Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are fast approaching and the season of gift buying, giving and receiving is under way. Ultimately you can’t control what people buy for you or your kids but many (thoughtful) people ask for ideas of what your kids may want. And you do have control over what stays in your home.

All of us here generally have a minimalist approach to toys. While some of us may have a lot of toys, they aren’t all necessarily out for use at the same time. We rotate toys, we use Montessori-style shelves and displays, stay away from lights and sounds and we cull items that go unused. We will show you some of our favourite playroom and toy set ups in a future post.

But we do buy gifts for our kids for various occasions. We wanted to put together a few ideas of toys and gifts we feel are worthy of thinking about.

There is far too much out there now and it’s difficult for family and friends to weed through the options and choose things your kids might really use for more than a day or a week.

All the tried-and-true favourites like Lego, Playmobil and dollhouses are always great choices, but sometimes you are looking for something a little different.

Some of these items we (the Pocketful Mamas) have in our homes and some are on our lists for our kids this year. You will see we lean towards open-ended toys and items that let our kids use their minds and bodies to explore and create. Some of our ideas are big and some are small and they are presented in no particular order.

Balance Beam

Waldorf Rocker Board

Gorilla Gym

Indoor Trampoline

Haba Ship A’Hoy Swing

Play Silks

Board Games are so much fun for the whole family. There are so many good ones. We love the Peaceable Kingdom cooperative games! We also love classics like Snakes & Ladders, Checkers, Connect 4. Spot It is great for young kids.


Many of us own these are they are one of the most used building toys we have. Ours are out permanently on our light table and they are SO. MUCH. FUN. They are a bit of an investment but there are different brands and they do go on sale.

Kinetic Sand

This stuff is seriously fantastic. My advice is to go for the 11lb amount and build your own sensory bin with it. I also bought these shapes and molds to build castles and various roads and animals and structures.

‘Real’ Doctors Kit

One thing we are giving my daughter this year is a real doctor’s set to replace her plastic play one. We are including items like this stethescope, otoscope, blood pressure cuff, reflex hammer, syringes and bandages. We are putting it all together in a bag like this one. We are also including an eye chart and some xrays for her light table. Giving kids the chance to use real tools and instruments is a wonderful way to let them explore and supports their creativity. Kids are so much more capable than we often give them credit for.

‘Real’ Tool Kit

We gave this to my daughter last year and she adores it. She helps build almost anything we are making or putting together.


I’ve always thought this looked so great. If my daughter likes writing stories when she’s a bit older then we will definitely get this. You write and illustrate your story and send it in and it gets turned into a hardcover book and sent back to your child.

‘Real’ Gardening Tools & Seeds


EZ Steppers

I had these when I was a kid and my daughter now loves them too!




Many of our kids love their scooters! This new offering is particularly good for really young kids because it has a seat they can ride on until they are ready to balance. These are a great gift for parents too!

We go through A LOT of art supplies at our house. This is our favourite place to stock up on anything and everything.
And stay-tuned for our upcoming holiday gift guides for:
  • Non-Toy Ideas
  • Books
  • Homemade Kits & Sensory Bins

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