Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids Under 3

What’s the best Christmas gift for a two-year-old? A three-year-old? What about a great gift for a baby 12 months or younger? These are common questions that many holiday shoppers grapple with.

Christmas shopping for children can be difficult and many holiday shoppers are unsure whether their gift ideas are age appropriate for the child who will open the present on Christmas day.

Shopping for a gift for a baby or toddler can be a challenge, but these holiday shopping ideas for young children under age three are sure to help gift givers to come up with a great age appropriate gift idea for young kids on this year’s holiday shopping list.

Based on child development of various skills and interests, the following list can serve as a guide for holiday shoppers who are looking for great (and age-appropriate) Christmas gift ideas and holiday shopping tips for gifts for young children, including babies and toddlers.

Appropriate Gifts for Kids: Newborn Babies to One-Year-Old Children

Newborn babies are fascinated by color, movement, shapes and sound. Children under the age of one don’t really “play” in the way that older children do, as they have poor coordination and they have not yet learned how to pretend. Gifts for kids age 12 months or under should stimulate the senses of sight, hearing and touch.

Babies from newborn to 12 months of age will appreciate gifts with bright colors, interesting textures and sound. Safety is an issue to consider with babies and children under 12 months of age, so all gift ideas for babies should be for items that are free of detachable small parts and moving parts that could pinch the child’s fingers or hands. Also remember that babies under one year of age explore the world with their mouth, so all Christmas gifts should be able to stand up to this (i.e. no cardboard books!)

Great age-appropriate holiday gift ideas for infants and babies age 12 months and under include activity and play center toys, stuffed animals, fabric or plastic children’s books with interesting fabrics, textures and colors, and toys with rattles and squeakers and other noisemakers.

Appropriate Gifts for Kids: Toddlers Age 18-Months to Two-Years-Old

Toddlers between the age of 18 months and two years of age are toddling, walking, and exploring the world in a new way. Most two-year-olds do not yet have very good eye-hand coordination, so avoid toys and gifts that require keen dexterity and manipulation. Instead, find toys that encourage toddlers to think and hone skills like coordination and matching. Toddlers between the ages of 18 months and 24 months don’t really play with other children per se, so holiday shoppers should avoid gift ideas that require more than one child (i.e. board games).

Appropriate gift ideas for toddlers between the age of 18 and 24 months include pull toys, brightly colored wooden blocks, wooden toys like trains and cars, “learning” dolls (i.e. learn to dress doll), bath toys, stacking toys, pound-a-peg toys, pushing toys like shopping carts or baby doll carriages, wooden puzzles, and large, chunky crayons or washable non-toxic markers with thick paper.

DVDs of a child’s favorite television show can also be a great holiday gift idea for toddlers and older children too, though this is a gift idea that should first be approved by the parent because many parents don’t encourage their young children to watch television.

Appropriate Gifts for Kids: Toddlers Age 24-Months to Three-Years-Old

When Christmas shopping for a child between the ages of two and three, look for gifts that promote creativity on a basic level. Young children between the ages of 24-months and three years will also enjoy gifts that encourage imitation of grown-up activities.

Some appropriate holiday gift ideas for two-year-old’s and three-year-old’s include kitchen play sets, a grocery cart and play food, a doctor kit, baby dolls, dress-up clothes, fairy or princess costumes, indoor tents for a pretend camping trip, car or train sets, a plastic tool kit or tea set, and large Lego-type blocks. Many kids between the ages of two and three will also enjoy a Christmas gift of art supplies like age-appropriate coloring books, crayons, washable non-toxic markers, Play-Doh, finger paint and sidewalk chalk.

Of course, each child’s rate of development and play style varies, so it’s always best to ask the child’s parent for Christmas gift ideas and gift suggestions for young children. When in doubt during that Christmas shopping trip, opt for a toy that’s on the more advanced side – a toy that’s better suited for a younger child will go untouched, while a toy that’s suited for an older child can be used in the future.

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