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The Ultimate Baby Essentials List for the Minimalist Mom on a Budget

Baby essentials list

When you’re expecting your first baby or second or fifth there’s a lot of stuff to consider buying for your precious bundle of joy. And there also are a lot of things you absolutely do NOT need. And after having three kids, I’ve learned a few things!

And wasting money and taking up space in your home when adding to your family is totally unnecessary. You really can live the minimalist life and be mindful of your budget when having a baby.

Baby essentials list

This list will give you the goods on what goods you really need and which ones you need to leave at the store!

That’s because that super sweet and cuddly first year of your baby’s life is literally going to fly right by! And so much of the baby gear that’s usually recommended isn’t really going to get used that much or not at all.

Start with Your Baby Registry

One of the first things you need if you’re pregnant is a baby registry. Why? Umm, to tell all your family and friends what you really want so they can buy it for you! But you already knew that, so moving on.

Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and millions of people are ordering their every need on Amazon every single day. And that goes for gifts too!

So while you’ll definitely have fun signing up for your Target Baby Registry you may not know that Amazon has a Baby Registry too. It’s totally FREE to sign up and you get a really awesome free gift shipped to you as well.

This is a huge incentive for gift shopping because while your best friend is ordering her groceries to be shipped, she can add your baby shower gift and have it gift wrapped too. And you can add ALL of these amazing products so easy!

So it’s like doing her a favor! #winwin

Now on to our list of only the baby essentials you really need and the ones you don’t.

Baby Essentials You Must Have

Baby essentials list

1 – Newborn Pack and Plays

By the time I had my third baby, I didn’t want a bunch of large baby gear that I had to get rid of in the first year. I quickly realized that buying a sweet little bassinette isn’t necessary.

With the invention of beautifully designed newborn friendly pack and plays, this is all you need for your newborn’s first bed. They’re small enough to fit by most bedsides like a bassinette but will do so much more.

The reason I love these so much is that the newborn sleeper is perfect for snuggling your little one in softness while safely keeping them on their backs. As they get a few months older, it’s amazing how quickly they can start to roll in their sleep.

They also have a changing table that allows you to do quick changes in your room instead of needing to run to the baby’s nursery in the middle of the night.

And the best part is, as your baby gets older you can remove the newborn sleeper and changing table and have them sleep in the crib attachment. And finally, you’ll still get use out of them as a playpen for many years after! It’s simply one of the best new baby essentials I can think of!

Here is a listing of the highest 5 star reviewed newborn-friendly pack and plays!

Breastfeeding class

2 – Convertible Car Seat

We love convertible car seats because your infant car seat isn’t going to last you passed the first two years. And if we’re focusing on our budget here the convertible car seat is totally the way to go.

All of these car seats come with a newborn attachment that safely keeps your newborn snuggled while in their seat. And this particular seat is perfect because it transforms as your child grows up to 100 pounds!

Here is a full listing of all the five star rated convertible car seats!

The only time I would recommend buying an infant carrier car seat is if you have multiple children. And only if you feel that taking your baby out of her car seat every time would be too overwhelming.

We purchased a convertible car seat with my first daughter and loved it. We then purchased an infant carrier when we had our second daughter and it was convenient. But it was also very heavy to lug around too.

I would suggest investing in a comfortable baby carrier and wearing your little one everywhere. It’s super easy and keeps your baby close!

3 – Infant Carrier

I just love infant carriers! They are perfect for doing things in the house and comfortably getting around out of the house. And if you have multiple children they are a lifesaver!

There’s just one problem, many parents are getting it wrong. There’s a huge danger of hip dysplasia in babies and infants by using the wrong carrier.

Most of those carriers that dangle the baby either front or rear facing are usually the culprits. Read here to learn how to prevent hip dysplasia in infants with common baby products.

The good news is there are many great baby carriers to choose from that will keep your baby safe and comfortable and won’t wreck your back either.

I love Ergo because they’re all about the comfort of both baby and mama! This wrap style carrier takes some practice but once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to stop using it. Plus, it takes up almost no room which is a HUGE plus!

Here’s a Top Five list of infant carriers that moms voted that they love!

4 – Baby Stroller

Though I loved wearing my baby’s everywhere, I still had plenty of opportunities to use our stroller! Especially as they got older and heavier.

We chose this particular stroller that we loved so much because it had all the storage and perks of the bigger strollers but you could basically lift and operate it with one hand. I had tons of jealous mom friends when they saw how light it was.

You can buy the stroller on its own or the infant carrier and stroller combo if you’re opting for an infant carrier car seat. And if you are, I highly recommend you purchase the matching stroller. You’ll thank me later!

Check out my absolute favorite stroller here.

5 – Baby Bottles

Whether you are breastfeeding or not, chances are your baby at some point will need to drink from a bottle. And you want to be prepared!

There are many, many bottles to choose from and bottle feeding is very personal to each mom based on your feeding desires. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and want a bottle that’s very close to breast, you may want to invest in Comotomo Natural Feeding Bottles.

They are on the pricey side, but if you don’t plan to use bottles often, you could get by with just a few. And the benefits of avoiding nipple confusion likely outweigh the investment.

If you are exclusively pumping or are formula feeding like I did, you can feel free to choose a great bottle that focuses on helping baby drink and digest their milk without painful gas. I personally used these Philips Avent bottles and loved them!

I recommend buying the larger 9 oz bottles instead of the newborn 4 oz bottles. It saves money and you can just change the nipples from slow flow for your newborn to the older stages as your baby is ready.

6 – Swaddling Wraps or Blankets

Swaddling wraps have certainly come a long way since just a few years ago. I used to be firmly on the swaddling blankets side of the swaddling debate.

That’s because the first swaddling wraps on the market didn’t really achieve that snug swaddled feel that the blankets did. However, these swaddling wraps are simply amazing and make swaddling a no-brainer for tired parents!

If you love swaddling your baby with those soft muslin blankets, you’ll love these Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. 

Check out this video if you’re feeling clueless about swaddling your little one to sleep.

7 – Breastfeeding Pillow

Whether or not you are planning to breastfeed, you need one of these breastfeeding pillows! I literally used this handy pillow to prop up my little newborns all day long. The Boppy pillow’s shape seems to make them feel snuggled and keeps them calm.

And because of its portability, you can take it anywhere you go. I actually pumped for the first month because he had to be admitted in the hospital for Jaundice at 4 days old.

This complicated our breastfeeding plan, and I ended up using this pillow to lay him on while I was pumping.

This pillow also gets a lot of mileage as it works perfectly for propping up your little sitter.

8 – Burp Clothes and Onesies

A couple of things that you simply can’t live without as a new mom are burp clothes and simple onesies. Your washing machine will be full of these every single load, so you can never have enough.

These burp clothes have a unique curved flap style that seems to stay in place on your shoulder better. Plus, the designs are very cute!

These simple gray uni-sex onesies are perfect because white seems to really hold on to spit up stains and they work perfectly under baby’s outfits when you actually leave the house.

9 – Must-Have Bath Time Essentials

Obviously bathing your baby is something you’ll be doing every day or at least every other day. So, having a simple bathtub is important. This baby seat is what I used for all three of my babies and it easily fits into your kitchen sink or bathtub.

It still cradles your newborn and when you’re done it folds flat. It ends up taking no room at all and it’s very inexpensive! Perfect for the minimalist mom on a budget.

This very cool tub dam is not something I’ve used but, wish I had one when my kids were babies. It saves a ton of money and water. Probably one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen!

What did we miss on this baby essentials list? Let us know in the comments below what your absolute must-have baby product is!

