The Fashion Magpie Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Les Best Christmas Gifts for Kids Under 3.

I’ve received a number of requests for a roundup of gifts for children.  Below, my top picks — many of them tested in our home or in the homes of parents whose opinions I trust, or just solidly reviewed online (you know I love my Amazon reviews).  (Also, the adorable boy above is wearing these monogrammed jammies.  More great Christmas jammies here.)

+This little red riding cape is absolutely precious.  Mini’s favorite part of “ballet” (must be put in heavy quotations — you can hardly call it ballet) is when she and her classmates wave wands and the teachers open up an enormous chest full of tutus and capes.  She always goes for a cape.  (This red one is so darling I might even have her wear it out on the street though!)  There is also a super cute velvet wizard cape by the same brand if you’re shopping for a little boy or prefer something a bit more gender-neutral.  (Imagine packaging it with a box of these classic wonder wands — remember them from when we were kiddos?!)

+The Nutcracker book.  A classic.  Would be darling paired with the cape given the cover design.  Would you find it weird that mini absolutely loves The Night Before Christmas?  We read it year-round in our house.  Before bed, I let her pick two books from her bin.  This is in heavy rotation.

+Tegu magnet toys.  These are awesome for travel because the parts stick together.  I also love the wooden design and the way they inspire creativity while teaching the principles of physics.

+Vilac Metal Ride-On Car.  I mean, can you even imagine seeing this under the tree as a kiddo?!  Classic and beautiful.  The kind of toy I’d love to see in my house.  For something chic but more affordable: this Janod style.

+Olli Ella kids’ suitcase.  Per the note above, mini loves the part of ballet where they wave their wands and unlock a treasure chest.  I can imagine her infinite joy in owning her own chest.  (Conveniently triples as toy storage, room decor, and travel gear.)

+Giant Box of Crayons.  Who wouldn’t love receiving a huge set of fresh crayons?!  Mini spends a substantial portion of her day coloring; this would be a sight for sore eyes for her.

+Melissa & Doug Expandable Tunnel.  Mini’s second favorite part of ballet: when the teachers set up an obstacle course including this tunnel, where she in turn spends the entire five minutes of gross motor skill development time.  She loves it so much I have even contemplated buying one for our itty bitty Manhattan apartment — the beautiful thing is that this compresses, accordion-style, and can be tucked away for later use.

+Brio Pull-Along Dachsund.  One of mini’s all-time favorite toys.  Aside from her dollbaby and her Duplos, this toy has gotten the most use in our home since she received it.  She has multiple pull-along toys, but this is easily her favorite, and for good reason: because of the design, it’s easy to pull without flipping it over or dragging it on its side.  It has a low, squat shape that makes it easy for toddlers to wheel behind them without a glitch.  The wheels are also super loose in a good way — I have found that her other pull-along toys are kind of janky/creaky.  She used to take this dog to Central Park with her in the summer, running through the splash pads with it.  She still occasionally asks to take it on walks outside.

+Wooden Magnetic Shapes.  A fun toy to preoccupy your kiddo when you’re trying desperately to make dinner/pack lunches and she/he insists on standing with you by the fridge.

+Magnatiles.  I plan to buy these for my nephews, who are a year older than mini, this year.  These get insane reviews.  They are pricey and most kits start at $49; I like this slightly less expensive starter set because I think it has enough tiles to get a kiddo started without seeming dinky.  Not shown here, but another classic brand/set to consider: Brio’s wooden trains.  Mr. Magpie had an entire set when he was little and he still talks about them.

+Vilac Frog Umbrella.  I feel like every kiddo can’t wait for the day to hold his/her own umbrella.  This style from an old-school French brand — known for its well-made wooden toys — is darling.

+Micro Scooter.  This is the top pick on my list for mini this year, but Mr. Magpie thinks she’ll be a little young for it.  I’ve seen her attempt to use them at the playground when kids momentarily abandon theirs and feel she’d get it pretty quickly.  We shall see — if not for Christmas, certainly her birthday.

+Bingggooo Helmet.  No explanation needed.  How freaking cute?!

+Pig the Pug book.  I know I’ve mentioned this on the blog a few times, but this book is one of mini’s all-time favorites.  We’ve read it to her since she was maybe three months old.  The pictures are enormous and whimsical and dynamic, the rhyme is catchy, and the message is solid.  I feel like not as many parents know about this book as some of the other classics — it’d be a good one to add to your bookshelf!

