Battery-Free Gift Ideas for Older Babies and Toddlers
Coming up with great gift ideas for an older baby can be a challenge sometimes! After all, they can’t really tell you what they want or like, and if you don’t have a baby or are a first-time parent, it’s hard to pick something that you know is going to be used! And no one wants to contribute to the clutter instead of the fun- and many parents appreciate gifts that inspire creativity rather than over-stimulation. So here are our Battery-Free Gift Ideas for Toddlers Older Babies- toys and gifts that both the babies and the parents will enjoy!
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Gift Ideas for Outdoors
This Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike has to be one of our all-time favorite gifts that we’ve received. We started using it when Butterfly was around a year, but we could have used it earlier (the straps were sufficient to keep her from tipping over). The long handle made it easy to drive and steer, and it actually did pretty good over bumps and dirt when we’d stop at our neighborhood park.
The bar kept her in safe and the hood kept the sun out of her eyes. Then as she got bigger, we removed the bar for keeping her in and we’d just push her that way. And now we’ve taken the handle off it and she is learning to ride it herself! This one is a gift that lasts for years and years of fun!
Another fun one is a push car. We used one similar to this for a long time as soon as Butterfly was able to sit up (we were/are big on walks, can you tell?). She loved this and it was an easy, fun way for us to walk around the neighborhood or to a friends’ house.
I liked that it was so simple…just sit her in it and go. And I felt fine about just leaving it out in the yard, so that made it easy to just park it near the door, walk out, go for a walk, then pick her up and take her inside. Simple is good, right?
3. Fun Money for Mom (or Dad)
Ok, so this one isn’t specifically an outdoor toy, but I think it counts. Babies need the parents to be able facilitate fun experiences- so a little “fun money” to go somewhere different like a museum, zoo, or even a coffee shop with some toys is a great way to add some variation and learning to a baby’s day!
Ok, so this one goes against the no-batteries piece, but I don’t quite count it because the batteries keep it going rather than adding lights or songs, etc. And what is more delightful to a little one than bubbles??? There’s not much, I can assure you! However, I don’t know about you, but I get tired of blowing bubbles pretty quickly. Enter a bubble machine!
These machines blow lots and lots of bubbles- much to the delight of any toddler or older baby! The one downside is that these need to be brought inside or under shelter…they will rust if left in the rain.
Outdoor play can be messy! But these rain suits make it so much easier- they keep *most* of the mud off and let the kids wander and splash and play, even in slightly colder or rainy weather, without getting soaked. And, they’ve got easy zippers for quick clothing changes when necessary. These coveralls are THE ticket for taking play outdoors with toddlers and older babies!
Gift Ideas for Babies’ New Teeth
6. The EZPZ Mat
Whoever invented these is simply genius. The EZPZ silicone mats stick to the table and have built-in plates (or bowls) and some are already divided up into sections. No more flying bowls! And the silicone is so easy to clean. It wipes down from the messiest food and I’ve yet to have anything stain them. They even go in the dishwasher! And they come in all sorts of fun shapes- what’s not to love?
It’s no secret that I LOVE these silicone teething beads from Mama Bear’s Baby Beads. (Actually, I love them so much that I’ve gotten a special code just for my readers- MAMASHARK15– that you can use to get 15% off anything in her store.)
My current favorite is this necklace! It goes everywhere with us, and I wear it all the time while babywearing Turtle on my back- it gives him something to chew on that isn’t my hair and he can’t drop! If you’d like to know more about these beads, I’ve written a whole post about them for you! I’ve already requested some more of these for Christmas for Turtle!
As I’m writing this post I’m realizing there might be a theme to the things I love- silicone is my friend! I just love how easy silicone is to clean and use, and these bibs are no exception. I love that these bibs have pouches to catch the food baby spills/drops (and then usually picks up and eats again, ha!). It makes clean up so much easier and I am all about anything that makes my life simpler!
Gifts to Encourage Babies’ Curiosity
9. Interactive Books
Two of our all-time favorites over here are Moo and Dog by Matthew Van Fleet. These books are tactile (lots of different textures to touch) and interactive (things to pull, push, etc.) and the words are rhythmic, which of course is very appealing to young readers. He has a bunch more books that also look really fun!
I am generally not a fan of a lot of bells and whistles and super stimulating baby toys. Partially because I’d rather encourage creative play and partially because the noises drive me nuts- ha! These wooden activity cubes (there’s a lot of options!) are a great gift idea for older babies because they have so many elements for discovery…without batteries!
Because they’re wooden, they also last a lot longer, which means you can often find them cheaper secondhand than buying them new. I usually buy these for my kids off of our local Buy/Sell/Trade group for parents for about $15. So it’s worth checking out options if you can!
You might be wondering why I’m including baby carriers under gifts to encourage curiosity. I’m glad you asked! You may have carried your younger baby to allow your baby to be close and so you could have your hands free, but how about now?
The great news is, babywearing has so many benefits for older babies as well! One of which is they can see so much more- if you wear them on your back they end up getting a lot of your perspective and have the chance to learn more about the world.
Not to mention you now have your hands free, so it’s a lot easier to do your “normal” activities with baby in tow! I did everything from cooking to shopping to voting to setting up for parties with Butterfly (and now Turtle) on my back, and generally they were very content there as they got to experience their world at a whole new level!
You can also get a carrier at a good price by buying it second hand on Facebook groups like Babywearing on a Budget (see all the secrets for getting your carrier at a deal!). I’ve gotten all my carriers second hand and it’s worth a little extra time to find the right one and buy it from another mama! Being worn is a great gift idea for older babies!
