My daughter, Emma, (who just turned one) loves to play with "toys" that are not toys at all. One time she found a ping pong ball and refused to put it down for two days straight. I am not even exaggerating. She took it into the bathtub with her, she slept with it, and she did everything one-handed for 48 hours.
This got me thinking.
When I thought about it, I realized that all of my daughter's favorite things to play with have three things in common:
1. She loves "taking things out." She likes bags and boxes, and little things that fit inside of other bigger things. She likes to empty things out, one thing at a time. I know this because she daily empties the tupperware out of the kitchen cabinet, the contents out of my purse, and clothes out of her drawers.
2. She loves things that are small enough to fit into her tiny hands. She loved the ping pong ball because it fit perfectly into her mini grasp. She loves carrying markers around for the same reason. In a world full of big things, it's no wonder that babies and toddlers gravitate towards things that they can easily hold and carry.
3. She loves anything that she sees Mom and Dad using. I'm pretty sure Emma would drink coffee every morning if I let her. She thinks it's cool because she sees me doing it every day. Now if only I could get the rest of the world to believe that everything I do is cool. . .
Based on these ideas, I came up with some brilliant gift ideas that I think a toddler will play with over and over. Today, I'm sharing idea #1: The toiletry/makeup bag.
Since Emma loves "helping" me put on my makeup so much, I decided to create a play kit for her. She hasn't stopped playing with it since. And it hits every item on my list above: it has little pieces that can be taken out one by one, each item is small enough to fit into her hands easily, and she sees me using these items every day.
Little boys might enjoy a toiletry bag more than a makeup bag, but the idea is basically the same. Here's everything I included in mine:
Most of these items were dollar store or consignment shop finds. Here's a breakdown of what I included and where I found it:
1. Makeup bag: Found at a consignment shop. I actually pulled a bunch of bags down and put them in front of my daughter. She liked this one, so this one it was.
2. Empty compact: I just cleaned this container out when I was done using it. Emma loves to snap it open and closed, and look at herself in the mirror.
3. Toiletry bottles: These were Target finds. I was originally going to use travel-sized shampoos and soaps, but then I thought about Emma drinking shampoo, and I decided to go with these instead. I filled a few of them with water so they would be a little heavier.
4. Powder application pad thingees (do these even have a real name???) These were from Target as well.
5. Baby powder- still sealed. Target. Because my daughter loves travel-sized baby powder. She hugs it and pats it just like she does with her baby dolls. I really don't know why.
6. Make up: I got each of these items from the dollar store. I made sure everything either had a screw cap, or was sealed with plastic tightly enough that I was confident Emma wouldn't be able to open them.
7. Mini Loofa: Target
8. Jewelry: Consignment shop. While we were picking out the makeup bag, Emma was OBSESSED with the necklaces that were hanging right behind us, so I got these two strings of beads as well. She really likes them, but I'm nervous about her choking herself, so she doesn't get to play with these unless I'm supervising. :)
Pack it all up, and you're ready to go!
Just one little warning: If you decide to create one of these gifts for someone you love, it won't look exactly like mine. It'll be 100% unique, assembled by you with love: which is, perhaps, why I love this gift idea so much.
If you like this idea, be sure to sign up for my weekly email updates- I've got 2 more great gift ideas that I can't wait to share with you in a few more days!