When I became a mom, I had no idea how hard it would be to come up with birthday and Christmas gift ideas for my kids. At times I struggle trying to think of what my husband and I want to give them, let alone a whole wish list to hand out to grandparents, aunts, and uncles!
I’m thankful that our families hand out wish lists. It is nice to offer some ideas of things our kids need. Plus, as a green and crunchy mama, it is great to suggest gifts that I am excited about and toys that I can trust to be safe.
I prefer that my kids have toys that are made of safe materials and that encourage real, creative play. Some toys seem to take away all the creativity because they are so busy lighting up and making noise.
Many crunchy parents try to limit their toys to all wood, no plastic, and no batteries. That is simply not practical in my house. It is unrealistic for me to expect family and friends to follow such strict gift giving rules. Plus, my children have truly enjoyed some plastic, noise making toys!
I hope I can make your holiday or birthday wishlist making a little easier by suggesting some of our favorite “crunchy mama” approved toys. Not all of these toys are green, but they are some of our most loved toys and I approve of them all. These toys are geared more towards little ones because that is the stage we are in currently. I have a 4 year old girl and 1.5 year old boy.
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61 “Crunchy Mama” Approved Gifts for Kids
1. My Barnyard Friends – This adorable barn comes with 4 little animals inside and they each make noise when you squeeze them.
2. What Does Baby See? by Begin Smart Books – Books with black, white, and red images are great for the littlest of babies. Babies have limited vision at birth and those images pop out the most to them. Both of my children looked at black and white books as newborns.
3. What is that? by Tana Hoban – Another of our favorite black and white books.
4. Sophie the Giraffe Teether – This teether is made from natural rubber and truly is safe for your little one to gnaw on. It makes a fun squeak sound.
5. Rainbow Stacker by Melissa & Doug – I have many, many items in this list from Melissa & Doug. They make wooden toys with nontoxic ingredients that I trust.
6. Peek-a-Boo Barn by Melissa & Doug – This toy is so simple, but is perfect for little ones learning to use their hands. The doors open to reveal animals. Noah especially loved this this barn.
Vehicles (by Melissa & Doug)
7. Stacking Cars – These cute cars can be played with individually or they can stack on top of each other.
8. First Vehicle Set – We gave this set to Noah for his first Christmas. I loved that it included a variety of vehicles.
Puzzles (by Melissa & Doug)
9. First Shapes House – Melissa & Doug have several different jumbo peg puzzles that are good for little hands. This is a great “first” puzzle.
10. Pets in a Box Jigsaw Puzzles – Now that Grace is older, she has advanced to these simple jigsaw puzzles. There are 4 different puzzles in the box and you put the puzzle together on the lid.
11. Vehicles – A cute and classic peg puzzle.
12. Magnetic Fishing Game – This puzzle is unique because it comes with a magnet fishing rod. Use it to “fish” for all the pieces before you put the puzzle back together.
13. Safari – I love the chunky puzzles. The pieces can stand up by themselves on a table top and be used for creative play.
14. Numbers – This is a big chunky puzzle. Every number has a corresponding illustration. (six cats for number six, seven pigs for number seven, and so on)
15. 48 Colors of Sidewalk Chalk by Crayola – Grace and Noah loved this jumbo pack of sidewalk chalk this summer. They played with it almost every time they went outside. You can read my full review here.
16. Mega Blocks Build’n Learn ABC Spell – You can’t go wrong with Mega Blocks. These are especially cool because they have letters on them.
17. Alphabet Nesting & Stacking Blocks by Melissa & Doug – These are made out of a sturdy cardboard, which is nice since they stack up so high. If they fall on someone’s head it won’t hurt much.
18. Wooden ABC Blocks by Uncle Goose – We gave these blocks to Grace for her first birthday. I did a ton of research. I wanted a safe, nontoxic block. I also wanted it to be a decent size. Melissa & Doug sell some smaller ABC blocks, but I didn’t like the smaller size. These blocks have letters on 4 sides, numbers on 1 side, and animals on 1 side. I love these blocks!
19. 36 Wooden Blocks by Melissa & Doug – I really like these blocks for more creative structures. However, if you have more than one child or if your little one is really into big creations, I would go with the 100 Piece Wooden Blocks Set.
20. Shape Sorting Cube by Melissa & Doug – A classic shape sorter, but made out of safe wood and paint.
Fisher Price Little People Sets
These Little People Sets are plastic and some of them make noise. That is usually a no-no to green & crunchy folks, but I adore how much they inspire make-believe play.
21. Nativity – We keep this set stored away and only bring it out in December. It is a great way to remind children of the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Some sets play music, but ours does not. The ones that don’t play music are cheaper and might be a Target exclusive. That is where I bought mine.
