I have two boys ages 4 and 21 months. There was once a time when my house looked like a Toys R’ Us raid, and it admittedly used to give me a great deal of anxiety. When it reached the point where we were rotating toys and had tiny plastic pieces in every corner, I knew it was time for a lifestyle shift. With the holiday season upon us and many of us hoping to find the perfect gifts for our young kids, I’ve compiled a list of unique gifts for kids five and under. Not only are these ideas fun, but they’re also practical. Ditch the plastic clean-up and consider one of these fantastic options.
Experience Gifts. Studies show how important family bonding time and experiences are for kids. Instead of a tangible item, consider a membership to the Austin Zoo or Thinkery Museum. Other options include a series of music, dance, or swim classes. Think smaller, too — movie passes or a gift card to your favorite ice cream shop are guaranteed “dates” and opportunities for you and your kids to connect. Not only will the magic of the holidays last well into the rest of the year with this type of gift, but it is also enriching the lives of your kids.
Nugget Comfort Futon. This item is a game changer. My four-year-old son has sensory issues and has the compulsive need to touch, smoosh, pat, and twist everything. He is in this phase — that may or may not be lifelong — where he loves disassembling my couches and using the cushions and pillows as landing pads. The Nugget is a safe, soft futon that is multipurpose. Not only can you rest on it like a futon, but it is also meant to come apart for play. We received our Nugget a couple weeks ago, and so far it has been a grocery store, rocket ship, boat, and a house — all from the brain of my son who has thus far lacked a lot of imaginative play. Seeing him engage with this has made me emotional, and I can’t recommend it enough for every kid out there. It makes a great joint gift for siblings, too!
Rubbabu Toys. Staying on the theme of sensory, this line of toys also speaks to my mama heart. They are soft and imaginative, and I would much rather have them on our playroom shelves than the piles of plastic pieces that come with so many other toys. They are safely made from natural rubber foam, which is naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. Not only that, but they’re fun. My kids love squishing and bouncing the balls, putting together the shape puzzle, and pushing along the soft, magnetic train. Both my four-year-oland almost two-year-old adore these toys, and I am very pleased with the quality.
Shop November Oak Necklaces. All three of my kids are necklace fanatics. Maybe it’s because I am, too, and they want to be just like mama. Shop November Oak necklaces are handmade by a local Austin mom who is insanely talented. There is quite literally a necklace for every style and interest, and she does custom pieces. This is a stocking stuffing game changer, and her holiday line is the stuff of dreams.
Subscription Boxes. I love subscription boxes — there is something amazing about getting presents yearround! Your kids will adore the idea of something fun coming for them monthly, and you can always give them the first box under the Christmas tree with a note from Santa promising more throughout the year. There are so many great subscription boxes to choose from for kids of all ages. My Subscription Addiction does a great job of reviewing them, so you can browse and see which one fits your kiddo’s interests.
Cuddle + Kind Dolls. Have you heard of these adorable dolls? Our kids go crazy for them, and for good reason. These dolls are literally handmade by women artisans in Peru, providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income. Cuddle + Kind also has a mission to feed hungry children, with the goal to provide one million meals a year. Each doll purchased gives ten meals to children in need! The dolls are also incredibly cute and soft, and my kids adore theirs. They look adorable peeking out of your child’s stocking or placed under the tree.
What do you think, Austin mamas? Are any of these on your child’s list?