12. Learning Tower
First off, let me say that I know these are an investment. I bought my learning tower second-hand to save some money, and it was still a bit of cash. However, we have gotten SO MUCH USE out of it! And, as long as the kids don’t set it on fire or something, I’ll be able to resell it later.
The idea with a learning tower is it puts them safely up at counter height (less fall risk), so they can participate in life at that level. Whether that’s making some healthy snacks or doing a craft together, being in a learning tower provides a world of new experiences for toddlers!
Fair warning, though….if they can get up higher….than can reach more things…like coffee pods…not that we would know anything about that…
Spacial Smarts Gifts with No Batteries
These toys have gotten so much play time at our house, and they’re a bath time favorite! Pip Squigz (the bigger versions) are great for chewing on, and the whole they-stick-to-the-wall-of-the-bathtub thing just blows Turtle’s mind. They also make smaller ones which we’ll get once Turtle gets a bit older- my mom has these at her house and all the grandkids love them.
Another toy by the same company (Fat Brain) that we really like are our Tobbles. This ingenious stacking toy makes a great gift idea for older babies because they are easier to stack than most stacking toys. The bottoms of the ball pieces are somewhat grippy, so they stay on top of each other at many different angles. I like these also because they’re fun to build with for parents, too- which given that we’re usually the ones doing the building at first (and the kids are knocking them down) that’s important!
This is one that we’re getting for Turtle this year. On the one hand, I debated whether to get them because I know they’ll take up a lot of space (which we don’t have an abundance of), but I decided to go for it and get him these Jumbo Cardboard Blocks by Melissa and Doug.
When Turtle was crawling and cruising, he loved trying to climb over and on top of (and under and through) these blocks, and now that he’s bigger, he loves to stand on them, stack them, and knock them over. I love that there are hours of play wrapped up in this gift idea for older babies- and really, they should last for many years and ages since building and creative play is fun for a long time!
Great Books for Toddlers and Older Babies
Books are one of the best battery-free toys their are! Here are a few of our favorites for this age!
16. Dear Zoo
This funny lift-the-flap book helps toddlers fine motor skills as they try out different types of flaps to find out which animal is hiding behind the next flap. Both our kids have read this book over and over! And it’s simple enough that soon enough they memorize it and love to “read” it to themselves!
We love Llama Llama books! I mention the non-board books in my Imagination-Inspiring Gift Ideas for Preschoolers post, as well as another favorite by the same author. These board books are short and sweet, but aren’t torture to read and reread because the lyrical rhymes are so fun to say.
We’ve got a couple of books from this cute series, and now they have versions on Kindle, too! My kids are twice as interested in anything read on a screen, and there are definitely times when it’s easier to read them something on my phone instead of carrying a book with me (for example, waiting at the doctor’s office), so I love that I can now access some of these books that way!
This is another one that is a great series of books! The fun animal sounds and truck sounds and fun rhymes keep them entertained the whole way through and will have them begging to read it again!
Other Battery-free Gift Ideas
Here’s a few more of our favorite gift ideas for toddlers and older babies that have kept the kids entertained for a long time!
20. Buckle Whale
Toddlers LOVE to buckle things. Need a toy to keep them entertained on car rides? This is what you need! This soft little whale provides hours of challenge for your little one- so much fun!
So, this one varies kid to kid whether they love it or not- my daughter thought it was fun for a few minutes and then couldn’t care less. My son (the much more physical of the two) loves his bouncy animal!
These bouncy animals are great for getting some energy out and learning balance and coordination- however, they are for the older end of this age group, as before that they’re likely too small to get their feet on the ground very well.
22. Play Cleaning Supplies
Older babies love to copy, especially as they get their feet under them and start to walk and run around! And what do they see us doing constantly (or maybe it’s just me)? Cleaning!
This Melissa and Doug cleaning set has all the basics for toddlers to follow you around and mimic what you’re doing- my toddler especially loves to vacuum with me.
23. A Backpack
One of the best things about toddlers is they can WALK! Which means they can also start carrying some of their own things. I LOVE these Skip Hop Backpacks for having my kids carry their stuff. And if you’ve got a smaller kid, be sure and check out their smaller size backpack (which, bonus, comes with a leash and a chest belt!).
As their fine motor skills develop, these become more and more fun! Again I’m a fan of the Melissa and Doug wooden train tracks and how easy they are for little ones to use! Turtle is 2.5 now and he still gets lots of play time with these- and we’ve added many trains and tracks to our collection!
25. Sit and Spin
This one is SO GREAT for rainy/cold/hot days when you need to be indoors but also need to get some toddler energy out! I’ve been impressed with how durable this Sit and Spin has proven to be, too…Turtle has definitely put ours through it’s paces and it’s held up well.
This is one I didn’t figure I would be putting on this list, but I’ve now seen enough toddlers having so much fun on them (my own included) that it has to go on this list! This micro mini scooter (smaller than the one you’ve probably seen the most) has made us going on walks so much more fun and easy- an essential for long days with kids.
This is one that we haven’t had, but have had recommended to us as a fantastic gift for this age- foam climbing blocks and structures! Babies and toddlers LOVE to climb and explore, and they’re learning so much about their world by touch. A Soft Scape foam structure is a great way to encourage that aspect of their development!
What are your favorite battery-free gift ideas for older babies?
What have I missed? Is there anything else you would include on this list of gift ideas for older babies?
Also, if you’d like to get some ideas for how to save money on all these gifts, be sure and check out this post about having a frugal Christmas!
P.S. Throw your email in the box below and I’ll send you a free template to help you track your gift lists, purchases, and progress- no more wondering what you have in that gift closet or who you still need a present for!