Does the toddler on your shopping list love animals? Farm animals, zoo animals, ocean life… it’s all so fascinating for young ones. My 21-month-old son is currently obsessed with animal sounds, so any toy featuring animals is a big hit.
If the toddler in your life is similar, this Christmas gift guide will have tons of animal-themed gifts to choose from. There are gifts on this list for 12 months through 4 years old, and I’ve broken this article up into categories:
- Arts & Crafts Animal Gifts
- Animal Puzzles
- Animal Books
- Wooden Animal Toys
- Kits & Subscriptions Featuring Animals
- Animal-Themed Home Decor
- Educational Animal Toys
- Animal Games
NOTE: During the course of writing this article, a lot of toys I had chosen went out of stock. I imagine this will be a popular problem this year due to global supply chain issues (thanks COVID…). I apologize in advance if any of these toy selections are out of stock for you.
Looking for more Montessori-aligned toys and gift ideas? Check out 50 Montessori Christmas Gift Ideas For Ages 1, 2, 3, and 4
Arts & Crafts Animal Gifts
Does your little one love arts and crafts? My kids are eager to get their hands on anything related to stickers, stamps, crayons, chalk, you name it. Here are some crafty gift ideas for your little animal lover.
1. First 100 Animals Sticker Book
Sticker books offer tons of fun for kids of all ages. My 1-year-old is obsessed with pointing to stickers and my helping him pull them off the sticker sheet. My 3-year-old loves making scenes with stickers, such as an underwater scene or a farm scene.
No matter how the little one uses the stickers, they’re bound to be a Christmas gift hit!
I bought three different animal sticker books to compare, and this one – First 100 Animals Sticker Book – was the best.
The quality of the stickers is great, and I love the simple booklet format so no sticker sheets go flying around the house.
2. Farm Animal Stamps
Stamps are another great arts & crafts hit. While they do require a little more supervision (no stamps on the couch, please!!), they offer up a ton of fun for little ones.
We tested this animal stamps pack from Melissa & Doug and appreciated how easy the stamps are to hold.
If you’re shopping for a child as young as 1, these are the best types of stamps. They’re very accommodating to little hands.
3. Animal Pens
I remember being obsessed with having the coolest pens in school. Gel pens were all the rage way back when, and for little kids in preschool or Kindergarten, I have to believe these animal pens will be the talk of the class.
They’re adorable, and even for much younger kiddos, they’ll have a lot of fun identifying the animal on the top of the pen.
4. Animal-Themed Arts and Crafts Box
I LOVE this concept of an arts and crafts box. This animal-themed one, available on Amazon, has 20 projects, all contained in its own envelope with the materials and instructions.
Ideal for ages 3-8, the craft box includes activities like making animals out of paper plates, making tube animals, and decorating animals with tissue paper.
5. Animal Coloring Book
You can’t have an arts & crafts gift ideas section without a coloring book. This simple coloring book, available on Amazon, is packed with different kinds of animals and is great for all ages.
While you’re at it, grab a coloring book for yourself! Adult coloring is starting to gain more traction as a stress-relieving activity. This particular animal-themed coloring book for adults is quite popular!
Puzzles are a fantastic learning tool for all ages, and they’re a lot of fun! To best determine how many pieces to look for in your puzzle, here are some recommendations:
- Before age 1: 1 simple puzzle piece (like fitting a circle into a circular puzzle base)
- Age 1: up to 5 puzzle pieces
- Age 2: up to 18 puzzle pieces
- Age 3: up to 24 pieces
- Age 4: up to 50 pieces
All kids go at different paces, but these are good guidelines to make sure your gift fits what a child is capable of, or could work towards.
6. Chunky Mix ‘N Match Puzzles (2-piece puzzles)
These simple, 2-piece animal puzzles are ideal for starting at age 1. They’re also double-sided, providing more options for playtime.
