It can be especially tough to buy stocking stuffers for toddlers and babies. Stocking stuffers necessarily are small, and small things have a tendency to be choking hazards for the youngest members of the family. Finding items that are small enough, but not too small — especially when you want them to be gifts the recipient will appreciate and even more especially if you don’t want it full of junk — can be a formidable task.
Here’s a list of 27 options, most of which are broad enough to allow lots of room for variety. Most are under $10 dollars, many under $5, although there are a few that are a little more.
Food & Food-Related Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
1. Goldfish Crackers (snack size)
Goldfish crackers are a perennial toddler favorite, and they’re available in a snack-size box. If Goldfish aren’t your child’s “thing,” or if you have food sensitivities that would rule these out, look for another “munchie” type of snack that comes in a stocking-size package. There are an ever-growing number of options!
2. Fruit Squeezies
Another fun, stocking-sized, but not-too-junky snack is fruit squeezies. Of course these come in a plethora of flavors, with or without veggies, grains, and/or yogurt in addition to the fruit. (Accessories like spouts, spoons, or holders are also viable stocking stuffer options.)
Toddler silverware is just the right size for a stocking! You can stick with basics, or look for something that’s either fun, like these construction utensils (which I personally think look both expensive and hard to use) or with a particular functional design feature like those shown below.
4. Sippy Cup or Lid
With or without handles? Non-spill or not non-spill? Straw, spout, or all around the rim-style? There are so many options; here’s an opportunity to try something new or replace your child’s favorite.
5. Snack Container or Pouch
Sometimes you don’t want to buy snack-sized packages of snack foods, but you still need snack-sized servings. Stuff your toddler’s stocking with a container meant to hold those on-the-go snacks.
Clothing-Related Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
6. Socks or Slippers
For those in the northern hemisphere, Christmas falls during winter when floors are often chilly. Keep your little one’s toes warm by putting socks or slippers in his stocking. Look for gripper-style bottoms so the new walkers don’t slip and fall!
They come in tall (even knee socks) and short, basic and fun/playful, etc. Slippers may be simple slipper socks or more of a bootie-style in fleece. If you’re set for socks, consider leg warmers as an alternative.
Most toddlers are probably beyond the heavy-drool stage where they need drool bibs, but they still need to eat! We especially like Bumkins’ SuperBibs, and find the sleeved “Junior Bib” option particularly useful for little ones who tend to pull their bibs off. (That version is harder to remove.) Or you could choose a bib that’s more of a fashion accessory.
It seems that toddlers either love hats or they hate them. If yours is a hat-hater, you might want to forego the more functional options — stocking caps, sun hats, etc. But even one who doesn’t like hats for practical purposes might enjoy hats as dress-up accessories. A hat can transform a child into a prince, princess, king or queen, knight, train conductor, firefighter, cowboy/girl, Southern belle, English gentleman, revolutionary-era dandy, nurse, chef, outdoorsman, animal, etc.
You might not think of sunglasses as a winter accessory, but snow actually makes the outdoors quite bright! Of course, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’re stuffing stockings in the summertime! Like hats, sunglasses can be a bit tricky to convince some little ones to wear, but there are some toddler-sized options available.
Art & Music-Related Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
10. Paint with Water
Paint with water books make great stocking stuffers, especially for little ones who have older siblings getting coloring books in their stockings. If your toddler is coordinated enough, you can, of course, include coloring books, too! (Or plain notepads.) Paint with water books are nice, though, because it requires very little dexterity to use them.
Inexpensive versions can often be found at the dollar store, or you can, of course, find them online. Melissa & Doug’s Water Wow books are similar, but reusable. If you’re getting inexpensive books that don’t include a brush (or that have a very fine brush), you might want to include a chunky paintbrush, as well.
Some toddlers won’t be ready yet for crayons; some will. You can stick with simple standard crayons, or try one of the chunkier, ergonomically-shaped options.
Sidewalk chalk has been one of my kids’ favorite things since they were old enough to hold it. If you plan far enough ahead, you can almost always find this at the dollar store. It’s something of a seasonal item, though, so you may or may not be able to find it there in the winter.
13. Magnetic Drawing Board
These little gems fit nicely in a diaper bag — as well as a stocking — and are perfect for waiting rooms, church services, sitting in the car waiting for a sibling to finish practice, etc. If you order online, be sure the one you get is a small one and not a full-sized one, or it won’t fit in the stocking! More expensive options tend to work better, while cheaper options tend to make better use of the space. (The “nicer” ones often have huge borders, taking up space that could otherwise be used for drawing.)
These are often recommended for ages 3 and up due to “small parts,” but unless you buy one with fancy accessories, the pieces are all attached, so I’m very comfortable allowing my toddlers to use them under supervision.
There is, of course, real, original Play-Doh. You can make your own, though, too, including a variety of sensory options. If your kids have allergies, take a look at AromaDough.
