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By: Nina Meyer

When buying gifts for toddlers, it's good to have a parents opinion.

There are so many things that LOOK cool and SOUND great, but, until you've experienced the true joy, panic and shock of what toddlers can do with those gifts, you could end up buying something thats doomed for the trash.

Here's some pointers from those of us who have been down this path already.

THE WORST - Beads and Glitter

Anything with thousands of tiny beads or glitter. As soon as you’ve experienced this you’ll understand why. Remember the joke ten years back of mailing someone a “glitter bomb”? That is literally what you are gifting if you go down this path. Those beads and glitter will be EVERYWHERE. For years. In hair, on babies, in every corner of your house, Ugh, lord save your carpet. Walk slowly from the glitter bead bomb and towards something you’ll get thanked for.


Really Big Coloring Books ​I mean - REALLY BIG. Like A GIANT COLORING BOOK, like half the size of a table. A toddler who likes to draw will think it is SO cool. My son who said like 3 words said his first, “WOW” when he got into it. It’s ​big enough to keep them enthralled and entertained for hours spread out on the floor. Or you can just get a big easel and paper and draw cartoons on it yourself like you see here.

These are also great for working on sharing, as two can work on either side of the book without having to touch each other (the horror). These coloring books are manufactured in the United States of America and guaranteed 100 percent safe with non-toxic inks, paints and dyes. LOVE IT.


A whistle. Seems unassuming right? Cute thing to tie on a ribbon?

Well, before you grab that dainty little sound blaster in the checkout stand of your store to round out your gift bag ask yourself one question, “what would it feel like to have this blown in my face at full volume for 4-6 hours?” ehhh...see where i’m going?

Whistles are gifts that only a parent should buy, so they have no one to blame but themselves.


Sound Button Books like ​Hear Bear Roar ​and ​Busy Noisy Farm​. These books are FIRST-RATE FANTABULOUS for working on mimicking sounds.

They teach a love of reading, interacting, and duplication, while holding attention for hours. The sound effects are engaging and cute and a reasonable volume.

And the buttons are easy for curious fingers to push. Always a great go-to gift.


Guess what toddlers do with makeup? They cover themselves with it.

And then all their friends with it. And then they attack their parents with it. And then they eat some of it.

And then they run around with wide red lip mouths and purple black glitter eyes and scare all the babies.

A caboodle full of wet and wild may seem like a cute idea but in reality, the lipstick toddlers don't eat, will end up smeared across faces and walls.

All the party guests will go home looking a lot more like Freddy Kruger than Dolly Parton. A BETTER OPTION! - CLIMBING TOYS

Like this:

This wonderful invention may be a bit (ok a lot) more pricey than a makeup kit, but you won’t have to clean stains off of your walls and every other reachable surface so it just might be worth the investment.

Safe climbing toys are a spectacular way to teach fine motor skills, promote independence and gain self awareness (not to mention help children learn balance and coordination).

It’s a great way to burn energy (no more dreading rainy days!) Foldable, easy to store, well constructed and will last for years. Also, BONUS, it can keep those little tikes from climbing on the coffee table! couches... bookshelves, the tv cabinet etc.. etc etc.

A sure crowd pleaser.


Markers ​are​ legitimately the worst.

I don’t know why so many people are ok with markers for toddlers but please don’t give them to my child.

They stain EVERYTHING they touch, bleed through coloring book paper, and once the cap is off for like 5 minutes it’s BROKEN and now you have an aggravated little angel covered head to toe in purple stripes throwing a level 37 temper tantrum because their marker doesn’t work anymore.

Yes, granted, the color pigmentation of crayons is not as great. But really, is little Timmy getting a spot in the Louvre with his teenage mutant ninja turtle?

Washable crayons are actually washable, they don’t dry out and if they break in half, now you have two crayons!

Either way: Here’s a better toy to spend your hard earned money on.



These books are awesome! Inexpensive, zero mess, and endless fun.

Your little Monet can find hidden treasures by using their completely pigment free water pen.

They can color to their hearts’ desire while learning about filling in the lines, animals, plants, dinosaurs and more.

Best of all, once the pages dry the fun starts over and your child can color them again and again.

And EXTRA best of all, It’s JUST water, so when Shirley tries to “mark” anything else, it’s nothing!

I love these things.


I have not personally experienced slime, but it's come up time and again from my fellow parents. They tell me it stains. Oh does it stain....It sticks to EVERYTHING. It ruins clothes, hardens in hair. Smells like candy coated vomit. I think this is self explanatory. Just don’t buy it.

Buy this instead:


Go big or go home and blast all the gifts off the playing field by filling a ​Radio Flyer Wagon​ with toys like the ​Building Bath Pipes​, & ​Alphabet Bath Letters.

An old adage of raising toddlers is if all else fails, put them outside or in water. And it works!

Going outside gives them fresh air, different sounds, new space, running and mud.

My favorite outside toy right now is the ​Radio Flyer Wagon​ - It’s super fun for them to pull around their backyard.

It’s also great as a replacement stroller on short walks or at parks.

Littles can easily get in and out of the wagon without all the hassle of multiple straps and awkward seats.

My theory on the second option of the adage is that a warm bath is soothing like a womb.

But unlike a womb, we can add the joy and education of bath toys! I love the Alphabet Bath Letters​.

Toddlers can easily stick them up on the bath walls and practice their alphabet. My son started liking them when he was around a year old, and at two and a half he still plays with them every bath!

They’re educational, but don’t actually make the bath messy like some bath stickers or bath crayons. And the ​Building Bath Pipes​ are great for practicing hand eye coordination and learning about cause and effect.

So there you have it. Some bests, and some worsts.

Hopefully I helped or at least made you giggle. Either way, heres a picture we paid a lot of money for, and the photographer stuck my sisters kid in a bucket.

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