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Madeline's Box 2019 Gift Guide

It's that time of year! I have always been such a planner and love gift-giving but sometimes when I go to search for what to gift my kids it can feel so overwhelming and I'm not quite sure how to even dive in!

A few things that guide me in my search for the best toys that will be played with long after the holiday season has ended: 1. Open-Ended. There are fixed toys that have one function (and don't hold kids' attention for long) and there are unrestricted, unscripted, open-ended toys that require children to use their imagination and that grow with them. Simple, open-ended toys are the toys I've kept around my house for years because even though I got them for my, at the time, one year old, my kids still play with them today and use them appropriately for their ages now. 2. Great quality! I am definitely a quality over quantity girl. I love finding excellent companies that put clever, well made, top-notch products on the market and once I'm a loyal customer, I'm always thrilled to go back for more!

The toys I've listed not only have outstanding reviews, but a majority have been tried and loved by Yours Truly (Yours Truly = My three kiddos). Without further ado, our 2019 Toy Gift Guide!


0-12 Months

Uncle Goose Wooden Blocks - We love Uncle Goose Blocks! So many designs to choose from! We own the Classic ABC and Nursery Rhymes set but you can also choose from several languages (including ASL), moon phases, periodic tables, "Women Who Dared" and more! Sometimes we just build with these but sometimes I use them to intentionally teach my older kids the content on the blocks!


 Madeline's Box Teethers - As soon as my littles can grasp their beaded teether rings, they never let them go and happily chew and shake them! Made from wood and silicone, these teethers are a must-have for my babies!


Indestructible Books - Indestructibles! Pretty self explanatory but the company says it themselves: these books are chew proof, rip proof, nontoxic and washable. Do I have three in my diaper bag at the moment? Why yes I do!


Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Duo - This is my favorite "bring everywhere" toy! My little boy loves the bright colors and it's nice and chunky so it's easy for little hands to grab hold of.


Educational Insights Teachable Touchables Texture Squares - These textile squares were created to build tactile discrimination skills! I love sitting with my babies and helping to build their vocabulary by describing, "soft, fuzzy, rough," etc. as they take in all the different textures!


1-2 Years

Grimm's Wooden Rainbow - I could have listed every Grimm's toy but went with the beautiful Wooden Rainbow. Watching my kids play with it, I'm blown away by what ideas they come up with! It's not just a rainbow! It's a tunnel or a bridge or a flower, etc. It also helps build size recognition. This is definitely a toy that will grow with your child!

Play and Go Road Storage Mat - Easy to tote and easy clean up! We love the Road mat but several other designs exist!


SmartMax Magnetic Animals - Bought these for my third child's first birthday (because what do you get a third child for their first birthday?) and had to remind my big kids whose birthday it was because they were having so much fun with them! All three of my kids have now played with these everyday since. A great example of an open-ended toy that grows with the child and the function just changes as the child gets older!


Hape Wooden Peg Puzzle - I love watching my little toddler's wheels turn as they try to figure this one out! This definitely keeps their attention and helps build fine-motor and problem solving skills.


Farmer's Market Color Sorting Set - We've had this set since my oldest turned one years ago! As younger toddlers they would try to sort the colors and now that they're older, they love to use their imagination and play Farmer's Market! This is also a great toy to encourage healthy food choices conversations. The cutest set with lots of fun foods colors!


2-3 Years

Wooden Balance Board - The definition of an open-ended toy! "It becomes a seesaw, a balance board, a slide, a step stool, a boat, a resting place, a doll bed, a puppet stage, a tunnel, and many more opportunities for them to explore. The possibilities are endless—and truly up to them."


Micro Mini Scooter - This is easily top five best "mom" purchases I've ever made. Hundreds of hours have been spent on these amazing, high quality scooters. There is rarely a day we don't use them!


Tegu Magnetic Blocks - We love our Tegu blocks! They are beautifully simple and another toy that demands imagination. Just today my son created an entire zoo with his blocks!


The Nugget - Another one of the best investments we've ever made! My kids build houses with these, they play hot lava, sometimes they turn them into "boats" and sometimes they just jump off the top. Easily the number one toy they ask to play with. Daily, I send them upstairs in our playroom to play on the Nuggets and just check on them while they play for hours! What has really surprised me is how my one year old is so in love with our Nuggets and seems to never tire of them either!

