Toddler birthday gifts

This topic is a common one for me considering I have a little munchkin falling in this age category.  What do you buy another toddler for their birthday party without breaking the bank, but something that they will enjoy? Toddlers are the most interested, inquisitive and adventurous little souls, so ideally the gift should be something to enhance these attributes and make them interested in playing/using the gift over and over again.  Creative type toys would be top of my list, but many of these can be expensive, like Lego, Tolo.  The following would be my top 10 list of gifts for the toddler age category and all of these fall in the under R50 price range:

Balls – Balls give toddlers endless fun particularly as playing with them usually means an interaction with mom or dad.  There are so many options in the balls category for little tots from inflatable beach balls, soccer, rugby balls to the never ending games one can play with a tennis ball.  My favourite though for a toddler is one of those very bouncy balls that light up when they are thrown.  My little one gets such delight from throwing it around! (available at most toy shops for around R20)

Blocks – blocks come in plastic, foam or wood, but I feel wood is the best to get.  Kids can be creative building towers, houses and mini villages so it is great for both imagination and fine motor development. (available from most toy stores and retailers)

Magnetic drawing board – I recently discovered these, and I am so glad I did!  We were going on an aeroplane with our 17 month old and weren’t sure what we were going to do to entertain her on the two hour flight.  Magnetic drawing board to the rescue!  She was so captivated that she could draw/scribble and then wipe it out and start over, it kept her occupied for ages.  It is also a great learning tool for teaching numbers, letters, objects, counting etc. (available at CNA for R30)

Play Dough – Toddlers love squishing things between their fingers so this is a great gift to give.  It also enables them to get creative and make objects and develops fine motor skills.  (available at most toy shops for around R15 per tub)

Magnetic fishing set – This is for the older toddler aged 2+ as it needs a bit more hand/eye co-ordination.  You will see the joy in their eyes when they “catch” fish and if there are two toddlers in the house you could have a competition as to who can catch the most fish. (available at Kidz Appeal in Plumstead for R45)

Sticker books – These are great for boys and girls as it is a fun game to find out where in the book the stickers match up and need to be stuck.  Usually these books will be educational and aid teaching of colours, objects, numbers, counting too.  (available at most toy shops and stationers from R20 up)

Tea set / picnic set – possibly costing a little more than R50 but worth every cent.  This will encourage imagination and make believe type games and you will one day walk into your child’s room and see her having a picnic or tea with all her teddies or dolls! (I found a lovely Winnie-the-Pooh porcelain tea set at Toys ‘R Us for R60 recently)

Telephone – another one that is more than R50 but worthwhile to get as it will amuse the kids regularly, particularly if there are buttons to press or noises that it makes.  As soon as they start talking they will also enjoy babbling into the phone when they “phone” Granny. (I got a nice Fisher Price one at Pick ‘n Pay for around R70 as a gift for a 1 year old)

Puzzles – a good ol’ traditional toy and a source of entertainment for young and old!  For little tots though, make sure you get an age appropriate puzzle.  For smaller tots the large wooden pieces that are easy to grab with stocky fingers and for older tots, choose interlinking puzzle pieces.  (available at toy shops, retailers and stationers)

Memory Game Cards – These are more suited for a 3 year old tot.  She’ll have fun trying to match things that are alike, and is likely to squeal in delight whenever she’s successful. (available at most toy shops)

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