Okay, folks. Here it is…a last minute gift guide for children seven and under! If you’ve finished your Christmas shopping, please use this as a guide for upcoming birthdays and spend your extra time helping me wrap! If not, get ready to take some notes.
Blocks. I think wooden blocks are the most underrated gift of this century. They last forever (seriously, my children are still using my husband’s large scale Playschool blocks from when he was a child) and I have seen some serious creativity and imagination going on with this simple, timeless toy. The best part? One set is not enough.
*Simple, wooden blocks from a Mom and Pop New England based natural toy company, Pure Play Kids
*Rainbow, pint-sized mini block from a local Vermont favorite company, Nova Naturals
*3D blocks of various shapes and sizes from Fat Brain Toys
*Uber-granola re-purposed tree pieces from Waldorf Treasures
When opened up, there are no bells and lights but I can give you my 100% guarantee that this is the gift that will get pulled out over and over and over. All ages, all genders.
My Little Sandbox: A dear friend gave one of these to my son for his third birthday. He’s six and still plays with it several times a week. It is a kid-sized sandbox, which comes with a spill-mat and a fun theme. My son’s sandbox is “Doggie Daycare” complete with various dog breeds, bowls, a doghouse, rakes, toys, and the hands-down favorite pooper scooper. My daughter is receiving a kitty tea party sandbox this year. She’s literally been begging for one of her own, watching her older brother have fun with his. The best part of this toy? It prompts independence, imagination and quiet. NOTE: This one is perfect for when you are cooking dinner and need a bit of space! You can get these at KidsCity in South Burlington!
The mini-kick scooter: This compact scooter is good for a variety of ages also. It has two wheels in the front, making it totally manageable even for the physically daring young two year old. It’s pricey, but will last years, become a surefire staple for outdoor play and will give those little growing muscles a real work out!
Dress up clothes! A superhero or fairy cape plus a magic wand? Pure kiddie delight. For a quick gift head over to The Dress-up Room at Jamie Two Coats in Shelburne. The Dress-up Room is so thorough and magical I had to capitalize it. Seriously, do your little budding girl or guy a favor and head over.
Books! I have always been a big fan of giving books and have recently discovered the joy a child exhibits when given a gift certificate. Even a preschooler will feel excitement and anticipation over holding the certificate safe in a special spot and having the opportunity to choose his/her own books. For a real delight, include a “Mommy and Me” or “Daddy and Me” or even “Auntie and Me” voucher and take them out for some hot cocoa and a special treat afterwards. Hint: If you head over to The Flying Pig in Shelburne, you don’t have to travel far for that special date. The newly opened Next Door Café is, literally next door and will be sure to please all kinds of palates.
Stocking Shortcut: To ease the stress of having to fill stockings with many small goodies, follow this simple rule: A book, a candy and a laugh. We give each child an inexpensive paperback book, (chapter books are great for nighttime joint reading), a special candy and something sure to provide giggles all around. (Jar of olives, a can of cranberry sauce, etc.)
A kid-powered board game: Our personal favorite is Eebo’s Never Forget a Face. It’s a classic memory game with a twist. Each matching set of cards has a child of a different nationality pictured on it. This one is great for a variety of ages and you will have fun together trying to remember what nationalities are pictured on the cards!
[typography font=”Delius Swash Caps” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]Remember, whatever you buy, shop local![/typography]