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All new moms need baby stuff but there are also things we don't need. This list is a complete list of baby essentials and nothing you don't need! This list is perfect for the minimalist mom. #pregnancy #babies #baby #babystuff

The Best Toddler Puzzles for Fun and Learning to Buy in 2019

Best toddler puzzles

Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? Puzzles are a challenging and fun way to help toddlers learn basic foundations like letter and number recognition, learning shapes and colors, and increasing fine motor skills.

Puzzles are the perfect learning toys for toddlers!

The best toddler puzzles

And because the term toddler can mean anything between a 2, 3, or 4 year old, I’ve separated this list into helpful categories to help you find the perfect puzzle for your toddler. Because that’s a big range when it comes to puzzles!

There will be obvious overlap, so use your own judgment when it comes to choosing your own toddler’s puzzles from this list. And there’s also a general toddler puzzle section that features puzzles that are perfect for toddlers of any age!

Puzzles for Toddlers of All Ages

Custom Wooden Name Puzzle

This custom name puzzle is perfect for all ages because name recognition is so important early on. These brightly colored names are so cute to help your little one learn and recognize their own name. Plus, all names can be made!

Grab your puzzle here!

Mickey Mouse Number and Letters Puzzles

This set of Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are great for little toddlers to start learning their letters, numbers, and shapes. And it’s great for older toddlers to have fun with Mickey Mouse.

Check out the puzzle here!

Fun Wooden Dinosaur Puzzle

This wooden dinosaur puzzle is absolutely adorable and will easily become a favorite showing many of the different types of dinosaurs. And the pieces are easy to handle for little toddlers.

Check out your puzzle here!

Animal Wooden Box Puzzle

This is such a fun puzzle that encourages toddlers to change the block shapes around to form the fun animal picture. They’ll be turning those blocks into new pictures for tons of toddler fun.

Grab this puzzle here!

Wooden Shape Sorting Peg Puzzle

Grab this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Themed Puzzle Set

These adorable puzzles from Smart Kids come in themed packs of five puzzles. They are perfect for little hands that may be new to puzzles!

Grab your puzzle here!

Wooden Colors and Shapes Puzzle

This puzzle teaches toddlers their colors and shapes in one bright puzzle. They can match up the giant crayons with the matching colors or the brightly colored shapes.

Check out this puzzle here!

Things I Eat Match Up Puzzle

Little hands will use the pictures of foods like delicious fruits and veggies to match up these simple 2 piece puzzles. These are perfect to get toddlers working on matching to like items together.

Check out this puzzle here!

This travel themed puzzle is so bright and stimulating and teaches little ones about all the various modes of travel such as boats, airplanes, and buses.

Grab your puzzle here!

Touch and Feel Animal Puzzle

Your 2-year-old will love putting together these 3 piece animal puzzle as they have fun textures like fur and leather in each puzzle set!

Check out this puzzle here!

Classic Wooden Shape Sorting Puzzle

This Melissa and Doug classic wooden shape sorter is a learning toy every child should have. It really helps develop fine motor skills and good shape recognition as they play.

Check out this sorter here!

Vibrant Wooden Shape Sorter

This simple shape sorter is perfect for little hands with the chunky and vibrant colored pieces. Encourage your toddler to name each shape as they place them in the puzzle spot.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 3-Year-Olds

Wooden Latch Board Puzzle

Toddlers love buckles and latches! And this bright puzzle from Melissa and Doug will keep your toddler busy as they have fun working through each latch with this carefully crafted wooden puzzle.

Get your puzzle here!

Bright Wooden Numbers and Letters Puzzle Set

This set of brightly colored number and letter puzzles are perfect for little hands with the special knobs for handling each piece. These will easily become a favorite puzzle set.

Check out this puzzle set here!

Wooden Vehicle Themed Puzzle in a Box

This classic Melissa and Doug puzzle set is four puzzle boards in one with an attached box for all the jigsaw pieces. When your toddler is ready for more pieces, this is a great puzzle.

Check out this puzzle set here!

Colorful Mosaic Pegboard Puzzle

This fun puzzle encourages toddlers to match up the colorful pegs and place them into the matching colored spaces in the puzzle. This is great for 3 and 4 year olds but be aware of the little pieces which can be a chocking hazard.

Get this puzzle here!

Animal Parade Letter Jigsaw

This original puzzle helps toddlers recognize letters with the names of popular animals while putting together this creative animal parade puzzle.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 4-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzle Set

This is a great first jigsaw puzzle. Each puzzle in the set has 9 wooden, easy to hold pieces. This is great for older toddlers who can see pieces and combine into a big picture. Some 3-year-olds would also love this puzzle.

Grab this puzzle here!

3D Dinosaur Puzzle Set

This amazing 3D form dinosaur puzzles brings the fun of these creatures to life. Toddlers get to put together their own 3D dinosaurs to play with. This is best for 3 and 4 year old toddler who are able to understand how the pieces fit together.

Check out the puzzle here!

Colorful Tangram Block Puzzle

This fun tangram puzzle encourages toddlers to manipulate all the different shaped blocks to fit into the one square puzzle mold. It’s like your babies first brainteaser!

Check out this puzzle here! 

Geometric Shape Sorter

This is another brainteaser style puzzle to challenge their brains to match up the correct shaped hole with the same peg.

Get this puzzle here!

These fun learning focused toddler puzzles will keep your toddler busy learning and having fun! This post helps you find the best toddler puzzle for your 2, 3, or 4 year old! #toddler #toddlerapproved #toddlertoys #toddleractivities

22+ of the Coolest Must-Have Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

must have baby products

It seems like every year that passes, someone invents a baby gadget that I wish I had years before when my kids were babies!

There are also many inventions that are unnecessary, a waste of money, and totally prey on new parents’ emotions. But that’s not the focus of this post!

must have baby products

This post is full of the coolest, must-have baby stuff that we all wish we had “back in the day.” If you’re a new mom or a mom of little ones, you’re going to go nuts over these products!

Take a deep breath and stay calm. When deciding which one you have to have just tell yourself… you deserve it.

Baby Related Posts:

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If you’re still in “mom-to-be” status, don’t forget your baby shower registry! Amazon has the largest registry on the planet and allows you to easily add any of these cool products to your registry without searching through retailers!

And you get a FREE sign up welcome box too!












The Coolest Baby Stuff You’ve Probably Never Seen!

1 – Free Hand Baby Bottle Holder

I know every mama has experienced feeding her baby and needing a free hand at the same time! We’ve tried every trick to prop up that bottle but nothing ever works.

This amazing bottle holder is a real problem solver and it almost makes me want another baby… almost.


Get this amazing product here!

And if you’re constantly looking for ways to prop up your baby’s bottle in the car, this car seat bottle holder is an answer to your prayers! Check it out here!

2 – First Years 4 in 1 Remote Bottle Warmer

The reason this bottle warmer is on my must-have list is that when my middle daughter was a baby, she would drink at least 3 bottles every night!

And our bedroom was upstairs so I pre-bottled her milk every evening and stored them in a cold pack on my nightstand. And when she started to get hungry, I would get my trusty coffee mug and fill it with hot water from the bathtub and nest her bottle inside to warm up.

This wasn’t the most effective way to heat up her bottles quickly at all. This warmer actually stores your bottles inside and warms the bottles in seconds! I would have jumped at this warmer back then.

Get this amazing product here!

3 – The Toddler Bathtime Dam

This product is genius! And not only does it holds your little one in place, but it also saves gallons of water every single bath!

It easily snaps in place each bathtime and takes up very little space. In fact, it takes up way less space than those large infant tubs! The best part is, you can use this long after your baby grows out of the baby stage!

Check this out this product here!

