Who doesn’t love a good Amazon roundup post?! Here are my favorite kids’ purchases and gifts from the past year:
Playmobil 123 Splish Splash Water Park: YES TO THIS. This thing—along with this *working* kids’ toy sink and this plastic food set—provides hours of ourdoor entertainment. We set everything out on the coffee table, and then get to relax because the kids are having so much fun! The best is when they bring us little meals made up of the fake food… and then “do the dishes” afterwards. It’s so cute.
Little Tikes Water Tables: This is such a godsend for toddlers… and even Emma, who’s nearly five! Don’t get too caught up in choosing the right one; I’ve seen almost all of them in person, and they all get the job done. Kids are just enamored with water, and water tables allow for so much imaginative play. Whenever they get bored, introduce some “new” waterproof toys—just some plastic stuff you already own—and they’ll be all about it again! (Last week I brought out some plastic wine glasses, haha. Entertained them for at least an hour!) While I’m at it, I should mention how awesome this blow-up pool is. Not sure how I forgot to include it in this post, but it’s SO BIG and so affordable! Going on two years now and hasn’t popped yet.
Learning Resources Volcano: Emma’s really into volcanoes right now, and this is my favorite science kit because you can repeat the experience over and over with ingredients you have in your home. It also makes a great backdrop for dinosaur play, if your kid is into dinos!
Native Water Shoes: These are all the rage at Emma’s school right now because while sandals aren’t allowed, Natives are… and they’re a hybrid sneaker/sandal. It took Emma a couple of days to break hers in, but she’s obsessed with them… and the fact that she no longer has to wear socks to school. She has an indoor and an outdoor pair, per the school’s rules. White for outdoor, pink for indoor. (What was I thinking?)
Amazon Essentials Strappy Sandals: BEST KIDS SANDALS EVER. Seriously. They’re so soft, and they require absolutely zero break-in time. Since they’re crazy affordable, the girls have them in both brown and gold, and wear them almost every day. (Wish I could find them in white!) If they’re currently sold out, just check back daily, and they’re likely to come back in stock in the size you’re looking for. That’s how I got ours!
Colgate Electric Toothbrush: Does your kid hate brushing his/her teeth? Been there. Then I got these toothbrushes and (most of) my problems went away. Rarely do I have to fight them these days because they love their toothbrushes so much! (Lucy will actually stand at the sink and “brush” her teeth for 30 minutes at a time!)
Crayola Model Magic Clay: I’ve mentioned this before, but I am DONE with play dough and kinetic sand. It’s such a disaster, and no matter how good I am about not allowing it outside of the kitchen, it’s always tracked throughout the entire house. My friend Bradley had this clay at her house and Emma and Lucy loved it… so I gave it a try. And it’s truly magic! There’s no mess. And I swear the kids enjoy it more! You can either treat it like play dough and pack it away in the air-tight container so it doesn’t dry out when you’re done with it… or you can let it air-dry and then paint it afterwards, which is another activity in and of itself. A+!
Plush Frozen Dolls: My Aunt Michelle gave Lucy these sweet “Frozen” dolls for her birthday, and they’re the only reason she’s been napping this past month. THANK YOU FOR OUR SANITY, AUNT MICHELLE. Love you!
Princess Costumes: Can you get over how beautiful these are?! We have a playdate for the girls at our house every Tuesday, and dress-up is the #1 activity of choice. Because of this, our costume collection was looking pretty tired toward the end of the school year. I went on Amazon and found these replacement dresses, thinking there was no way they’d be as beautiful as pictured and that I’d just return ’em. But I was absolutely astounded by the quality! They look and feel like those $200 dress-up dresses. Can’t recommend them more! They’re stunning, and so soft and cozy!
BOB Books: I’ll just continue to sing it from the rooftops: These books are the reason Emma learned how to read. She’d been asking to learn for so long, and my friend Natalie recommended these. They had her legitimately reading beginner-level books on her own in roughly a week. We simply read one BOB book per night, and buy the next set whenever we run out.
Bow Clips: Bought these for Lucy to keep the hair out of her face. So cute!
Stretchy Strings: Do you have a little bag of toys that you bring to restaurants to entertain your kids? Such a lifesaver. This year, I added these stretchy strings, which I randomly stumbled upon on Amazon. They seemed pretty stupid but had so many rave reviews so I decided to add ’em to the cart. And lo! What I hit. I mean, when I took them out at lunch in New Orleans, even my brothers—both in their 30s—asked to play with them. At one point, I saw Danny take a stretchy string from my one-year-old nephew. Apparently they’re that fun.
Playmobil 123 Dollhouse: We got this for Lucy for her birthday and both girls legitimately play with it every day. It’s such a favorite that we keep it in our living room cabinets. I adore Playmobil and think the quality is off the charts. Worth every penny! (I just recommend getting those Sterilite or Rubbermaid storage bins to keep everything in. Otherwise not worth it, haha.)
Crayola Scribble Pets: These were also ridiculously fun. I say this in the past tense because we unfortunately left them behind in Mississippi. (I think I put them in the pantry while cleaning up and somehow forgot about them!) I loved that they allow for two totally separate activities: decorating the pets, and then washing them in the bath. I’ve been thinking about sending these to my parents for whenever we’re in Ocean City this summer!
Squishies: I don’t understand why kids love these so much but they do. They’re in my restaurant bag! I will say that they really only last for about six months before they get too dirty… but for the price, I feel like that’s okay. I really like that so many come in a set, too. I often will just put five in a sandwich bag that way I don’t have to carry around the whole bucket!
Ralph Lauren Velcro Sneakers: These are our favorite sneakers because they’re velcro, which means Emma can put them on herself. They’re also classic-looking, which is hard to find these days!
Ruffle Butts UPF 50 Sun Hat: Another lifesaver. While I initially bought this for Lucy because she wouldn’t be able to pull it off, I loved it so much that I ended up getting a larger one for Emma, too. They’re really cute and prevent burns!
Folding Beach Chairs: We got these for Mississippi and I’m never going back to regular beach chairs. They fold up into these tiny carrying bags, and I personally can carry four at a time! They’re that light. Be aware that your head sticks out, so you probably won’t be able to take a nap in it. Then again, what parent reading this post can actually take a nap on the beach?! Ha. ;)
Mesh Beach Toy Tote: Leave the sand at the beach! It’s that simple. (This thing also prevents mildew and mold from forming.)
Ice Cream Beach Toys: The best toys are play food toys. So much entertainment!
Collapsible Beach Buckets: These are great space-savers. I threw them into the mesh beach bag and they fit along with the rest of the toys no problem!
Sturdy Shovels: Got these because my parents still have theirs that they bought us in the 90s. Super sturdy and stellar sand castle-building shovels.
Magformers: This is another toy that we keep upstairs in the living room cabinets! They help with shape recognition and I’ve loved seeing the creations the girls come up with. Everything is magnetic, and you can add to your collection over the years. Our neighbors have TONS of them and their projects are really something!
Dory Fantasmagory Books: A friend recently recommended this series to Emma and we’ve both enjoyed it so much! The main character cracks me up. And let’s just say that Emma’s chapter books are rarely entertaining for me. ;)
OXO Wipes Dispenser: My happiness as a parent went up 200 percent when we invested in this. It’s the best! There’s nothing worse than when you’re trying to change a diaper and all the wipes are sticking together. This fixes that annoying issue!
JBL Stroller Speaker: I try to take Lucy on a walk every day so we can both get some down time in the fresh air. It’s good for the soul. I often bring this stroller speaker because Lucy loves music so much. Whenever she gets a little fussy, I turn this on, and she’s happy as a clam!