Take the hard work out of gift-giving this Christmas with our Gift Guide for Preschoolers! You’ll find plenty of inspiration and ideas whatever your budget. Looking for more ideas? Check out our Toy and Gift Guides page for more inspiration.
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Choosing Toys for Kids
In a world where there are so many options it can be difficult to know which toys to invest in! Here are 5 principles that I try to stick to when choosing toys for my own children.
What toys should I Choose for Kids?
- Toys that are open-ended– these are toys that can be used in a variety of ways and leave room for imagination;
- Toys that grow with your child– This is about avoiding the latest ‘toy fad’ but choosing toys they’ll come back to again and again;
- Toys that are varied– Give your kids a broad range of toys so that they build a variety of skills and interests;
- Toys that have purpose– Think about the purpose behind a toy. How will it benefit my child to own it?
- Toys that last– Choose good quality toys that will stand the test of time.
A word on the Gift Guides…
These guides are meant to inspire, rather than be a list of everything your child must have! Many of these toys and books we own ourselves, or are made by brands we trust and love, but there’s a few new toys that I’ve come across that I’m excited to share with you too.
I’ve arranged the guides into age brackets but children rarely follow a linear path of development. So do check out the guides before and after too. Also many of the gifts featured in the guides will grow with your child and are suitable for multiple ages. For example, a lot of the toddler gifts will still be enjoyed in the preschool years.
The Best Gifts for Preschoolers
There are lots of choices when it comes to construction toys and you certainly don’t need all of them. A good set of building blocks is a great place to start and will be useful for all sorts of play set ups.
The ultimate building block set has got to be the Grimms Stepped Pyramid but it is expensive and notoriously difficult to get hold of! If you fancy a DIY project you can read how we made our own Stepped Pyramid here.
One of the best toys we own, and loved by kids of all ages, are our Magnetic Tiles. I’ve written an in-depth post about why I think they are so brilliant. I’ve also reviewed two leading brands. You can read my review here.
Lots of opportunities for pretend play is so important in the preschool years. These are a few of our favourites but check out our Pretend Play Gift Guide for lots more ideas. Must have pretend play toys for me include plastic animals and role play kits like a doctors kit. Our train track also gets a lot of use.
Puzzles, Games & Activities
Orchard Toys have the best selection of puzzles and games for preschoolers and bigger kids.
We love Curious Columbus’ ‘My Big Day’ and ‘When I grow up’ activity books. There’s so much to explore on each page and they’re brilliant for fine motor skills.
Balance toys are great for kids of this age. Tender Leaf have a fabulous range of unique ones in the cutest designs.
Lastly my kids really enjoy these Magnetic Dress-up Sets from Melissa & Doug.
Art, Craft & Creative Play
Paint Sticks are a brilliant, low mess alternative to painting! They can also be used watered down like watercolours, for printing and used on glass and mirrors.
We are huge fans of the Organised Chaos with Kids play dough kits. They’re such a unique, well thought out gift. My older two were absolutely thrilled with their garden themed one.
The Toniebox is a popular audiobook & music player in Europe that’s recently been launched in the UK. It is really simple for little ones to operate by placing a ‘tonie’ on the box. All sorts of tonies are available for lots of popular stories like The Gruffalo & The Jungle Book. The Toniebox starter set comes with a Creative Tonie. This has 90 minutes of space to fill with whatever you want, including your own recordings of their favourite stories.
Around the age of 3 is a great time to invest in a scooter. I bought Micro-scooters for my older two and have been so pleased with them. They get an awful lot of use and are brilliant for the school and preschool run.
The girls got a Wobbel Board last year as a joint Christmas present. It is a bit pricey but we love it and get a lot of use out of it. As well as balancing and rocking, mine use it in their small world play and as a ramp for cars, amongst other things.
Books for Preschoolers
These are some of our favourite picks for the preschool years but they’re great for older children too. We especially enjoy the Look & Find series by Usborne.
Julia Donoldson is one of our favourite authors and we are loving her new book The Smeds & The Smoos
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