We subscribed to the Lovevery play kits for my kids, and their simple puzzles were always a big hit in our house. These chunky mix n’ match puzzles remind me of those, and I think they’d be the perfect Christmas gift for 12-24 months old.
7. Farm Puzzle from Melissa & Doug (8 pieces)
This farm puzzle from Melissa & Doug is a childhood classic. You might even check that the toddler on your list doesn’t have this already, it’s so popular!
It’s great for 2-4 years old and works on manipulation and hand-eye coordination. Plus, kiddos love making animal sounds as they interact with the toy.
8. World of Eric Carle: Brown Bear and Hungry Caterpillar Puzzle Set (12 and 25-piece puzzles)
I love this World of Eric Carle puzzle set because it offers two different difficulty levels. My 3-year-old can do the 12-piece puzzle by herself, which is amazing, while the 25-piece puzzle requires a little guidance and help.
Plus, she absolutely loves the animals!
9. Melissa & Doug Busy Barn Shaped Jumbo Jigsaw Floor Puzzle (32 pieces)
This barn-shaped floor puzzle from Melissa & Doug is a unique shape, offering a new challenge for young ones. I also like that it’s 32 pieces, a nice step up from the 24 or 25-piece puzzles.
This puzzle is ideal for ages 3-5.
10. 48-piece Animal Floor Puzzle
Last but not least is this 48-piece animal floor puzzle, featuring classic zoo animals. This larger puzzle is a great challenge for 3-6 years old.
You can never go wrong with the gift of a book.
Reading books from a young age has been shown time and time again to give kids a head-start in life. Reading to children helps develop cognitive skills such as language and literacy, numeracy, and cognition (Department of Education and Early Childhood Develop at The University of Melbourne).
In fact, it’s quite literally never too early to start reading to your child. Research shows that reading to a baby in the womb promotes brain activity. The power of reading is truly incredible!
11. First 100 Animals Book
Books with real-life images are very Montessori-aligned. If you’re unfamiliar with the Montessori philosophy, the idea is to follow the child and nurture their natural interests. Part of that is respecting the child, giving them opportunities to learn practical life skills, and making learning accessible in their environment.
For these reasons, many books that are Montessori-aligned feature real-life images – not illustrated ones – so that the child starts gaining practical knowledge about real-life circumstances and objects.
This First 100 Animals book is a great one because it allows children to see what animals really look like (not illustrated adaptations). I also appreciate this book for its great price point!
12. Around the Farm Book with Sound
We love books with corresponding sound buttons around here. The kids always get more excited about reading time when there’s a fun element of play.
I love this Around the Farm book that includes sounds for all the animals on the pages. Kids are learning and having fun at the same time!
13. The Pout Pout Fish
I couldn’t NOT include The Pout Pout Fish, one of our favorite books! My kids love this one, and my daughter chose it before bedtime every night for weeks.
It features under the sea creatures for a twist on the animals theme.
14. The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids
If you’re shopping for a slightly older child, The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids is suitable for ages 3-9. It includes 500 wild facts about animals.
Wooden Animal Toys
Looking for durable toys that will stand the test of time? Opt for something wooden. Plastic toys can warp and fall apart pretty quickly, but wooden toys definitely don’t.
Also, wooden toys often boast more open-ended play features, allowing the child to explore and experiment. These are great for healthy development, and of course, they all feature animals!
16. Montessori Learning Tiles, African Animals
I love the concept of Montessori learning tiles, which are essentially very sturdy flashcards. My kids love stacking these, standing them up like dominoes, and going through each to identify what’s on the tile.
This African Animals set from Benedykt and Sylvester, a small, family-owned company, is ideal for any kid in an animal-loving phase.
17. Wood Photo Lotto
If you’ve never heard of a photo lotto, it’s a constructive toy that involves matching photo tiles.
This particular wood photo lotto features plenty of animals (and other real-life things) for a really fun – and unique – matching game.
