December is around the corner and you know what this means, right? The holiday season is here and this year, we want to be stress-free and prepared. Forget about that frantic, last-minute search mission to find the right presents for your kiddos. We’ve put together the ultimate 2019 toys gift guide for kids, even if they seem to have everything already.
Let’s jump in!
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How to use this toy guide
We’ve divided this guide into 5 sections: gifts for babies, construction toys, pretend play, active toys and educational toys. Each toy is selected for its uniqueness, on-trend presentation and creativity. Some toys are made by award-winning brands, whereas others are waiting to be discovered (by you!)
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Gifts for Babies
What do you get for the little ones? The babies who cannot walk, who squirm around all day, who are just discovering the world all around them. Sensory toys are always a good idea. Think of super soft cuddly plushies, crinkle toys that make the most satisfying sounds and baby gyms they can stare at and interact with while laying down (ahem, on a Play&Go Soft mat, may we suggest?) Cute rubber teethers are also a must around this age. To soothe the pain of growing teeth. Here are a few of our favourite small brands.
French Soft Toys by Main Sauvage
Where French aesthetics meet baby toys! Discover animal teething rings and rattles in the most adorable shapes and sizes. Main Sauvage, a soft toy brand based in France, creates sustainable, ecological toys that are meant to last.
The teethers they have created are made from natural maple wood, 100% baby alpaca wool without any dye. These are the kinds of toys you entrust your little one with: made from the earth with no nasties.
Crinkle Leaf by Wee Gallery
Ah, those good old crinkle toys. But this time, it’s monochrome and made from organic cotton. What’s not to love? These are not your usual monochrome toys though, just for aesthetics. It’s all about babies’ development.
Wee Gallery is founded by parents Surya (also a graphic designer) and Dave (also a teacher). The birth of their son set something in motion: the more they learnt about the development of babies, the more they felt they had to do something with their fascination. To create visuals that are perfect for babies, who are often drawn to simple geometric shapes in black and white.
The end result? Cute toys that can stimulate your babies brain. It’s a win-win situation.
Sustainable Wooden Baby Gym by PlanToys
This baby gym is simply the cutest. But not just that. Our friends at PlanToys are masters of creating sustainable toys that look good, feel good and last ages. Their workshop churns out toy after toy that are all meticuously researched, to make sure that the balance is just right.
“PlanToys mainly focuses on safety wooden toys made of reclaimed rubber woods that enhance development for children, especially during their first five formative years when parents should encourage children to experience the freedom of playing and the proximity to nature.” (Read more about PlanToys here)
This baby gym is no different. It’s stable, beautiful to look at and stimulating for little babies. It comes in pretty pastel colours (that seem to perfectly match our Play&Go Soft mat).
If you’re looking for other baby toys, check out the entire PlanToys range - they have something (beautiful) for everyone.
Also shown: Word Cubes by Maison Deux
Soft Toy Blanket Animals by Fabelab
Speaking of pretty pastel colours, you have to see these cuddly creatures made by Fabelab. Michaela Weisskirchner-Barfod, an Austrian architect living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the brain behind Fabelab.
Michaela embraced Scandinavian design principles and led her small team of designers to create wonderful toys and products that simply make kids (and parents!) happy. Soft cosy colours, beautiful designs, all responsibly made and perfect to give to anyone as a gift.
Artistic Soft Toys by Cocon
Lastly, in the baby toy selection, are these artistic soft toys by Masami Akatsuka, Cocon, that make us smile. Leafy plants or trees with character, because why not? The quirky, imaginative toys that Cocon has created look fun to play with, hold closely and take with you wherever you go. Like a little cuddly friend.
When not in use, these soft toy objects can also brighten up any nursery or playroom. Handmade with love: discover the entire dreamy collection here:
Building blocks are part of every childhood. No matter where you live in the world, you have played with construction toys (or made your own from nature). You can build anything with them, use your imagination and create endless forts, bridges and castles for play.
