I grew up with a younger sister and we were both stereotypical girls- lovers of all things American Girl and Barbie. Now I'm a mom to twin toddler boys and this year will be the first year they will do more with Christmas gifts besides drool on the wrapping paper. If like me, you're not a fan of toy guns or trucks, here's a list of great gift options for toddler boys. And they are all under $60, because as much as I love her, I am not Oprah (dear Oprah, if you are reading this, please don't smite me).
1. Melissa & Doug Big Roscoe Bear
My sons are just about to turn two and one of them is obsessed with stuffed animals. It's both adorable and heartening to watch your little guy treat a toy gently. I will admit that when I was pregnant, I foolishly thought stuffed friends = dolls = girl toys, and apparently so did my baby shower guests because we have a paltry amount of furry pals in this house. Santa can fix that.
2. Play Kitchen
There is zero wrong with a toolkit for little boys, as playing with a screwdriver is great for fine motor skills. But if you're in the market for a "pretend" toy, the play kitchen is where it's at. They provide years of play and work great for close in age siblings or play dates. Plus, practice here will get your little guy that much closer to learning how to make Mommy breakfast in bed. Score.
3. Duplo Lego Set With Letters
What is a Christmas without Legos under the tree? Sure, they promise excruciating pain when you step on one with bare feet, but they help fuel imagination, motor skills and that blissful state of being known as quiet independent play. It's a Christmas miracle in a box.
4. Dress-up Props
With the massive displays of Elsa and Anna dresses assaulting your eyes in stores it can be easy to forget that they also make dress up kits for boys. My own kids are big fans of wearing their winter hats around the house, so this trunk would be a big hit.
5. VTech Spin and Learn Color Flashlight
If your toddler is working their way out of a crib and into a big kid bed, this play flashlight is a great way to help them deal with the transition. It displays light beams in five different colors and can count to three. I'm not saying it will help your kid fall asleep, because it's awesome and they will likely want to play with it all night, but it just might stop them for crying for you quite so often.
6. Musical Instruments
Yes, they're loud but musical instruments are a necessary evil for the toddler crew learning about rhythm and cause and effect. This kit is made in gender neutral colors and is insect themed for added fun. Plus, all the separate instruments fit inside the drum for easy storage, or for taking to Grandma's house.
7. Tree House Bed Tent
This is my hands-down favorite gift for older toddlers. This tent has a fitted sheet on the bottom that fits over your child's mattress, turning their boring bed into a secret hide out. It's a great for houses with limited play space. I wish they made one for grown ups.
8. Fisher-Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm
Little People are perfect for chubby toddler hands just learning how to play pretend. Lots of their kits connect together to form bigger play worlds and they have some that are licensed to Disney, if your tot is into specific movie characters. If you're tech-savvy this version, Fisher-Price Little People Apptivity Barnyard has a sleeve for an iPad and free interactive app.
9. Tobbles Stacking Puzzle
They stack, they spin, they balance- and when displayed on an end table it looks less like a toy and more like a funky piece of art. I would absolutely grab a glass of wine and mess around with these after the kids go to sleep.
10. LeapFrog My Own Leaptop
I cannot wait to order these. Toddlers are interested in everything their parents have and if your child is anything like mine, they are obsessed with computers. These Leaptops are simple. They do letters, songs and animal noises and you can program it to help your child learn how to spell his name, which makes for a pretty nifty gifty.
( Feature image: Shutterstock.com, all other images via Amazon.com)