As a parent of two young children, I find gift giving for my own children, my nephew, and the children of friends to be a relatively easy task. I know what my children are interested in; what is appropriate for their age, or an age they have been; what might pique a new interest; and what other children I know are excited about. However, for grandparents, especially those living far away from their grandchildren, gift giving for little ones might be a little daunting. I have seen my children’s grandparents get a huge thrill from finding the perfect gift for their grandchild after they have had high hopes that their gift will become a go-to item for their grandchild. Unfortunately, there are moments when gifts aren’t age appropriate or do not attract the child’s attention. From my own experiences, and those of friends, I find that some grandparents might need a little assistance from a third party to help them find the perfect gift for their grandchild.

Puzzles and Games

Although a child might not let out an audible shriek when opening a puzzle or a game, these toys will provide your grandchild with hours and hours of entertainment and numerous opportunities for learning. An even better way to give these types of gifts, if possible, is to give them in person and find an opportunity during the visit to work together on the puzzle or play the game. For my son’s third birthday, his grandparents had him open a game upon their arrival. They proceeded to play it with him and find a way to spend some time together and entertain my son while party details proceeded.

Beleduc - Your Body Layer Puzzle (Boy)

Beleduc - Your Body Layer Puzzle (Boy)

My children, like most, are fascinated with their bodies and the mysteries of their bones and circulatory and digestive systems. This puzzle provides a great opportunity for learning and play.

Haba Mini Bingo (in a tin)

Haba Mini Bingo (in a tin)

Bingo is a current hit in my house. We modify the rules in order to accommodate all ages and abilities and everyone has fun.

It is difficult to find quality games for pre-readers. This one is challenging, yet accessible to younger children. An extra bonus will be the conversations had around the table about food and the seasons.

Family Pastimes Cooperative Game - Harvest Time

Family Pastimes Cooperative Game - Harvest Time

Large Items

For many families, purchases of larger items might be difficult for financial reasons or it may be hard to justify the purchase of a play kitchen or piece of furniture. Buying larger heirloom pieces might provide the kind of impact a grandparent is hoping to make with their gift.

While I have already written about the tremendous usefulness of a Learning Tower, it is a great gift for a grandparent to give; particularly with one of the add-ons, such as this easel. A grandparent I know who has already given a Learning Tower to her four-year-old granddaughter will be giving the easel this Christmas and it couldn’t be a better gift. What a great way to keep your child close while in the kitchen but provide them with opportunities for creativity and exploration.

Little Partners Learning Tower with Art Easel

Little Partners Learning Tower with Art Easel

Dollhouses aren’t just for girls anymore! My son and daughter love playing with their dollhouse together, acting out scenes from our life and their imaginations. This one is sure to please any child (and parent) with its design.

Plan Toys Wooden Chalet Dollhouse

Plan Toys Wooden Chalet Dollhouse

If you think your grandchild is ready for a wooden train set, there are no others to consider than the Plan City line of track and road toys. The track is well designed, fits together securely, and the trains and accessories are visually and tactically irresistible for children, parents, and grandparents. The track is compatible with most other wooden track in the marketplace.

Plan Toys Wooden Road and Rail Set

Plan Toys Wooden Road and Rail Set

Toys for “Grandma’s House”

If you are privileged to live close enough to your grandchildren to allow for frequent visits, having a selection of fun items available during these visits is a perfect way to allow children to explore activities that might be too messy or involved for everyday life at home.

Big art and craft projects are a perfect activity for a child visiting their grandparents. Watercolors, markers, and crayons are compatible for use with this Paintable Barn.

Imagination Box Company Paintable Barn

For an older child, an introduction to a craft is a perfect activity to do together.

Artterro Natural Art Kits

Artterro Natural Art Kits

My most vivid memories of time spent with my grandmother involved playing dress up. She would let me walk to the store with her in anything I wanted, unlike when I was at home. This colorful dress and hat are a nice start.

Sarahs Silks Princess Dress and Hat

Sarah's Silks Princess Dress and Hat

And lastly, a stuffed animal to keep at a grandparent’s house for sleepovers is a great gift idea. Mom and dad won’t have to worry about forgetting a bedtime companion at home or after the sleepover. My kids look forward to sleepovers and playing with their animals that reside at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

Lana Organic cotton Stuffed Cat

Lana Organic cotton Stuffed Cat

Katherine DeGood – Contributing Writer for Hazelnut Kids and Mother of Willem and Adeline


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