Toddler Christmas Gift Guide (Under $30)

Last year was Jaxon’s first Christmas, and while having him with us made it all the more special, he wasn’t really all that interested at 6 months old. 

6 month old Jaxon on Christmas Eve 2017
6 month old Jaxon on Christmas Eve 2017

This year Jax will be 18 months old at Christmas (techincally 5 daysafter but close enough) which means EVERYONE wants to know what to get him! And I have spent hours on hours researching what to get a toddler for Christmas (because obviously, he can’t tell us himself).

In case you’re in the same boat as we are, here is your lifeline (aka gift guide) to get your little one smiling on Christmas morning! 

I have split the gifts into a few categories (Toys, Books, & Experiences) because in our home we love “experience” gifts just as much as we love toys! 

Toddler Toy Ideas

When it comes to toys, personally, I feel simplicity is best.  I also prefer non-electronic toys because we have enough electronics in our home already! 

How cute is this KIDS vacuum by Dyson?! And it REALLY WORKS! What a fun way to get kids excited about helping out around the home. 

Here is another fun one to get kids in the “cleaning spirit”. If you little on is anything like mine, he is always trying to “help me” so here is chemical free way to let him “help me clean”. Seriously, fill the spray bottle with water and turn them loose! 

Differential recognition is a huge milestone around this age (18m) so I have been looking for toys that help to “sort” things by shape or color. I love this Geometic Stack and Sort because it helps to develope hand-eye-coordination  as well as imaginative play. 

Imaginative play (also called pretend play) is another huge milestone for toddlers to reach! “Kids aren’t just living in what many adults would call a fantasy world, instead most of their play has deep roots in reality, and it offers them a chance to practice social situations, adult roles and even play out fears and anxiety in a safe place. – Allison McDonald, No Time for Flash Cards”. 

Here are a few “pretend play” toys that will definitely get your little one interested! 

This is a “grow into it” toy that probably won’t be used much at 18 months but will definitely provide hours of entertainment in the next few months (BONUS: this toy get Dad excited to play too) 

For the little artist, consider a extra large mess-free water mat! This one comes with all kinds of fun accessories to help your little one be entertained for hours.

Toddler Book Ideas

My little man is a BOOK WORM and I’m so happy about it! We read between 10-15 books every day so I’m always looking for new ones to throw into our rotation. (I’m so tired of reading the same thing over and over!!!!) 

If you have never heard of it, Llama Llama is a book series turned Netflix show that we are obsessed with! There are so many different Llama Llama books available for every holiday and all most every “life lesson” you can think of! Here are a few of our favorites: 

THIS ONE!! So great for learning to handle our emotions! 

Some other great books that we love (especially the “Touch & Feel” books): 

Toddler Experience Ideas

When it comes to activities, “toddler” appropriate is most important! This means considering the duration of the activity, safety, and the skill level required.  After considering those factors, these were the top ideas for experiences in Dallas – Fort Worth for toddlers! 

** These vary in price and may not be under $30**

The Little Gym (multiple locations across the US)

They offer Parent/Child Classes starting at just 4 months old! You do have to purchase 25 classes at a time in addition to a $40 Annual Membership fee. Each class does break down to be less than $30 however since you have to purchase a bundle it can be a little pricey (which is why I had it on the Christmas list).

Annual Pass to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

If you are looking for a place to beat the heat in the summer or burn off energy on a rainy day, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will definitely keep your little ones busy all day! 

Memberships are (in my opinion) reasonably priced and include SO MANY BENEFITS

If you were to purchase the “Wonder 2 Person” package ($125 value) and went (hypothetically, of course) every single day, you would be getting a daily value of  ONLY $0.34 per visit! Of course, we parents know its an accomplishment to get somewhere once a week so let’s pretend you only go 2 times a month– it is still only $5 per visit PLUS all the free benefits! 

Seriously, check it out: 

Annual Membership to the Dallas Zoo

Another moderately priced membership package that can keep little ones super occupied is one to the Dallas Zoo. 

After reviewing the different options, I personally, feel that the “Passport” is the best value for its money because it includes UNLIMITED rides on the monorail! If you have ever taken a toddler to the zoo, you know the train is something you can not pass up. (Honestly, we take it from the back of the park up to the front at the end of our trip because I’m lazy and trains are fun!)

With the purchase of the “Passport” package and considering you go about 2 times a month on average (considering you will go more in the warmer months and less in the colder) you are able to visit the zoo for only about 8 dollars per visit! And you can ride the train for FREE so that save you about $15 while inside the zoo. 

Annual Membership to SeaQuest Fort Worth

This is one of our personal favorites! SeaQuest is inside Ridgmar Mall which means you can make a whole day of it!

Shop, eat in the food court, play in the soft play area, and tour the wonderful animal exhibits!  

These are definitely great prices for annual passes and they typically go on sale right before the holidays. (We snagged ours at 30% off)

If you were to purchase the “Family Annual Passport” and the recipient  decided to go to the aquarium every week all year it would only cost you $2.50 per visit

You can read all about our adventures here

We hope you were able to find some inspiration from our gift guide. Happy Holidays and have fun shopping (& snacking)!


Published by snackswithjax

Sarah is the creator and mom behind "Snacks with Jax", a social media community of over 85,000 parents/caregivers, where she shares her son's meals, nutrition information, and evidence-based tips for feeding children. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition emphasizing in Wellness from Texas Woman's University and years of experience as a culinary instructor working with ages 2+. She has coached hundreds of parents & caregivers through the journey introducing solids to babies and also navigating picky eating with toddlers and older children. Her focus is on establishing a life-long healthy relationship with food for children while also empowering, encouraging, and educating their adult caregivers.

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