I’ve wanted to do a gift guide every year. I’ve successfully (“successfully”?) done it once – but hey, I still stand by my one-item gift guide of 2015!
This year, I’m focusing on my main area of expertise – gifts for girls! My daughters are 6, 3, and 1.5, and every item on this list instantly delighted my girls, is played with frequently, and has stood the test of time in terms of durability and quality. Woohoo!
1. We’ve had this Melissa and Doug dollhouse for 4 years and we love it. It comes with cute wooden furniture and a little wooden doll family. I will say that the roof pegs broke fairly early on so we just stopped using the roof, and this last year the door broke, but I think both of those were due more to misuse than quality. 😉 But the furniture and basic structure of the house have held up beautifully, and the elevator is awesome!
2. These cute Daniel Tiger figures like to hang out in the dollhouse, too. They’re surprisingly high quality and are fun in the tub, too.
3. We added this nursery furniture (which comes with a baby) because every dollhouse needs a baby!
4. Chelsea is a tiny bit big for the dollhouse but we love her! She’s Barbie’s little sister, I think? She’s super cute. She comes with teeny shoes so not for toddlers!
5. Both of my older girls have a family of Calico Critters. They’re so cute, and I love the attention to detail and poseable limbs. Sometimes you can get them cheaper at a place like Michael’s with a coupon.
6. We’ve had this Green Toys tea set for over 5 years and it looks as good as the day we got it! I can’t recommend this set highly enough. We use it daily in our play kitchen, for real tea parties, and in the yard with the baby pool!
7. Is there anything more fun than the satisfying crunch of slicing through the velcro on Melissa and Doug cutting food? I LOVE IT. And, um, my kids do, too. There are lots of varieties!
8. I’m not kidding when I say my girls can spend hours playing with these Melissa and Doug cookies. The cardboard cookie tube didn’t survive our baby chewing on it, but the cookies can still store neatly velcroed on the cookie sheet.
9. I love that these Learning Resources play food sets come in a cute shopping/storage basket. We have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is way too much food – I would stick with one set! There are tons of options!
10. Baby Stella was my oldest daughter’s first baby doll, and she and her sweet magnetic paci went ev.ery.where with us. I love that she’s so soft and snuggly for little ones, but she’s bean-y, too, so she still has a little weight to her and she can sit up.
11. We have this KidKraft cradle and I’m amazed at the quality of it for $25! My youngest daughter (17 months) plays with it every day, shushing whatever doll or stuffed animal she has sleeping in there. #thecutest
12. Last Christmas, my older girls (then 2 and 5) got American Girl Bitty Babies, and Caterina and Flora (I know, I know) have been part of the family ever since. My oldest had seen one at Costco and the only thing she wanted for Christmas was “a Costco baby”. I love how sweetly nurturing they are with their babies. (Note: we got the “welcome home” set that comes with a little bed, another outfit, and a few accessories, but if I was doing it again I would maybe do a diaper bag instead, or just add some Melissa and Doug baby things on my own.)
13. We’ve gotten a few little dresses for Bitty Babies from this Etsy shop, SewCuteDolly – they are adorable, great quality, and super affordable, especially compared to the American Girl catalog prices! I love this sweet little tee for $4.
14. Melissa and Doug wooden blocks are just the best. I love this set and it’s worth every penny. These guys will be around for the grandkids for sure!
15. Every toddler needs some Little People! This farm is a bit different than the one we got when my oldest was a baby, but my 1 and 3 year old both still love to play with it. We also have some zoo animals and the Little People nativity is my favorite!
16. This Design and Drill set has a lot of little pieces, and it has a battery component, both of which usually make me cringe a little. My sister Laurie convinced me it was worth it, and she was so right! My girls LOVE this toy. My 3 year old plays with it almost every day, sorting the screws, “cooking” with them, and, yes, screwing them into the board. My 6 year old loves to follow the patterns and create a design! They’ve learned to be very responsible with picking up the screws and putting them back in the container we use, and only getting to use it while the toddler is napping just adds to the allure. 😉 We keep it all in a plastic storage box that my littlest one can’t open (no matter how hard she tries!).
17. This Melissa and Doug magnetic dress up princess doll is lots of fun! One thing I love about M&D (oh, had you already noticed my undying love??) is that a lot of their toys come with thoughtful, quality storage as opposed to a cardboard box. We have a dress up dancer, too, because everyone needs a friend.
18. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a really fun game! Plus, the “squirrel squeezers” (huge squirrel tweezers used to retrieve acorns) are great for fine motor control! My middle daughter could play with a bit of help at 2.5.
19. Card games are one of my love languages! Sleeping Queens is so fun and creative. We got this when my older daughter was 5 and she loves it…especially that it was created by a kid!
20. Even kids who aren’t really old enough for card games can get in on There’s a Moose in the House! My 3 year old loves to shout, “There’s a MOOSE in your house!” with great glee! This is a great family game.
Here are some awesome stocking stuffers/$6 and under gifts!
21. Washi tape was definitely the best stocking stuffer ever! This links to an insane amount of washi tape, but pick up a couple rolls at Target or Michael’s. For some reason I’m extremely stingy about regular tape, but I can be really relaxed about people using huge quantities of their own rolls of washi. It lasts a miraculously long time and doesn’t hurt walls or furniture. Plus, my 3 year old can rip her own pieces off, and it doesn’t stick on itself and end up a taped-together mess.
22. Is there anything better than glitter glue? I love it because it means I don’t have to actually allow any glitter to enter my house. 😉
23. These Prang watercolors are great – I’m going to stuff these into our stockings again this year!
24. This isn’t going to fit in a stocking, but my girls love these awesome big Melissa and Doug sticker pads! We give these as gifts all the time, too, because they’re easy to keep on hand and offer a lot of bang for the buck.
25. My daughter got this Shrinky Dinks (remember Shrinky Dinks??) ballerina jewelry set for her fifth birthday and had a blast doing it! It comes with some really nice little colored pencils, and it was fun to make the jewelry afterwards.
26. Littlest Pet Shop kitties play nicely with our Chelsea dolls and at $2 apiece are perfect little stocking gifts!
27. Melissa and Doug Water Wow pads come with a little refillable water pen/paintbrush thing, and you can “paint” to make color appear on the pictures. These are great for restaurants and car rides!
So there you have it! Tried and true gifts for the 1 to 5 year old girl on your shopping list!
P.S. If you’re curious what I’ve got my eye on this year, leave me a comment and I’ll try to get another post together! Orrrr just spill the beans in the comment section! 🙂
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