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2012 Missoula Christmas Gift Buyers Guide for Children Two to Five

Buying children gifts isn’t always easy. It can be even harder when those children are too young to write their own wishlists. As a parent of a 5-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, I thought it might be helpful for all of the aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents out there to have some gift buying ideas for this holiday season. Most of these ideas are things that “work” with both of my kids, and were not chosen because they are new.

1. Books by Graeme Base

The Water Hole
Photo courtesy of

Base has amazing illustrations and most of his books scale well for both younger and older children to read together. I recommend “The Water Hole,” which is a counting/seek-and-find book. “Animalia” is another good Base book with alliterative alphabet rhymes and lots of secrets. I always have my daughter help me read it, and then have both of them try to find a hidden animal. When reading “The Water Hole,” my 2-year-old does the counting.

2. The Children’s Museum

The Children's Museum
Photo courtesy of

Another great gift idea for children in the Missoula area is a membership to The Children’s Museum. The museum sells combo memberships for families ($75), or for grandparents ($50), that are good for a whole year. It is an excellent way to spend time with the little ones in the winter months. The photo above is of the water exhibit, which is my personal favorite. My daughter loves the costume stage (kids can see themselves on TV), and my son likes the dinosaur dig, but we inevitably all make it back to the water table.

3. Safari Dinosaurs

Safai Carnivores
Photo courtesy of
Safari Dinosaurs
Photo courtesy of

Both of my children love playing with dinosaurs, and Safari makes some really cool ones. Safari’s realistic models are great, but my other favorite feature is that they are extremely tough and hold up well in bath tubs and sandboxes. They also include the name of each dinosaur on the belly, so when your 2 year-old asks you what the dinosaur’s name is you can easily respond “pachycephalosaurus” without much effort. A good selection of these dinos is available at The Learning Tree in Southgate Mall. There are also some at Target.

4. Hot Wheels Monster Jam Trucks

monster jam truck
Photo courtesy of

I realize that this one will not be all that thrilling to the buyer. Kids have been playing with cars for years. However, of all of the four-wheeled toys given to my kids over the last five years, none have received as much play as our Monster Jam Monster Truck. With a price point of less than $4 it’s hard not to drop one of these into a stocking. The wind up mechanism is easy for my 2 year-old to operate (simply push it), and he loves racing it up and down the halls and walls of our home. My daughter likes to push it really fast off of jumps we make in the living room. You can find them in almost any store that carries Hot Wheels cars.

5. Harmonicas

Photo courtesy of

My wife is a former music teacher, and our home is full of instruments. However, none are as accessible and as easy to self-teach as the harmonica. Our 2 year-old loves to hold it in his mouth and make sounds and the 5 year-old can do more technical stuff (like sliding). We purchased one for about $6 three years ago and have accumulated more since. They’re also available in almost every store.

While your thinking about gifts to buy for your loved ones, keep in mind that not all kids are so lucky. Tune in to KYSS FM on Friday, November 30 for the annual KYSSmas for Kids live radio auction. The money raised by the auction will go to help underprivileged Missoula area children have a happy Christmas too!

KYSSmas for Kids – 16th Annual Christmas Auction is Friday, November 30, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on 94.9 KYSS FM. Live radio auction.

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