Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011 Holiday Giving Guide, Vol. II (For the Wee Ones)

Every mom knows that the easiest age to buy for is the age of your own child or .... oh, roughly two months younger. I scoured my memory for toys Josephine adored when she was little and gave you the heads-up on her current favorites. You're welcome. If you have a child under the age of two on your list this year, you are good to go!

These are listed roughly in age order, starting with the wee-est of wee ones. Here we go:

They have changed the design of this little ipod doo-daddy since we bought ours, and I happen to think ours is cuter, but the way this thing looks really has nothing to do with the magic it contains. This thing obviously plays music (which babies flip for), BUT that screen has little flashing lights that bounce around on the screen -- this will hypnotize ANY baby, guaranteed. I originally bought this as something to have for music on the go, but when I saw her eyes fix on those lights, I started taking this whenever we left the house. Whenever she would get fussy or overwhelmed, BAM! Hypnotized! I promise, this is magical.

This is one of the first toys that "did stuff" that Josephine "got." When she figured out she could push buttons and they made noise because of HER ... mind freak. She loved the heck out of this thing. It has multiple modes, so it keeps doing new things all day.

We had a few stackers, but this was Josie's favorite. It makes all kinds of sounds and plays all kinds of music, and lights up like magic, and when you take that star off the top, there is a teeny-tiny button you can push to make music. When Josephine was able to push that button herself with the tip of a single tiny finger, she was SO proud of herself.

This thing is the absolute bee's knees. It took Josephine all of ten seconds to figure out how to press the button that makes it go, and once that crazy music started and balls started shooting in the air, she was in hog heaven. She got it for her first birthday and has played with it every single day since then. In fact, the batteries died today, and we only had THREE D batteries ... she cried. (Important note: requires FOUR D batteries). Comes in "boy" colors, too.

Bright Builders - Best Classic Toys 2003 Winner by Discovery Toys

We have these from when my mom was a Discovery Toys seller (I can't think of the real word for it now; it'll come to me), and Josephine loves these. She carries one of these around in her hand about 50% of the time. She doesn't know how to build things yet, but she loves them already.

This is another Discovery Toy, and we have the "classic" version that looks a little different, but stacking cups are a MUST. She plays with these every single day, and she has finally moved past the phase where I have to stack them over and over and over while she knocks them down and laughs, and has begun to stack them herself (SQUEE!)

Little People. Back in my day they looked like this:

Nowadays, they look a little different, but my GOD do they make kids happy. I have taken to taking a zebra, elephant, and polar bear with us whenever we leave the house. Pull one of those suckers out when she starts spazzing in line at a store, and she is happy as a clam. 

Some of the favorites around here include:

Which is the old version of:

And I'm guessing she would adore this one:

Josephine is also ape over a farm set my mom scored at a mom-to-mom sale. It's not available anymore (that I know of), but it is very similar to this one:


If you know of a child who does not have this book yet, BUY IT FOR THEM. They will love it, I swear. Also, if you kind of want to drive their parents crazy, this meets that need too, because I guarantee they will be reading this book over and over and over and OVER. AND OVER.

Josephine stares at these pictures as if in a trance. There are only like four words per page, which is great for those phases when they just want to turn pages, but she always stops the page-flipping when we pull out this classic.

This is another book Josephine brings over and hands to us roughly SEVEN HUNDRED times a day. It can drive an adult a little mad, but she loses her mind every time she opens a flap and there is a baby animal behind it. She is now also VERY close to being able to say "Meow" and "Grrr" thanks to this book.

The touch-the-art series is fantastic. Pieces of art with "feels" on every page? BRILLIANT! Josephine has felt the heck out of the two that she owns (Catch Picasso's Rooster and Brush Mon Lisa's Hair).

There are a ton of other books in this series, too:

And now I must stop because the post has become long AND looking things up on Amazon has led me to want to buy many many more things. Good luck with the holiday shopping for your littlest of rugrats!

UPDATE: I thought of a few other things, and I couldn't help myself but add more to this list. :)

Okay, any kid over the age of 6 months should probably have some sort of giant stuffed animal. Josephine is lucky enough to have a few, including a giant teddy like this one:

Melissa & Doug 24" Plush Big Henderson Bear

She also loves her Pillow Pet ...

My Pillow Pet Dolphin

... and her Squishable:
Squishable / 14" Octopus

Squishable Octopus

That Squishable? It is LOVED. Check it:

Another favorite book is the Old MacDonald book

Josephine got this book from her Granny and Gramps (Jeremy's parents), and she has become more and more obsessed with it with every passing day. I seriously read/sing this book to her about twenty times a day, and she laughs and dances and just thinks it's the greatest thing. Those animals are tabs at the top of each page, and they are also fuzzy (bonus!). Definitely a favorite book.

Lullaby Gloworm Girl

How could I have forgotten the Gloworm the first time around? She liked it right away when she was little and still loves it to this day. Some toys seem to get outgrown quickly, this is one that still makes her smile, and seeing her hug and cuddle it? MELT.

Same thing with the soothing seahorse.

Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse

She loves hugging the thing!

We also have a few things we are giving Josephine for Christmas that I am REALLY excited about, and I wasn't going to post them, but then I thought to myself ... Josephine doesn't read your blog. Your secret is safe.

Josephine saw this in a store a little while ago, and she about LOST HER MIND trying to break into the packaging and play with it, so I thought, sure. But in a few months. I'm so mean.

My mom taught Nursery school (among other things), and had a huge, awesome tunnel at school that we got to take home over summer vacation (!) and it was the best. I can't wait for my little bean to play in this tunnel!

Little Tikes DiscoverSounds Camera Blue 6+ Months/yellow with blue trim

Josephine is OBSESSED with my camera, and I've been looking for one that will seem "real" enough, but every toy camera looks like a toy. HOWEVER, this one has a "viewfinder" and you can see all the way through, and it makes great sounds when you push the button. I think this one is going to do the trick!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!

We also got Josephine some of Mo Willems' books, specifically three of his pigeon books. We have gotten them from the library and love them. We think these will be books she will love even more as she gets older, too.

Disney's Beauty And The Beast Belle Talking Tea Set

I know not EVERY little girl needs a tea set, and the old me would be saying "No! Too feminine!" but ... I love it! And I love Beauty and the Beast! And Josephine loves cups and dishes and pouring and pushing buttons. She's gonna love it.

I know Christmas isn't JUST about material things, and these guides kind of make it seem like that, but come on -- presents are a part of it, and I love to give ones that people will REALLY love and cherish, not just some random thing in the price bracket. Enjoy shopping for your loved ones, and I hope you get to see some excited faces opening presents this year! 


  1. I just bought this purse for my friend's one year old... she loves it! Maybe a good one for Josephine.


  2. Yeah, that looks like a good idea. Unfortunately, I think she would still prefer the real things: my purse and my makeup ... :(

  3. I believe the word is "consultant", but that could have been just Avon... ;-D

  4. I'm feeling pretty proud that several of these things came from Aunt Jess...

  5. Salmone Ellen -- Ahh, yes; that sounds right!

  6. Jess -- what can I say? That Aunt Jess is one hell of a lady.


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