Now, since this is an essential list, you cannot have enough LEGO, that’s a fact (at least for us it is!). The more LEGO you have, the more opportunities you have to build things. We like to store our colourful bricks in Play&Go Mini bags, as the size is perfect for carrying it all from room to room without a messy aftermath (and no chance of stepping on a piece of LEGO, which every parent has either experienced or joked about at least once in their life).
Besides the basic bricks, there are also LEGO STEM packs where kids can pick up coding skills. They can build robots, play with moving coding trains, learn about gears, chain reactions and more. For older children there are advanced STEM packs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) which can be found here: LEGO BOOST. But even with the basic brick packs you can build plenty of STEM-inspired things, Pinterest is a great resource for this (See our LEGO STEM board for more ideas).
Kapla planks are also a great, timeless option. For the kids who have everything already, there’s always some space for extra Kapla blocks. If storage space is an issue, gift the planks in our Play&Go toy storage bags as the bags are big enough to hold lots and lots of Kapla planks (and Lego bricks) and are easy to store away. Apart from Lego and Kapla, here are some of our favourite construction toys by small businesses all over the world.
Wooden Ball Track by Haba
Luckily, we haven’t lost our marbles. If you still have yours, consider getting these wooden marble run blocks by Haba. This simple set, shown here with our new Gold Diamond bag, creates a basic marble run that can keep kids going for a while.
For Haba’s ‘Ball track’’ you can buy expansions to add all kinds of twists to your marble run. Like marble canyons, cascades, funnel jungles and more. For the child who loves playing with marbles, this is the ideal gift for them.
Cuboro Marble Track System
If you’re looking for something more advanced (puzzle-style), check out the marble run blocks by Cuboro, based in Switzerland. (You need to find your nearest stockist on the website). Cuboro takes the simple marbe run to a complete new level, with lots of ways to expand the packs (with instruction booklets and marble games).
“cuboro was developed in 1976 by Matthias Etter when working with special-needs schoolchildren. He extended the game and marketed it as a family game in 1985 with twelve basic elements (in multiple editions). Little by little, additional sets were issued offering ever-increasing possibilities with the new elements. Today the cuboro program comprises 82 different elements.” Read more about cuboro’s awesome story here (with an entire overview of all the changes to cuboro’s marble track since 1976, super impressive!)
Build your own city with Lubu Town Blocks by Lubulona
Now onto something else: let’s build our own town! Create a skyline or cozy little town with these painted blocks by Lubulona, based in Barcelona. Founded by Tina and Jordi, creative entrepreneurs and parents of two boys. Parents come up with the greatest of ideas, #fact .
Tina and Jordi on Lubu Town: “Our first product was ‘Lubu Town’, our versatile wooden toy city. Lubu Town is a toy that inspires kids to be little archtitects and construct their own buildings and towns. During the design phase of Lubu Town, we gave 3- to 6-year-olds different prototypes to play with. Based on our observations during these play tests, we then re-designed and adapted the prototypes. The final product is a versatile, creative and very intuitive toy, combining construction with symbolic play and allowing kids to choose how to play and with what to play.”
Made with love and care in Europe, totally safe and sustainable and an ideal gift for boys and girls who love to build.
Hey, what’s that? Lubu Town blocks with our new striped Play&Go bag of course. Captured by according to e Word Cubes by Maison Deux .
You can’t go wrong with these word cubes by Maison Deux. Our friends in the Netherlands have created some of the most playful, timeless designs (hotdog rug anyone?).
“Maison Deux was founded by Pia & Woes Weinberg, following their ambition to bring the home of kids and parents closer together. A home in which parents can enjoy design for kids as if it was designed for themselves. A home for two. Maison Deux.”
Get your Word Cubes here (and check out their other designs too) You can use their word checker to make sure you can create certain names with the blocks. Clever!
Magnetic Blocks by Magna-Tiles
Can you beat this tower? Give it a try with Magna-Tiles, a small family owned business specialising in creating the most colourful, magnetic blocks out there. The blocks come in many shpaes and sizes and are see-through, so you can place them against a window or let the sun shine through for dramatic, playful effects.
