Christmas gifts for toddlers!

This post contains affiliate links on Amazon which means that if you purchase something using one of my links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Every day I strive to be more organized and more of a minimalist. My toddler is 2 years old and in these 2 years I have experienced the devastation of toy clutter. Toy clutter is harmful for everyone in the homes mental health. I am not giving my child a lot of Christmas presents or “toys” because children really don’t need a lot of toys. Also, simple toys are best. If the toy is doing more playing than the child there is a problem.

Buying toys based on your child’s development: Between 18-24 months toddlers may play pretend games like talking on a toy phone or using keys to unlock something. At this stage-toys that actually look like the real deal is helpful (police car, ambulance etc). By 24 months toddlers may start to use representational thinking where a toy can represent something else (this is the stage my child is in so the list below are toys that I am getting him to accommodate this stage-more abstract toys (like plain blocks..they could be a barn, a tower, a space ship, who knows!)

Part of my child’s christmas present is an Art Cart. We are using this all month long and he will get art supply refills under the tree if he runs out of materials. Click here to shop my toddlers art cart and supplies.

Another Christmas present that my toddler got early is this mini fridge that I have on his shelves in his play area. I put snacks in here for him so he can serve himself.

These feelings flashcards are my all time favorite for teaching children to learn how to identify their feelings at a very young age (which is a very important skill for children’s mental health).

One present he is going to get under the tree are these CORK BLOCKS:

This is one of my toddlers favorite toys & its on sale, totally recommend this magnetic bug catching wooden puzzle!

These multi colored Grimms Blocks are awesome!

Love this cleaning set!

A learning tower is an awesome way for your toddler to be able to help out in the kitchen with cooking and baking. Here is the one we have:

These paint sticks keep my child entertained for so long! See my Art Cart post for more details.

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Encourage creative play in your home with this Art Cart!

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of the links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

When I was a child my mom always had a ton of art supplies available to me and I think that this played a major role in my passion for creativity. I am a play therapist and I love using expressive arts with children. When I was an a counseling intern I had an internship at a place in Fort Worth TX called “The Art Station” where we used expressive arts with children in therapy. Incorporating art into your home is a great way to help your children express themselves and get creative!

I have a 2 year old and I wanted to be able to do arts and crafts with him as part of our daily routine but I needed to be able to put these crafts away when I did not want him to get into it. This art cart has been the perfect solution!

This art cart is the perfect solution to keep your kiddos entertained over the holidays and also makes a great Christmas present! I plan to use this cart with my child over the holidays and then he will get new supplies for Christmas to restock what we have used.

Click on the links below to shop my art cart!

Similar Rolling Cart

Clear Acrylic Paper Holder

Paint Bottles I like to use these paint bottles and squirt small dots of a plate and let my child use the paint. The children anti spill paint cups are a nightmare in my opinion because toddlers mix colors and it ruins the paint immediately

These Tempera Paint Sticks are my TODDLERS ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ART MATERIAL RIGHT NOW!!! THESE KEEP HIM ENTERTAINED LONGER THAN ANYTHING!!

I like to use White Card Stock Paper because it is sturdy with the paint sticks, paint, glueing etc.

Neon Card Stock Paper

Jumbo crayons (great small toddler fingers)

Dot Markers

Similar Tin Pails for storage containers

Washable Paint

Washable Neon Paint

Colored Masking Tape

Oil Pastels

These are my favorite craft paper plates. Children can decorate them and make a ton of different crafts out of them but I also use them to put the paint on to give it to my child. I put small tiny dots of paint of different colors around the plate and let my child use that to paint with.

Coloring book

Stickers I like to have a variety of themes to help encourage language development

These are my favorite water colors for older kids

Glue Sticks

These are MY FAVORITE WOODEN PLAY DOUGH STAMPERS

Play Dough Tools

All Natural Play Dough- by The Whole Kid and Kaboodle

The Whole Kid & Kaboodle Play Dough Kits

Sticker Foam Shapes

Similar clear stacking storage cups for small craft supplies

Sponge painting stampers

Wooden Paint Brushes

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The best trick for teaching your child deep breathing!

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something using one of my links I may receive a small commission at not additional cost to you.

Deep breathing is one of the most important skills that we can teach a child to help them learn how to regulate themselves. If your child has trouble calming down or they get stressed easily, deep breathing is a coping skill that can really help them.


They have all different sizes, colors, light up ones, and even glow in the dark. Glow in the dark ones would be super fun to use as a calming bedtime activity. You little one could lay in their bed and take deep breaths with their calming breathing ball to help them get sleepy, how cool!

DIRECTIONS: Start with the ball together. Slowly pull the ball apart as you take a deep breath in through your nose. Keep breathing in until the ball is fully extended. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. The trick is to go very slowly. Tell your child that you want the air to fill their tummy up as big as the ball is getting.

