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Sweet, Simple and Budget-Friendly Gifts for Children

Nov 19, 2012

by mycakies handmade and vintage goods

Rubyellen Bratcher is a homeschooling, crafting, blogging mama of four. She spends her days trying to manage all the happy chaos that ensues in her home. You can visit Rubyellen at her blog, Cakies, and see how she tries to capture the chaotic beauty and fun of having four little ones.

I have four little girls who are pretty close in age, so I am used to having a plethora of toys everywhere, all the time. Life is just plain messy (and wonderful) with kids, and we try to be intentional in the gifts we give our children. This helps make our chaotic lives a bit simpler with four little ones (and their things) everywhere. One of the biggest things I have learned is that children really don’t need a lot of toys. I find that their favorites aren’t the fancy ones with batteries, but ones that really encourage their creativity.

[1. Circus folk paper doll by kissabug; 2. Hand carved “Winter Street” stamps by talktothesun; 3. Miss Sunshine tote bag by misakomimoko; 4. Flip tops by TheLittlestLearners; 5. Mouse softies by krakracraft; 6. Old McDonald finger puppet set by WeeKnit; 7. Gnome baby by warmsugar; 8. Waldorf wooden cars by Imaginationkids; 9. Vintage duck pull toy by CLEOandBLANCHE; 10. Wooden toy camera by twigcreative.]

I love that the sellers making these wonderful toys are often other moms and dads who come up with ideas based on things that have worked well for their own families. It makes handmade gifts even more special!


[11.Plush fox by sleepyking; 12.Retro toy watch bracelet by misakomimoko; 13. Vintage doll’s high chair from SweetBread; 14. Geometric rubber stamps by JulietCaesar; 15. Wooden doll kit by SophieTilleyDesigns; 16. Vintage toy piano from suziesvintage; 17. Vintage tin cars from nanascottagehouse; 18. Vintage Marx dollhouse from BlackEyedSusanShop.]

Vintage toys make great gifts. They can be re-used and loved over and over again while giving children the opportunity to create and imagine.

[19. Mid century tricycle from zomodern; 20. Radio Flyer push bike from PropParadise; 21. Vintage wooden scooter from WhimzyThyme; 22. Tiny turquoise leather locket by JENBOOTHLOCKETS; 23. Vintage push kick scooter from sugarSCOUT; 24. Wooden blocks wagon by asummerafternoon; 25. Mini fold away teepee (a splurge!) from houseinhabit.]

Other favorites in our home are toys for building and riding. And of course, kids love little hideaways. Every child must have some sort of tent. It guarantees lots of special memories!

When we give to little ones, their delight and excitement gives us a sense of joy better than any present.

What gifts will you be giving to the children in your life this year?

More Etsy Gift Guides | Browse Gift Ideas

Circus Folk DIY Paper Doll, Arthur
Circus Folk DIY Paper Doll, Arthur
$3.50 USD
Reserved for Louise
Reserved for Louise
Wooden Cars  Party Pack Birthday Party Favor Waldorf
Wooden Cars Party Pack Birthday Party Favor Waldorf
$42.00 USD
Retro toy watch bracelet. One-of-a-kind handmade fake clock with Gingham watchband.
Retro toy watch bracelet. One-of-a-kind handmade fake clock with Gingham watchband.
Vintage Miniature Lithographed Tin Cars Race cars and Taxi 5 total
Vintage Miniature Lithographed Tin Cars Race cars and Taxi 5 total
Reserved for Tina Sweet Vintage Kids Push / Kick / Foot Scooter with Brakes and Kick Stand
Reserved for Tina Sweet Vintage Kids Push / Kick / Foot Scooter with Brakes and Kick Stand
Mini 5 ft Fold - Away Canvas Teepee
Mini 5 ft Fold - Away Canvas Teepee


  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo said 7 years ago

    I love toys that allow kids to use their imagination! Great finds, thanks for sharing!

  • SuzisPillowStudio

    Suzi from ThePillowStudioShop said 7 years ago

    Great, creative finds. Thanks for doing the work for me!

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage from DecadesOfVintage said 7 years ago

    what a fabulous selection of toys that promote creativity. bravo

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 7 years ago

    Some lovely gift ideas for big kids, too ;o)

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy said 7 years ago

    wonderful collection of choices....totally agree that creativity is a must!

  • aBreathofFrenchair

    Elizabeth from ABreathOfFrenchAir said 7 years ago

    Sweet gifts!