“Magna-Tiles® were invented by a Japanese mathematics teacher who wanted to create a better hands-on experience when learning geometric concepts in school and at home.” Read more about Magna-Tiles here.
Pretend Play/Imaginative Play
Never underestimate the value of imaginative play. When children are role playing, they are essentially copying things they have seen, heard, experienced. It helps them make sense of our (oftentimes incredibly complicated) world. They are simply processing what happens around them and are experimenting with the outcomes.
In this section you’ll find gifts that are ideal for pretend play, like wooden tea sets, little dolls and animals which are all perfect for role playing.
Wildflower dolls & wooden toy bottles by Thispaperbook
If you love soft, pastel tones mixed with natural wood, you’ll love the toys created by This Paper Book. There’s so much to discover on their website (seriously, we could add one of their products to every section mentioned in this blogpost).
Besides their own handcrafted products, they also sell a variety of toys and kids goods made by others, so do check it out.
Our favourites? These wooden wildflower dolls, with intricate flower details painted by hand. We love that they come in different shades. The wooden baby bottles are great for pretend play too; every child has at least one dolly or teddy that needs to be fed!
Pretend Play Toys by Plantoys & Krommunity
Wonky vegetables are on the rise. Well, they’ve always been there, but supermarkets always found ways to take them off the shelves. Luckily, we’re seeing more and more wonky fruits and veggies around us… and now you can play with fake wonky veggies too!
No more perfect looking carrots, tomatoes and pears. Krommunity has created the ‘Wonky Vegetables’ set in collaboration with Plantoys: so children will know from an early age that fruits and veggies can come in all shapes and sizes.. and are still perfectly fine! Brilliant idea and well executed.
Another shoutout to Plantoys here because of their wide range of toys that are perfect for pretend play. Toolsets, doctor kits and more, all beautifully crafted.
Discover Wonky Fruit
Wooden Tea Set by Raduga Grez
Aestetics on point, that’s for sure. We love the things that Raduga Grez makes: toys with an artistic touch. Raduga Grez is a Russian family business that creates playful, slow-living and nature inspired toys.
Shop the Raduga Grez collection here (before they’re all gone!)
Handmade Dollhouse by Tateplota
Meet Roma and Tasia from Tateplota. Their works are alwaysinspired by nature and we’re not surprised. They live outside the city of Ryazan next to a pine forest. The toys they create are timeless and true works of art.
Besides this stunning dollhouse, they create all kinds of other toys too: puzzles, wooden swords, even kids furniture! If you’re looking for a gift with character made with care and attention to detail, then you’ll surely love Tateplota.
Soft toys by Liewood
We’re not exactly sure what to call this one: a soft cat teddy? Either way, Liewood has created a wonderful cuddly companion for little ones to play with. If your kid loves cats and would like to carry one around all day (real cats have a mind of their own), then this crochet cat will be the right match.
Liewood has an enormous collection of wonderful toys, accessories and home decor, so do have a peek to find the perfect gift.
“Liewood was founded in the summer of 2015 by Anne Marie Lie Nielsen with the aim of creating a unique kids interior concept focusing on functionality, fine lines and simple details. Anne Marie has 15 years of experience in the fashion industry with design, sourcing and production for international retail brands. The DNA in Liewood is a result of Anne Maries passion for design, aesthetics and the belief that beauty lies in the detail. Being a mum of small children, Anne Marie is in sync with the demands of a modern family, an understanding that is the heart and soul of Liewood.”
Time for the toys that get you moving, indoors and outdoors! Help your child develop their coordination, balancing skills and keep your child physically fit with these toys.
Balance Board by Wobbel
Looking for a gift that keeps on giving? Get a Wobbel balance board and you won’t regret it (and your kids will thank you!) Designed to keep young and old moving, Wobbel’s balance board stimulated balance and strenght during play.