4 – QuickZip Crib Sheet Set

I remember changing crib sheets and the nightmare experience it was every time. These amazing sheets actually zip on and off easily without the need to remove the mattress from the crib or wreck your back!

These crib sheets are simply revolutionary!

Check out this product here!

5 – Cocoon Cam Plus – Baby Monitor with Breathing Monitoring

There are many baby monitor on the market that have helpful features that give parents that much needed peace of mind when their baby is sleeping.

However, this monitor takes the cake and actually monitors your infant’s breathing! This technology is revolutionary and the best part is it doesn’t require you to attach or stick anything to your baby like many monitors still do.

Get this amazing product here!

6 – Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Remember the Diaper Genie? I had one with my first daughter and it was horrible! The plastic tub soaked up all the stink and never gave it up.

This stainless steel diaper pail keeps stacking up the awards, acclaim, and parent praise. It’s super easy to use and never holds on to the stick.

Grab this product here!

6 – Gripebelt Colic and Upset Stomach Swaddling Belt

If you’ve ever had a fussy or colicky baby, it’s really hard for mom and dad and baby too. But this adorable little belt actually works to lightly cradle your infant’s belly which is often the source of the fussiness.

It makes them feel safe and held and also has fun toys for baby to touch and hold.

Get the swaddling belt here!

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7 – Forehead and Ear Thermometer

This ear and forehead thermometer actually works and is highly recommended by other moms like you! There’s no need to take your baby’s temperature rectally anymore. Especially, as they grow older and strongly object.

This makes the process painless, easy, and accurate!

Get this amazing thermometer here!

8 – The SkinSoother Baby Essential for Dry Skin

If your baby suffers from uncomfortable and even painful eczema, cradle cap, or other forms of dry skin this all natural silicone skin soother will bring sweet relief to your new baby.

Simply rub in on their wet skin and watch the irritation wash away. My daughter experienced bad eczema as a baby so this really would have been very helpful!

Get your skin soother here!

9 – Wash. It. Later. Soak and Save Bags

If you’ve ever experienced a diaper blowout, you know how disgusting and overwhelming it can be. My daughter had a blowout in the car seat while stuck in traffic heading to our hotel in Orlando.

I had to change her in the hotel bathroom and wasn’t prepared at all. I ended up washing her with wet paper towels and then wrapping her naked little body in more dry paper towels to carry her through the lobby. Itridiculousulous and only something I can laugh about now!

I luckily had a washing machine in our hotel. However, this isn’t the case most of the time and too often we’ve all just thrown away cute outfits because they were too soiled to keep. Until…

These cool bags allow you to throw those gross poop and pee covered items in their sealable plastic bags. Just add water and one of their detergent pods and seal up for later.

The detergent starts working on the stains and the water keeps the stains from setting until you can get home!

Get these amazing bags here!

10 – Boon Fast Bottle Warmer

I know this is a second bottle warmer on my list. But if you just need a bottle warmer without storage, this warmer will quickly become your bestie.

This bottle warmer may seem like a luxury item but when your newborn is hungry at 3 am and loves her milk warm, you do not want to have to heat up a bottle the old-fashioned way.

This bottle warmer heats up bottles and baby food safely in just over one minute!

Check out this bottle warmer here!

11 – BoogieBulb Baby Nasal Aspirator

This amazing nasal suction bulb is the first and only bulb that can be taken apart and cleaned! I’ve tried those new nasal suction aspirators that you suck through a tube, and they didn’t work for me.

I love a good bulb aspirator, however, they can get really nasty because you can’t easily clean them. Now you can!

Check it out here!

12 – RaZbaby Keep-It-Kleen Pacifier

If your baby loves a good binky, you may want to give this one a try. It actually has a soft covering attached to the pacifier itself.

This prevents it from picking up gross stuff along the way. This makes storage super easy too!

Get this cool pacifier here!

13 – Accu-Dose Pacifier Baby Medicine Dispenser

Getting a baby or toddler to take medicine can sometimes feel like a Game of Thrones episode. At least it was for my littlest baby!

This dosing pacifier makes the process super easy! It won’t change the flavor, but it’s certainly an easy way to give your baby their medicine.

Mom Tip: When my son was a baby he HATED taking any medicine and at the time was sick and had several bad tasting medicines to take at once. An ER nurse shared their hospital hack:

Add a little cherry flavor syrup after you’ve measured out the medication. It works every time!

Get your medicine dispenser here!

14 – Silicone Soft-Tip Training Spoon for Baby Led Weaning

As your little baby grows into a big baby, it’s time for the fun world of self-feeding! And whether you decide to go the route of baby led weaning, or stay the traditional course, these fun spoons will be your go-to!

The super soft and flexible silicon make scooping easier for baby and the unique shape help keep the food on the spoon and into their mouth. This totally reduces melt-downs. I mean, it’s really frustrating when you can’t get all that yummy food in your mouth!

Get this amazing spoon here!

15 – Squooshi Reusable Food Pouch

I LOVE these adorable reusable pouches! We moms all love how food pouches are unbelievably convenient for feeding your babies, toddlers, and kids. In fact, I’d love to feed all my kids’ meals from a pouch! But those store-bought pouches are just so dang expensive.

And Squooshi doesn’t make the DIY filling process complicated at all! You simply fill the super-sealed pouches from the bottom and quickly seal them up. They clean up beautifully and can be used again and again.

Plus, they’re super cute so your kids will love them! And you’re saving tons of money, so that’s a total win-win.

Get your reusable pouches here!

16 – Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump

This manual breast pump is running fast to the front of the line of the many breast pumps on the market. Many moms actually favor this and other manual breast pumps over the electric pumps.

I wish I knew this when I was pumping years ago!

It’s also perfect for when you’re feeding your baby on one side to suction onto the other breast to easily capture milk that is produced during that feeding session.

This makes it perfect for on-the-go, at work, and at home pumping.

Get this amazing breast pump here!

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17 – Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf

This breastfeeding scarf is so cute and actually doesn’t look like a breastfeeding cover! The fabric is soft and breathable and easily moves to create many stylish looks.

And when it’s time to nurse, you won’t feel like you’re covering your baby with a blanket.

Get this adorable breastfeeding scarf here!

18 – Ju-Ju-Be Be Pumped Breast Pump Bag

Of course, I could resist adding this super cute breast pump bag with the match nursing scarf above! Pumping bags have been the last of the mom stuff to get a splash of style!

And a splash of style you get with this breast pump bag from Ju-Ju-Be. It’s both cute and very functional for making pumping at work and on the go so much easier!

Get this stylish pumping bag here!

19 – Boppy Newborn Lounger

I have a confession to make… I never used my Boppy Pillows for breastfeeding. They always made the BEST newborn loungers!

And now Boppy has recreated their amazing breastfeeding into a pillow made for lounging your new baby. These are literally must-have pillows for putting your baby down at a moment’s notice and still keeping them close.

I used mine when I was nursing or pumping to keep my baby close and happy when my arms weren’t available for snuggling.

Get this baby lounger here!

Comotomo Baby Bottles

These bottles are gaining in serious popularity among new moms! Moms swear that they ease gas and discomfort and are the closest to the breast when switching baby back and forth from breast to bottle.

Just a quick warning when buying ANY bottles. Just buy a very small amount and make sure your baby loves them first. And then go back and buy more!

Get these hugely popular bottles here!

Every year new amazing products for mom and baby come on the market, and I swear I wish I’d thought of them! But at least we can be thankful that someone (usually moms) have the smarts and guts to create these gems!

Let us know in the comments below which product is blowing your mind right now!


