We are making Christmas a little simpler on ourselves this year so we can all have a little more fun and much less stress during this extra short season.  This will be Mari’s first Christmas and since our days are so full (and so indredibly busy) with a new baby in the house, I really wanted to make sure we do what we can to have more time with our kids that are starting to see the magic in Christmas.  For starters, I’m not wrapping anything for our children and we didn’t get any toys that have to be put together.  Last year I bit off a little more than I could chew with a kitchen set and a huge doll house that had to be put together.  I was up in the attic late at night for an entire week before Christmas with morning sickness and my drill and I told myself that next year Christmas would be simpler- and we are doing just that.  (Before you ask where Dave was, he was working on building the play room after the kids went to bed).  We also don’t have ‘Elf on the Shelf’ yet and they don’t know anything about stocking stuffers!  Am I so mean??

When it comes to Christmas gift giving I put careful thought into giving them similar things that they can play with together (with a few exceptions) since they are all close in age and play with each others toys anyway.  When their grandparents and extended family asked me for gift ideas for the kids this year I started thinking of a group gift that I could suggest versus more toys for each of them.  I like the idea so much that I took some time to create a list of group gift ideas.  One gift for all means no fighting, no jealousy, less toys- home run! 

Here are my ideas with price points from about $30.00 to $300.00 ranging from small toys to some big ones:

Slide 

They will love this Little Tykes slide! Cam’s preschool has a slide they take into the classroom once in a while and the kids go wild for it.  Santa is delivering this one down our chimney this year for the entire group.  It folds up nicely to store in a closet.  It’s a perfect toy for a very long winter ahead of us.  They make a smaller one for around $30.00 too.

Train Table






This is a bigger gift but certainly one that 1 through 6 or 7 year olds will enjoy and they can all play together.  My older three play with ours every single afternoon.  You can get one that slides under a bed (they won’t fit under a crib or toddler bed) but we prefer a table like this one.  I like this one because it includes the table, tracks, and trains for a good price.  Keep in mind that you may want to add to your tracks and trains at some point so purchase one that’s compatible with popular train sets like Thomas and Friends.  They usually indicate that in the description. 

Blocks






A classic toy that will never get old.  My kids play with these independently or as a group.  We love these Melissa and Doug ones- they’re out of stock at Target but Amazon still has them.  I would say get two packages if you’re buying this for more than two kids. (We need another one).

These ones are a little smaller sized blocks and there are 100 pieces in the box.  I just picked up another package of these for Christmas morning. 

Tree House
















If you have boys and girls in the house go for a tree house instead of a doll house.  This one from Crate and Barrel is made of wood with beautiful hand painted details.  They carry these wooden creature figures to go with it and the roof comes off to reach into the top level.  It’s gorgeous and all my kids play with it together.  

Play House

If you have the space for a house and have kids under five this is where you’ll find them playing outside.  I actually drag ours up to the deck in the winter so they can play where I can see them from the doorway.

You can get a plastic one or a wooden one like this one above. They run the gamut in price point and quality. 

Tip: If you get a plastic one spray it with Thieves cleaner about once a week to keep the mold at bay.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Picture 1 // Picture 2 // Picture 3

Check out this one below. I was thinking about it….


Just kidding!  Who buys this??

Kitchen

The play kitchen is where my children spend most of their time when they play together. If you have the space consider one. We have one which has been sold out for a while but this one is so cute and made by KidKraft- a brand I really like. 

Veterinarian and Grooming Station- Melissa and Doug




Do you have an animal lover in your house? I have two. The only reason this Melissa & Doug Veterinarian & Grooming Center won’t be under the tree this year is because I am holding myself to my quest to make things simpler for us this year and not buy anything that needs to be assembled.   I saw this on my favorite blogger’s site Lynzy & Co last year and have had my eye on it ever since.  It is so adorable!   It has two sides so one child can be working as a vet and the other side is the grooming stations.   Still available on Amazon Prime today.










Tent

These are so easy to pop up and then fold down.  Tip: Babies under 2 are probably going to knock this down so if you have one of those in the house you could go with something like this– they just don’t break down as easily. 

Jungle Gym Dome

This is still available through Walmart and will arrive by December 23 if ordered today.  There are others on Amazon if you do a quick search but I do like this one.  It may not be the best winter time gift for my northeast friends but I know my kids beg to go out no matter how cold it is. 

Ball Pit

The ball pits are so inexpensive, fold up in a nice compact pile, and the kids LOVE them.  Different versions are all over the internet but I own this one and all my kids dive in and play with this together.  Here are the balls that go with the pit which are sold seperately on most.

The Nugget Couch

Have you ever heard of this? A friend told me about this product and it seems to be a hit because it is completely sold out in every single color but the good news is they are due back in stock on Decemeber 18th.  The Nugget is basically a bunch of foam blocks that can be shaped into a couch or turned into a fort- whatever you want.  My kids would LOVE to play with this.  You need the space and it’s not cheap- one unit runs about $229.00.  You can find them here and I will be checking their site everyday and will post when they are back in stock because I am certain they will sell out quickly.

People are still shopping away so if your parents or sisters and brothers ask you what to get your group of kids maybe think of a one toy for the group.  

Let me know if you like these ideas or have any suggestions. Merry Christmas!!