It’s not just a toy; the balance board supports physical awareness. Our friends at Wobbel are inspiring and have created an entire blooming community around their Wobbel, an invitation to grow. Founded in the Netherlands, but available worldwide.
Balance bikes by Banwood
Our friends at Banwood have created this iconic looking balance bike, perfect for toddlers who like to move (and for parents who like pretty things!) With its great vintage look, this balance bike can be passed onto many generations.
If you’re looking for the ultimate first bike for your little one, this is it. Available in many (delicious!) colours, complete with wicker bike baskets and helmets for the full ‘first time biking’ experience.
Wooden Toys for Active Play by Wiwiurka
You want your kids to play and move around. So does Wiwiurka (pronounced as bee-bee-urka). Meet the wonderful world of wooden toys made by Wiwiurka, based in Mexico.
You’ll find climbing archs, triangles and rockers in all colours of the rainbow. These toys make a perfect gift for any child that can be passed down generations too.
Bowling Pins by WoodenStory
Everybody likes bowling, right? WoodenStory has created the most perfect looking bowling pins that will last a lifetime. Imagine the amount of bowling games you could play!
WoodenStory is founded in Poland and their toys are made with care. Free from harmful chemicals, coloured with all natural eco-certified paints and polished off with beeswax and botanical oils for a smooth finish. Even their packaging (canvas bags and boxes) are designed to be reused. A small business to support and you get wonderful toys in return.
UPPLYFT Fitness Equipment by Fit Wood
Now this isn’t exactly a toy and good luck trying to gift wrap this one! But these awesome wallbars by FitWood (and their equally awesome gym rings) can make a great addition to any playroom and can provide a lot of fun for the entire family.
“We founded FitWood because we were never satisfied with the equipment available, we wanted something sturdier and more beautiful. Every FitWood product is carefully designed and assembled in Finland with the abundance of high quality and renewable wood from the northern forests.”
Lastly, educational toys. While every toy is educational in a way, teaching a child different things about the world and themselves while they play, these toys are designed with a specific purpose. Such as playful calendars, toys aimed at improving a particular skill and so on.
Wooden Lacing Toys by Wood&Care
These leafy wooden lacing toys are not only adorable looking, they are great for improving dexterity, left-to-right sequencing, fine motor skills and counting. All of that in a simple lacing toy - this would make a great gift for young toddlers who like to stay busy and discover everything around them.
Educational Toys by FromJennifer
You’re in for a treat. Jennifer creates some of the best educational toys out there (we haven’t seen many people come close!) They make everything: from bows and arrows to hundred boards, from solar system puzzles to alphabet tracing boards.. You name it, they have it. You can choose from their current toys or request custom made toys, which makes your gift even more special.
You can even create a wooden name puzzle for the name of your child - how thoughtful is that?
Number Blocks by SUMBLOX
Mathematics is not something to be afraid of (we’re talking to you parents!) Maths is all about abstract thinking and having fun with numbers, making sense of the world around us. What if we didn’t have numbers? It’s a fun question to ask your kids and to contemplate yourself. Numbers (and maths) are everywhere around us, in daily life.
Build number sense with these awesome math blocks by SUMBLOX. If you’re wondering why the numbers have such odd sizes.. If you take 2 and 3 and stack them, they are equal to the height of 5. If you stack the ’2’ blocks 5 times, the stack becomes just as high as number 10 - brilliant concept to teach numbers and place value.
The Nins Counting Toys by Grapat
And to finish off our ultimate kids toy gift guide in style (and colour!), a wonderful rainbow counting toy by Grapat. Twelve little ‘Nins’ in cheerful colours, accompanied by 70+ wooden rings that can all be stacked and played around with.
A great addition to any home (and ideal for homeschooling families too).
“This game allows for the development of logical-mathematical thinking by classifying, grouping and matching elements though colours and/or shapes. These actions improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills. The rings become a material which can be used to thread, pile up and create different games. The Nins can be used as a symbolic game, to create stories and small worlds.”