15. Shaker Eggs
Small rhythm instruments make fabulous stocking stuffers for toddlers. We especially like shaker eggs because they’re easy for small hands to hold, they’re as easy to use as a rattle, and it’s affordable to get a good-quality version so you’re listening to music rather than noise. (Also, they don’t make a super-loud sound.)
We just use “real” ones at our house — not special kids’ versions — and they’ve never been a safety issue because we’ve never had one break open (the only way the filler should be a concern). And my kids are rough on things, so I think these are just pretty sturdy.
Education & Toy-Related Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
16. Flash Cards
Obviously, not all flash cards are age-appropriate for toddlers. Good topics for toddlers include letters, numbers, colors, basic vocabulary (images), emotions, etc. You’ll find a lot more options for toddler-friendly flash cards if you search for printable cards online and have them printed and laminated yourself, rather than looking only at boxed options. Don’t rule out Montessori 3-part cards, either.
Puppets help facilitate imaginary play. They can also provide children with a non-threatening outlet for expressing their emotions. Look for finger puppets (watch the style to ensure it won’t be dangerous if it ends up in the mouth) or simple hand puppets.
18. Stacking Cups
Multiple brands make these simple stacking cups.
Discovery Toys’ MEASURE UP! cups, ‘though more expensive than other brands, are my favorite because of their attention to detail. “12 cups are volumetrically correct, sequentially sized, and sequentially numbered. (e.g. 1 cup + 2 cup = 3 cup)….Numbers shown in numeral, quantity & word form. Relief pattern of the number and matching number of dots found inside each cup for tactile identification….Dot patterns on front of the cups correspond to clock times. Explore counting, sorting, sequencing, addition, subtraction & multiplication.” For some readers, that might push these out of stocking stuffer territory and into “wrapped gift” territory, but it’s worth considering before you buy.
19. Lacing Cards
Lacing cards are those sturdy cardboard shapes with holes punched in them where children can practice “sewing” shoelaces through the holes. For toddlers, look for lacing cards or other lacing toys that are simple (relatively few holes) but don’t have small parts. (It’s also wise to supervise their use if you think they might tangle themselves in the laces.)
20. Board Books
Many board books are small — around 6 by 6 inches square. These make good stocking stuffers. Of course there are thousands of options, and it’s personal preference which ones you want in your child’s library. A few excellent examples are the Mini Masters series, the BabyLit books (check sizes — some of the story books are larger), and the bilingual Colors series by Meritxell Martí & Xavier Salomó.
21. Dover Sticker Books
Dover produces a whole series of tiny mini books. Some of these are coloring books. Others are sticker books. The coloring books are probably not a good fit for toddlers (although they’re a great stocking stuffer for older kids), but toddlers can enjoy the sticker books. (With supervision. We don’t want anyone eating stickers!) Of course, individual stickers sheets can go in a stocking, too.
22. Ribbon Wand
My children love these! I think there’s an intriguing cause-and-effect for them in being able to trail the streamers behind them as they move. The traditional type with a “stick” for a handle and a very long ribbon, are probably a bit unwieldy and dangerous for toddlers. But there is another variety (a “hand kite”) with somewhat shorter ribbons attached to a ring-shaped handle that can work well for toddlers. (You can even make these yourself, if you’re so inclined. They aren’t complicated.)
23. Play Scarves
Traditionally, these are silks, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Lightweight square scarves are a versatile toy. Children can use them like streamers, play peek-a-boo with them, drape them like capes, etc. As they get older they can get even more creative, clipping them up to make puppet theaters, tying multiple scarves together, etc. Look for “play silks,” “play scarves,” “play cloths,” “juggling scarves,” and/or “dance scarves.” Less expensive options will, of course, not hold up as well as the really nice real silk ones.
24. Tiny Dolls
Boys and girls alike can benefit from having pretend “babies” to care for. 5-inch dolls are a good size for fitting in a stocking, as well as a good size for very small children to hold. I like to make sure they’re cuddly (soft-bodied), not hard. Target used to sell some inexpensive individual dolls meeting this description, but they may or may not still be in production. If you can’t find a suitable 5-inch doll, trying looking for a 6-inch doll, which is typically easier to find. For some reason, cuddle-able dolls this size don’t seem to be available online.
Dolls are also a fantastic way to introduce young children to the truth that people come in a variety of colors, so don’t assume your child’s dolls must necessarily “match” him!
You’re probably familiar with Duplos — the larger, toddler-friendly size building bricks from LEGO. Did you know they have small sets? Compatible off-brand blocks and sets are also now available.
Beanbags are fun for tossing and good for practicing eye-hand coordination. They’re also a bit easier for little hands to grip than most balls. You’ll probably want something smaller than the ones sold for cornhole games (which are usually 5 or 6 inches square). Two to three inches square is a better size for tiny hands.
27. Bath Toys
There are a ton of great bath toys. Boon, especially, makes a variety. My kids have had fun even with really cheap wind-up “swimming” toys, too.