  • furniply

    Ingus Jākobsons from Furniply said 7 years ago

    Had Nr23, very look alike scoot.

  • cosysbyolsson

    M Olsson from cozysbyolsson said 7 years ago

    So many cute things! =)

  • rorymosman

    Rory Mosman from FeatherKeeper said 7 years ago

    Great selections! I can relate to the plethora of toys everywhere, and what I like to call, "controlled chaos"! Sure do like the vintage trike and scooters! I really admire your ability to care for your children and balance schooling them, and blogging, as well as crafting! I am sure they love it too! Nice to remember that we need to encourage our children to imagine and create! Thanks!

  • HaveVintage

    Katie Holcomb from HaveVintage said 7 years ago

    these toys all seem so timeless; must make looking around at the chaos a little more bearable! I would have loved that tent as a kid.

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    Lana Manis from SimpleJoysPaperie said 7 years ago

    Fun picks and I love those little rubber stamps!

  • rarebeasts

    Brian McNamara from rarebeasts said 7 years ago

    I love that scooter. :)

  • thewomensrepublic

    Sara Brazil from SararaVintage said 7 years ago

    Finger Puppets! Wonderful, I am always racking my brain for ideas that are creative. My poor child will be in preschool rocking some bell bottoms like what didn't you see last nights Fraggle Rock episode? Today's world is full of so much noise I think the handmade, vintage and creative entertainment is a good idea for children.

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 7 years ago

    Wonderful collection! Love the teepee! My three girls loved a big refrigerator box better than most toys we gave them!

  • MarbleCityGlassworks
  • opalanddiamond

    Deb Cowey from CaperCapesInc said 7 years ago

    Such a sweet selection, I love them all. I always like to include a little something handmade and personalised, something to remember I hope!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 7 years ago

    Great picks! I had a red scooter like that.

  • meganbrown

    Megan Brown from meganbrown said 7 years ago

    Oooh I am addicted to toys.

  • plhagedo

    Prudence from amothersgarden said 7 years ago

    great stuff. i too run a house with four children... all boys! and they cling to their costumes and handmade items more than the technical toys of today for sure. thank you for reminding us all to be creative!

  • flowersbetterdressed

    Brittany Kay from flowersbetterdressed said 7 years ago

    I love the finger puppets. I've been looking for a way to help a little girl engage in some conversation and those would be a lot of fun for her.

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes from HelloShoes said 7 years ago

    Great childrens picks I would love the retro watches:)

  • auntierobin

    Robin from auntierobin said 7 years ago

    Great toys! I love the old-fashioned ones.

  • TallPineStudio

    Sarah from TallPineStudio said 7 years ago

    This is great! We do a "handmade Christmas" every year with my family, and I think I enjoy making/giving the children's gifts most :-) They have such great imaginations.

  • guext65

    JW Lin from JWPersonalShop said 7 years ago


  • oceangirlcollection

    Elke Fontillo from oceangirlcollection said 7 years ago

    Nice! It is true that Kids don't need big expensive toys to be happy- i Think, toys must suit the child's personality also- and challenge them to think, explore and socialize but above all- enjoy simple fun! Thanks for all the great options. e

  • cottonbirddesigns

    Angela Cotton from CottonBirdDesigns said 7 years ago

    Great finds!

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart said 7 years ago

    Fabulous finds. My Mother in law collects vintage toys. I spy a few things she would love. I would suggest considering the safety standards for vintage toys before giving them to a child. Also have it tested for lead.

  • breadandroses

    breadandroses from breadandroses said 7 years ago

    Spot on advice: simple toys that encourage imagination are the best playthings for children. Cheerful picks, both old & new. Thank you!

  • mooshoopork

    mooshoo from mooshoopork said 7 years ago

    some great stuff!! and yay for kids and toys :)

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique from RetroRevivalBoutique said 7 years ago

    Fun picks! These all make me wanna be a kid again! (^__^)

  • sandrostumpo

    Sandro Stumpo from GalleryDiModa said 7 years ago

    I am loving that teepee. I had a lot of fun making "houses" out of pillows and sheets with my son. This teepee has that similar appeal. I am sure kids will not get bored with it quickly like they do with most toys. Plus it really engages their imagination.


    Clarice Booth from RECCIEatETSY said 7 years ago

    What a great list of gift suggestions. I agree that it is not the high tech toys that feed imagination (how much imagination does it take to press a button) but the simple ones that provide inspiration and allow the kids to provide the imagination. My son used to spend hours playing with wood blocks, when he was little, because they could build endless worlds for him to explore. Blessings.

  • rosieok

    rosie from rosieok said 7 years ago

    there are so many awesome treasures there that would be perfect for any of the littlies in our lives :)

  • elizabethscanes

    Ellie Scanes from DiscoveringFun said 7 years ago

    Learning toys or activities are my favorite as an adult parent and when I was a child. I was able to understand the world around me when I learned and using my creativity I felt more and more understanding. Hmmm I may be making some learning toys! Elizabeth Scanes DiscoveringFun

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 7 years ago

    Great ideas! So glad you put this together. It will make buying for my sister a cinch. ♥

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 7 years ago

    Love the picks!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Very cute, kids toys dont have to be wildly expensive when I was a kid often the simple things were best - I go almost as much enjoyment from the cardboard box things came in as the toys themselves!

  • EdelweissPost

    Patrick from EdelweissPost said 7 years ago

    Honestly, it never occurred to me to give vintage toys as gifts to children, but it is an excellent idea, given that most modern mass-produced toys are mindless diversions of plastic made thousands of miles away. Vintage toys have a beauty and simplicity to them that create wonder in a child's heart.

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 7 years ago

    My son had the most fun and spent the most time enjoying creative toys. Endless hours of creating may have been the stepping stone to his career. He is now a mechanical engineer and is still creating every day!

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore said 7 years ago

    This is a lovely collection! The cloth teepee definitely trumps the homemade couch pillow forts my brother and I made as kids. Those were prone to cave-ins, but fun nonetheless. :)

  • Ridgevales

    Lindsay from SweetThreesBoutique said 7 years ago

    Great pics! Love the diversity of gifts that you can find on Etsy!

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes said 7 years ago

    I am in-love with the tiny tin cars. My boys had so many cars when they were little. Love these wonderful choices for kiddos. ~Cynthia

  • kadydesigns

    Denise Vining from kadydesigns said 7 years ago

    Awesome article!!! I love anything that makes a child use their imagnation! So many great finds here!!!

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 7 years ago

    Great selection.

  • whiteonwhite

    whiteonwhite from whiteonwhite said 7 years ago

    Heeeeey! The scooter actually costs $150.00.

  • MyLittleOtter

    MyLittleOtter from MyLittleOtter said 7 years ago

    Super cute.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Adorable picks!

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns said 7 years ago

    I think this is so true! When my niece and nephew were born, the first few Christmases ultimately brought a few of those fancy battery-operated toys and all the adults - mom and dad especially - would groan and roll their eyes. Thankfully, the kiddos always burned out on the electronic toys fast and went back to their simpler, low-fi toys. Why not encourage kids to develop their imaginations? These look like some really neat items!

  • knitsandsews

    Kara M from HeirloomModern said 7 years ago

    Love, love love the wooden doll kit!

  • sleepyking

    Savannah May from sleepyking said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for including Sleepy king in this feature!! What wonderful kids items! I am going to do some shopping for my little one right now! XOXO

  • mycakies

    mycakies from mycakies said 7 years ago

    so glad everyone loves my picks! i was so honored to be able to put together a list for etsy and all these on their are stuff i would gladly buy for my children. in fact, i did actually choose a couple of them! whiteonwhite- that last section did also say a few splurges, so the teepee and the scooter would be considered a splurge! ;)

  • highwaterstudios

    Robert & Brenda from highwaterstudios said 7 years ago

    love the toys what great ideas for kids for christmas thanks

  • Pixie2428

    Doris C. from SewBeautifulbyDC said 7 years ago

    Great gift ideas. ( Everyone knows Old McDonald and his animals. ) I love the finger puppets and the wooden toys !

  • wakawooevents

    Wakawoo from WakawooEvents said 7 years ago

    wow....i'm a little obsessed with ALL of them. I just got all my christmas shopping done for the kids in the family...thanks!

  • dfrycz

    Darrell Frycz from UniqueLEDProducts said 7 years ago

    Some great stuff here...

  • pepparonline

    Andrea Krejci from pepparonline said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the ideas!

  • leahleaf

    Leah Moses from Yumyo said 7 years ago

    excellent collection!

  • Wholesaletoys

    Wholesale Toys said 5 years ago

    So cute,Thanks for the great gift ideas.

  • avm7795

    Alexandra Magnus from BetterBudgets said 4 years ago

    Love it!!

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