Are you in need of some boredom busters for your kids? Has the pandemic and quarantine got you staying home needing some new fresh ideas and toys to get you through the long days and months? Is it time to restock or build up your toy collection? I know my family has made more than one “pandemic purchase” as I call them. With all the extra time spent at home, we are definitely in need of some extra entertainment that doesn’t involve screen time. (There’s only so much me and my children can handle.)

The following is a list of toys and gifts that will work for any occasion, be it a pandemic, a birthday, a holiday or a random Wednesday in July. Some are splurges we’ve made ourselves and LOVED, but most are things we have asked for as gifts from family and friends (when they ask of course!)

It seems like between birthdays, holidays and illnesses, my children’s grandparents and aunts and uncles are always asking what my kids want as gifts. I’m a bit of a minimalist and the increase of toys can make me feel overwhelmed, like my home is being invaded. I do not take toy buying lightly and am VERY careful about what to ask for when it comes to gifts. Below is a list of PERFECT gifts for any occasion that I simply LOVE and I hope you will too!

Disclaimer: I do use affiliate links on here meaning that if you purchase anything through my affiliate links I receive commission at no additional cost to you! My views and opinions are never swayed because of this! I only recommend products and services I love!

  1. Books: Books are one of those things it is hard to have too many of… though we’re fast approaching that fictional number in our small space. The wonderful thing about children’s books is you read them around 1,000 times before your child outgrows them so you definitely get your moneys worth. I love gifting books and helping people stock their personal libraries. It always feels good to spread the love of reading. My go to gifts are Quick As A Cricket, The Way I Feel, and The Little Mouse The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear. If the child is a old bit older, I suggest trying out the Rosie Revere Series or Lola Dutch, both are winners! If you’re looking for first chapter books to gift you cant go wrong with the Magic Tree House Series. I have whole post to check out with book recommendations to help you: How Build Your Children’s Library.
  2. Memberships – The zoo is a definite must when you have young children and what better way to enjoy it than for free?! Every year, on my daughters birthday, my in laws renew our family zoo membership and it is truly an amazing gift that we use all year round!
  3. Lessons – Swim lessons, dance lessons, riding lessons, art classes, mommy and me yoga, really whatever your child is into this is simply a wonderful gift to grow your child and give them new experiences.
  4. Subscriptions – We have received subscriptions to Radish Club, Kiwi Crates, and Highlights magazine as gifts and all have been wonderful. My daughter gets so excited when her packages from these companies arrive and enjoys the activities they bring with them. I love the relief from planning and how much she learns from them!
  5. Special days out to spend time together: The park and a trip to your favorite ice cream shop with a special family member is truly wonderful and the time together is something your child will remember
  6. Magnatiles – So I know these are expensive, but I can say from personal experience they are an AMAZING addition to your toy collection and a great investment piece. They are super durable, open ended, hours of fun and will grow with your child! I have seen teenagers, college age students and adults get engrossed in playing with my children’s magnatiles. You don’t have to worry about your children growing out of them in a year or two. They help teach colors, shape, problem solving, and so much more. If someone wants to spend a little extra on your child like Grandma or Grandpa, DEFINITELY ask for these!
  7. Tree Blocks – Another great addition to you building collection, I love the natural feel of these blocks. My husband loves the unique ways you can build with them to learn about balancing and weight distribution.
  8. Balance Board – I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways for my kids to burn off energy inside and this one has been a favorite since we got it! This simple design invites your children to use it in many ways which I love. They’ve been really creative with it!
  9. Bilibo Seat – Another open ended large motor toy that’s great to use in obstacle courses inside or just to read and spin around in.
  10. Scooter -With parks and lessons and sports canceled, any extra large motor fun to be had is appreciated in my home! It’s good to keep the kids moving.
  11. Water Table – We bought this exact water table at the beginning of the pandemic when we realized we’d be spending a lot more time at home. It is one “pandemic purchase” we certainly do not regret. We use it a ton and its light weight enough to carry back and forth from the garage to the patio each time we use it. Love, love, love having this option!
  12. Blow Up Pool – For a twist, start with the pool inside and fill it with pillows and blankets! My kids loved climbing in and out of the pool and playing inside of it reading books. Now, on hot summer days we use it outside on our patio as a way to cool off. It’s been fantastic!
  13. Kinetic Sand – I don’t know why I waited so long to ask for this gift for my children. They just recently got some kinetic sand and we all have found it mesmerizing. I see us getting a ton of use out it. We already have spent hours playing with it and the clean up is super easy. Highly recommend trying this one if you haven’t already!
  14. Arts and Crafts – Always a winner in our house and with most kids. Arts and crafts will always be cool. There are so many to try and catered towards different interests. Paint Sticks are a fun art supply I can thank social media for introducing me to. They’re great fun with low mess! What could be better?! For more help finding art supply gifts to stock an art cabinet check out my post: How to Sock Your Art Cabinet to Inspire Your Young Artist.
  15. Science Kits – There are so many different science kits out there that can help your child grow and spark their interest in learning. Look for kits to grow butterflies or ladybugs! Your children are sure to enjoy watching these kits as they grow and change.
  16. Tent – For my daughters 2nd birthday, we splurged and got her a play tent off of Etsy. She is now 4 and I don’t see the tent losing it’s appeal. What child doesn’t love a little nook to hide away in? The tent can collapse so we take it down and put it up, keeping it fun and new year round!
  17. Collapsible Tunnels – I love having easy-to-store large motor activities on hand! When you’re having a rough day tunnels are the perfect thing to pull out from the back of the closet! My kids go crazy for them and burn a bit of extra energy as they play. It’s a win all around!