18. Wooden Farmyard Animals
My daughter went through what I like to call a “figurine” stage for quite a long time. She would take little figures and line them all up in a row. Now, her game has evolved with more imaginative play, and the figures interact with each other.
This wooden Farmyard Animals collection (available on Amazon) is ideal for open-ended, imaginative play. Plus, the animals are made of wood, meaning they’ll last a lot longer than their plastic counterparts.
19. The Pull Pup
This may be one of the cutest animal toys on this list! The Pull Pup from Lovevery is designed to be rolled along while a toddler pulls the string. The toy is ideal for working on coordination, grip, and gross motor development.
You can always count on Lovevery to ensure all their toys help foster learning and healthy development, something I really appreciate.
20. Little World
If you’re looking for a truly unique gift, I think this “Little World” playset takes the cake. I’ve personally never seen anything else like it.
The game will help teach your child pronunciation and facts about the world around them.
Choose the “Farmer” set for a fun, educational toy featuring your kiddo’s favorite animals. This toy can be introduced as young as two, and it ages really well (many of the more educational components can be incorporated closer to 4-6).
Kits & Subscriptions Featuring Animals
Toy subscriptions are quite popular right now, and it’s no secret I’m a big fan of the Lovevery play kits. Most subscription companies have a gifting option where you can buy just one of their kits – or a gift card – which is ideal for Christmastime.
I’ve sorted through all of the most popular offerings and came across four options that feature some fun animal components.
21. The Realist Lovevery Play Kit
The Realist play kit from Lovevery features a quilted critter pockets activity that has always been a big hit among my kids.
This kit is specifically designed for 19-21 months, so if your little one is anywhere near that age, I say go for it! The kit also comes with lots of other developmentally-appropriate toys that are all well-made and will stand the test of time.
22. The Companion Lovevery Play Kit
Another standout play kit from Lovevery is The Companion, made for ages 22-24 months. This one features an animal matching set that has fostered hours of fun play time here at our house.
This kit was actually one of our family’s all-time favorites – the mosaic button board is a great challenge for this age.
23. Veterinarian Starter Kit
This Veterinarian Starter Kit from KiwiCo, advertised for ages 5+, is a dream gift for any kid who says they want to be a veterinarian when they grow up.
It features a “find the fracture” game, vet tools, and more. It even comes with free videos and printable activities.
KiwiCo’s main product is an activity subscription box that arrives monthly and is based on the child’s age. However, this veterinarian kit can be bought separately, making it perfect for gift giving.
24. Hooked on Phonics
Hooked on Phonics is incredible for teaching kids pre-reading and spelling. Plus, a lot of the lessons feature animals!
If you have a 3-year-old, it’s the perfect time to introduce Hooked on Phonics. I thought my daughter was too young at about 2.5, but she started picking up on letters and some of the spelling games really quickly. It actually blew my mind.
You can get the Hooked on Phonics app subscription for just $1 to try it out, but there are also bundles that may be better for Christmas gifting. Check out the “Pre-reader And Learn to Read 17-Practice Pack Bundle with 1 Year App Access (3 yrs+).”
Animal-Themed Home Decor For Toddlers
From wall stickers to blankets to rugs, there are some really adorable home decor items featuring animals. These are all meant for toddlers or toddler rooms/nurseries.
25. Animal Wall Stickers
Wall stickers are a lot of fun for kids, and these safari-themed wall stickers are perfect for a nursery or playroom. The sticker set includes 3 monkeys, 1 elephant, 1 lion, 1 zebra, 1 giraffe, and 1 tiger.
26. Safari Nursery Prints
Another fun way to incorporate animals into a kid’s room is through these safari nursery prints from The Tot.
This collection of 6 wild animals are inkjet printed on high-quality cotton rag paper. They are really cute!!
27. Animal Magnet Board
If the kid on your Christmas list loves doing art projects, this animal magnet board may be the best way to display them.
It looks great with nothing on it, but it comes with little magnets so you can display art, notes, or anything else on the board.
