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2021 Must-Have Holiday Toy Gift Guide

Share in the excitement your kids feel this holiday with gifts you will love as much as they will!

The gift of learning is as valuable to parents as it is to kids! As a homeschool mom, I am always looking for toys that will foster a love of learning through imaginative play. When my child picks up a VTech toy, I feel good knowing that they are gaining developmental skills while they are immersed in the carefree play of childhood. This holiday season, give your child something that you can be confident in knowing that it will grow with them as they learn, discover, play, imagine, and explore!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers Ages Birth Through 36 Months:

This adorable little polar bear is as soothing as he is cute! With a voice sensor that detects and responds to your baby’s cries with calming music, this self-soothing tool is the perfect gift for new parents! The Lil' Critters Soothing Starlight Polar Bear™ plays more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases and even features a volume sensor and timer to give parents control over how loud and how long the sounds play for their baby!

Tummy time! Your baby can strengthen their neck, shoulder, and back muscles on this rolled-up caterpillar while playing in the Peek-a-Boo mirror or unroll the mat for soft and crinkly sensory play. I love the four sound modes for soothing language skill development (nature sounds is my favorite)! Best of all, the playmat is hand washable with removable pieces for your baby to take along and play.

Get ready for some fun with this colorful activity table that’s full of learning! With six different learning zones, four sing-along songs, 20 melodies, and over 90 sounds and phrases, this tabletop is perfect for hours of imaginative play! I love that it can start as floor play and then you can easily add the legs for tabletop fun as your baby begins to pull him or herself up to stand. Mom and Dad will like that it teaches colors, shapes, and object recognition with questions like, “can you find the lion’s orange mane?”. Your baby will love all the interactive, sensory, and role-playing activities but I bet the detachable play phone will be your baby’s favorite!

Watch out! Baby on the move! Go from playing on the floor to taking some first steps with this sit-to-stand activity walker. Your child can make six new animal friends while learning shapes, colors, numbers, and even musical notes. He or she can also build fine motor skills pressing buttons and turning gears! My favorite feature is the adorable little piano keys that sing their notes when pressed! I also love the adjustable speed control on the wheels, which helps to protect beginner walkers while they build confidence taking those first steps. The magic sensor triggers as the walker moves and colorful flashing lights and over 20 melodies help encourage your child to walk!

Score one for the parents’ team because the Count & Win Sports Center™ teaches shapes, colors, and numbers as it helps to build gross motor skills! Your child can kick a goal into the soccer net or make a basket in the basketball hoop with the two included balls. The animated scoreboard keeps count as it teaches numbers and counting, and three colorful buttons provide music and fun sounds. The hoop adjusts as your child grows and both balls store right on the base of the toy. This toy is a holiday gift WIN for everyone!

Swivel, bounce, and turn on the VTech® Bounce & Discover Llama™! Your child can sit on the llama’s back and hold on to the handle (which also doubles as a learning panel) and build balance as he or she bounces and turns around on the sturdy and stable base. Two sing-along songs and 10 melodies provide a musical soundtrack for this cute little llama’s up-and-down bouncing and side-to-side turning ride! Press the three learning buttons on the handle to learn shapes, colors, and numbers while you pet the llama’s soft fabric ears and watch the beads shake in the dome. This is such a great way to develop strength and balance!

All aboard for a learning journey! There are four different ways to use this one toy: for floor play, as a ride-on, as a walker, and then as a pull-cart! The activities teach letters, numbers, colors, opposites, pretend play, animals, and daily life skills through hands-on play. Insert the double-sided alphabet blocks into the Recognition Port to learn about letters and answer the quest to find objects. The blocks can also be used on the floor (or the pull cart) for building and motor skill development or drop them down the chute to be counted. I love the flip-page book attached to the train and that it plays songs and melodies! There are so many ways to play with this smart, engaging toy that we’re definitely on the right track for holiday smiles thanks to all the learning and fun!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Children Ages 1.5 Years and Up:

If your toddler sits at the door waiting to see the garbage and recycling trucks every week, this is a must have toy for the holidays! This toy is both fun and smart! Made from 90% reclaimed plastic, the Sort & Recycle Ride-On Truck™ teaches about recycling and the environment through learning modes and actual sorting!

