Childcare Posts

A Childcare Provider’s Holiday Gift Guide for Your Kids, Links Included!

The season of struggling to choose gifts for our children is upon us! As a childcare provider, I have a unique perspective, as I have a large variety of toys in my home and get to see which ones get used the most and by whom. Today, I’d like to share with you my most popular toys! Make sure what you choose is age appropriate for your particular child and not a choking hazard! This holiday gift list is for kids from 0 to 5 year old.

My first pick definitely has to be the ball pit! It is a VERY popular toy in my playroom! Every child gravitates toward that pit when they see my playroom for the first time. If you have the space for a ball pit, I highly recommend it! You will have to teach them to pick up the balls when they are done with it but consistency will help with that. It will take about a week to teach them that the balls get picked up before they leave that room or move on to another toys. Then you may only have to remind them every so often, hopefully. ha ha I’ve got some of those really big bouncy balls from Wal-Mart in there, too! The kids love them and they’re only a few dollars each!

The ball pit I have included is the first one I had and it’s slightly smaller than the current one I have. They have lots of ball pit options so be sure to pick the one that fits your space. The balls I included are plenty to fill up this pit!

Next on my most popular list is the play kitchen, for sure! The kids love to make food for me to pretend to eat and imaginary play is great for young kids! Just a side note, the boys in my childcare love the play kitchen just as much as the girls so don’t think your son won’t be into it. Trust me, he will! I bought mine from another family that didn’t need it anymore so I couldn’t find the exact one on Amazon but I picked the one that is the closest to it.

A train table or at least a train set is always a sure bet with young children! I know mine gets a workout! Make sure the set you choose is safe for the age range you have in your home or keep it somewhere the little ones can’t get to. Here are some similar to what I have.

Another set of toys that are very popular in my playroom are baby dolls and accessories, of course! Even the boys love to push the stroller around, although it always turns into a race. lol Just be sure to include some accessories! The baby dolls will get used a lot more if the kids have things to help interact with them! I made sure all of these accessories fit the 11 inch doll that I recommended, too. Less work for you!

These water painting books also very popular and I just got them recently. The kids ask to play with them every day, without fail. They also happen to be great sensory toys because they involve water and great for learning to grip a pencil or paint brush! Learning toys, for sure! No real paint is required, only water in the special paint brush. No mess! The best part is that they really don’t cost much and are reusable. Bonus!

Scratch and Sniff books are also very popular among my childcare kids! Check out these cute books I got recently!

Of course, emergency vehicles of any and all kinds are always a big hit! Here are some trucks that my childcare kids love, but make sure the ones you choose are age appropriate for your own kids.

Another great gift idea for little ones are giant building blocks. My childcare kids love to build garages for the emergency cars! Notice there is a trend of learning toys going on here! I always go for the toys that spark a child’s imagination vs the latest and greatest thing on the market. If it gets their little brains thinking, I’m all about it! Sometimes the most basic of toys are the best for learning!

This toy for infants is great for tummy time and it has bits and bobs for them to touch and look at. I haven’t had a baby yet that didn’t enjoy this helpful toy! It’s especially good for babies that have re-flux or spit up issues because you can prop them up on it and it allows for tummy time without making them lay flat. Very helpful! This link is the exact one that I use and love!

It’s always nice to have a safe place to set a baby while you accomplish something close by and this play chair fits the bill. In the childcare business, there’s always a kid that needs to potty or a nose to wipe or some other thing that requires you to put the baby down for a minute. I also put a chair inside this play yard for added protection if I have to step away to make lunch or something. I don’t prefer chairs that are crazy bright colors with stuff all in the baby’s face. That’s just my preference but I feel like it’s too busy! This one is nice because the baby can still see what’s going on around him or her but also has some things to check out as well! I don’t have this exact one but I hope to acquire it soon! Always follow the safety advice for the product!

My tool bench also gets some pretty consistent use, although not quite as much as the play kitchen. ha ha The one I have came with pretend foam wood that the kids can actually fit together to “build” things like a birdhouse or an airplane. It’s pretty neat! This one linked below is almost exactly like mine and even has the pretend wood to build with! Be careful with the bolts and things that come with it if you have toddlers or babies around. I put the bolts and little pieces away, just to be sure there would be no issues with choking. The older kids don’t even really miss them.

This next one might seem a bit silly but I have wonderful memories with it from my own childhood. My childcare kids LOVE it and it’s a great way to get some energy out of them on a rainy day! Who can resist putting a soft toy on this parachute and trying to bounce it around without letting it hit the ground?! No one, that’s who!

My childcare kids love bubbles! I often say that the outdoor bubble machine is the best $20 I ever spent! I have a porch with a gate that locks so I put the machine out there and the kids love popping all the bubbles! The best part….I can sit in my chair off to the side and enjoy watching them! It’s keeps them busy for quite a while! The spill proof ones really are pretty spill proof, too. I’ll got toddlers who throw them and they still don’t spill! There are lots of bubble options, some for indoors and some for out. I’ll list mine here for you!

When it comes to infant toys, there are many options! I’ll list a few here that I’ve had success with and you can see if anything catches your eye. These are all things that have kept a baby’s attention pretty well in my home.

The last toy recommendation I have for you this time around is an oldie but a goody! Play-doh! It’s great for creativity, sensory play, and just having some slightly messy fun! My childcare kids love to make little cookies and coins and then sell the cookies back and forth to each other! It’s a great teaching moment for counting and supply and demand! There are way more options now than there were when I was a kid. Just make sure your little ones are old enough that they won’t eat it. Gross! ha ha

I hope my gift ideas for little ones has helped you think of some good ideas for your own child! I am in the special situation that I get to see a variety of kids play with a variety of toys. I can see what kids generally gravitate toward and pass that information on to you! Give this article a like if you found it helpful!

If you have any other toys that your kids really love, please leave it in the comments below! Us parents need all the help we can get! The struggle is REAL!!!

For more of my in home childcare related posts, click here!

To see my organizing posts, click here.

If true ghost stories are your thing, check mine out right here!

Happy Shopping!

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