It’s often a challenge to keep up with the voracious learning and the intensity of a gifted toddler, and when it comes to buying gifts during the holidays, it gets harder. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Gifts for Gifted Kids - Buying great grow-with-you toys for Toddlers

 

There are many traits that young gifted children share, and even if your child isn’t identified by a specialist, you probably know that your kiddo is gifted. When it comes time to buy your gifted toddler presents for holidays and birthdays, it can feel overwhelming as you’re always trying to keep up with that little mind already.  What’s appropriate for an asynchronous kiddo to play with?

Think multi-purpose when you choose a toy for a bright little one. Toys can grow with kids as they do, and serve different functions at different stages in your child’s development. Here are some of our favorite gifts for gifted toddlers — the ones we buy over and over again for friends…

Gifts for Gifted Kids | Buying for Toddlers

Blocks

I think nesting blocks are some of the simplest, but greatest toys available. My kids all play together with them. The big kids help the little ones stack – then crash – the towers. Little guys and gals can use them to count, compare sizes, hide things, and build tall structures.

A set of cardboard brick blocks can spark so many imaginative games. I bought some for a play my students were writing when I taught third grade, and my kids are still playing with them almost 15 years later. The big kids build barriers for the toddler to plow through, fences around themselves and their action figures, and my little guy studies the patterns and corners.

Wooden unit blocks are timeless, and a great gift for little kiddos that they’ll play with for decades. We use ours every single day.

A few years ago we added these rainbow, sand, sound, and water blocks to our collection. The kids all use them as add-ons to the other blocks we own, but they love looking at them on our light table and holding them up to the window to see the colors that are made when the sunlight hits them.

Gifts for Gifted Kids - Gift Ideas for Toddlers - Different Blocks for Open Ended Play

 

Cause and Effect Toys

Every one of my kids have loved this simple ball ramp toy. In fact, we’ve gone through several ball ramps in the years we’ve had kids. We just pulled out the one we bought for Logan so Isaac could play with it – and Logan has reclaimed it as her own. Kids love watching the balls roll down the ramp, and it builds on their natural curiosity by demonstrating cause and effect relationships. My big kids have used it as traps for action figures and vortexes which swallow up Lego minifigures, so the possibilities really are endless…

Hammer toys are classics for a reason… they teach hand-eye coordination, cause and effect, and they’re fun. Watching the ball drop after you’ve hit it hard is very satidfying to a little one trying to find thigs he can control in his world.

I often tape cardboard tubes to the wall to create a tunnel and ramp toy for my little ones — simple, effect, and inexpensive. They’ll play for hours, dropping balls, pom poms, hotwheels, and other small obsjects down. Again and again. This is a fun alternative to taping cardboard to your walls. This tot tube snaps together easily and can be taken from room to room.

Gifts for Gifted Kids - Gift Ideas for Toddlers - Toys for Cause and Effect Play

 

Books and Literacy-Building Toys

Building readers begins when your kids are young. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a love of the written word. To that end, your kids need to be surrounded by books. They need to be read to, cuddled with, and encouraged to read when they can’t find anything else to do. Give them board books, cloth books, bath books, and picture book classics. Fill your house up – books, books, books!

We love LeapFrog learning toys, games and videos, and have since the oldest kiddo was a toddler. You can read reviews of some of our favorites on this site, but there are so many others we’ve loved and haven’t reviewed — we’re too busy playing. Some of our favorite LeapFrog Toys are:

The LeapFrog Epic Tablet

The LeapTV Gaming System

LeapFrog My Pal Scout

LeapFrog Scribble and Write

LeapReader System

Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

Any of the LeapFrog DVDs

Gifts for Gifted Kids - Gift Ideas for Toddlers - Literacy Building Toys

 

Playmats and Playsets to Encourage Imaginative Play

We have several different types of playmats in our house. One has roads and city buildings. Another has farmland. Still another has train tracks. With playmats available in the house, you can sit a child on them for story time, teaching them to stay in a small space and be patient. You can offer a few matchbox cars and your kiddos can play happily. No need to haul hundreds of wooden tracks, you can roll up a train mat, throw a couple of trains in the car, and have a complete playset at your next family gathering to keep little ones engaged. I love our playmats.

The Little People have been friends in our home for a long, long time. We have just about every farm piece imaginable, and the kids have love them since they were all toddlers. Now, they build elaborate play scenes with the Little People Farm and our GeoTrax, making deliveries between towns, cities, and the farm.

It’s always fun picking out gifts for little ones, isn’t it? They’re so full of potential and I just want to nurture every bit of it if I can.

Gifts for Gifted Kids - Gift Ideas for Toddlers - Playmats and Playsets to Inspire Imagination

 

What are some of your favorite gifts for bright little guys and gals? How do you use gifts to foster creativity and nurture imagination? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love some fresh ideas.

For more information about parenting gifted kids, check out:

         

 

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Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.