As a homeschool mom of a preschooler, I cannot decide which feature of the VTech® Get Ready for School Learning Desk™ is my favorite! With over 100 vocabulary words, 24 learning activities, and 30 songs and melodies, this engaging desk can keep your preschooler busy for hours. There are countless features such as the pretend clock that tells time, a music player with 33 melodies, a roller and slider to track the days of the week and the weather, and even a cute little photo frame to display a favorite picture! The unique interactive projector includes four color-coded reels and two activity pages to play. Your child can play the piano with the Music Jammer sheet or identify body parts with the Dress Your Body sheet. The other feature I really love is the writing pad and stylus that helps your child correctly draw letters and numbers by following the prompts. The desk even comes with its own chair and the desk top flips up to reveal a chalkboard and easel. If you have a preschooler on your holiday list, this is a must have gift that parents, and kids will both love.

Part dino, part jet, and all fun! Transform the ferocious Velociraptor into a disc-launching jet complete with an animated pilot in the cockpit. The VTech® Switch & Go® Velociraptor Jet has over 50 sounds and phrases, animated dino eyes, fire-breathing light effects, and a red spotlight as the jet comes in for a landing. This is a great gift for imaginative play, and you can start building the whole set of Switch & Go® dinos to pit against each other for hours of prehistoric fun!

Fine motor skills, imagination, family time, and challenging creativity; what more could you ask for in a holiday gift? I love watching the concertation on my kids’ faces as they plan and execute their Marble Rush™ runs. Three different levels of play keep your child challenged as he or she builds and rebuilds ramps, stunts, and extreme launches! There are so many amazing accessories to add like the Ferris wheel, the swirling cone with a musical light show, and the cannon-style ball launcher, and they are all included in this 145-piece set. You can even combine this set with other Marble Rush™ sets (sold separately) to create a big, extreme playset! The pieces are color coded for easy building and the set comes with a step-by-step building guide. This is a toy that the whole family can enjoy by creating a family-challenge or building together!

I was mesmerized by the pretty lights and sounds of this soft, adorable unicorn! Ivy comes with a color changing magic wand that allows your child to customize the color of her hair, horn, flower, eyes, and wings. This whimsical creature even flaps her wings while she sings and dances if you play music for her, and when you blow her a kiss, her flower lights up and blooms. She comes with clip on accessories to style her tail too! My favorite feature is when she tucks her legs and gets ready for cuddles! I think this sweet unicorn will be your child’s new best friend!

This is the number one gift on my list for my second grader! I can’t wait to see how excited she is this holiday when she opens her very own camera that instantly prints out the pictures she takes! Not only does it print photos in black and white (so she can color them too!) but it also prints comic strips, greeting cards, panoramic prints, and over 40 photo effects, stamps, and borders! My absolute favorite print has to be the one that allows her to print pretend money with her face in the middle! The VTech® KidiZoom® PrintCam™ also plays three games, shoots video, and has a microSD slot to expand its memory. She will love the endless creations and creative control and I will love seeing her imagination at work. I can even set daily time limits and limit printing or games if I choose. Don’t forget to grab a paper refill pack that includes three regular paper rolls (up to 240 prints) plus two rolls of sticker paper (40 prints) because your child is going to love this camera!

Take indoor hoops to the next level with the VTech® KidiGo™ Basketball Hoop™! I am so impressed with the features of this easy to install hoop that includes padded door hooks (or you can mount it with backboard holes) and flips up for easy storage. The colorful scoreboard lights up all around the edge and cheers you on through five different game modes. Your little hoopster can play solo or with up to four friends. It even includes a ball! The announcer voice really draws you in and makes you feel like you are part of a live game. I love the Hot Potato mode that has your child make a basket and pass the ball before the music starts; what a great way to teach teamwork and sharing!

Tara is a mom and the author of the blog Living In Happy Place. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science and spent many years in the medical and corporate worlds before deciding to share her love of motherhood with other moms through her blog.

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