+Melissa & Doug See and Spell Puzzles.  I actually ordered this as a Thanksgiving gift for mini this year.  She’s a little young for it but she’s very into demanding that we spell her name when we color with her.  “Eeee” she says, pointing at the page, waiting for the first letter of her name to be written.  She then skips “m” and demands “ooooohhhh.”  When she sees a string of letters together, she will start singing the ABC song, too.  So it’s not all gelling yet but there’s something there that intrigues her.  I think she’ll enjoy this from the puzzle standpoint alone, and can grow into the letters with time.  For the price, I think this is an excellent gift — $20 and it’s a big, heavy box of beautiful, wooden puzzles!  Solid pick!

+Russian Nesting Dolls.  I had a set of these growing up that I loved.  I think mini would be into these, too, as she’s loved her nesting wooden blocks since a young age, and these have faces for her to point at.  Plus, any toy that nests within itself is a positive in my book.  #spacesaving

+Mukikim Roll-Up Piano.  Run, don’t walk — this classic piano is for some reason marked 50% off on the site!  This is a classic and a nice addition to the deafening drum set your child probably already has.  I love that it can be rolled up and stowed away.  Can you tell I am overly concerned with space issues?!  HA!  #ManhattanProblems.

+Duplos.  OK, mini has loved this set since the day she received it, which was maybe when she was a year?  A little younger?  She loves the little dog (named, for no reason I can recall, “mini benson” in our household?) and the car, too.  The car comment reminds me of a REALLY GOOD STOCKING STUFFER YOU MUST CONSIDER.  I bought my godson this little taxi cab as a memento for his first visit to New York City.  Mini saw it and loved it, so I bought her one, too.  My God, the mileage this little cab has gotten!  She loves that it winds up and speeds across the floor, and that the doors can open and close.  I love that it’s tiny and portable and can entertain her in waiting rooms and restaurants.  Encourage you to add one to your stocking this year!

+Bathtub crayons.  My sister sent mini a set of these out of the blue and they have been the hugest hit.  She doesn’t play with any of her other toys in the bath — only these.  Strongly encourage adding a pack to your gift!

I tried to make the above choices gender-neutral, but had to include some frou-frou-fairy-princess-pink stuff, too…

+Maileg Ballet School.  My mother-in-law and I went in on this the minute we first saw it — like, a year ago.  Maileg makes the most adorable mouse toys, and mini has multiple little sets already.  They are darling and well-made and just so clever.

+Ballet Shoe Tight.  I mean, the cutest.

+I Love Plum tutu.  Mini owns a few of this brand’s tutus and I love the classic, timeless styling.

+Every princess needs her wand.  (A good stocking stuffer!)

+Corolle baby doll.  The classic.  Mini has the mini size and a full size and she adores them both.  She has this set of doll accessories.  I prefer these to the Corolle brand (which she also owns…) because the bottles have that “magic milk” in them that makes it appear to disappear when you tilt it upward — and this is endlessly entertaining to mini.  This set also comes with a little diaper wipes box that opens and mini jars of food whose tops are removable, details that fascinate mini.

+Hape doll high chair.  This is the other big ticket item on our list for mini this year.  I think she’ll go nuts over it.  I also love the coordinating cradle!

+Love Is a Tutu.  This book finally came back in stock and I ordered it immediately.  I’ve heard good things about it!

+Personalized star backpack.  Adorable.  Mini loves toting belongings around in my purses — I think this would get a lot of use.  Also love this one.

+Plan Toys Fairy Tale Blocks.  This is on my shortlist for this Christmas, too.  She loves blocks/building and I like the creative scenes we could build with this set.

+The Monogram Studio Widgeon.  The owners of this lovely e-boutique sent me this monogrammed fleece when mini was born and we got SO MUCH USE OUT OF IT.  Let me sing its praises: a) holds up excellently in the wash; b) hood can be “cinched” with the bow at the top to fit the baby’s head perfectly and keep ears/face warm; c) no zippers or buckles or snaps.   Did you hear that?!  NO ZIPPERS OR BUCKLES OR SNAPS.  Just two easy to pull on/pull off strips of velcro.  Absolutely genius.  Clearly designed by parents.  Her prices include monogramming — but if you want one plain, you can get one here.  GREAT baby gift!

+The cadillac of doll strollers.  OMG how darling?!  Another toy I’d love to see in my home.  I wanted to buy mini this but we ended up with the more affordable Corolle.  Either way, mini loves her stroller and uses it constantly.

+Me Too Stuffed Animal Doll.  People rave about this brand — check out the link to see all the different colors/options and linger over the reviews.  I might gift these to the little ladies in mini’s life — they’re decently priced and would be pretty all wrapped up with a big bow.

+Petite Plume Sugar Plum Nightgown.  I bought this as a gift for one of mini’s friends already — and now that I’ve seen it up close and personal have convinced myself mini needs one, too.  Absolutely adorable!