These little-known baby products are the baby stuff you'll wish you had! This list of must-have baby stuff will be your go-to sanity savers in your baby's first year. #babies #pregnancy #newborn #babycare #babystuff
These must-have baby items will totally save your sanity as a new mom. No fluff baby stuff here! Only the coolest stuff I wish I had when my kids were babies! #babies #pregnancy

Ridiculously Fun Family Board Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of!

board games for families

There’s nothing like a great game night to bring a family together! Growing up my family had frequent game nights and I honestly remember that they seemed to magically bring us together and reduce any stress lingering in the background.

Board games are a fun and less expensive way to spend time with each other. And if you choose the right game, your family will probably like it better than a day to the movies and your bank account will thank you!

board games for families

I also wanted to share the top games that foster creativity, strategic thinking, and teamwork. I was recently disappointed when shopping for games for my kids over the holidays. There were an abundance of games that didn’t have these great qualities and instead highlighted gross stuff like poop, toilets and anything connected to potty humor, popping pimples, snot, and more disgusting themes.

So if you’re looking for “smarter” games that teach our kids fun and valuable lessons and skills, stay tuned. None of those gross and meaningless games here! Here are tons of great board games for kids that you can quickly order online from Amazon so no more endless searching.

Here are our favorite fun board games for kids that your family will want to play again and again!

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Board Games for Ages 3-6

Connect 4

This seriously is a favorite in our family. Even my 3-year-old jumps in and plays this game very well. It’s a game of strategy and you have to be paying close attention to your opponent’s moves. Sadly our game recently broke. However, one of my kids ended up getting the latest spinoff version of this game for Christmas this year. It’s totally different from the original but really lots of fun! You can check it out the new Connect 4 here!

Sequence for Kids

This game is just like the highly popular bigger kids game Sequence which is very easy for smaller kids to understand. However, Sequence for Kids is perfect for ages 3-5 and uses pictures of fun and colorful animals to make the game more fun for them.


This board game is very similar to the concept of Scrabble but instead of letters, it uses colorful shape blocks. Players begin with a starting hand of six blocks and take turns placing multiple blocks in a column or in a row in either or all the same color or the same shape. Because of the endless combinations, this game can be played many, many times with lots of fun.

BusyTown’s Eye Found It

This is a really fun game for younger kids but is interesting enough for adults or older siblings to play. Plus, this game fosters a team spirit instead of simply beating your opponent! Using the six-foot game board, kids will work their way to Picnic Island, searching for hidden objects in an I-Spy style challenge. Along the way they’ll have to all work together to solve mysteries before getting to the end.

Ice Cool

This game is a fun learning and dexterity game for kids and winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2017 (Best Children’s Game 2017) award. Kids will work to move their penguins through the school in order to be the first to gather all their fish. Players flick these wobbly cute penguins through halls and corridors while trying to avoid the hall monitor who will end the round.

Hoot Owl Hoot

This is another cooperative game where all team players must work together instead of competing against each other to win. In this fun and colorful game players must help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. If they are successful everyone wins!

Board Games for Ages 7-12


This is a fun game that’s challenging for adults but easy enough for kids to understand and love playing. You just play a card from your hand, and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board. When you have five in a row, it’s a Sequence. There is also Sequence for Kids if all your kids are very young. It’s perfect for ages 3 and up.

Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your Assets

This is a fun and easy to learn card game that’s really simple for all ages to play. Basically, when you get a matching set of assets, you can lay it down in front of you. But the only way to protect the set from being stolen by a teammate and added to their own stack is to cover it with another matching set. Getting the matching set and protecting your assets is the fun of this card game!


In this fun medieval style puzzle game, kids will work to use their fabric tiles to outdo their opponent in making the best, most beautiful quilt. These quilt pieces are laid out in a circle around the board, and on your turn, you only have access to the next three pieces to purchase and place on your board. This is a game of strategy because the game doesn’t just go back and forth. Some pieces advance you farther along a time track, which then allows your opponent to keep purchasing pieces until he or she passes you.

Forbidden Sky

This game is a cooperative style game which means all players must work together and the game results in either an all-win or an all-lose game. In Forbidden Sky, you work as a team to assemble and connect power sources to launch a rocket ship and get off a floating platform. There are elements such as lightning and wind that try to hinder your work, and you have to team up so that no one gets blown off the platform or gets electrocuted.


This is a fun spin on the old classic telephone game. The twist is where players draw on their own erasable sketchbook the “secret word.” The timer gets turned and everyone draws their word. After 60 seconds, everyone passes their book to the player on their left. Then each player takes a few seconds to guess in words(s) what they see, and passes again. This continues until everyone’s sketch book passes by every player and returns back to its original owner, where it’s time for The Big Reveal.


This isn’t exactly a board game but my kids discovered it at a party and they loved it. It’s basically a building and balancing game where kids work to delicately hang and balance the notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces from the tabletop stand. With each added piece, the balance shifts and the sculpture transforms. One misplaced piece or wrong move could send it all crashing down! 

Board Games for Ages 13 and Up

Code Names

This is a perfect game for older kids, teens, and even adults. The game works with two rival spymasters who know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames. Each Spymaster gives one-word clues to his or her teammates in order for them to pick the right clue. If teams pick the wrong clue, which are cards laid out on the table, they might accidentally uncover a clue for the opposing team or worse, pick the assassin, thereby ending the game.

The Resistance

This is a game that requires at least 5 players, so it’s a perfect party games. Some players will be resistance members (good guys) who need to complete missions to topple the evil government. Others will be spies sent to infiltrate the missions and make sure they fail. The spies are required to lie about their identity and all know who each other are, but the good guys are in the dark. The good guys have to figure out who the spies are and eliminate them from the missions in order to succeed, while the spies pretend to be good guys so they can continue their sabotage.

7 Wonders

This game is a great strategy game played as the leader of one of the great 7 cities of the ancient world. You must carefully gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. The game is set in 3 different ages and each game runs approximately 30 minutes. By the time the third age is over, players score the points given by their cards and their military conflicts. The winner is the player with the most points.


This is a fun and fantastic strategy game but the complicated rules can mean this game is much harder for younger children. Once you fully understand the game rules (requires a bit of time) the game is highly addictive. Many people who’ve played this game find it can be slow, but to speed up the time and the fun, simply use the “expansion pack”, which allows all players to trade and build at the end of EACH turn, instead of waiting for your OWN turn to do so. This shortens game time substantially (45 minutes instead of 60-90) and makes it much more exciting.

Coup (The Dystopian Universe)

This game is easy to play with very fast paced rounds, and lots of fun bluffing make this game perfect for teens. The game works like this, the cards you hold in your hand determine your abilities: how many coins you can earn each round, whether you can steal cards, whether you can kill another player. Of course, the other players don’t know which cards you hold, so you could always do a little “acting.” And hope no one calls your bluff, or you’re the one who will end up dead.

Board Games for the Whole Family


This game is a hugely popular cooperative game which is honestly refreshing from always playing highly competitive games with your family. Pandemic is a really fun apocalyptic game that gets your family working together to stop the spread of diseases to save the world. This is an all-win or all-lose type of game so at the end of the game everyone feels connected and accomplished whether or not you win or lose.

Drop It Family Strategy Game

This is a fun game that’s enjoyed by both players and those watching! This game can be played by individuals or teams and is pretty much appropriate for all ages groups. The game works when players drop shapes into the vertical game board. They earn points for the highest level that their shape reaches when it lands and extra points for touching bonus circles. But be careful: Don’t break a landing rule! The shape you dropped is not allowed to touch matching shapes or colors after it lands. The winner is the player or team with the most points at the end.


This game gets voted the easiest to learn for all ages and is really fun for everyone. The premise is all your 21 Tetris style pieces need to be placed carefully on the board but can only touch at the corners. The object of the game is to put as many of your shapes down as possible while blocking other players from putting down their pieces.  The game is fun and fast, usually around 30 minutes a game.