  18. Melissa and Doug Ice Cream Set – This set has always been a favorite of my mine from the popular Melissa and Doug brand. The ice cream scoops, and cones and scoopers are magnetic and great to explore the idea of cause and effect with. Any toy that can be used for multiple purposes and covers more than one area of development is good in my book!
  19. Dress Up Clothes – What child doesn’t love dressing up?! This Melissa and Doug doctors set is a favorite among my children. I bought it shortly after my daughter had a very rough trip to the doctor to help her process and practice the experience so that next time was MUCH better.
  20. Monster Trucks – The first time I saw these trucks I was at a park with my daughter and saw another child playing in the dirt with them. The child let my daughter borrow one to play with and the two of them had a blast. By the time we went home they were on my daughters gift wish list for her birthday. You can build ramps for them or just have fun however you choose!
  21. Green Toys Barn – Before getting a doll house, we bought this awesome barn set from the Green Toys brand! There are doors and windows to open and shut and animals to play with. The top is shaped like and handle which makes it perfect to carry around.
  22. Grocery Cart – This is another toy with staying power! It’s perfect for filling and pushing around the house. Sure to be well loved by any child!
  23. Riding Toys – Again, large motor can be hard to achieve inside during bad weather. I am always appreciative of large motor options to keep my children from going stir crazy inside.
  24. Clothing Needs: I’ll be honest, I can be a little picky about clothes for my kids. If you’re picky like me asking for pajamas is a great route to go since no one else will see them! If you’re a bit more open, ask for whatever needs your children have!
  25. Boots! – In our house, boots are a must. I don’t want my children to miss out on the joy of jumping in puddles or playing in the mud, but I also don’t want them ruining any shoes. So in my opinion, boots are a must have staple of childhood. We try to buy neutral boots so they can be passed down from child to child but they make a great gift regardless!
  26. Musical Instruments — I love having a home filled with music and I planned to instill a love of music from the start! Music is important for cognitive development. Shakers and other instruments are a fun way to learn the concept of cause and effect. The best part? Kids already love music!
  27. Floor Pillows – These make a great mobile reading nook and my children are constantly dragging them around the house. They like to put them in their tents and make beds and cozy nests for reading.
  28. Jump Rope – My daughter uses our jump rope less for jumping and more for roping… but never the less, its one of her favorite toys in our garage to play with outside
  29. Soft Frisbee
  30. Basketball Hoop – My kids’ grandparents were amazing and got us a basketball hoop at the start of this whole pandemic madness. We have enjoyed it so much and love that its big enough that it will grow with our children.
  31. Sidewalk Chalk : I have an entire post on why this is such a great item to have in your child’s toy collection! It’s a classic that will never get old. Check out my post “10 Creative Ways to Use Sidewalk Chalk” if you think chalk is boring. It will inspire you to look at this staple of childhood in a new way.
  32. Classic Legos and/or Duplos: Depending on the age of the child you’re buying for, you’ll choose Duplos or Legos (Duplos are basically the larger version of Legos and Duplos are meant for children who are a bit younger) I recommend getting these starter sets for a couple reasons. I LOVE that they are open ended and your child can build with them in a million ways, creating their own designs. AND I love them because they come in their own storage containers for easy organizing! You definitely cant go wrong here.
  33. Journals or Sketch Pads – When I was a child, I didn’t go many places without my sketch pad. My daughter is similar in that she enjoys a beautiful new notebook to draw or write down her ideas in
  34. Mess Free Markers and Mess FREE Paint Pens – These kits are like magic! The kids love them and so do I because there’s no mess! We first discovered them when we were doing research for long car rides. They work like a charm and you can buy additional pages with your child’s favorite characters on them later if you choose
  35. Baby Doll – baby dolls are great for boys or girls to practice nurturing skills and taking care of a tiny baby. We want kids who are empathetic and caring and nurturing right? Baby doll play is a great way to practice those skills.
  36. Melissa and Doug Bowling Pin Set – I wasn’t totally sure about this gift in the beginning but it has had staying power with both of my children. They use the cute animal character bowling pins in open ended pretend play and less frequently we use it to actually bowl… though every time they’ve used it for bowling they think its hilarious so there’s that! However you use it, this set is a great buy!
  37. Rainbow Stacker – this is a toy often suggested in the “Limited Screen Time” groups I’m a part of on Facebook, so we thought we’d give it a try. It’s a great open ended toy with lots of possibilities for play.
  38. Single Person Trampoline – Jump those crazies out when you’re stuck at home for months on end!
  39. Window Crayons – I much prefer window crayons over window markers. The colors are more vivid and the lines are thicker. This should be an adult supervised activity, but my kids absolutely love them and its a great, inexpensive activity to have in your back pocket when you’re having a hard day or have no idea what to do!
  40. Whatever sparks interest for your child! Mine has asked for binoculars and a compass because of her favorite TV show on Netflix, “Spirit”, where they often use survival skills out on the frontier. So guess what? We bought her binoculars as a birthday gift! Following your child’s lead and nurturing what they’re interested in is always a good way to choose a gift.

As always, be sure to check the manufacturers guidelines and follow all recommendations for use as laid out by the manufacturers of these products. Big Love Small moments is not responsible for any damage caused by the purchase of products recommended on their site.

Times sure are crazy. If you need some extra activities to keep your child busy and learning, this list is full of great gifts just for you! Whether you’re making a pandemic purchase to keep your family sane or gifting something wonderful to children you love, I’ve got your back. These toys and gifts will occupy your children for hours and grow along with them.

Happy shopping to you! I hope you feel inspired!

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