Gift Guide, Toddler: Brainiac

Cynthia Dermody

Your toddler is learning about their world faster than you can teach them. So what to get for the Brainiac in your life? My continuing CafeMom Holiday Gift Guide picks ...

Product: Animal Alphabet Puzzle

Cost: $36

Where to Buy:

Extras: It's a little intricate, so your younger toddler will need a helping hand from you. But she'll enjoy playing with these cute animals pieces individually as much as she likes hooking them all together.

Why I Love It: The 26-animal puzzle pieces are made of environmentally friendly rubberwood and hand painted, and it's a nice change from the one-dimensional floor puzzles.

Product: Coo Coo the Rocking Clown

Cost: $20

Where to Buy:,

Extras: It's won three "best toy" awards.

Why I Love It: I'm partial to wood toys because they last so much longer and can be passed down, and this game helps kids learn the concept of balance. Many toddlers are too young for board games, but this one is very doable -- even for a two year old.

Product: Fridge Phonics Magnetic Set

Cost: $17

Where to Buy:,

Extras: In my experience, this is an absolute kitchen necessity! It occupies my kids while I'm throwing dinner together.

Why I Love It: This award-winner was recently redesigned with larger letters that  talk, sing, and teach letter names, sounds and songs.

Product: Counting Ball Game

Cost: $25

Where to Buy:

Extras: Winner of numerous toy awards.

Why I Love It: Numbers sometimes get short shrift -- after all, who's ever heard of a 1-2-3 song? Here's a sturdy wooden game that lets children learn about addition and subtraction, plus concepts of cause and effect. You pound the lever to bring up the balls (improving hand-eye coordination, too) and then count how many are there.

Check out my suggestions for the Transportation Addict and Artiste -- and I'll be back at ya tomorrow with a Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Lover.

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