Exploding Kittens

This wildly popular game with the funny name is fun and simple enough for even younger kids to understand and exciting enough to keep your teens loving the fun. The play is simple: don’t be the one to draw an exploding kitten card, unless you happen to have a defuse card. All the other cards help you avoid an exploding kitten, or even give it to someone else. Game play is fast and unpredictable, meaning every game is different.

What’s Yours Like?

This game is similar to the concept of the hugely popular game Catch Phrase. Except that all the players (except the one in the hot seat) know what the guess word is (i.e. jacket). Everyone takes turns describing what theirs is like: “mine is warm” or “mine keeps me dry” or “I’m reminded it’s not summer every time I put mine on.” Games are fun and fast and are perfect for family game night!

Looking for fun and addictive family board games? These are the best board games your family will not want to stop playing on your next family game night. And you probably have never heard of most of them! #boardgames #familytime
These fun board games are the perfect games for families. And the list is broken down by ages and one all-together family list! Your kids won't want to stop playing! #boardgames #familytime #parenting

The Best Car Games for Kids and Toddlers to Survive Long Road Trips

best car toys for toddlers

If you’re planning a long road trip or even traveling on an airplane and you have a toddler or young kids, you need to be prepared! There are three things you won’t be able to live without on your trip – snacks, things to soothe your little one, and games to entertain them.

In this post, you’ll get all the best games and small toys that work like magic to keep your kids happy, occupied and entertained on a long trip.

best car toys for toddlers

I used many of these toys on my family’s 18-hour road trip to Michigan over a year and a half ago. Honestly, other than the grueling hours of driving in the mountains, the trip was very enjoyable.

At the time, my kids were 18 months, 7 years old, and 10 years old.

There weren’t endless crying sessions or even fighting with my three kiddos. I think my husband and I had the hardest time with our backs giving us trouble. But that’s a whole other issue!

But first, this toddler car seat tray is amazing! And can help give your toddler and sturdy place to play, eat snacks, and read books without everything falling to the floor. This one is a must-have!

I’ve separated the toys into a toddler list and a kids list for slightly older children.

Now on to the list…

Toddler Games to Survive a Road Trip

Bizzy Buckle Toy – We all know how much toddlers love pushing, buckling, and tinkering with things. This soft busy pillow will keep your little one occupied with endless buckling and unbuckling!

Wooden Montessori Lacing Toys – These cute little learning lacing toys will keep your little one learning while they weave the worms in and through the fruit and cheese. The worms are attached so no losing parts!

Travel AquaDoodle Pad – This is one toy that my little guy used a ton on our trip and I can’t say enough about it! They feel like their making a mess, but it’s only water. That’s a total win-win!

Fisher-Price Boppin’ Activity Bugs – This is a great distraction toy and is like the toddler version of whack-a-mole! 

Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow Books – These 3 little boards allow your toddler to write their letters, numbers, and draw animals with markers filled with only water!

Related: The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019!

Young Kids Games to Survive a Road Trip

Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Memory Game – This is a great game to keep brain fatigue from setting in while in the car. They can keep learning and playing!

Crayola Pip-Squeaks Markers & Paper Set – Your budding artist can continue creating in the car or on the plane! And everything stays neatly in place in the carrying case. 

Mickey Mouse Magnetic Zoo – These adorable Mickey Mouse activity cards allow kids to move the magnetic pieces around to create play scenes over and over again. 

Fun Tape Activity Book – This book comes with easy tear tape to create fun pictures throughout the pages!

Connect 4 Travel Game – This game is so fun and bringing it on a road trip is sure to keep the fun going if you have more than one kid, of course!

Kanoodle Brain Twisting Solitaire Game – This game is full of over 200 mind-bending puzzles in a single travel case! 

Spot It! On The Road – This fun card game can be played with the whole family! Plus, there are 5 games in one!

Related: The Best Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids that Don’t Suck!

Other Items to Pack on Your Trip

In order to keep the peace and the joy flowing on your road trip, you need to have more than amazing games. Here’s a list of must-have’s in your car to keep the kiddos quiet and happy!

Healthy Snacks are a must on a road trip of any length.

Here are a few of my kid’s favorite healthy snacks to add in your backseat.

Simply drop them in a giant tote bag and let them have at it when they’re hungry. You’ll be saving a ton of money on fast food stops and you won’t feel guilty for letting them eat junk food.

If you want to save even more money, try making all your snacks ahead at home and packing them in a large lunchbox or cooler. Here are some easy lunches and snack ideas to try!

Travel sized toiletries are also a must for cleaning on the go.

On your road trip, you’ll likely see many restrooms and experience many gross emergencies in your car needing these supplies.

I strongly recommend you pack a large pack of kid-safe anti-bacterial wipes, a few rolls of toilet paper, and a large bottle of hand sanitizer.

Books and Magazines are perfect for keeping kids entertained and learning.

I remember reading during very long car rides as a kid and my books were my best friend! Sure, those were the days before tablets and smartphones, but I’d like to believe that my books would still be my favorite.

Here’s a list of great books that will keep your kid happy and quiet but also learning about kindness, compassion, friendship, and diversity. Those are all great things!

What did we miss? Add your best travel tips and tricks in the comments below!

Planning a roadtrip for the holidays this year? If you've got kids you need this list of the best car toys for kids! Keep the peace and enjoy your trip. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #holidays #christmas #thanksgivingTraveling for the holidays? You need these travel road trip tips and the best car toys to keep kids happy and entertained in the car! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #roadtripWant the secret to keeping kids happy and quiet on long road trips? These packing tips and car toys for kids are everything you need this travel season! #kidsandparenting #parenting

17 Family Christmas Pajamas – Perfect for the Whole Family

family christmas pajamas

Family Christmas pajamas are gaining in popularity in recent years. And just like the “ugly sweater” phenomenon doesn’t seem to be slowing down, matching Christmas family pajamas aren’t either.

I believe this is because it really takes the family Christmas card to the next level. And with social media platforms like Instagram, using photos to share our happiest moments isn’t going away.

And why should it? I love seeing families nestled together in front of the fire or Christmas tree. Even if that’s not their everyday reality… they’re still fun to enjoy!

Here are some great Christmas pajama sets you can buy for your family to take Christmas family pictures or to just enjoy opening gifts while matching.

These PJ’s totally bring out the Christmas spirit!

The Best Family Christmas Pajamas

family christmas pajamas

Christmas Lights Christmas Pajamas

Buy your set here!

Red Christmas Tree Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Red and Gray Dear Santa Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Gray and White Polar Bear Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Related: 16 Family Christmas Traditions that’s Make Magical Memories with your Kids

Let it Snow Pajamas

Buy your set here! 

Green Button Up Snoopy Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Green Striped “What the Elf” Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Red Snowman Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Related: 51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Red Striped Elf Pajamas

Grab your set here! 

Red Santa Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Royal Blue Snowflakes Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Blue Penguin Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Reindeer Red Plaid Pajamas

Grab your set here! 

Christmas Tree Onesie Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Red and White Warm and Cozy Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

Santa Merry Christmas Pajamas

Check out this set here!

Christmas Tree Delivery Pajamas

Check out this set here! 

We absolutely love these family Christmas pajama sets! Let me know when one is your favorite in the comments below.

These family christmas pajamas are perfect for your entire family. Bringing the joy back into the Holidays. #christmas #family #christmas #kidsandparenting #parenting

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens That Don’t Suck!

stocking stuffers for kids and teens

I’ll be really honest, when I was a kid for some reason my stocking was my favorite part of the Christmas morning experience. It was something about pulling so many presents out of a single stocking. It was really magical to me!