23. Color Wonder Markers by Crayola – Color wonder markers are special because the ink is clear until you use it on special color wonder paper. That means there is no mess! It doesn’t show up on clothes, skin, or the walls! The down side is that you need to keep buying the special paper in order to use the markers. There are lots of different themed pages (like pictured above) and there is also plain paper for creative drawing.
24. Baby Doll Stroller – This stroller is super sweet, but I think kids love anything that they can push around. We also have a shopping cart they love to fill up and push around the house.
25. Crawl Tunnel by Melissa & Doug – This tunnel is decorated like a caterpillar. CUTE!
26. Ride on Car – It is plastic. It lights up. It makes a LOT of noise. But… Every single kid who comes to my house is drawn to it. They all love it! This was Noah’s favorite toy before he could even sit on it by himself. He would spend all his time opening the seat and taking things in and out. I couldn’t find this exact car on Amazon, but I linked to one similar.
27. Bubble Mower by Fisher-Price (not pictured) – Our summer days are filled with playing in the sandbox, swimming in the kiddie pool, and pushing around this lawn mower. I really wish I had two of them. My children are always fighting over the thing. It is suppose to blow bubbles, but ours doesn’t really work. The kids don’t seem to mind.
28. Magna Doodle by Fisher-Price – Our magna doodle is so well loved. We draw on it. We practice letters on it. It is great for car trips. My sister uses it with her older kids to practice spelling words! It is a classic.
29. Tea Set – Grace and Noah both love our tea set. Honestly, I’m not sure what our tea set is made out of or how safe it is. I would recommend this one by Green Toys. It is made out of recycled milk jugs and does not contain BPA, phthalates, or lead paint.
30. Dress Up Wooden Puzzle by Melissa & Doug – This is like wooden paper dolls! It comes with a variety of shoes, outfits, and faces to choose from.
31. Memory Game – Games are always a great gift choice. We own a Melissa & Doug memory style game, but I couldn’t find that one on Amazon. Candy Land is also a good classic. However, I have been warned by several moms to never allow the game Chutes & Ladders into my house. I plan on taking their word for it!
32. Triangular Crayons by Crayola (not pictured) – You can’t go wrong with crayons. We’ve gone through a lot of crayons in our house. This year we are giving the kids this set. The triangle shape of the crayons is suppose to be good for teaching kids how to hold a pencil properly.
33. Power of Encouragement by Seeds Family Worship – The upbeat lyrics for each song are taken straight from biblical scripture. By naturally learning the words to the songs, we are actually memorizing Bible verses! I’m not very good at describing music, but I will say this: it isn’t annoying. Kid’s music can be so annoying sometimes, right?? Well, this isn’t. I enjoy listening to it. A lot.
34. Wiggleworms Love You by Old Town School of Folk Music – This CD has 42 classic kid songs on it like You Are My Sunshine and Wheels on the Bus. These songs have a new twist on them and are really pleasant to listen to.
35. Animal Playground by Putumayo Presents – This CD has music from around the world. There are several songs that aren’t in English. It is fun and upbeat. I’ve given this CD as a first birthday gift and everyone has always reported back how much they love it.
36. Shaker Eggs (not pictured) – My sister leads a story time at the library for 6-24 month olds. She uses shaker eggs in every session and the kids love them! She gave Noah a set for his first birthday and he was so excited because he remembered them from story time.
Kitchen & Play Food
37. White Vintage Kitchen by Kidcraft – This is another toy that I did a lot of research on before I bought it. I was debating between this one and one by Melissa & Doug. I decided to go with Kidcraft for several reasons. It is made out of wood. It has a lot of doors to open and close. Also, it looks nice enough to be in our dining room. I am really glad we went with this one instead of a cheaper plastic kitchen. Noah is only 18 months old and this is his favorite toy.
38. Felt Food Sandwich Set – This cute set comes with a lot of options. Pita bread, regular bread, pickles, lettuce, onion, peanut butter, jelly, cheese, bacon, and more.
39. Ice Cream Scoop Set – Adorable! It comes with 2 ice cream cones, 4 different scoops of ice cream, a box, and an ice cream scoop. The piece are magnetic so the ice cream sticks to the top of the cones.
40. Deluxe Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set – Every play kitchen needs a pots and pans set!
41. Cutting Food – We went with this wooden food set that kids can “cut” apart. Velcro peices attach different sections of food and it comes with a wooden knife. My kids don’t ever cut the food apart though. I wish I would have gone with the Food Groups Set, but either set is good quality and safe for little ones to put in their mouths.
Grace loves books. She LOVES them. They are seriously her favorite toy. We have literally read thousands of books together in the past 4 years. These are some of our tried and true favorites.
61. AquaDoodle Mat – This is a fun way to make art with just water. Lay the mat on the floor, fill the pen with water, and when the mat gets wet it reveals the color underneath. It is just water! Zero mess!
There ya go! 61 gift ideas that have been approved by this crunchy, green mama!
Do you have any of these toys in your house? Which is your favorite?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through any of these links, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah and my family.