The Battery-Free Gift Guide for Kids

The holidays are here! Wondering what to get the kids for the holidays? I’ve put together a simple list of battery-free toys for every age. Why battery-free? Toys with batteries often direct the child on how to play with it. Open-ended toys work in the opposite way: they are child directed and foster the imagination. I also tried to include toys that were nontoxic, sustainable, and gender neutral. But it’s also important to remember, kids don’t need very much, just time and love.

Battery-Free Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages:


Soft and Cuddly Toys

Kathe Kruse Towel Doll

I bought my son a towel doll when he was born. It’s soft and cuddly and perfect for little hands. I love Kathe Kruse dolls in particular because they are well made and safe for little ones that put everything in their mouths.

Board Books

Little Owl’s Night

Any board book is a great gift for a baby because babies benefit greatly from being read to. I included this particular book because it’s still one of our favorites. It’s a soothing and very cute story plus a board book like this one is sturdy enough to survive being thrown and chewed on.


Sugarbooger Matryoshka Doll Silicone Teether

Silicone teethers are great for babies because they are nontoxic and soft on sensitive gums. Look for teethers like this one from Sugarbooger that’s easy to grip and has a variety of textures.

Toy Drum

Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum

A drum is so much fun for a little one just learning to control their arms. It makes a pleasant noise, is an easy way to exert energy, and is great practice for emerging motor skills. Dominik loved this particular drum because it has a variety of pitches and is quite sturdy.

Bath Toys

Green Toys Yellow Submarine Bath Toy

Water play is always a joy for babies because it’s such an interesting sensory experience. Toys like this submarine have always been a hit around here.


Matching Toys

Grimm’s Seven Friends in 7 Bowls: Set of Wooden Sorting & Matching Rainbow Peg Dolls with Tray

This one is admittedly pricey, but it’s played with all the time. The peg people go on elaborate train adventures, the cups are used in pretend play, or it’s used as a color matching game. This German company makes nontoxic wooden toys that are dyed instead of painted and absolutely beautiful. Open-ended and full of possibilities.

Wooden Blocks

Maple Landmark Wooden Blocks

Every child should have a set of wooden blocks. They can be castles, skyscrapers, homes, barns, or whatever a child imagines. The ultimate open-ended toy.

Pull Toys

Plan Toys Dancing Alligator

My son loves his pull alligator. It makes a clacking sound as he pulls which he gets a kick out of. Most of the time, he just runs around with it.

Play Scarves

West Music Play Scarves Set

Play scarves are another open-ended toy that have unlimited possibilities. They are great for movement and music games as well as imaginative play like dress up and pretend.

Nesting and Stacking Toys

Grimm’s Nesting Rainbow Stacker

Our rainbow stacker is hands down one of the best toys we have. It’s been very well loved but has stood up to serious wear and tear. Stackers like this are great because they can also be used in imaginative play and motor skill development.



Children of the Forest

Books are good for every age. For preschoolers, I especially love Elsa Beskow’s books because of the lovely decoration and beautiful storytelling. The stories are well-paced, soothing, and fun to read.


HABA Graham Doll

Dolls are another one of those “must have” toys for kids. Every gender benefits from them, too. They can be buddies, babies, and help boost and development growing brains.

Art Supplies

eco-kids Eco-Crayons

Art supplies can introduce kids to a whole other level of creativity. Some basic crayons and paper is all they need to be propelled into a world of imagination.

Play Kitchen

Hape Gourmet Kitchen

A play kitchen seems to be one of those toys that is played with constantly. It’s a centerpiece for hours of pretend play.

Train Set

BRIO Railway Starter Set Train Set

As Dominik approaches preschool-age, he plays with his train set more and more. I had nearly the same one growing up and had just as much fun with it. The track can be put into multiple shapes and it can be a prop in extensive imaginative play.


More Books

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

More books! The great thing about giving books to school-age kids, though, is that they will be able to read them! Fun to read books like Shel Silverstein’s poetry books will entertain kids for hours and give them a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Sewing Kit

ALEX Toys My First Sewing Kit

Sewing is one of those basic skills that everyone should learn how to do. A basic starter sewing kit is a great way to introduce kids to a skill that is not only useful, but a great creative outlet.

Art Supplies

Eeboo 24 Watercolor Pencils: Walk To The Sea

Older kids have the motor skill and patience for more advanced art supplies. Plus, they will feel the pride and excitement of using more “professional” art tools.


HABA Fiery Dragons Game

As kids grow, they develop cooperation and social skills very rapidly. Playing games is a great way to improve those skills as well as teach them problem solving and how to cope with both loosing and winning.


PlanDollhouse My First Doll House

A simple dollhouse can also be a barn, a garage, an office, a hospital, a fire or police station, and so much more. Another open-ended toy that makes for hours of fun.


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