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set - I'm a huge Fat Brain Toys fan! They produce such high quality products and the Squigz set is no exception. Squigz are so fun and great at building fine motor skills!


3-4 Years

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game - We are a huge game family and I love how much my kids begin to understand board games around the age of three. Sneaky Snacky squirrel is a household favorite! It has it all and reinforces color identification, fine motor skills, strategic thinking and hand eye coordination.


Koala Capers Game - Another fun game by Educational Insights and one we reach for often! It builds pattern recognition and my kids love to pick out outfits for their Koalas. So much fun and easy to learn and for young children to grasp!


Foam Pogo Jumper - This pogo jumper is a fun and a safe way for even young toddlers to work on gross motor skills and balance! I can't tell you how many times I've cooked dinner while an energized four year old jumped on his foam pogo jumper in the background (isn't that when they always have the most energy?)!


Magna Tiles - Love the spatial and tactile skills Magna Tiles encourages. My son especially loves his Magna Tiles and they have inspired hours and hours of imaginative and unscripted play!


Oekaki House by Kikoandgg - How beautiful are these drawing boards? The beautiful colors and the fun magnetic stamps make it even more appealing to young kids! I love that even my oldest child will grab it to doodle and I also love a quiet toy that's easy to stick in my bag for church or doctor appointments.


4-5 Years

Pancake Pile-Up Game - Pancake Pile-Up is such a fun game that gets kids up and moving while also teaching math skills and sequence! This is a great game for a few little friends to play together.


STEM/Creative Crate Activity Subscription - I LOVE the idea of subscription boxes. The gift that keeps on giving! Kiwi Co creates subscription boxes for literally all ages and their purpose is to encourage creative learning. Something I can always get behind!

Talking Microscope - This fun microscope comes with slides as well as facts and questions. My four year old wants to look at almost anything he can find under a microscope so this one creates hours of entertainment.


Fat Brain Toys Bugzzle - I actually just got this one for my son's upcoming birthday (shh!) but I've already mentioned how much I love Fat Brain toys! I'm pretty sure he's going to eat this one up and it helps encourage so many skills including spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, logic, critical thinking, problem solving.


5+ Years

MakeDo Cardboard Construction Kits - How amazing is this? I love clever people who create clever things! Kids can use all those cardboard boxes lying around their house and lots of imagination to make entirely new creations. One of my favorite STEM toys I've seen lately!

Educational Insights Kanoodle - This would be an excellent travel game since it's actually relatively small! I also read in the reviews that the parents have so much fun with it they have a hard time giving it back to the kids. I love it!


Gravity Maze Marble Run - I use to teach 4th Grade STEM so a highly rated STEM product always peaks my interest! This one definitely seems like an awesome engineering toy that would get kids using critical thinking skills and allow for lots of trial and error and growth!


Grandparent Pen Pal Set - Let's reclaim the lost art of letter writing! I think this is so special! A grandparent pen-pal set is something both grandparent and grandchild would treasure forever. Such an excellent idea!


Kid Digital Camera - Kids even as young as three can use this digital camera! I think this would be such a fun creative outlet for a young, budding photographer!


Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Madeline's Box Pacifier Clips - I love stuffing stockings with things I know that my kids actually need and that I will be getting them regardless (eh em, toothbrushes and socks). Our Pacifier Clips are an excellent idea for little babies with not too many needs!


Madeline's Box Swaddle - Swaddles also fall into that category of "need" and our swaddles are the best out there with their buttery soft and stretchy fabric! Santa should definitely be stuffing stockings with our swaddles!


Little Hands Card Holder - These are small enough to fit in a stocking and help trememdously when little hands are trying to hold cards!

Monster Soap - These are just so fun for boys and girls of all ages! 

Lacing Cheese - My older kids still use the lacing cheese! This is a great item for on the go if you're heading somewhere that has a bit of a wait.


Well, that's a wrap! I hope our toy list gave you some great ideas. We'd love to hear what gifts you decide on for your own littles!



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