Cameron's Christmas: What do 3 year olds NEED?

For Christmas this year, we are going VERY low key for Cameron and Louise. Last year, I went crazy, and Cam doesn't play with most of the toys he got. Plus, he gets so much from our family members, that I wanted to focus on things he would really love and/or use. Louise is getting a bunch of chew a dog. I feel like we are constantly buying her stuff right now, so she doesn't need anything, and she really won't care what came in the wrapping paper (or if it was even for her), as long as she can play with it.

I'm sure most of you have seen the "four things" floating around Pinterest: want, wear, need and read. We are making our own version of this: something to do, something to play, something to wear and something to read. (Ours doesn't rhyme like the original, but that's ok.) We may or may not have bought more than one item per category, but we are still not going too crazy.....I hope.

Something to Do: Disney on Ice
I am loving "experiencing" things with Cameron, so I thought that this would be a good category for us. We are also doing Polar Express, but that's a family tradition, and it's before Christmas, so I don't think Cam will dig getting a present from the past. :) Chad, Cameron and I will be joining Mickey and friends in January, and Cam just might jump out of his seat when he sees Woody and Buzz. 

Something to Play:
Cam has recently gotten to the age where he understands games....kind of. We got him Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, so we'll see how THAT goes. 

Something to Wear: Superman Cape
No three year old is going to get excited about clothes, so this totally fits this category. :) One of my high school friends makes them (and other cute baby stuff), so I ordered this cape for Cam! She also personalizes capes with initials, but I know he will love the Superman cape the best! (Visit her Etsy shop here...such cute stuff for a little price tag!)

The October Citrus Lane box included a superhero eye mask that matches perfectly!

Something to Read:
Chris Van Dusen is one of our favorite authors and illustrators, and he happens to be from Maine.  Cam got Circus Ship from Jill and her boys for his 2nd birthday, and we became kind of obsessed.

Cam has If I Built a Car, so I know he will love If I Built a House. They are so fun to read together then talk about what his car would look like (although his would include superheros, guns and swords right now. Oy.)

What about you? Are you going all out or keeping it simple? With our small-ish house, I think that less is more and hopefully he will actually play with the few thing we got him (in addition to the millions of toys he already has).

Do you have any great toys for a 3 year old boy? (Something without guns and swords, which is all he wants...)

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate! We will be cooking at home with a few family members and possibly taking a long stroll in between football games!

Polka-Dotty Place


  1. I love your take on the "something they want...." mantra! I think "something to do" is a great addition. Experiences and books, in my opinion, are the gifts they never forget. And you picked a super book! I love Chris Van Dusen's illustration style - I got hooked on his work with the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo, and now seem to love everything he touches! I'll be buying my kids plenty to read this year, plus we are planning a trip to London soon - so they'll be getting tickets to see a play in London in their stockings. I've heard that Santa Claus can get really nice seats for The Lion King. Great to find you through #TuesTalk !

  2. were ALL about "something to do" and we're definitely keeping things simple this year... because an almost 3 year old and 9 month old don't really NEED anything... ha.

  3. Most of the gifts Marcus receives this year will come in the form of annual memberships (aquarium, children's museums, etc.). We have so many toys that never see the light of day, and I'd much rather be out of the house anyway.
    Julia... Well, she doesn't really need anything, and she won't remember a lick this year, so she will probably just get bows and clothes. Because she doesn't have enough of those...

  4. While I don't stick to the 4 categories, I prefer getting Noah gifts that are also educational. Like I don't mind getting him a hundred puzzles, more Legos, books, and board games. I feel like they are all such great learning "toys". I do however try to limit the amount of pure playing toys (since we already have a ton!). And I also love experiences, though we don't technically tell Noah its a birthday or Christmas gift. I don't think he'd understand anyway ;)

  5. I feel you - SO MUCH STUFF! This year Miss H isn't getting much and we're A-OK with it. She's getting a kitchen set and then her birthday is 20 days later and then a whole different mess of presents that we put away and bring out during the year. I love the something to do idea - we are getting a membership to a childrens museum this year, so hopefully that will be our To Do!

  6. i LOVE THIS!!! i never ever know what to get the girls. i mean lex is a little easier this year because she wants a pony and dresses and shoes. but kenz? girlfriend just wants to play with her sisters toys. so i might just be wrapping up some of lex's toys for her ;)

  7. That is such a great idea!! I love it. Great picks too. I love the experiences!