Gifts That Keep On Giving: 15 Gifts for Kids


I have to start by saying, I LOVE giving gifts. I am notorious for giving belated birthday gifts in my family because I am always trying to find the *just right* present and sometimes that takes me until after your actual birthday. Thinking about gift-giving at the holidays makes me giddy. I spend too much time making lists and thinking about what stores to go to and which homemade item I’m going to task to my kids. Moving across the country from our family has added the additional challenge of finding gifts that fit in a square shipping box of a pre-determined size. 

With all of that being said – receiving Christmas gifts overwhelms me. Like, really, really overwhelms me. With each gift my children unwrap from our incredibly thoughtful and generous family, I feel my stress level rising a tiny bit higher. Where will we put this? Does it really have 250 pieces? Are they really that small? Is that another [enter legitimately any toy here], I thought we already had them all? By the end of the day, I feel like a mash up between The Grinch and Scrooge. NOT the energy I’m looking for at the holidays, especially coming off of all that giddiness and joy from being the gift giver!

two hands tying string on wrapped boxes

Last year my kids were faster than I was (nothing new) and got their hands on the toy flyers in the mail and had their wish lists sent to the Grandparents via FaceTime before I realized what was going on. This year, I stayed on top of the mail and hid away all of the toy magazines as they were delivered. I hid them in the recycling bin, but that is beside the point. Before I did that though, I went through with my own Sharpie and found all of the items that hit my three “must haves”.

To make the cut onto the Christmas List for Grandparents and subsequently into our playroom this holiday season, the toys must:

  1. Be (relatively) battery/power free: Not sure about you, but we are in need of a bit of a technology/battery powered break in our house. 
  2. Easily picked up: My big kids experience Selective Toy on the Floor vision and tend to leave approximately 75% of the stuff behind while “cleaning”. I need some things in our life that can be put away quickly and with minimal trips to go back for the forgotten pieces. 
  3. Encourage open-ended play: They just keep the toy or game going for longer when there is no set end or exact way to use materials!

*Bonus points if it can be played with across age groups (…. we’re a COVID Baby family).

Read on to see which toys got my Sharpie star of approval this year! 

Let me know in the comments below if your family has any favorites we should add to the list!

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Katie L
Katie is a recent East Coast transplant from Maine, where she was born and raised. While trying to figure out how to create the life they wanted to live, Katie’s husband, David, was presented with a job opportunity in Portland. They decided to go for it and moved across the country with their two young children. Katie has previously worked as an occupational therapist in an early childhood setting, but with the move was presented with the opportunity to stay home with her kids and she took it! It has been an adventure switching to life as a full time stay-at-home mom to her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. She spends her days exploring Portland’s playgrounds and coffee shops, looking for new vegetarian restaurants to check out, and trying to remember that slowing down is a good thing. Since arriving in Portland, she has begun making time for all of the things that have caught her interest over the years: yoga, cooking with local foods, experimenting with sustainable lifestyle choices, writing and getting outside in the always beautiful PNW.