P.S.  If you’re looking for books as a gift: here is a roundup of my favorite books for mini.  Throw in some of these sweet personalized bookplates from my favorite Etsy resource for children’s stationery.

P.P.S.  A full list of all of my favorite minimagpie products.

P.P.P.S.  Don’t you grow up in a hurry.

10 Comments

  1. I have loved your blog over the years and even still as a single NY lady, enjoy reading about mini and living vicariously through you and all my pregnant or mom friends 🙂 I felt compelled to write now because this post spoke to me simply because you are in NYC now. My mom (and older brother) own two Children’s stores in Manhattan- Kidding Around, and they scream your esthetic from the post above. You’ve got to check it out. The larger one with more options is on 15th closest to 6th ave and there’s another in Grand central 🙂 Happy Shopping! And do mention Taryn recommended it in case you meet them!

    – xoxo Keep up the great work!
    taryn

    1. Hi Taryn! Thank you so much for writing in — so glad we have found each other. I will absolutely check out Kidding Around and mention your name! Thank you for sharing 🙂 xoxo

  2. I am gifting my 18 month old G her first Corolle doll for Christmas this year and think she is going to LOVEEEE her! My 3.5 year old son is getting one of the Bruder cranes. We have a Bruder dump truck already (highly recommend a dump truck for guys and gals… so much possibility of loading and unloading them for HOURS) and love the German brand and how they are built to scale.
    My other tip for you would be any of the Green toys (fire truck, recycling truck, dump truck, bulldozer all currently occupy my home) which are fun, sustainable, and inexpensive. I’m stuck on something to get my 2 month old because… what does she NEED? nothing. And we have a zillion toys already. HMM

    1. AH! I am so excited for your daughter to receive her Corolle! Mini reacted in the most surprising and precious way when she first saw her babydoll — she actually started panting and grabbing at the box, and she was less than a year old! I’ll never forget it.

      Thanks for the tip on Bruder — I wasn’t familiar!! Great idea.

      Oh man, a two month old. Probably just tissue paper? Ha!

      xx

  3. These are such great picks- with 8 nights of Hanukkah to fill, I just immediately added at least half of these to my Amazon cart!

    Also wanted to add that we just got my daughter (who is a few weeks younger than your mini) the starter set of Magnatiles after she discovered them in a friend’s play room and she is obsessed with them. She plays with them by herself and also begs us to “make a box” together and other complicated structures that she then takes great joy in crashing in with her hands. Hours of entertainment. I am also about to order my THIRD set of those Melissa and Doug stickers that you linked awhile ago- so much value for $6, she constantly plays with them and I believe that all the different ways of handling them have helped develop her fine motor skills too.

    1. This is SO good to know – thanks for sharing, Gina. I feel sometimes so clueless about what’s age appropriate and what’s not. I had noticed, for example, that mini loves sitting in her booster seat at the table “sorting” her barrettes into two little bins. I have no idea what she’s actually doing, but she loves the act of placing them into the bin and dumping them out. So I bought her these “counting bears” after a friend suggested them:

      http://bit.ly/2QJZy8d

      And I have been surprised that she’s not super into organizing them. Maybe it’s too much? She loves dumping them out on the floor and flinging them around (weaponizing them).

      Meanwhile, I’ve been astounded by the usage her little broom and mop set have gotten. Like, who would think??

      Anyway, a longwinded way of thanking you for reminding me to let her surprise me with what she’s ready for!

      AND – those Melissa & Doug sticker pads are amazing. I just pulled them out of temporary storage because mini was chewing on the stickers (??) and she was ecstatic to receive them again.

      xoxo

      PS – I think you need this for your mini’s hannukah: http://bit.ly/2PwXPXa

  4. Love all these ideas! There are some fun and unique items on your list. Our big gifts this year are a play kitchen with accessories (including the Pottery Barn Kids Le Creuset sets I bought last year and have been hoarding) and the micro mini deluxe scooter – the baby is OBSESSED with kids on scooters and always points them out (and when we brought her to a toy store recently, it was the only thing she would play with). She’s also getting a doll stroller/bassinet combo, a duplo train set (her favorite “book” these days is the Amazon catalog – she flips through to look at the train sets – the duplo one looks like a ton of fun), a matching mom-daughter bracelet set, and who knows what else. (An addition to our house to store all her things??!)

    1. Love all of your picks! What a lucky lady! Would love to give mini one of those kitchens in particular. I am now realizing my list heavily skews toward the “stowable” in our small New York apartment. I had a kitchen when I was growing up, though (Little Tikes) and I just lived for it. Such a great gift. And isn’t there something magical about having a whole big THING set up by the tree when you wake up!?

      xox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *