It may only be October but Christmas commercials are slowly permeating the airwaves, and even Costco has nixed the summer patio furniture in favor of wrapping paper, strings of colorful LED lights, and rows and rows of gift baskets. Yes, the holidays are right around the corner, and this year I swear I’m going to get a jump on my holiday to-do list. Yet for parents of multiples, Christmas toy shopping can be a bit of a nail-biter. Do you buy two of everything so that your twins don’t burst into tears on the Big Day when one gets something that the other must now have too? Although doubling up does help alleviate the inevitable toy wars it’s not exactly practical or cheap!
When my boys were young, we always opted for lots of smaller complementing gifts like soccer ball/basketball, toy dump truck/toy front loader, and so forth, and then one or two big-ticket items that they could share. But finding just the right type of toy to share was always the challenge—it had to be big enough where each boy could stake out his own personal turf but not too big where it would take over our entire house. And of course, it had to have that WOW factor—you know, that certain indescribable je ne sais quoi that sparked their imaginations and lit up their eyes.
Like I said, not easy.
After combing the toy store aisles and scanning some toys sites for a few weeks, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite toys for twins to share this holiday season. (By the way, the opinions expressed here are my own; I did not receive any promotional gifts or compensation for my writing this post.)
Best Holiday Toys for Toddler Twins
If you’re thinking of an indoor/outdoor playhouse for your twins, you can’t beat Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage. With a current price of only $149, you get a lot of bang for your buck. (Be a careful shopper though, as Amazon has it listed in several categories ranging in price from $149 to $189.) There’s as much interactive fun on the outside of the cottage (mail slot, realistic-sounding door chime, open-and-close shutters and door) as there is on the inside (kitchen sink and burner, wall phone, built-in table and two chairs), making this a standout choice when you have two little homeowners who want to play together but not get in each other’s way. (Check out the video.)
What toddler can resist a ride in a wagon? But unlike your standard wagons where both children sit in the same compartment (often pestering each other in the process), the Choo Choo Wagon has separate compartments each with a built-in seat plus a cup holder. That small, independent piece of real estate may not seem like much to us but to a twin who has to share just about everything, it’s priceless! And mom, imagine this—when they sit separately, there’s no hitting, biting or hair pulling. Pure bliss. (There’s even a Choo Choo Wagon for triplets. (Check out the video.)
Too many cooks in the kitchen? Not with the Step2 Prepare and Share Kitchen Set. Even the name suggests that this play kitchen is built for two little chefs eager to whip up a little culinary magic together. Its horizontal design offers three distinct cooking and prep space—sink with swivel faucet on the left, oven and stove top with realistic cooking sounds in the middle, and a refrigerator to the right. Plus, the see-through design lets kids play on both sides of the kitchen. Comes complete with pots, pans, coffee pot, utensils, and dishes—41 pieces in all. So what’s for dinner? (Check out the video.)
Best Holiday Toys for Preschool Twins
There’s lots of interactive fun with the Fisher-Price Imaginext Rescue City Center, always a big seller with my kids. Your twins can role-play all types of rescue missions from putting out a fire to performing emergency surgery! On one side of the play set is a gas station with movable gas pump, a turn disk that opens and closes the bank’s vault door or controls the pops-up flames in the hotel’s windows; the other side features a fire station with functioning garage door, police station, and a hospital with movable elevator. But here’s the best part: Unlike vertical play sets where two children compete (read: fight) for room to play, this set is linear offering plenty of space for parallel play. Accessories include fire truck, street light, parking meter, fire hydrant, and two action figures. It’s sturdy construction is perfect for those twins who tend to be a bit rough with their toys. (Check out the video.)
Finally, a durable train set that won’t break the bank. The KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table has everything you need to keep your young twins engaged and happy for hours. This generously sized table displays a silk-screen city landscape and comes with 120-pieces of track, trains, cars, bridges and mountain tunnels. And with three storage bins below, clean up is a breeze. The best part? It’s less than $150.
How cool is this? The LEGO Three-Seat Playtable is the perfect gift for the LEGO lovers in your family. Three separate and colorful building areas complete with built-in base plate for attaching LEGO creations gives each of your twins (or triplets) a spot he can call his very own. It even has matching chairs. (Talk about color-coding your twins!) The perfectly placed center bin holds hundreds of LEGO bricks. Made of solid hardwood, this play table is made to last for years.