Why We All Need Clutter-Free Gifts
No one likes clutter. Deep down, even the die-hard hoarder longs for inner (and outward) peace. If you’ve poked around my site at all you know I sit firmly in the minimalist category. Sure, my home doesn’t always reflect that, but that’s because I live with a wide mix of minimalists, maximalists, and pack rats. Together, we manage some sort of order.
I am here today to give you a gentle reminder.
And a few quality, classic toys, beat a room full of junk any day. With this in mind, I have put together a few gift lists for you. Everything you see here we own or did own when our children were younger. Be sure and bookmark this post and share it with grandparents and family.
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Clutter-Free and Open-Ended Toys Your Toddler Will Love
- Kinderfeats Kinderboard Balance Board We own the balance board and while it isn’t cheap ($99) it has a crazy number of uses. Balance, of course (and this is sturdy enough for adults to use), flip it upside down and it is a bridge. Kids can sit in it and rock, make a ramp for cars or balls, a wall or fortress for toys…the possibilities are endless and this is a beautiful piece of wood.
- Unit Block Set We still own the unit block set that we bought in 2001. All of our kids have used them and this is on the small list of toys I am keeping for grandkids.
- Toddler Sensory Cube We didn’t have this exact sensory cube but had a homemade board that I bought at a garage sale with real locks, and switches. This will offer endless fun and help your toddler strengthen their fine motor skills.
- Baby Soy Cotton Animal Every kid needs a nice doll to snuggle with. I tried to find a link to a Waldorf style doll but I couldn’t find any I actually liked.
- Montessori Screwdriver Board I don’t know a single toddler who wouldn’t be captivated by this screwdriver board.
- Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker You have probably seen this in different pictures on my blog. Just like the balance board above it has endless play options and is beautiful and well-made.
Great Gifts for Picky Eaters
I have an entire post about resources for picky eaters. After having a child with a feeding tube for 4 1/2 years who had to learn to eat, I’m all about tips and tricks. Here are some great gift ideas for the picky eaters in your life.
- Animal Food Picks Apollo, like many kids with feeding issues, does not like having dirty hands. These little food picks are great for keeping hands clean and encouraging kids to try new foods.
- Flexi Nosey Cup Okay, this is a little weird, but Apollo was given one of these cups by a feeding therapist. They are flexible and the cutout section allows the child to see what is in the cup, which is important to a child who has any fear around eating.
- Ark Chewy Necklace We bought these for both Apollo (the LEGO brick one) and Mordecai (a shark tooth one). Great for kids who chew, chew, chew. I love that these come in both little kid designs and ones that look great for older kids and teens.
- 3-Sided Toothbrush This is the toothbrush we use for Apollo and it has made a HUGE difference in his tolerance of toothbrushing. Did you know cavities are a problem even for people who are 100% tube fed? It’s not fair, I know, but it’s a fact of life.
- Bamboo Divided Plate We all know that picky eaters do NOT want their food to touch. This divided plate will solve that problem for you.
- Construction Utensils When our good friends’ son had to go on a strict keto diet to control his seizures, he no longer had any control over what or when he could eat…so his parents invested in a bunch of fun utensils and plates, so he could at least control some small part of his eating.
- Divided Food Group Tray While I wouldn’t use this plate to hammer the importance of the food pyramid into my child’s head, it helps with many conversations about different kinds of foods…something that is important for a child to develop a healthy relationship with food.
- Training Chopsticks Just like the little food picks above, these training chopsticks help keep little hands clean and help improve fine motor skills.
- Sandwich Cutter and Sealer We all know picky eaters hate crust on their sandwiches. Solve that problem with this sandwich cutter and sealer.
- Milton the Mealtime Companion I have done a very extensive review of Milton here. Let me say it is one of my very favorite tools for picky eaters and helped Apollo immensely.
- The Picky Eater Project I reviewed this book in this post here. It is a great, no-pressure way to help kids expand their palettes.
- Ola Silicon Training Spoon A sweet, flexible silicone spoon perfect for babies, toddlers, or kids with feeding aversions.
