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I cannot believe it’s already time for Christmas shopping! With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things for boys & girls ages 1-3 years old. These are toys we have used and loved that are perfect Christmas gifts for your toddler. Check out the full list on Amazon here. If you’ve got an older kiddo, check out my space-themed Christmas gift guide here.
I have this as #1 on this list because this is the BEST gift for a toddler. Not all water tables are created equal – we’ve experienced that the hard way. We purchased this for Justus’s 1 year birthday after A LOT of research and an earlier “fail.” This water table is endless fun and, unlike other water tables, it is sturdy and has lots of options to keep everyone entertained. Our 16-month-old AND 4-year-old enjoy this table a lot!
This super cute and fun summer craft is from our resident arts-and-crafts director: my sister-in-law, Amanda! And, of course, her sweet daughter, Lily. This tissue paper craft doubles as sensory play because what kid doesn’t love playing with tissue paper?! It’s also fantastic fine motor practice for your little one!
Supplies for Tissue Paper Watermelon Craft:
Card stock/thin cardboard or paper plate
Green, red and pink tissue paper
Black material for seeds (tissue paper, construction paper, paint, etc.)
With most of us on COVID lockdown these days, I thought it would be a good time to put out some sensory play ideas that you could utilize with your baby and/or toddler! Here’s some of our favorites. If you use any of these, make sure to tag us and let me know how it goes: @themommyofmayhem.
A word about activities with my 3 year old: they NEVER go the way I want them to. And I mean NEVER. And that’s alright. I think it’s all part of what God is teaching me through motherhood: that it’s OK to not be in control, that things will not go as planned and it will be alright. And sometimes, it’ll be even BETTER than I anticipated. Motherhood is messy, and at times turbulent, but I’m grateful for all the lessons God’s teaching me along the way.
1. The Smelling Game
This is one of my favorites, especially while cooking. I’ll take out different spices or ingredients and let the kids smell them (and, if they’re safe to eat, touch them). Our favorites are cinnamon, lemon, ginger, and coffee beans. When Finn was a baby, I had a spinning spice rack and we would put it on the floor and he loved to spin it around and shake the spice bottles. I would open up different spices and let him smell them. Now that Finn is older, we’ll play the “smelling game” where I blindfold him and he has to guess what ingredients I have based on the smell! He loves it!
2. Water beads
Water beads are so fun! They’re colorful and squishy, and it’s fun to watch them expand. I would recommend some caution with them, though, because they’re easy for little ones to ingest AND they can be messy. We only play with water beads on the porch these days. For Justus, I’ll put the water beads in a little plastic ziplock bag and tape it to the high chair tray so he can squish them around.
3. Painting (in a bag!)
Of course, you could just let your kids play with finger paint, but that’s really messy…
I don’t know about you, but just before dinner time is one of the toughest parts of the day. Trying to get a meal together while my kids are just DONE and I’m just DONE…is, well, how us moms lose our minds, amiright?!?
I thought I’d share some of my go-to activities that help me get through meal prep. The goal with these activities is that Finn can play by himself with minimal supervision (so, for example, painting/gluing/cutting something would be a big no-no). Also, I try to pick something that he can’t play with ALL the time. For example, he pretty much always has access to his trucks, but he doesn’t have unlimited access to his Play Doh. These activities might give me a solid 15 minutes of (mostly) uninterrupted time to get the bulk of the meal prep done. For most of these activities, I put Finn into his high chair or sit him at the kitchen table so I can keep an eye on him.