34 - 36 Months

Make a gift out of anything 🎁

Toddler opening a present

Have you ever seen your child be so fascinated with wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape that the gift itself is almost an afterthought? There’s a reason for that: unwrapping a gift is a multisensory challenge many children absolutely adore. The ripping of paper can be a delightful sound and an exciting feeling to their little hands and ears.

You may have seen the viral videos of young children opening up wrapped bananas and reacting with sheer glee—there’s a reason for that. Young children delight in not only ripping paper, but also discovering something they love hidden within. Now is the perfect time to find fun objects around the home to wrap and offer as a gift!

Unwrapping something—anything!—can help give your child a feeling of accomplishment, joy, and satisfaction—and it’s really fun. It also lets them practice fine motor skills, using a manipulative grasp and using both hands cooperatively. 


  • Items that make noise will be extra enticing 🔔. You can wrap favorite toys, an old stuffed animal they haven’t played with for awhile, a piece of fruit, and even really silly items like an empty box or a shoe!
  • Objects with smooth sides allow the paper to slide off more easily, and try to avoid excess tape.
  • Wrap items loosely, and help by starting a hole in the paper.
  • Share in the mystery and excitement of discovering what’s inside the wrapper with exclamations like “Oh!  What’s inside?,” or “Wow, look what you found!”
  • If they’re struggling to the point of frustration, help them out! But when children experience success after a struggle, it means even more.
  • Let them unwrap other things as opportunities naturally occur during the day: a new bar of soap from its loosened paper, a bath toy from a washcloth, a snack wrapped in a napkin, new shoes from the tissue.
  • Have them wrap something for you! Older children can bundle something up with paper and tape, but younger kids can use blankets, dish towels, or any loose cloth to wrap something up and give you a gift. Young kids rarely have the opportunity to wrap and give gifts—letting them know they can wrap pretty much anything they find can make them feel extra special.

We know it can be tempting to open a gift for your little one, especially if they’re struggling, but remember that for young children, the act of unwrapping might be just as exciting as what’s inside. And research suggests over and over that adversity is good for kids and makes them feel even more proud when they persevere, even with a small task like opening a gift.

Safety reminders: 

  • Be extra cautious with strings or ribbons, and don’t let your little ones play with those.
  • Never let them play with or unwrap items wrapped in cellophane, plastic wrap, or plastic sheeting.


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Posted in: 34 - 36 Months, Playtime and Activities, Playtime & Activities

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