Look, I am a lousy gift giver.
Giving gifts stresses me out to NO end. (This is why Bart and I took a several year sabbatical from giving gifts to each other).
So, it's kind of laughable for me to make a gift guide of anything (besides things under $5, because that is one area I like to think I excel in).
Nevertheless, a very nice reader emailed me and asked if I had any suggestions for little girls.
WELL! I happen to have two little girls. Who like things! (Although I noticed after I made this list that it's not really very girl-specific. So. . . if you have boys, they'll probably enjoy basically everything on this list as well).
Here are nine items that are well-loved in our house, and might be in your home too:
1. Doll Stroller. My friend Alanna gave us their old one last year at Thanksgiving, and we wrapped it up and gave it to Ella for Christmas. It is far and AWAY the most used toy in our house. Any time we go to the park or for a walk, it comes along. She pushes it around the house and I carry it up and down the stairs many times a week.
2. Umbrella. I gave Ella the umbrella I bought for my little brother a decade ago, and since the summer, it's been well used. If it rains, of course, she wants to be outside with it, but she enjoys it just as much on sunny days.
3. Puzzles. When Ella turned two, Merrick sent her a set of these wooden Melissa & Doug puzzles and Ella was a huge fan. She's since graduated to bigger puzzles - now she really likes 100 pieces puzzles. They keep her occupied for about 30 minutes per puzzle, and I love that it's teaching her to work through a problem on her own.
4. Rocking Horse. This was another hand-me-down gift from Alanna, and it's one of our most popular toys. Ralphie has a wooden one, which Ella has loved for years, and any time a child comes to our house, it's immediately the first thing they go for (well, after the toy kitchen). Ella likes to do tricks on it. Don't try this at home.
5. A Piggy Bank. Some friends just gave this toy piggy bank to Ani for her birthday and both she and Ella were immediate fans. Landen also owns a couple of small plastic piggy banks, and Ella LOVED to play with them whenever she went over. Taking those coins in and out can occupy her for ages.
6. Duplos. We bought these at a garage sale for three bucks and they've definitely earned their keep. I store the box in my office and if I have to get something done on the computer while they are awake, they'll happily play with them for a good little while. It's a pretty small collection (I'm guessing the former owner lost a couple along the way) so I've considered buying a second pack to bulk it up.
7. A Push Bike. I bought this for a buck at a garage sale (are you seeing a theme with our gift-giving? Hand-me-downs and garage sales. Nothing but the best for our children. The most expensive thing we gave Ella last year for Christmas was a pack of batteries), then stole a magic eraser from Stephanie and cleaned off a ton of marker. My girls LOVE this, both to ride on and push (kills me when Ani looks all proud of herself), and they like to push each other around on it too.
8. Foam Stickers. I bought a big bucket last year at Michael's for 80% off or something after Christmas and these things were the BEST. They lasted forever, and she had such a great time with them (we had dozens of papers covered in them hanging from our island for weeks). Why a foam sticker is better than a regular sticker I don't know, but I don't ask questions.
9. Spot It. We've had this game for years, and it's a great one for adults, but it's also very simple and young kids can play it. After Ella turned about two, she loved playing with the cards (we'd spread them all out and have her find every card with a heart on it or all the spider cards or whatever). I highly recommend it.
This year, Ella is asking for a guitar. Trying to decide whether or not to indulge that desire (and wishing I had some Texas garage sales to scope out for one. . . ).
(As usual, I've included affiliate links, so if you happen to buy something through one of them, I'll get a tiny (TINY) kickback, but this post isn't sponsored by anyone. Still, if you'd LIKE this to be a sponsored post, feel free to send me a large wad of cash. Preferably along with a tiny guitar).