Older kids can write Santa or just tell you what they want for Christmas or birthdays, but most toddlers are not able to communicate that well, leaving gift-buyers often at a loss as to what they would like.This can mean double gift shopping trouble when you are shopping for twins! Many parents waste money on expensive toys only to find that their child was much more interested in the box and wrapping paper they came in! Though different kids have their own interests these tips and gift ideas should help make your job easier!
Tip #1: If you are considering buying clothes don’t estimate sizes. Ask the parents so you don’t end up getting a sweater that Billy won’t grow into until July! You can’t always assume both twins wear the same size, and some parents have strong feelings about whether or not to dress their twins alike so don’t automatically assume they want matching outfits! Personally, I prefer to find clothes that coordinate instead, such as a red shirt and a blue shirt in the same style with matching jeans. Also, consider buying a shirt with the child’s favorite cartoon character or something will recognize and enjoy wearing instead of just something you think is cute. Include a gift receipt just in case it doesn’t fit!
Tip #2: Don’t spend too much on toddler gifts. Their interests change often and they outgrow toys made for this age range very quickly. There isn’t much point in spending hundreds of dollars on one toy that they will play with for a few weeks before they get bored and move on to the next thing.
Tip #3: Keep it simple. Toys with a simpler design help stimulate the imagination more than toys with lots of lights and sounds. Also, some parents are not into giving their children plastic toys which contain chemicals that could be harmful. Think natural fibers and wood. Also, toys designed for older children often have small pieces that are not safe for younger kids so be sure and check the recommended age.
Tip #4: Sometimes less is more! While older twins will probably want their own present to open, most toddlers still need help opening gifts and can get overwhelmed by many presents, often leaving their parents to open the majority of the gifts for them. So ultimately the kids probably won’t care whether you find one toy they can share, or if they each get something. However, keep in mind some toys are meant to be used by more than one child at once while some items are not. Books, DVD’s, art supplies, and toy sets with moveable pieces are all things that can easily be shared. However, buying only one hat, for example, could cause a fight! Many parents of twins can get a toy overload on birthdays and Christmas, making it hard to find room for everything so most will not be offended if you just get one present, as long as it can be shared!
TOP GIFTS FOR TODDLERS
1) Building Blocks of any kind are great for boys and girls! Wooden alphabet blocks have a classic look that parents will like while children can learn about the alphabet and build to their heart’s content. There are many different brands, styles, and materials of blocks to choose from, and most are reasonably priced and will last for years.
2) Art Supplies are a great way to help children develop their fine-motor skills. Many art sets come pre-packaged or you can check out the Crayola aisle at your local department store and put your own art basket together. Crayons or finger paints are the safest for small children so avoid markers and colored pencils until they are older.
3) Kitchen Set– Boys and girls love playing with food and cabinets that open and close because they can imitate what they see adults do in the kitchen every day. Our twin boys got a Fischer Price BBQ set for their second birthday, and it was a big hit! Similar items such as tool benches are also available from several brands.
4) Tent or Club House– Kids love going in and out of tents, forts, or any little area that is all their own. Step 2 Neat and Tidy cottage is a good choice, and there are several brands that make tents as low as $10.00 (some sturdier than others).
5) Educational Toys– One of the great things about toddlers is that for them, learning and playing are the same thing! Many children I have encountered actually seem to prefer simple educational toys such as shape sorters, wooden puzzles, letter and number activities, and other activities designed to stimulate developing bodies and brains to the some of the more flashy toys. Melissa and Doug are just one brand that make great educational toys. Barnes and Noble has great selection of these types of toys, though they are available in many different stores.
6) Board Books– Beware books with thin pages because children under two are likely to destroy them before they are old enough to enjoy them. Board books are best for children under 2 because they are sturdy and will stand the test of teething babies. Dr. Seuss books and other books with short rhyming stories are best for young children because they will hold their attention better than other books.
7) Night Lights– Cloud B makes an excellent night light called a Twilight Turtle or Twilight Ladybug which projects stars onto the ceiling in several different colors. These run from about $25-$35 and are available on Amazon.com, Target, and many other locations. We gave this to our boys last year and have used it every single night to help them have a happy bedtime routine. We have now added Uncle Milton’s Moon in my Room to the mix, and I swear our kids are the only toddlers I know of who get excited about going to bed because of the moon and stars glowing on their ceiling and walls. This is a great gift for any kid, and if it helps with bedtime, it will make parents happy too!
8) DVD’s of the children’s favorite show are handy to have, especially for parents who have DVD players in their car. Children tend to ask for their favorite shows over and over again, which can get very old to parents and caregivers who have to see them a million times. Instead of guessing, ask the parents if there is a specific show that their kids love and buy a DVD boxed set so they have some options! Our kids favorites are currently Cat in the Hat, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Winnie the Pooh just to name a few.
9) Monogrammed Gifts– Monogramming items for a child is a nice way to be sure the item won’t get lost at daycare and also makes a great keepsake! It can also be a great way for twins to keep their items straight and learn to recognize their names. Ideas for items- toddler sized chairs or bean bags from Land of Nod, hats or scarves, bath or beach towels, pillow cases, etc.
10) Musical Toys– Miniature versions of many different instruments are now available. Kids love music and dancing, and little instruments are a great way to get them started! Be sure and get age appropriate sturdy musical toys for smaller children so they won’t get broken!
Another idea… If you want to go in a completely different direction, consider asking parents if you could donate to the twins’ college fund instead of cluttering their house with more toys