There are so many articles and blogs with long lists as to what your child “needs” for Christmas. The number of plastic toys and battery-operated devices is overwhelming and somewhat sickening. It can be really challenging for a parent to decide what the absolute “essential” things are, especially if you are looking for Christmas gifts. You might be unsure what your child will like to play with, or what they will naturally gravitate towards since they aren’t old enough to have a “thing” quite yet.
But don’t worry! If you are looking for a developmentally appropriate gift for a toddler under 3 years old, we’ve narrowed down a list to the top 5 most important tools to facilitate your child’s growth.
1. A Pikler Triangle
My 16 month old son will not stop climbing. Most children around this age have the desire to climb, and it is our responsibility to create a safe environment for them to explore that new skill. The perfect gift for a child in this age group is a pikler triangle!
There will always be snowy, cold, or rainy days, so outdoor climbing toys might already be in your backyard, but you really need an indoor climbing toy like a pikler triangle. Both my 16 month old son and my 3 year old son LOVE our Wiwiurka pikler triangle and have fun on it for hours at a time. They climb it, slide down the ramp, and when they get tired, they throw a blanket over it and use it like a tent. It is truly a multipurpose toy that is absolutely worth the investment and collapses up flat and stores away easily. Of course, you won’t want to put this beautiful work of art away, especially if you have a playroom you can display this stunning piece of furniture in.
After lots of research and testing, we can say that we highly recommend the Wiwiurka pikler triangle.
Wiwiurka Pikler Triangle
Use coupon code BALLARD10 to get 10% off your order!
2. A Weaning Table
A basic Montessori principle is that a child should be able to use their own furniture. Most toddlers are forced to live in an adult-sized world. Getting kids their own size furniture is more important for their development than you might think. One of our favorite child-sized furniture items is called a “weaning table”. They call it a weaning table because it helps the baby transition from breast to the table.
Toddlers with their own table are usually more independent eaters and show a greater interest in food. It helps them to be able to feed themselves, as well. Here are just a few of our favorites:
3. A Set of Wooden Blocks
It is important for your child to work on hand-eye coordination. By 18 months, a child should be able to stack 3-5 blocks, so it is good to start building that skill, early. While any blocks would technically work, you should see which you would prefer to look at or maybe which is the best for your child. Some people prefer the basic wooden Melissa and Doug blocks. We actually prefer the look of the Uncle Goose ABC blocks. While they are more expensive, they are bigger and quite beautiful to look at if you intend of having a nice-looking playroom!
4. Wooden or Plastic Animals
While toy animals seem fun in themselves, they also encourage other skills, as well. I do sign language with my son, so it helps me to build his vocabulary. They are known for increasing speaking ability (animal names and sounds). They also stimulate creative play. Schleich is best known for its high-quality plastic animal toys, but Learning Resources have animals for slightly less. We have these woodland animals and these ocean animals that are both on sale for Black Friday so grab them quick!
5. Peg People
While the Grimm’s peg dolls are absolutely amazing, not everyone wants to blow their budget on one single toy. Thankfully, Joanna Gaines, the saint that she is, designed a beautiful set of peg people farm animals that you can get from Target for under $13. There is also an adorable Farm School Bus to drive them around in and some cute wooden toy trees to go alongside. Get all 3 for under $43 at Target (less than a set of Grimms Peg Dolls!)
If you want to be crafty and really budget-friendly, you can I got a blank set of peg dolls on Etsy blank peg people on Amazon, both for under $15. You can paint them non-toxic acrylic paint or watercolor. These look so simple, but I promise you, toddlers LOVE these things.
Bonus Idea: Try to convince family and friends to purchase zoo, play park, or museum passes for your child! Nothing says “Montessori” more than getting out into the world and getting real-life experiences!
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has created hesitation in experiences like this, Story Land has taken steps to help its guests feel comfortable giving the joy of summer fun with their new Dayback Guarantee. If their operating schedule is disrupted by an unexpected closure for reasons related to COVID-19, Season Passholders will have their passes extended into the 2022 Season for an equal number of operating days, at no additional cost.
So go ahead and get that season pass to Story Land, since it’s reassuring to know that theme parks proved they can operate safely even during a pandemic!
Storyland Black Friday Sale!
Sale ends December 7th so hurry!
To learn more about the Montessori Method of teaching and which toys are the most beneficial for your child’s development, grab a copy of The Montessori Toddler.