Sensory Gifts for Kids
- Cowin Noise-Cancelling Headphones Mordecai has these noise-canceling headphones and wears them every day. They work great.
- Squigz These are so great for sensory seekers. They stick to doors, windows, and walls an make a satisfying *pop* when you pull them off. They are lightweight and can be thrown and bounced. We love these at our house.
- Sequin Hedgehog This cute little hedgehog is covered with sequins and it is so satisfying to rub back and forth.
- CozyPhones Apollo and Mordecai both love these CozyPhones. I reviewed them here.
- Manimo Weighted Lizard You KNOW how we feel about weighted blankets. Well, the same goes for weighted plush toys.
- Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty We love this stuff. We have bought dozens of cans over the years. We love it even if kids sometimes get it stuck in their eyelashes.
- Spiky Sensory Balls Poky balls. Need I say more?
- Weighted Blanket You are probably sick about hearing all about The Wonders of Weighted Blankets so I’ll just leave a link to the post where I review four different brands.
- Kinetic Sand
- Water Beads Five years and we still love our water beads.
- Pin Art You know you love these. No one can resist the poky fun of one of these.
Clutter-Free Gifts for Artists
I definitely have STRONG feelings about art supplies. They don’t need to be expensive or fancy, but they do need to be quality. Here are our favorites.
- Art Eraser Set Anyone doing pencil drawings needs a few quality erasers.
- Aluminum and Steel Pencil Sharpener These are the only pencil sharpeners we buy. They are amazingly sharp, inexpensive, and don’t eat our pencils
- Blending Stumps and Tortillon These are also necessary for pencil drawing.
- Lee Hammond’s Beginners Guide to Realistic Drawing Lee Hammond’s books are hands down the best drawing books on the market. If you have someone interested in drawing, buy this book!
- 4-Piece Steel Ruler Set Steel rulers are also very useful for realistic drawing. I have this set and use them frequently.
- Blank Sketch Book Blank sketchbooks…as a no-brainer.
- Lyra Colored Pencils These colored pencils are THE BEST for young kids. They are thick and chunky, with vibrant colors. We still have the set we bought in 2015. If you buy these, be sure and buy this pencil sharpener.
- Faber Castell Colored Pencils The only colored pencils (other the Lyra Colored Pencils) that I will buy. They are sturdy, quality pencils with beautiful colors.
Gifts Your Teens Won’t Hate
- Set of 4 Phone Chargers If your house is anything like mine, these go missing all the time. I took these to New Zealand and left one with Adalia and one with Tilly. New moms (and teens) need LONG phone cords.
- LED Headlamp Great for camping, exploring, or reading in bed at night.
- Instax Camera Tilly, Jubilee, Kalina, and Avi all have these cameras. An updated version of polaroids.
- Hydroflask Water Bottle Tsk Tsk Tsk
- Movie Gift Cards If you have a teen who enjoys going to the movies these are a great gift. Fast food gift cards are usually appreciated as well.
- USB Wall Charger See number one above.
- Cute Animal Cable Protectors These are adorable and keep cords from being kinked and ruined.
- Bluetooth Speaker There are so many affordable Bluetooth speakers on the market now and your teen is sure to love one.
Clutter-Free Gifts That Promote Imaginative Play
- Tegu Magnetic Blocks We have a set of these and Percy and my great-niece Oakley loved playing with these. They have soft colors and the magnets inside mean there is much less frustration when toddlers build. Older kids can make more complicated structures including vehicles.
- Sensory Sock Mordecai has this and loves it. Just double-check the sizes so you get the right one for your child.
- Hape Wooden Food One classic toy that we have had for years.
- Scheich Toy Animals These have been a favorite in our house. This is our favorite brand because they are realistic looking and can be purchased one at a time. We still have ones that we bought back in 2000!
- Ramp Racer and Cars When we were in Texas for Apollo’s heart surgery he became obsessed with an ugly plastic version of this. When we came home I bought him this much nicer version. We still have it and toddlers love it!
- Grim’s Stacking and Nesting Bowls Another great open-ended toy with endless options for play.