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For the last several years, we have slowly been cutting more and more back on Christmas gifts. We used to go over the top. Our thinking was, because we don’t really buy our kids any other toys, unless it’s one of their birthdays, we’d just go big on Christmas. Well, that was stupid because spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean more fun. It just means a playroom full of unplayed-with toys — that are dumped out of baskets littering the floor.
In the spirit of simplicity, here’s a roundup of 20 great toddlers gifts that you can buy for under $15 and that never go out of style!
1. Mr. Potato Head
An oldie but a goodie, Mr. Potato Head is loads of fun! At $9, he is priced just right. Your toddler will love creating fun and funny faces.
2. Bathtub Finger Paint
Your toddlers will love this bathtub finger-paint soap! They will just THINK they are getting messy.
3. Coloring Books
Coloring and activity books are always a great gift, and can easily be stuffed in a stocking.
4. Yo Yo
Though this is best for older toddlers, the Yo Yo is one of those classic toys, and at sometime in your child’s life they should own.
5. Lego Mini Figures
For the Lego-loving toddler, pick up a Lego Mini Figure surprise pack! Each pack contains one mini figure for your little one to collect.
6. Hot Wheels Car
Our home has mostly hard floors, which is a dream for our toddlers who love Hot Wheels cars. At a buck a piece, you can’t go wrong. Not to mention, these car toys last for years!
We have massive amounts of broken crayons in this house that we need to melt down. I love opening a new box of unbroken crayons, all organized and neat. Yeah, that doesn’t last long, but it’s a gift the kids will love!
Our 3-year-old has just discovered puzzles and is obsessed. The beauty of toddlers (at least ours!) is they want to do the same puzzle over and over.
Let your toddler’s imagination go wild with Play-Doh. Did you know Play-Doh has been around for over 50 years? While there are fancy sets to make this or that, we find kitchen utensils do a good job of making fun shapes.
10. Silly Putty
For children 3 and up, Silly Putty will blow their mind. It stretches, bounces, and can be molded into different forms.
11. Cardboard box
I’m so not even kidding. A big box would be my kid’s DREAM! Pair this with washable markers, and you have a fort, a playhouse, a cave, or anything else your child’s mind can imagine.
Price: FREE! (if you don’t have one, put a call out of Facebook — someone is bound to have one in their garage!)
I’m warning you now: this toy won’t last too long if your toddlers are anything like mine … It will get all bent out of shape! But, before it goes haywire, this walking spring toy will amaze your kid! Make sure to take it to the top of the stairs, and let it walk down. Their mind will be BLOWN!
Sometimes simpler is better. For extra fun, teach your toddler to throw a ball to your dog, and teach it to play fetch. Keep everyone busy.
Bubbles! I stocked up when the summer toys went on sale at Target. I thought they were hidden in the garage, but the toddlers found them.
15. Drinking Straw Glasses
This will blow your toddler’s mind! Liquid swirling around their eyeballs before drinking? YES!
16. Color Bath Drops
Change the color of your toddler’s bath water with these fun color bath drops! I do have to say, the first time we did this, our boys FREAKED out. They since scream for them, but the first time was a learning experience!
Decorate the sidewalk or garage, or consider making a chalkboard wall (we did, so fun!). Chalk is another one of those classic toys that doesn’t cost much but toddlers love!
18. Paint with Water
Want minimal mess? No problem! You just need a small cup of water for your toddler to dip his or her paint brush into for this fun painting activity.
19. Bubble Wrap
Let’s give it up for FREE! Okay, so this one is going to be noisy, but it will cause your toddlers to erupt with laughter. Any packages that come in this Christmas with bubble wrap, just stash it. The kids will love it!
Price: FREE! (From our moving experience last year, Home Depot was cheapest if you want to purchase.)
20. Train Whistle
We had no idea when we moved into our house that we would be able to hear a train. At first I thought it would be annoying. Fortunately it only comes around one time a day, and when it does, the toddlers light up. I am thinking we will get 2 of these but have a rule that they can only blow it when the train comes by.