As a mom though, stockings became a struggle for me and I hated buying things that seemed like junk just so I could throw it in their stockings at the last minute.

stocking stuffers for kids and teens

Not cool. So I got more intentional last Christmas in an effort to give my kids the same magical experience I had growing up.

My gift expedition was actually a lot of fun and I want to share with you many of the big hits and many more stocking stuffer ideas for kids. These stocking stuffer ideas will NOT be junk and may end up being your kids’ favorite toys this Christmas.

And the best part is… they are all under $10 each! I mean, stocking stuffers are supposed to be cheap.

Here we go!

Related: 16 Magical Christmas Family Traditions to Make Lasting Memories with your Kids

Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Girl Journal – This cool journal for girls is the perfect way to help your daughter stay connected to her hopes, dreams, and anything else!

Boy Journal – This cool journal for boys encourages bravery and allows them a secret place to write their fears, dreams, and plans.

Crayola Color Bath Dropz – Bathtime suddenly got more exciting with colorful, fizzy bath dropz! Just drop a tablet in your baby’s bath water and watch the magic happen. 

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers Mr. Sketch markers are always an easy hit with all kids. And this 12 pack will give your little artist endless color combos.

Related: 51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Vintage Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses – These super stylish aviator sunglasses will score you serious points for Christmas. 

Kanoodle Brain Twisting Solitaire GameThis tiny game set offers kids over 200 brain-teasing puzzles in one compact little kit. Your kids will be using their brains and happily off their electronics for hours! This may be the best gift yet!

Superhero Cape – If you have a little superhero in your house like mine, this cute little cape and mask set is perfect. No more using all the blankets in the house! Available in many colors too.

Munchkin Fishin’ Bath Toy – This fishing bath toy is wonderful for developing hand-eye coordination in younger kids. Plus, it’s really fun to fish!

Mattel Games Blink – From the makers of Uno, this new card game promises to be the world’s fastest game! Plus, it’s a non-screen activity! 

LED Star Projector – Turn your kid’s room into their own planetarium with this LED star projector!

Projectables NightlightsThese cool nightlights aren’t any ordinary nightlight. These project your child’s favorite TV or movie characters right on their ceiling, wall, or floor. The soft light comes on automatically at dusk and turns off at dawn.

LOL Suprise Bling Series – We couldn’t resist adding one of the year’s hottest toys to our list. These small LOL mystery balls promise to bring a smile to your little kiddo this Christmas.

Marvel Themed Socks – Marvel is the hottest right now and these cool socks will be a great stocking stuffer for your little Marvel fan.

Christmas Themed Fuzzy Socks – Christmas morning isn’t complete without soft, fuzzy Christmas socks!

Braided Leather Unicorn Bracelet – This adorable leather bracelet is a great gift for your little fashion and jewelry lover! Plus, there are many colors and designs to choose from.

Whimsical Bracelet Hair Ties – These colorful bracelet style elastic hair ties are so cute for the little girl who loves getting her hair done.

Kids Junior Aviator Classic Sunglasses – These cool aviator style sunglasses are perfect for your fashionable kid. Plus, they come with their own zippered protective case. 

Cream Scented Unicorn Squishy – My kids are crazy able squishies and this slow-rising unicorn squishy is super cute. 

Scented Galaxy Slime – This scented, stress relieving slime is galaxy colored and comes in a 2-pack egg container.

Kinetic Sand, 3lbs Beach SandKinetic sand is very cool and giving kids their own 3 lbs of sand is a fun stocking stuffer. 

Melissa & Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes – These mini rainbow notes pack allow kids to create notes and doodles in rainbow-colored writing. 

American Girl BooksThe Care and Keeping of You book is all about growing up and going through puberty. A Smart Girl’s Guide: Drama, Rumors & Secrets is about growing up and navigating relationships. 

Winter Wonderland Color by Number Book – Kids will love these color by number pages with a fun Christmas theme. 

Earbuds with Macaroon Case – These adorable earbuds will easily be a stocking stuffer favorite!

Silly Donut Knee High Socks – Your little girl will love these silly and fashionable knee-high socks. There are many colors and styles.

Leather headphones cord keepers – These cool little cord keepers will keep headphones and other cords from getting tangled. Plus, they come in lots of cool colors.

Great Kids and Teen Books

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

These stocking stuffer ideas are sure to give you some great inspiration for your own stockings! Let us to your favorite ideas in the comments below!

Looking for stocking stuffer ideas for your baby or toddler? Check them out here! 

Get these cool stocking stuffer ideas for kids and teens in time for Christmas. Christmas gift ideas for kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #christmas #holidays #kidsThese cool stocking stuffer ideas for kids promise to be winners. Plus, they're all under $10! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #momadvice #kids #christmas #holidays

51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Stocking stuffer ideas for toddlers and babies

Just because you have toddlers and babies doesn’t mean they can’t join in the stocking stuffer fun on Christmas morning! My stockings were always my favorite part of the opening presents experience.

If you’re looking for super fun ideas for stocking stuffers for toddlers or babies, you’ve come to the right place!

Stocking stuffer ideas for toddlers and babies

All of these stocking stuffers are perfect for little ones and every idea promises to NOT be junk. I don’t believe in wasting money, even on Christmas.

If you’re looking for Christmas stocking stuffer ideas for kids check them out here.

Oh, and did I say that all of these stocking stuffers are all under $10? Yep! So, have fun shopping and filling up those cute little stockings!

If you don’t yet have a stocking for your little Christmas sweetie, check out these adorable stockings. Here’s one for your baby’s first Christmas!

While we’re in the Christmas spirit, here are 16 Family Christmas tradition ideas that’ll create magical memories with your kids!

51 Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies

Learning Toys


Highchair Wonder Wheel Activity Center – Highchair time can make your toddler restless so having a stick-on activity center will keep them happy and occupied with this fun learning toy.

Colorful Stacking Cups –  These fun stacking cups are perfect for toddler learning and development and make a great on the go toy.

Oball Shaker Rattle – We love anything Oball makes and this is no exception. This vibrant and easy to hold shaker helps strengthen little muscles and keeps them active and having fun making sounds.

Sassy Fishy Fascination Station – This fishy highchair toy will be sure to keep your baby happy and learning in their highchair! 

Developmental Bumpy Ball – This sensory bumpy ball will keep your baby engaged and exploring many textures and shapes.

Related: The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy This Year

Bath Time

Crayola Color Bath Dropz – Bathtime suddenly got more exciting with colorful, fizzy bath dropz! Just drop a tablet in your baby’s bath water and watch the magic happen. 

Bath Turtle Swimmers – Your kids will be begging for bathtime to see these cute little turtle swimmers swim all around their bathtub!

Munchkin Fishin’ Bath Toy – This fishing bath toy is wonderful for developing hand-eye coordination in toddlers and younger kids. Plus, it’s really fun to fish!

Glittery Toddler ToothbrushColorful easy grip toothbrushes are perfect for little hands.

Swimming Penguin Bath Toy – Wind up this swimming penguin for endless bathtime fun for your little one.

Little Boat Train – These colorful and stackable little boats connect together to create a fun bathtime floating train.

Arts and Crafts

Stackable GiBot Toddlers Crayons – These fun toddler crayons are full of vibrant colors and add to the fun with their chunky and stackable shapes. 

Crayola My First Safety Scissors – Toddler’s love cutting and pasting! These colorful toddler safety scissors will be the hit of craft time. 

Washable Markers for Toddlers – Your little one will be able to easily grip and create with these special tripod markers made for toddlers

My First Toddler Coloring Book – Your budding artist can use those colorful crayons and markers with this adorable animal-inspired coloring book.

