Whether you like to plan or enjoy the rush of last-minute shopping, we’re hoping this list of stocking stuffers for toddlers makes your holiday shopping a little easier. It may seem like getting the latest toys is all you need to worry about, but when it comes to toddler stocking stuffers, there’s more to it than just opting for age-appropriate gifts.
While a gift that is both educational and can hold a toddler’s attention is always a plus, it’s essential to opt for some practical items as well. When creating this post, we searched for gifts that would be perfect stocking stuffers for a wide range of little present receivers.
What Are Good Stocking Stuffers For Toddlers?
Apart from the bigger presents under the tree, stocking stuffers are a fun way to gift a little something extra. Plus, stockings neatly placed on the fireplace easily bring holiday magic to any winter morning.
Maybe the kids need new socks, or they’ve lost their favorite stuffy. Just as no two people are the same, this also rings true for children. So when it comes to stocking stuffers, we are going beyond your typical gifts to give you unique and fun ideas with a mix of practicals this holiday season.
Practical Essentials for Everyday Use
Between the dryer sock monster gobbling socks and kids growing a mile a minute, a parent can never have too many socks. For kids, colorful and comfortable toddler socks bring them joy. Bonus points from us parents if they’re non-slip, have a seamless toe design, and are made from incredibly sock material like our Casey Crew Socks.
If you’re all stocked up on socks now, another practical choice this holiday season, especially for those little ones with sensitive skin, is fun undies. We know these don’t sound like any child would be excited to receive, but that’s far from the truth. This is especially true when gifting underwear with cool prints like our Jamie Briefs in Lovelysaurus or our Nolan Briefs in Roarsome. As a bonus, underwear as a stocking stuffer takes the pressure (or embarrassment away) and makes it fun to receive something they need in a new way.
Very few toys offer the same benefits that blocks do for small children. One of the most popular gifts for toddlers, building blocks are a great way to encourage pretend play and help develop fine motor skills. There’s so much room for lessons in physics, engineering, science, math, and open-ended imaginative play when blocks are on the floor. We don’t want to forget to mention the art and visual-spatial practice.
There are various blocks, from plastic mega blocks to wooden stacking blocks and even those magnetic blocks that can stick to any metal object. Building blocks are one of those stocking stuffers that will teach and engage a toddler for years to come.
Books That Spark Imagination
Fostering a love for reading from a young age has many benefits and can be fun, too! Reading aloud to smaller children helps build language recognition and teaches them about speech sounds and words. Finding interactive picture books stimulates their imagination, develops social skills, and helps them learn about the world around them.
Maybe it’s a big book of dinosaurs that offers touch-and-feel segments. Or a book all about living on a farm, complete with animal noises on every page. When reading to them, give them time to explore every page. Allow them to feel, examine, and interact with the images in the book. Parents.com offers a great list of some of the best books for toddlers, and it's worth scrolling through.
Soft Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals, or stuffies as we so lovingly call them, are always a favorite gift. Often a child’s first friend, the bond they develop with their cuddly companions helps them to learn and grow. Plush toys can help strengthen social skills, teach children to be kind and nurturing, and become the perfect listener for any blossoming talker. They also typically do not have small parts, which makes them a good present for children of all ages. Add an extra dash of magic this holiday season by finding a plush character from their favorite Christmas movie. Watch as they cuddle up and enjoy the movie with their newfound friend.
Play Dough and Modeling Clay
Another childhood classic, playdough boasts many benefits for children. Outside of giving us parents a little break while they play, squishing playdough around their tiny fingers also improves fine motor skills. And since there’s no right or wrong way to play with it, children of all ages learn emotional regulation as they focus and release excess energy.
Opt for sets with various colors when shopping for your little one’s stocking. If you’re a home with pets, or if your kiddos are still putting everything in their mouths, there are plenty of non-toxic options for everyone’s safety. And here’s an easy DIY all-natural salt dough if you’d prefer to make your own.
Creative Art Supplies
Looking for a way to foster a child’s self-expression? Head to any art store for the answer. Washable markers, crayons, finger paints, paint with brushes, and anything you can think of will teach them self-expression and foster a love of the arts. Arts & crafts are an excellent activity when playing outside isn’t an option during winter.
Yes, we know these things can get messy. Which is why we recommend going for washable whenever possible. Most art supplies are non-toxic, but always make sure to double-check. And if you need an extra push to bite the bullet, art engages children's senses in open-ended play and supports the development of cognitive, social-emotional, and multisensory skills. In other words, creative art supplies of any kind are the gift that keeps on giving!
What Are Good Stocking Stuffers For Kids?
When it comes to small gifts for little people, no one wants to spend hours at the store only to come out empty-handed. Or worse, you must make a last-minute dash to your local drugstore because it's the only store open. Stocking stuffers don’t have to be complicated. As shown with the ideas we’ve already listed, fun, engaging presents can be easy to find. Whether you stick to the classics, go a more practical route, or hop on the latest toy craze, good stocking stuffers have more to do with the intent than the present itself.
Don’t worry because we don’t plan to leave you hanging; if you’re looking for stocking stuffers for older kids, we have some great ideas below!
Puzzles, especially jigsaw puzzles, are one of the few hobbies that don’t require a kid to stare at a screen. Or use technology at all. No matter the time between starting and stopping, you can easily pick back up where you left off when it comes to puzzles. It’s probably one of the reasons they’ve been around for so long. Providing hours of engaging entertainment puzzles also helps children develop problem-solving and other cognitive skills. Jigsaw puzzles can spark a child’s (of any age) interest in a subject while helping them commit information to memory. It's called subliminal learning, one of the best ways for kids to learn.
Available in an array of different piece sizes, piece counts, and degrees of detail, the receiver’s age is essential to remember. The things listed above and the child’s experience with puzzles are all things to consider when picking a puzzle as a stocking stuffer. For a newer puzzler worker, even if older, you may want to opt for fewer pieces that are bigger until they get the hang of it.
For the most part, it is pretty obvious when a game is educational, but did you know that even games that don’t seem the most educational can benefit kids? Games like Monopoly, BattleShip, and even Operation (we know, we’re showing our age here) all have cognitive and social benefits when played on a consistent basis during childhood. This means you’ll be able to start a new tradition, think about family game night, while building your young adult’s cognitive abilities.
Whether stocking stuffers are a part of a long-standing tradition or a new addition to holiday festivities, they can be as fun and unique as your child is. Stocking stuffers for toddlers don’t have to be loud, annoying toys; they can foster creativity and create family bonding time. The same can be true when looking for stocking stuffers for kids. No matter their age, use this guide this holiday season to find the perfect gifts for every stocking you’re filling.