By: Reece K. Simmons


They grow up fast - soon they'll be ready for the larger toys like bicycles, radio controlled cars, kites, and of course the inevitable game console. In the meantime, you can still enjoy the sweet, playful days of early childhood, when they're discovering the world around them with every passing day. As they get older, however, you may want to get them something that reflects their age and growth, a gift to celebrate their larger size and challenge them with hours of learning and exercise. 

For babies between one and three years, you really can't go wrong getting them a small rider vehicle, something to push around and develop their leg muscles while riding through the house and even backyard. These small scooter-type gifts are perfect gifts for children just beginning to explore beyond their nursery or bedroom. Many are electronic, featuring vibrations and noises that represent their likeness. For example, a rocket-shaped rider might feature spaceship sounds and flashing lights, making them perfect for amusing children. You might also consider giving the child in you life a toy wagon, such as the timeless Radio Flyer model wagon that comes in gift sets especially designed for small children. The Radio Flyer wagon has been a staple of happy childhood play for over 75 years, and its uses are limited only by a child's imagination. 

Late infancy and early childhood are absolutely the perfect time to introduce children to the magic and excitement of reading. Besides traditional favorites like Mother Goose and A Child's Garden of Verse, modern children's book shelves offer dozens of specially-designed books to stimulate learning and reading comprehension. Many of the books are interactive, offering tactile and sensory contact between the child and the story presented.  These books are also designed so that children are able to easily carry the book from place to place and have minimal difficulty flipping their pages. 

 Another good choice of gifts might possibly include a sandbox, gym set, or other indoor or backyard play environment. These sets are made of the most durable and non-toxic plastic available, and sometimes come with charming theme details. You might give your child a fairytale cottage, or a space fortress, or simply a classic backyard playset, to stimulate their imaginations and growing muscles on countless afternoons to come.

And of course, it's never too early to start them learning about sports. While their young dexterity and small hands might not be ready for the real thing, many online retailers offer soft, oversized replicas of footballs, basketballs, and baseballs. These adorable gifts help to get baby "broken in" and acclimated to a particular sport, providing a neat leg up on other children. It’s a distinct advantage that can come in handy later, or just provide some easy-going fun for the time being.