Orange Marmalade’s holiday gift ideas…birth to two years

The holidays are coming.   I’m sure you’ve noticed a decided up-tick in the volume of catalogs being delivered to your mailbox!  I am not a big shopper.   Honestly, some of our best Christmases were in Africa, when there just wasn’t much available to purchase, forcing us to be creative, and content.  So, be assured that…  

… I’m not here to encourage you to buy-buy-buy!

If there are children on your list, though,  I thought I’d give some suggestions over the next few weeks.  I’ll list a few books, and in keeping with my passion for non-electronic play for kids, I’ll share some toys our family has loved over the years. This week’s ideas are geared towards…

Birth to Two Years


Farm Animals (A Chunky Book(R))
By Phoebe Dunn.  Winner of my all-time favorite first book for babies to teeth on, smear banana on, and kiss.  Lovely, simple, photos of familiar animals in realistic settings, in a chubby size that works for pudgy hands.

Global Babies

By Maya Ajmera.  Here’s a perfectly lovely board book,  full of what babies love to look at:  faces.  Better yet, baby faces.  Even better, faces from seventeen cultures, from Guatemala to Greenland, Mali to Fiji.  So much beauty.

Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails

By Nancy Tafuri.  Open this book to find striking, bold pictures of just part of a familiar animal.  A pale, pink rump with a curly, corkscrew tail, for example.  “What has a curly tail?”  Turn the page and find…a mama pig and her piglets!  “A pig has a curly tail.”  Seven little pint-sized puzzles that bear repeating over and over and over and…

Hiding (Olly & Me)

By Shirley Hughes.  My favorite children’s author explores the tantalizing theme of hiding.  So many good places for a toddler to hide.  Parents hide, too, sometimes, as well as tortoises, hamsters, the moon…what else?  Any of the Ollie and Me series is toddler perfection.

The Snowy Day: 50th Anniversary Edition

By Ezra Jack Keats.  Looking for a wintry title for a toddler?  You can’t do better than this.  Mesmerizing, award-winning illustrations, and a child-size view of all that is interesting about a new snowfall in the city.

MEASURE UP!® Cups by Discovery Toys

These particular stacking cups are probably my very favorite toy for babies and toddlers.  They stack and nest, of course.  They are also accurately graduated, so two cupfuls of the number one size fit perfectly into the number two size, and so on.  Raised pictures of animals decorate the bottoms of each cup, which are perfect for stamping in play dough, and, these creatures also grow in size, from a tiny butterfly on the smallest cup,  to a whale on the biggest.  Use them in the tub, in the sand, in the backyard; stamp playdough; set a table for stuffed animals…versatile, imaginative, durable…that’s what I like about ’em!

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

I bought a huge set of cardboard bricks twenty years ago, and they have sure gone up in price!  But they are a great lot of fun.  Jumbo cardboard bricks for building towers, forts, roads, shops, …you name it.  Accumulate a couple sets and your kids will find dozens of uses for them.  Easy to pick up at the end of the day and store in a big plastic trunk.

Green Toys Dump Truck

My daughter works in a way-cool toy store and says these are the trucks to buy.  Eco-friendly, made of 100% recycled plastic milk jugs, nice, big size — and of course, the back end really tips.   Ready for hauling, indoors and out.

Crocs Crocband Jaunt Rain Boot (Toddler/Little Kid),Sea Blue,6-7 M US Toddler

My kids called these puddle-stompers.  Those of us in the snow belt won’t be wanting them until about April, but some of you live in places where winter brings rain.  Don’t keep your kids indoors!  Let ’em glory in those puddles!  These are so crazy-charming, and since they’re Crocs, I’m convinced they’re durable.

And you?  What are your favorite non-electronic suggestions for this age group?  Please tell us!

(P.S.  If you’re shopping at Amazon anyway, and you click through on one of my links, I get a little dab.  Thanks to those who do!)