe bet!

This is a great age for SHORT, engaging board games as they learn how to take turns. Fun-shaped and colorful pieces in a game are a wonderful start!

Sorting toys will grow with our children through lower elementary school as we learn counting, math facts, patterning, and more. Plus, toys with unique shapes like colorful houses and family members will encourage lots of dialogue from your little learner.

Parents know toddlers love testing their independence. Watch them flex those “I can do it myself” skills with retelling pieces that let them take charge of the story!

Toddlers read with their hands as much as their eyes, so think about picking a book with lots of real-world elements. Books with familiar foods, places, animals, etc. come alive when paired with a toy or object that matches the story!

Colorful felt pieces of different shapes and items will let your little explorer participate as you read, or even retell the story on their own, all while building comprehension and sequencing skills.

4 to 5 Year Olds

Let’s get our Pre-K learners ready for school with toys that encourage skill building and cooperative play opportunities!

In addition to building critical spelling and letter-recognition skills, card games are FUN! Adding a card dispenser to your game will give your future spelling bee champ a little fine motor practice, too.

For families that already have tiled magnets, we know building with them is a lesson in perseverance. We can expand on engineering and imagination skills, too, with snap-on tile toppers!

Our Pre-K learners are ready to participate! Try books with silly, interactive elements paired with toys that will challenge their connection building.

Our Pre-K learners are starting to understand books beyond the pages with skills like connecting and questioning. This is a great stage to try an easy-reading non-fiction title. Adding in a corresponding age-appropriate toy can help us trim tricky concepts into bite-size pieces.

A floor puzzle is great for motor skills and spatial awareness, but it’ll also be a strong conversation starter when paired with a new matching book. As you complete the puzzle together, encourage lots of comparisons, connections, predictions, and more!

Families, these are just a few of the many ways we can encourage thought and exploration through gifts. From puzzles to books to bathtubs, the opportunities are endless to sprinkle in a little early learning magic throughout this holiday season. 

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