It's here, and we have NO DOUBT it's our best one yet! There's some old favorites but also a whole lotta new. The great thing about our toys is that most of them span a wide age range so that you get the most for your money. So be sure to look at the age range above and below so you don't miss out on any goodies (heck, you should probably just read every single age group to be safe!). We will be restocking these items throughout the holiday season so if something is gone put your email in the back in stock notification form and we'll send you an email when it is restocked.
Oh, and hey. Here is your friendly reminder that every purchase you make at a small business this holiday season really does make a difference. We appreciate you guys!
Zero to Six Months
1. Cuddle+Kind: This brand of hand-made knit dolls has a BIG heart! For each doll sold, 10 meals are donated to a child in need. We love these as a first Christmas gift-- they are meant to be treasured for years to come.
2. Winkel: This is always our recommendation for a first toy. It's super easy to grasp and chew on, and you can stick it in the freezer to sooth aching gums.
3. Jellycat Tails Books: Babies can't get enough of the sounds and textures of these books. And no, we don't mean battery powered sounds! We mean the crinkle of the material when babies hold and explore the various "tail" textures.
Six to Twelve Months
1. Grimm's Seven Friends in Bowls: This set, along with the Grimm's pebbles, are our top recs for the littles when it comes to Grimm's. This set is safe to teeth on, and it will grow with your babe. It's fun to take the friends out of the bowls, and eventually put them in the bowls, match the colors, and pretend play.
2. Dimpl: This toy has been flying off the shelves ever since we brought it in last year! Fat Brain recently changed the recommended age from 6m+ to 10m+, and we agree with that. While it's perfectly safe and easy to hold for a six month old, it won't be till about ten months that a baby can start to push the bubbles in and out.
3. Whirly Squigz: This is another Fat Brain product (we can't help it, their baby toys are just the best!) and TBH it is loved by babies and adults alike. These suction to any flat surface (high chair, floor, table, wall, etc) and are so fun to spin.
1. Wobbel Board: This toy is just so darn versatile. Younger kids can pull up on it while it's flipped over. Eventually they can crawl or walk over it. As they get older, flip it over and they can rock either sitting or standing. But it's not just for gross motor-- it is also a great addition to pretend play. It can be a bridge for a car, a bear's cave, and so much more. We recommend felt if you have mostly hard woods and no felt if it will be predominantly on rugs or carpet.
2. Spin Again: We can't not put the Spin Again on our gift guide! It's pretty consistently our best-seller during the holiday season. Perfect for one year-olds, but loved by four year-olds! It's an irresistible take on a stacking toy, and super durable.
3. Baby Stella: We love this line of dolls and accessories for littles. They're soft and cuddly, and we love the variety of skin tones (we carry most).
4. Grimm's Pebbles: These are a perfect first Grimm's piece. The price point is great and they are so versatile. If you're looking for ideas to give to loved ones, we recommend these. Littles bang them together and explore their textures and colors. Older kids use them as pretend play pieces (maybe it's a tree, a chair, or a pancake).
1. Duplo: We're so excited to be carrying LEGO and Duplo (note: these are in our Fort Worth store only and aren't on our website). Two is a great age to introduce LEGO's little brother. Putting the bricks together and taking them apart is great fine motor practice. Use them for color recognition and sorting, and then eventually for building and creative play.
2. Junior Pebbles: These soft and smooth plastic pebbles are perfect for little hands. Use the included cards for structured activities or let your toddler choose the fun.
3. Little Adventures: If you have a two year-old princess, you need a few Little Adventures dresses. They're machine washable and designed to be worn ALL day (as sometimes happens....).
4. SmartMax Animals: This SmartMax set is designed for younger kids. Pull the magnetic pieces apart and put them back together. Mix and match the animals, talk about colors and more.
1. Sarah's Silks Play Silks: Play silks are one of the most versatile toys out there, and we love Sarah's Silks. Use them as capes, a picnic blanket, baby carrier, wings, flags, and so much more. (Pro tip: use your play silk to wrap another small present!)
2. Grimm's Twelve Piece Rainbow: This is the classic Grimm's piece, and we've found that three is the age that it really starts getting used (but don't be surprised if they keep playing with it for YEARS!). It's beautiful, and it's easy to add on to it. To extend play, we suggest the semi-circles, building boards, or twelve friends. The rainbow comes in classic rainbow colors or pastel.
3. Jumbo Animals: Just trust us on this one! Yes, they are just big plastic animals. But kids LOVE them. We have different varieties out in our indoor playspace pretty regularly, and kids are always drawn to them.
4. Fagus Unimog: This is one of the newest brands to THL, and it is so special! These wooden vehicles are heirloom quality. They are made in Germany, where they employee workers with special needs. Providing meaningful work for them is part of Fagus' mission statement. The Unimog is particularly cool because you can add on extra extensions. Start with the Unimog and maybe one accessory, then buy another for a birthday.
1. Magnatiles: These are a classic go-to toy that will be played with for yeeeeears! You can really buy them as young as two and they'll be played with until ten plus, but we've found that four is a great age for quality play. There are other lesser brands of magnetic tiles, but we've tried them and these are the original and the magnets are stronger and cause less frustration during building.
2. Way to Play: These flexible rubber roads are getting all sorts of insta love right now, and we can see why! Kids love building their own road ways, and we love that they can be used inside or outside, and even in water. We don't recommend these if you have predominantly carpet, as a relatively hard surface is best. (P.S.-- the Wobbel Board is the perfect accompaniment to WTP!)
3. Grimm's Sorting Board+Friends+Small Rainbow Balls: This little trio of Grimm's is just so.... satisfying!! The friends and balls have tons of uses in pretend play and building, and the sorting board is the icing on the cake. Match each with its corresponding spot, or mix the balls and the friends in whatever way you see fit.
4. SmartMax: This is a new-to-THL brand, but we've already seen it get so much love in our indoor playspace. SmartMax vs. Magnatiles is really a win-win, but if you're between the two, we think SmartMax trends a little younger. They will both get lots of quality play time from the four year-olds.
1. Grimm's Large Stepped Pyramid: There's a reason this big block set has loyal fans around the world! Not only is it beautiful, but it will be played with for years. We've found that many people buy large classic block sets when their children are a lot younger, and are disappointed when they don't get a ton of play. We observe these sets getting a lot more play time with older kiddos. If you already have this set and are looking to add on, we recommend 1001 Nights.
2. Doodle Book: These have been a THL best-seller for years. Each Doodle Book comes with four pieces of dustless chalk. No mess, people!! To clean the book, just wipe with a damp cloth or paper towel. We love this for plane rides, restaurants, or quiet time.
1. Classic Legos: ( Note: Legos are in-store only) You don't become as popular as Lego without a darn good reason! These plastic bricks are virtually indestructible. Your kids will play with them for years, and then when they're done, they can be passed on to another family. We love the open-ended classic yellow sets.
2. Mad Mattr: You guys have been loving Mad Mattr since we brought it in to THL a few months ago. It's like Kinetic Sand or Play-doh, but it is less messy and never dries out. We REALLY love the brick maker and using it to build structures. It's so neat how it can mold into a shape or become soft and almost liquid-like.
3. PlusPlus: This simple yet versatile building toy is quickly becoming a favorite at THL the big size is nice if you have younger kids around (no small parts), but the small size is particularly loved by the older kiddos.
We have had SO MUCH fun finding new toys this year-- we hope you love them as much as we do! Thank you for shopping small this holiday season.
Caitlin and Suzanne