Check out my previous post about how to teach your child about how their body and brain are like an engine and how we can learn to help our engine run smoothly. My previous post tells all about how to make an engine plate. If you have an engine plate on your refrigerator or classroom wall, you can have your dysregulated child check their engine plate and then use the breathing ball to help get their engine back in the green. After you do several repetitions they can check their engine again to see if they feel better. Ask them how their body feels. Depending on their mood you might say “Do you still feel like you could bounce off the walls, do you still feel very angry, do your fists still feel really tight or does your body feel more relaxed?”.

I would love to see how you and your little ones practice deep breathing with your spheres! Check out my instagram account thewholekidandkaboodle and post pictures of your breathing ball fun and #kaboodlebreathingballfun and tag @thewholekidandkaboodle

Check out my other posts below:

How to teach your little one to learn to regulate themselves

How to create a gross motor/sensory room in your home

How to “discipline: your one year old

Why bubble gum can help your child’s sensory needs

#1 tip for calming a fussy baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

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The Best Valentines Day Activities for Toddlers!

*This blog post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of my links I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you <3

Valentines Pom Pom Scoop:

These Extra Large Valentines Pom Poms are perfect for toddlers who still put things in their mouth because they are not a choking hazard. They are great for scooping and transfer work.

Valentines Day is a perfect time to teach your toddler all sorts of things! Some concepts you can introduce to your toddler are the heart shape, the color RED, color PINK, etc.

The sensory table below is the Ikea Kallax Sensory table and you can purchase it on Amazon here.

Valentines Duck & Pom Pom Tray

Another activity I created for my toddler is this Valentines duck and pom pom pour activity. Some activities you might try with this tray: count number of ducks, sort by color, separate ducks from pom poms, transfer from bucket to tray, what sound does a duck make? Your little one can use tongs to transfer objects to the bucket for more complicated fine motor practice. You can even add water for more sensory fun!

If you are looking for a good sensory tray, this one is very similar to the one in the picture below. These metal bucks are also similar to the ones in the photo below. These valentines rubber ducks are super cute.

Valentines Day Pom Pom Scoop

Let your little one have fun scooping, counting, and color sorting these Valentine colored pom poms. These pom poms are cute also. I have also created a therapeutic activity with this tray. Click here (coming soon but in the mean time go to my Instagram thewholekidandkaboodle for directions on how to Teach Your Child Pom Pom Soup Deep Breathing to help combat your child’s excess energy, stress, hyperactivity, and problem behaviors.

Looking for an edible sensory tray filler?

You can click on the images below to purchase these edible sensory bin fillers on amazon:

Here are some Valentines Day sensory bottles that I made:

Below I have linked some of my other favorite craft items to buy for Valentines Day crafts & sensory bottles: just click on the image to purchase from Amazon!

These pipe cleaners and pom poms are fun sensory bin fillers!

Put a piece of scotch tape on the back of these foam hearts and let your toddler stick them to the wall or the floor. They will get a kick out of this!

Put this washi tape down on the table and let your toddler peel it off…loads of entertainment and great fine motor skills practice!

These foam stickers are perfect for helping little ones with their fine motor skills practice. The doilies can be glued onto paper for fun toddler art work!


I am obsessed with these heart shaped foam confetti! These would be awesome for sensory bin filler!

This heart shaped wooden spoon would be so fun to stir a sensory bucket filled with all kinds of valentines day filler or letting your little one help out with valentines day baking!

This valentines baking mold is so cute! It would be fun to bake in but also use to separate pom poms by color or hold valentines stickers and pom poms.

These hearts would be fun inside a sensory bottle!

These bottles are perfect for sensory/discovery bottles because they have a wide mouth at the top so you can fit decent sized objects inside.

This extra fine glitter is perfect for making valentines sensory bottles.

These heart erasers would be cute inside a sensory bottle, just add rice!

These rose petals would be fun sensory bin filler.

These felt balls are awesome for scooping, sorting, and using as sensory bin filler.

This Grimms wooden heart set is on my wants list!

These wooden beads would be super cute in a sensory bottle mixed with some more colorful plastic beads.

These candy hearts are what I used in my sensory bottle that I mixed with rice. My toddler likes to shake it and hear the sound it makes.

These are some of my favorite Valentines books:


Fine Motor Skills Activity

I found the velvet rose at the dollar store and then paired with our HABA toy :

Below you can see a photo of my 16 month old’s Valentines themed play shelves:

Here are some toys similar to the ones on my Valentines shelf that would be super fun:


Check out some of my other posts:

The easiest way to host the most perfect Gingerbread house decorating party..

How to “discipline” your one year old…

The BEST brownies with this secret ingredient…

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

Why I choose to exclusively bottle feed my baby and how I feel about it 7 months later…

15 Must Have Baby Items!

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

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Christmas sensory bottles your little one will love!

PicMonkey Image-18

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

These sensory bottles are a great way for your little one to explore and discover christmas ornaments and christmas trees without actually touching the tree! Toddlers have a natural inclination to explore everything and this will help fulfill their need!

Click on the image below to purchase the bottles I used to make these sensory bottles! What I like about these bottles is the whole at the top is large enough to put fairly good sized items like these mini christmas ornaments.

