Inside: These are the best holiday gifts for siblings to share. Wondering what to get your little ones this holiday season? Looking for presents toddlers and preschoolers can play with together? We’ve got you covered with these unique gift ideas that encourage sharing and playing together.
It was last Christmas.
My 3 year old tore through her gifts like she’d never see another toy in her life again. She tossed one thing aside and then the next. Digging, digging through the pile of things I carefully curated for her on her Amazon wish list.
Her eyes lit up with excitement at the mountain of Frozen and Disney Princess toys before her.
Next, she eyed her 18 month old sister’s pile of gifts.
“Can I help open them?” she said, clearly still on a present-opening-high.
“You’re such a big helper! Let’s let baby sister open some of her own gifts first. Then you can help her open something,” I replied tentatively.
Then I saw it happen. Each girl eyeing each other’s gifts; silently wondering which gifts would be “special” and which gifts would be to share.
And then came the questions…
“Can I have one of her toys?”
“Can I play with that?”
“Is this mine?”
“That’s special to me!”
Merry Christmas, folks.
Fast forward almost one year later and we’re gearing up for Holiday Season, Round 2.
As I sat down to write this post, I was reflecting on which of those toys had actual staying power this past year.
- Which toys were played with the most?
- Were there toys that they actually shared with each other?
- And most important, which toys were “one and done”?
My goal for the holidays this year is to give more gifts to the girls as siblings, as a pair.
This works well for us because our kids are close in age. This December they will be 4.5 and 2.5.
Of course, each child is an individual and each will receive “special” gifts (read: not for sharing) but overall, I’d love for them to have more things to do together.
To be honest, I’m tired of hearing “this is mine” and I’d really like to hear more “this is ours!”
So, where do I find the best holiday gifts for siblings to share? Especially gifts for toddler siblings to share!
I have two favorite places to hunt for gifts:
- Amazon: my number 1 go-to. I create wish lists for each of my girls so family members have an easy way to see what the kids are into at the moment. I also like to put practical items on these lists because, to a toddler, even a new bath towel can be exciting if it has the right characters on it.
- T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods: have you been to TJs around the holiday season? It’s straight-up crazy in there. Last year, I exited the store as fast as I came in when I saw the check-out line wrapped around the building. This year? I’ve secretly been buying things as I find them and hiding them at the very top of my closet where no little hands can reach. #momlife
But what kinds of Christmas gifts are best for siblings to share?
For the purpose of this post, these gift ideas would work best for siblings 5 and under.
When you’re on the hunt for share-worthy toys, keep these things in mind:
- Think outside the toy box: some of the best gifts kids can share aren’t toys at all! My girls love to do art projects together. Next time you’re at Michael’s armed with a good coupon, stock up on toddler-friendly (aka washable) art supplies and stickers galore.
- Look for open-ended toys: Think STEM friendly here. Building blocks, LEGOS, Picasso Tiles, etc. An open-ended toy doesn’t necessarily have an “end-point” – kids can continue to play, imagine, explore without an exact goal or purpose. These types of toys are great for young siblings to play with together!
- Get outside: What kinds of gross-motor toys can you find that your little ones can use together? A kiddie basketball hoop? What about gardening gear or an outdoor playhouse?
- Together NOT Turn-taking: For our purposes here, “together” means something kids can do at the same time. For example: two kids can build MegaBloks at the same time. I could gift each of my girls a new baby doll to play with (and they could each have one), but this is not a toy for them to share, and doesn’t necessarily encourage them to play together.
But wait! You’ll want to declutter and rotate your toys before buying anything new and definitely before giving out gifts.
Unless you want your house to look like Toys R’ Us (R.I.P), you’ll want to trust me on this one and rotate those toys!
Now that we’ve set some ground rules, let’s dive in to our ideas.
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Best Holiday Gifts for Siblings to Share
These gifts are perfect for girls or boys, and best suited to toddlers and preschoolers. Product photos courtesy of Amazon.
My daughters received this art set as a birthday gift last year and it has been one of their most treasured possessions. It comes with little markers, perfect for toddlers and there are literally 140 pieces which means each kid can pick a crayon or marker at the same time, with plenty left to share.
While these are a little pricey, any mom will tell you, they are totally worth it. This is a favorite open-ended toy in our house and can be used for purposeful learning and for creative play.
With so many building pieces, toddlers and preschoolers can easily play alongside one another and even build something together!
Teach your kids to cooperate and play together outside! While each child will need to take a turn with a ball, both kids can still be involved at the same time. This encourages turn-taking while playing cooperatively together.
This game naturally lends itself to siblings playing together since it is a multi-player game. This game is best for preschool-aged kids as it comes with small pieces.
Kids will learn counting and color recognition while also learning to work together. I love any kind of activity or game that serves multiple purposes and doesn’t get “old” the second it’s been used. Bonus: this game also helps with fine motor practice.
Siblings of different ages can easily play together with these Duplos, which are perfect for little hands to manipulate. Kids can play alongside one another (parallel play) or choose to build together.
Either way, the Duplos in the playroom are “ours” NOT “mine”.
My girls received this last Christmas as their first gift-to-share, and to be honest, it has served us well this past year. It’s a large playset so both kids can play at once.
And since we presented it to them (before they opened it) as a gift they would share, they have never known any different when it comes to this toy.
No need to reinvent the wheel here. All kids love play-doh and this makes a great activity for siblings of different ages to do together. Need to make dinner?
Break out the play-doh, set your little ones up at their Ikea table, and let them get to work!
8. Give the Gift of Experience
Raise your hand if your kids need MORE things. Yeah, didn’t think so.
This is why I always love gifts like Play-Doh and art supplies that can replace used up or dried out sets. Besides the gift ideas above, why not gift an experience to your kids?
It doesn’t have to be a trip to Disney or something elaborate. One of their gifts to share can be a “field trip” or outing of choice. Based on whatever is available in your area, grab a brochure or create a certificate they can open that shows where you’ll be taking them together.
Even a gift card to their favorite restaurant can be a fun gift to share.
9. Use Advent to Your Advantage
I love the idea of Advent because I think it’s so fun to give gifts all month long! And not everything has to be a tangible gift.
Some gifts you can give to your kids throughout the month can be as easy as a cookie decorating day or a trip to see the holiday lights together.
These are always the most treasured moments more than any toy.
You could also choose to wrap books and place them under the tree or have one book for each night of Hanukkah. These holiday books can be read together as a family each night while counting down to the holiday!
What are your favorite gift ideas for siblings to share?
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