ABC Sticker Activity Book – Your little one will have tons of sticker fun with this ABC learning book.

Washable Bright Fingerpaint – Buying your child finger paints got elevated you to Coolest Mom Ever status!

Fingerprint & Draw: Animals & Insects – Finger painting just got more fun with this fun finger painting book featuring all things animals and insects. 

Related: Fun Fall Inspired Craft Ideas for Kids

Feeding and Drinking

Paw Patrol Sippy Cup – Getting your toddler a new character sippy cup is a great gift. Especially, if they are hesitant to transition from their bottles. These Munchkin 360 sippy cups are amazing!

Skip Hop Toddler Snack Cup – These adorable snack cups in the theme of a puppy, ladybug, or butterfly will make snack time so much fun.

Colorful Munchkin Ultinsels – Your busy toddler will love eating with these fun and colorful utensils!

Colorful Suction Cup Bowls – Keep your little ones food on the table with these handy suction cup bowls.

Nuby iMonster No-Spill Cup – This fun monster sippy cup will easily become your little one’s favorite cup.

Nuby 3-D Monster Snack Keeper – Snacktime will become an adventure as your toddler reaches into the adorable monster’s mouth for their snack.

stocking stuffers for toddlers and babies


Animal Crawling Knee Socks – Keep your little crawlers legs protected with these fun animal print knee socks. 

Colorful Toddler Hair Bows – If your toddler has a lot of hair, these sweet little hair bows are sure to keep every hair in place… until playtime that is.

Floral print Knotted Head Bands – Every baby girl needs these adorable little-knotted headbands!

The Coolest Baby Aviator Sunglasses – These unisex baby aviator sunglasses are simply the coolest accessory for your baby or toddler.

Teething Toys

Nuby Gel Teether Key Set – Your teething toddler or baby will love these cute teether keys. Just pop them in the freezer or refrigerator for a cooling soother!

Award Winning Giraffe Teether – The Bambam giraffe teether is made of soft chewable silicone and earned the 2019 Parent’s Picks Award.

Nuby Teething Mitten – This soft teething mitten is the perfect little teether for those babies that like to chew a lot.

Musical and Light up Toys

Baby Einstein Hand Musical Toy – This little classical music maker is a great toy to play soothing music anywhere!

VTech Baby Rattle & Sing Puppy – This musical puppy rattle is adorable and promises to keep your little baby happy. 

VTech Baby Happy Lights Bear – This cute little musical bear is the perfect buddy who sings songs and lights up.

Ocean Glow Sensory Shaker – This cute little light up octopus plays musical and glows at the touch of baby’s hands.

Cuddly Toys

Soft Animal Finger Puppets – These little animal finger puppets are so fun for creative moments of imaginative play.

Aurora Unicorn Plush 

Hedgehog Plush 

GUND Winky Lamb Stuffed Rattle

Animal Lovey Security Blanket – This sweet little owl is the cutest as it has its own soft security blanket that neatly tucks inside.

Dr. Brown’s Lovey Pacifier – These adorable lion acts as a cuddly lovey while attached to baby’s pacifier offering baby double soothing.


Unicorn Coloring Book

Dinosaur Coloring Book

Welcome Little One by Sandra Magsamen 

The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

God Bless You and Good Night by Hannah Hall

Dream Snow by Eric Carle

Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Fisher Price “My First Books” – set of 4 baby board books.

Related: The Best Books that Teach Kids Kindness and Compassion

We hope you really have fun with this list and fill your toddler’s stocking with many of these fun gifts! Let us know in the comments below which ideas are your favorites!

Christmas season is almost here and this list is full of awesome stocking stuffer ideas for toddlers and babies. Best of all, every ideas is NOT junk and under $10! #kidsandparenting #parenting #babies #toddler #ChrstimasThese adorable stocking stuffers are especially for toddlers and sweet little babies. Plus, they are great and not one is junk! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #christmas #holidays

The 15 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019

Toddler Learning toys

Honestly, I’m a mom that’s not a huge fan of toys. My kids do have toys… all kinds of toys in fact. But after over twelve years of parenting, I’ve come to learn a few things about toys. And the truth is, most toys just don’t get played with.

At least at my house! So my approach to buying toys is very simple. I ask myself these questions:

Toddler Learning toys

Is it terribly loud and annoying, no matter how educational it claims to be?

Is the toy basically all music, lights, and buttons?

Will it take up massive amounts of space?

If I answer yes to any of these questions, chances are, I’m not buying it.


Because in my personal experience, these toys are usually flash in the pan toys and don’t get played with more than a few times. I find this a waste of money and space in my home.

How I Choose My Toddler’s Toys

Instead of buying my toddler’s toys based on the Target toy catalog at Christmas or what commercials play over and over on TV, I do this instead…

I look for toys that will make him think, reason, and use his imagination and hands. Pushing buttons isn’t a skill that needs developing. It seems to already come quite naturally.

I want my kids to be able to build, create, mold, and make. Toys that allow kids to do that fit into what I consider learning or educational toys.

All the other loud, musical, light up, and other annoying toys can stay on the shelf. That doesn’t mean I don’t buy any toys that have buttons or play music, it’s just that it better have a focus that actually aims to teach something.

Here’s my best list of learning toys for toddlers.

Best Learning Toys for Toddlers

Learning toys for toddlers

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube

This bright and colorful shape sorting cube is really great. First, because it’s made of wood. Wooden toys are usually considered safer and non-toxic compared to a lot of plastic toys containing harmful chemicals.

It’s also very sturdy with an easy to open sliding lid that makes it easy for little hands to open without help. My son had a plastic shape sorter that was almost impossible for him to open without help. He almost never used it!

Check out this shape sorter here!

Lewo Wooden Geometric Puzzle 

This pegboard style puzzle is so colorful and creative! It allows little hands to stack, sort, and even build limitless combinations on one board.

I love how challenging it is and allows them to create new projects each time they play as opposed to a standard “fill-in” puzzle. This puzzle is also small and quiet enough to be a great travel toy for long trips!

Grab your geometric puzzle here!

Play22 Magnetic Wooden Train Set

This wooden train set is adorable and so easy for toddlers to mix and match train cars on a whim. The trains are artfully crafted and painted to make them feel real to curious toddlers.

This is a great choice for any toddler who loves trains, cars, or making things move!

Check out the adorable train set here! 

Water Doodle Drawing Pad 

This is one of my favorite toys that kids love to play with because they can get as wild and creative as they want and they’re not actually making a mess!

This is also another great travel toy that folds flat in a suitcase. It’s probably too big for playing in the car but is great for keeping kids entertained in your hotel room. Here’s a water doodle pad that is perfect for traveling in the car.

Buy your own water drawing pad here! 

VTech Smart Wheels Fire Station

These Smart Wheels sets are really fun and my 3-year-old son has a few sets. I plan to buy him at least one more set for Christmas. What I love about them is they are very easy for little hands to assemble their own sets on their own if needed.

He loves to build new tracks every time he plays with them and I love how it helps him to reason and think critically. They do take up a bit of extra room but I find it worth it and simply store all the sets together in a large cute basket like this one.

Grab the Smart Wheels Fire Station here!

For other Smart Wheels sets, click here.

Mega Bloks ABC Learning Train Building Set

I really love Mega Bloks! I mean, I cringe when my little guy starts to dump them out all over the floor, but they’re a great toy for learning. This cute train set helps toddlers learn and practice their ABC’s.

I also purchased the large 150 piece bag so he can build the tallest towers. He loves to build right on his Mega Bloks building table. Here’s a pink one for little princesses too!

Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline

If you have room for it, this trampoline will probably be your child’s favorite toy for sure! If you have a busy toddler who has lots of energy to burn, this is a sanity saver right before naptime.

It’s also a great way to get exercise indoors for those extremely hot or extremely cold weather days.

Grab your trampoline here!

Hape Pound Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

This award-winning toy is loved by parents, pediatricians, and toddlers alike. It’s a multifunctional toy that allows toddlers to slide out the xylophone and play it separately or together as a ball hammering game.

Grab your wooden xylophone toy here!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks 

This classic building block set is timeless in fun. Your little one can create endless towers, castles, and highways with the bright and colorful 100 block set.

Grab your wooden block set here!

Guidecraft Grippies Builders

These soft toddler sized rods and balls serve to introduce your little one to engineering as their very first STEM toy! The magnetic pieces connect together to create and build endless shapes and structures.

2017 Toy of the Year Finalist (TOTY) and received also all 5-star ratings!

Check out the Grippies Builders here!

ALEX Wooden Activity Cube

This colorful activity cube promises to keep curious toddlers happy and entertained with each of the many unique sides. Includes wooden cube with curvy wire rides, peek-a-boo doors, spin and match animals, turn and learn ABC word tiles, and racing rollers.

Best of all this toy is made of sturdy and non-toxic wood!

Grab your activity cube here!

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Set

This wooden clean up play set is perfect for the little guy or girl who loves to help! When you’re cleaning up they can grab their own mop, broom, dustpan, and duster. They are very sturdy and will hold up for many afternoon cleaning sessions!

Get your cleanup set here! 

VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox

This is one of those musical button pushing toys that I’m not fond of, however, my son has this toolbox and he plays with it a lot. There is a learning aspect that allows toddlers to hammer and drill into double-sided instruction cards and learn about colors and numbers while pretending to make repairs.

Munchkin Fishin’ Bath Toy

This adorable bath toy allows your toddler to go fishing in the bathtub. This is a must-have bath toy! The fishing pole works to catch the soft, magnetic fish.

Grab your fishing bath toy here!

BUCKLE TOY “Buddy” Backpack 

This may not be considered an actual “toy” but this soft and vibrant backpack promises to be just as fun! The many child-friendly buckles help toddlers develop fine motor skills, cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, and fun problem-solving.

Buy your buckle toy backpack here!

These toys are all focused on helping your toddler learn, grow, and have fun! Which toy is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

More Toddler Related Posts:

The Best Books to Teach Your Kids About Kindness to Others

Never Have to Deal with Another Temper Tantrum with these Fool-Proof Tips

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums Quickly with These Simple Steps

Looking for the best learning toys for toddlers? This list contains only toys that focus on fun AND learning! Perfect for Christmas gifts! #toys #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kidsThese educational learning toys for toddlers are the best of list for 2018! The best toys to buy for Christmas 2018. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #kids #christmas Not all toddler toys are created equal. These are the best toddler learning toys to buy in 2018. #funtoys #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parentingtips #christmas #giftsThese toys for toddlers are fun but are also great for learning and toddler development! Get the best of list here... #kidsandparenting #parenting #toddlers #kids

3 of the Best Subscription Boxes for Kids That’ll Feed Your Child’s Imagination!

activity based subscriptions for kids

Screen time can be a huge addiction for kids and a major struggle for parents including myself. Right now we are on the summer break and it’s increasingly challenging to find non-screen kids activities to keep my kids occupied and entertained.

I’m not the “no-screen” police and allow my kids time to watch TV or play on their tablets more during long school breaks than I do during the school year. However, I see a clear difference in my kids when they’ve spent too much time in front of a screen and I don’t like it.

activity based subscriptions for kids

So I set out to find alternatives to keep them entertained and happily dropping their devices. Sure, they do plenty of things like making slime, doing crafts, playing outside, and reading good books. Here are also more fun indoor activity ideas for kids.

I saw how these ideas worked so well and wanted to build on that creativity with some amazing resources that my kids love. Enter, subscription boxes for kids! Think of these little boxes of joy as a mom’s helper or done-for-you activities that you no longer need to plan out or pull together! That’s a win in my book.

Plus, I’ve found that I actually saved money because I wasn’t buying tons of full-sized crafting or kitchen supplies when they only needed a little bit for one project. With kits, you only pay for what you’ll need.

3 Amazing Subscription Boxes for Kids

Here are 3 activity based subscription boxes for kids that will have your kids forgetting about screen-time… for a little while at least!

1 – Kiwi Co Crates

I just can’t say enough about Kiwi Crates. I learned about these adorable little activity kits from another blogger and decided to try them out with my kids. I’m so glad I did!

They make Krates in all ages from babies up to age 13 or so. They specialize in imaginative play and science and STEM-focused projects. My first Crate was for my 3-year-old son to try it out. He loved it so much I was happy to keep the subscription going. Here he is opening his first one:

 This Crate was all about rainbows and there are 3 individual activities in one box plus an activity book to read with even more activities to try! And let’s talk about quality for a moment. I absolutely hate cheaply made products for kids!

Kiwi Co doesn’t make cheap stuff for sure. I was blown away by the quality of every element in the box and the high level of detail and care put into this product.

And guess what happened? I had to buy another subscription for my 8-year-old daughter. She got a Tinker Crate and was able to build her own tie-dye painting station. This was an actual machine with batteries and wires. I’ll be honest, I was intimidated to put it together thinking it was going to be too hard or we’d mess it up.Koala Crate Unboxing

Let me tell you, I had a full work day when it arrived and wasn’t able to work on it with her and we were going to work on it the day after. Well, my very excited child was too curious and took it to her room and spent the afternoon putting it together and actually completed it on her own! I was very impressed. She had a blast and her older sister could resist jumping in too. #sisterbondingwin!

This was definitely time and money well spent and something I could never have put together on my own.

To check out Kiwi Crates for your kids and save 30% off on your first month click here!

2 – BookRoo

BookRoo is a monthly book subscription service that sends carefully curated books to your child every month. What I love about this subscription service, in particular, is the care put into their shipping which makes such a difference.

When my son received his box I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to see tissue paper was in the box and each book was wrapped in birthday-esc wrapping! He thought it was his birthday and that simple touch really added to the whimsical fun of receiving books in the mail.

And this book subscription service isn’t just for the little ones, they also have a chapter book selection too!

BookRoo subscription Unboxing

If you’re looking for a fun way to introduce amazing books to your children check out BookRoo here. 

3 – Little Passports

Little Passports is renowned and loved learning activity-based subscription service that takes your child on an adventure all around the world! Each month your child will learn about different and exciting parts of the world.

The goal is to fully immerse them into the culture and each month is a traveling adventure. Each new kit comes with a signature blue suitcase, a wall map, a passport, and a boarding pass for fun games. As they get a new kit each month, they’ll learn all about that part of the world and mark their map and passports with stickers for that region.

They also have science exploration kits for ages 9+ and kits to learn all about the USA.

Give the gift of Adventure!

Do you have a favorite subscription or even a favorite activity that your kids love doing instead of watching TV or playing on their tablet? We’d love to hear it so please leave your best tips in the comments below!

Tired of your kids having too much screen time? Try these 3 subscription activity boxes for kids! My kids love them and yours will too! #kidsandparenting #parenting #activities #kidscraftsThese kids craft and activity subscription boxes are my children's favorites. And your kids will love them too and happily ditch their TV and electronics! #learning #crafts #smartactivities #kids #kidsandparenting #parenting These subscription boxes for kids are the perfect cure for boredom and are sure to feed your child's imagination! #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips These creative and engaging subscription boxes for kids will have your kids begging to play! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #activities #reading #crafts #kids

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