I used mini christmas ornaments like these to fill the bottles

You could also use Christmas bells!

I used Christmas trees like these to fill one of the bottles:

You can also add rice to any of the bottles for a little extra noise!

Check out some of my other posts:

How to host the most perfect Gingerbread decorating party!

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/sleeptraining/

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/the-ultimate-calming-bedtime-routine/

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/1-tip-calming-fussy-baby/

Check out this DIY kid sleep hack :https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/diykidsleephack/

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/bubblegum/

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The easiest way to host the most perfect Gingerbread House decorating party!

ginger final

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

There is nothing more festive than an awesome Gingerbread house decorating party! There is nothing more annoying than having a Gingerbread house that won’t stay together and candy that falls off. Luckily, you can learn from my mistakes because I finally found THE MOST PREFECT GINGERBREAD HOUSE KITS that won’t fall apart and the icing that is provided actually works and the candy sticks! NO MORE EMBARRASSING  GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING PARTY BUSTS!

Click on the image below to purchase these super easy Gingerbread House Kits

The kit comes with everything you need, the icing, the candy, & the house is already put together so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart. If you want to be extra spiffy you can get extra candy to decorate:

For kids I suggest having a bowl of candy at each of their seats so they don’t fight over the candy. I used plastic bowls like these so each child had their own bowl of candy (and every child had the same candy..) this makes for happy little decorators 🙂

I used green plastic chargers but if you are wanting to protect your table, covering your table with paper like the one below would be super cute!

Santa hats or headbands put everyone in a festive mood 🙂

Don’t forget an apron for the host!

Don’t forget cups, plates, & napkins!

If it is a party for all kids, don’t forget to serve some healthy snacks! They will eat candy but they will eat less if you also serve healthy snacks!

Check out some of my other posts:

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/sleeptraining/

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/the-ultimate-calming-bedtime-routine/

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/1-tip-calming-fussy-baby/

Check out this DIY kid sleep hack :https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/diykidsleephack/

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs: https://thewholekidandkaboodle.com/bubblegum/

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How to create a christmas themed play space for toddlers

xmasplayspace*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using my links.

Wondering how you can decorate your house for Christmas with a toddler in the house? Creating a fun Christmas play space for your child is a great way to bring Christmas cheer into your home without having to worry about your child getting into the decorations and breaking something. The plastic snow globes and the wooden christmas themed houses in the photo above were found in the dollar section at Target. Below are links to some awesome items on Amazon that would be great additions to a toddler Christmas themed play space.

Below is a picture of my toddler christmas themed book shelf:

Click on the images below to purchase these festive Christmas toys on Amazon!


Check out some of my other posts:

The easiest way to host the most perfect Gingerbread house decorating party..

How to “discipline” your one year old…

The BEST brownies with this secret ingredient…

Why Bubble Gum Can Help Your Child’s Sensory Needs!

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

DIY Kid Sleep Hack: Sleepy Time Clouds

The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine

Why I choose to exclusively bottle feed my baby and how I feel about it 7 months later…

15 Must Have Baby Items!

A Gentle Approach to Sleep Training

 

I would love to hear from you!

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#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

#1 Tip for Calming a Fussy Baby

how to calm a fussy baby, mom tips, baby tips, mom life, baby hacks

What can cause a baby to be fussy?

Have you ever tried to soothe a fussy baby and nothing seemed to work? When a baby gets fussy often their caretakers become stressed. The babies then pick up on this stress via the mirror neuron pathways in the brain. What this means is that the more stressed the adult gets, the fussier the baby is going to get.

How to calm a fussy baby:

The #1 trick to calm a fussy baby is to first focus on calming yourself. 

First, you need to focus on your breathing. There is a proper way to deep breath that can actually calm your brain and body. You need to 1. take a deep breath in through your nose  and 2. breath out through your mouth-but SLOWLY…like really slowly. You can even do this breathing out loud and the baby will hear this and they will start to align their breathing with the adults breathing, which will calm them too. Repeat the deep breathing over and over again. Notice how your body is feeling. Is your body feeling tight and tense or are your muscles loose and relaxed?

Second, you need to SLOW DOWN the rocking, jiggling, bouncing, or patting that you are doing with your baby. When you rock a baby you should move to the rhythm of a heartbeat. Most times when caretakers are stressed, they start rocking faster and faster because they are getting stressed. This actually makes the baby fussier.

Third, pay attention to the sensory information in the room. What are you smelling, touching, tasting, seeing, and hearing. Do you like these things or is there something in the room that is bothering you? Chances are if it is bothering you it is bothering your baby.

Fourth, try to observe over time the types of sensory input that may make your baby fussy. Does your baby get fussy every time you wear a certain perfume? Is the music in the room to loud? Is your baby hot or cold? Are the lights to bright or is there not enough natural light and only artificial lighting in the room? Are there to many stimulating toys and high contrasting pictures in the room?

Check out my other blog post “The Ultimate Calming Bedtime Routine” for more tips on how to create a calm environment to prevent your baby from getting overly tired and fussy.

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