28. Organic Animal Baby Quilt
My 21-month-old son is currently a bit obsessed with “blankies,” and I think he’d swoon over this animal friends baby quilt from Lovevery.
If you’re shopping for a newborn, this is a fantastic gift for tummy time. I never liked putting my little ones directly on the floor, so a cute quilt like this would be ideal.
And in true Lovevery fashion, this quilt is made of 100% organic cotton and is OEKO-TEX® certified to protect a baby’s skin from harmful chemicals and irritants.
29. Jungle Safari Rug
Last but not least is this jungle safari rug from Ruggable. If you’ve never heard of Ruggable, these are washable rugs – that’s right, you can lift it off the rug pad beneath and toss it in the washing machine.
You can get this animal-themed rug in any size, and I think it’d be really cute in a playroom or toddler room!
Educational Animal Toys
A lot of the toys on this gift guide are educational, but these toys didn’t quite fit into any other category. These are unique and help support developmental milestones.
30. Interactive Animal Board
OK, this interactive animal board is firmly on my kiddo’s Christmas wishlist this year.
It’s a touch board with 55 interactive animals and 300 facts and questions with real animal sounds. Ideal for ages 3 and up, I can see this board teaching my young ones a lot about animals from all over the world.
31. Animal Lacing Cards
Lacing cards are perfect for when you’re on the go – take them on trips, car rides, to church, anywhere. The lacing process helps develop motor skills, color identification, and dexterity.
Plus, these animal lacing cards couldn’t be cuter. These are ideal for ages 3+.
32. Match A Track
This matching game, called Match a Track, from Montessori Services, asks kids to match the animal to its track. It’s a little more advanced and is recommended for ages 4+.
What a great way to talk about animals and their tracks – this isn’t something I’ve seen anywhere else!
33. Alphabet Animal Matching
One more matching game – this one from Amazon also incorporates letters. Kids can match the letter to the animal (D for Dog).
There’s also a stack to work on numbers, such as 2 for 2 bears on the card. It’s practical and fun!
Last but not least is the category of animal games. I grew up in a game-playing household – Monopoly, cards, Taboo, Sequence… we love games!!
If you want to start that tradition with your kiddos, I found four animal-themed games that are sure to get them excited about family time.
34. Head To Toe Floor Dominoes
Our whole family loves playing Mexican Train Dominoes. This is one of those games that can go on for hours, and everyone is still having a blast. That said, it’s a little too complicated for toddlers.
Introduce dominoes to little ones through this head-to-toe floor dominoes game from Montessori Services.
The kids can practice matching the animal’s head to its toe.
35. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
This game first appeared in my educational gift ideas guide for 3-year-olds – I’m so excited it’s coming up again!!
The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game (sold on Amazon) has been the best-selling preschool game for over 5 years.
It’s full of educational components, like learning colors, matching, strategic thinking, taking turns, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Plus, it’s so much fun!
The goal of this game is to help the squirrels find their acorns. You spin the spinner and pick up the matching acorn with your “squirrel squeezer,” placing it in your log. The first to collect 5 acorns wins!
36. Animal Upon Animal Junior
This Animal Upon Animal stacking game is great for starting at age 2.
The child rolls the dice to determine which animal will climb on who. Whether the animal stack stays standing or not is up to the little ones.
May the best stacker win!
37. Guess in 10 Junior: Animal Kingdom
Last but not least is this Guess in 10 game for ages 3-6. The concept of the game is you get to ask up to 10 questions to guess the animal on the game card.
Where does the animal live? Does the animal have 4 legs? What does the animal eat? Can you be the first player to win 7 Game Cards?
If you’re shopping for a toddler who loves animals, I sure hope you found something on this list that fits the bill! There are some really fun, educational, and cute gifts out there featuring all kinds of animals.
Foster that love for animals in your child this Christmas, and don’t forget to leave a comment down below if you grab something!