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  • Jenna Nieman

HH Holiday Gift Guide

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Hiccups and Heels is excited to collaborate with Jenna Nieman this month to create the ultimate gift guide for every kid on your list! She has curated a comprehensive list of gender neutral “smart kid” toys to promote development at each stage, but still fun and exciting to open on Christmas morning. Jenna works at Soaring Eagle Academy, a school that specializes in students with Autism and related disorders. As a curriculum developer for students (ages 5-22) you can trust her toy suggestions. We sure do! Jenna's list is sure to delight both children and parents.


  • The TotBot (pull apart plush robot to encourage curiosity, spatial awareness, and imaginative play)

  • Teytoy Tummy Time Floor Mirror (all-in-one tummy time toy that folds and stores neatly)

  • The Inny Bin (the aesthetically pleasing shape sorter- promotes fine motor and experimentation without being hideous)

  • The Oombeeball or The Oombeecube (encourages object permanence, fine motor development and spatial reasoning without the hassle of 272992996 pieces to put away every night. Great for restaurants/ car rides)

  • Poke-a-Dot books (sturdy interactive books that encourage language development, fine motor skills and even number, shape, letter recognition as babies grow— another great “have on hand” item or the diaper bag)

  • Coco Village Wooden Fruit Set (a play food set, but make it cute; promotes healthy eating/cooking rituals through play, encourages fine motor and language development through play—honestly every single thing on the site is BEAUTIFUL. The kitchen, fruit stand, vanities, washing machine, everything)

  • MUtable (7 activities in one, grows with kids, all-in-one play table that includes puzzles, play scenes, a white board, Lego boards and has a wooden cover to hide the ‘ugly’)

  • Tapatou Chicken (the perfectly cute curiosity building cause and effect toy that won’t drive a mother crazy…ahem VTECH)


  • The Bilibo (take anywhere, be anything toy that stimulates senses, engages imagination, and evokes curiosity for little ones— it’s so simple you’d pass right by it in a store, but it’ll keep active little guys busy for hours)

  • The Hungry Pelican- the silly toy that works on cognitive, social and motor skills with the multisensory features. Younger toddlers can practice feeding the pelican and as they get older, they can “be” the pelican and let mom or dad feed them!

  • Neutral Art Easel (keep all your art supplies in one spot without the primary colors that make you feel like you’re in the art room or your catholic school Circa 1994) ****all ages toy

  • TonieBox (the toddler proof speaker that is built to play. Comes with a tonie puppy so parents can control music/ stories/ volume while kids dance, play and snuggle up) *****all ages toy

  • LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot (Pretend food prep play for kids to join in the rituals of cooking while working on sequencing with their 5-step kid friendly “recipes”)

  • A-Frame Hideaway and Climber (provides toddlers with a place to get some movement in while also providing a cozy nook for quiet playtime/ story time)

  • Safari Magnatiles (crowd pleaser for years, but newly elevated with thematic sets; animal one is the fav but there are many different ones)

  • Hape Discovery Scientific Workbench (develops logical thinking and STEAM concepts)

  • Peaceable Kingdom Floor Puzzles Magical Mermaid and Dinosaur (so many puzzle themes, great way for kids to learn visual recognition, develop fine motor and problem solving skills) ***ages 3+

  • Inspiration Play Tot Tube Playset - STEM Award-Winning Tunnel Track (fits almost any brand of toy cars, easily assembled and stored, NO batteries required, flashing lights or annoying sounds)

  • Make a Fort (perfect indoor toy for kids to build incredible forts, mazes, tunnels, and more; get kids off screens and engaged in creative real-world play with this eco friendly kit) ***great for older kids too!

5-7 year olds

8-10 year olds

  • Electronic Claw Game (bring the arcade home while supporting eye- hand coordination and concentration WITHOUT TECH/SCREENS)

  • Bloop Ball (a spin on a regular game of catch to encourage active play (indoor/outdoor) and coordination; buy TWO if you have siblings and want to play catch, but you can also bloop the ball to yourself if you’re playing solo)

  • Adidas Lego Set (a Lego set you won’t mind having on display)

  • Clue (the board game that encourages critical thinking, perspective taking, attention to detail; great family game— oldie but a goodie)

  • Crime Scene Investigation Kit (just a cool way to incorporate STEM and critical thinking into play)

  • Door Pong (small and portable promoting eye-hand coordination, concentration and provides a nice movement break for long winter months cooped inside)

  • NERF Elite Ace SD-1 Party Pack (Ten pack of mini nerf guns for all the cousins on Christmas)



One of the most stressful parts of the holiday season is easily the gift giving. We are hoping to relieve some of your stress with our comprehensive gift guide for all the adults in your life! From foodies to fashionistas we have you covered with unique ideas that are sure to make you the best gift giver this year. We even included small and local Chicago businesses we love (look for the * next to the item). Some companies have exclusive promo codes for HH followers so don't forget to use them for additional discounts and savings.

Gift Ideas for Foodies

Gift Ideas for the Self-Care Obsessed

Gift Ideas for the Fashion Forward

Gift Ideas for Travel Buddies

Gift Ideas for Tech Gurus

  • Headphones

  • Apple or Garmin Watch

  • Extra Long Phone Charger

  • Apple TV

  • Streaming Subscription

Gift Ideas for Experience Lovers

Gift Ideas for Beauty Buffs

Gift Ideas for New & Expecting Parents

*indicates shopping small

We linked everything on our gift guides for your convenience. Please note that Amazon, Tubby Todd, and Hate Stains links are affiliated. We hope our HH gift guides make your season a little bit merrier and a lot less stressful.

Happy Holidays!

XO - Katie & Amanda



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