It’s hard to believe I’m sitting here about to blog about kids and presents when I feel like I only just became a dad, but it’s amazing how much you learn in a
quick long 17 months. And to think I’m about to do it all over again next Spring – Ack! (I mean, WOOHOO! ;))
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about our little love nugget over the months, it’s that he cannot care LESS for fancy toys he’s been given throughout… In fact, it seems the cheaper the toy is, the more he wants to play with ’em! And by “toy” I mean “not a toy,” and by “play” I mean, “do something he thinks he’s not allowed to do” ;) But what are the holidays for, right?
Here Are the 6 Best [and Cheapest] Gifts For Toddlers:
1. Tissue boxes
My son cannot get enough. I don’t know how much those things cost (a dollar? two?), but I’m totally splurging on three of them this Xmas for him and just gonna watch him pull out the tissues one by one. Usually we stop him after 3 or 4 ‘cuz, ypu know, it’s annoying!, and then the tears ensue, but these boxes will be JUST for him to enjoy until his miniature heart’s content. And I’m wrapping them all up too so I can capture his excitement when he sees what’s in there :) (I have no idea if kids open up presents like normal people at 17 months, fyi, but we’ll soon find out!)
Alternative ideas: Paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls (see #5)
2. Remote Controls
And not the fake “toy” kind either, it has to be the real deal or nothing – toddlers are smart!! They want the heavy real kinds that mom and dad have, and they want to find them right where yours go too. Which of course you’ve hidden away so he *thinks* he’s getting the real ones, but really we’re the ones outsmarting them.*Evil laugh* So what you have to do is ask your family and friends to give you any they’re no longer using (and we all know they have some!), so it costs you exactly nothing, and you’re helping them clean up their junk too. I recommend asking those “Joneses” neighbors of yours if you have any. They’re constantly upgrading their TV/DVDs and those remotes are the prized ones! They’ve got the most buttons to push and they light up too!
Alternative ideas: Old cell phones, calculators, anything with buttons made for adults
3. Empty Milk Jugs
This one’s a recent occurrence in our household. Every time he sees an empty jug sitting there on the counter ready to be recycled, he points and proclamates until we hand it over to him thus converting it into a toy. To which he then scurries away to play with his secret find in hiding, knowing full well we’ll be coming after him shortly to take it away. I think they like the crinkly sound it makes when they bang it over their heads and your furniture… He will be getting two of these for Xmas this year.
Alternative ideas: Empty orange juice bottles, water bottles, soda bottles (not to be confused with *cans,* a no-no!), and any other plastic containers you can find.
Extra credit: Fill them with a little rice – they make excellent rattlers.
Precaution: Wash them out well!! You don’t even want to know how bad sour milk smells… And it’s worse when it hovers in the air and you can’t for the life of you FIND where it’s coming from!
4. Tupperware and Measuring Cups/Spoons
This could just be *our* kid, I’m not too sure, but that guy will NOT touch his breakfast unless he’s able to play with some measuring cups and spoons throughout. He’ll put them one by one into tupperwares, put their lids on, and then undo everything and repeat incessantly. And luckily you can find these all over peoples’ houses too! Everyone has miss-matching containers they don’t have the time/patience to sort through.
Alternative ideas: See #3
5. Rolls of Toilet Paper
This, too, is a new one in our household. Which I accidentally stumbled across when I left Lil’ Money in the bathroom for a hot 2 seconds, only to come back with half a roll all strung out on the floor. Ugh… He was spinning that bad boy right off its little holder there and thought it was just hilarious to watch the paper spew out in a never ending cycle… I’m leery to hand him a full roll in fear of what he may do, but I am quite confident he’ll enjoy it immensely. So I will be giving him 4 of these.
Alternative ideas: Tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, a packet of plain white paper
6. Box of Leaves*
Every kid in the world LOVES to play (and throw) leaves around! And the bigger mess they can make, the better! So since it works so well *outside*for them, why not bring the joy *inside* and surprise them with a huge box full of leaves?! Particularly one where they could sit in it like a cozy little bed? :) I’m not too sure how we, the parents, would like that in the end, but it could be possible to stomach for just a day in the holiday spirit… I’ll take one for the team, and report back.
*Idea not proven yet. Possible alternates: A box of packing peanuts?
So, needless to say my son will be one ecstatic little boy come Christmas morning. And the beauty of it is that it’ll only cost me the price of wrapping paper!
I’m gonna crush this one… Get my Father-of-The-Year trophy ready!
No toddlers were hurt in the making of this post.
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!