Recommended Products - Preschoolers


Inside Trampoline - Bazoongi Bouncer

Does your child jump on the couch? All kids need to jump. Kids with sensory issues especially need to jump. At 48", this trampoline will fit into any living room to give children a safe place to jump. I like this trampoline because it is has six legs instead of four, which makes it sturdier and safer. The springs are covered by a oversize pad to keep little feet safe. Of course, parental supervision is still essential.

  • 3.5" Galvanized Springs (30)
  • Rust Resistant Galvanized Steel Frame
  • Handle Adjust Easily to Two Different Sizes
  • Maximum weight capacity: 100 lbs


Kidcraft Dollhouse

Dollhouses are terrific for imaginative play. They're wonderful to help kids play out the emotions related to family issues ("Whoops....the pterodactyl just carried off the baby...too bad") and parents can even use them to initiate that kind of play. And many kids simply love them. (See also: Jupiter Workshop Modern Wood Dollhouse with Furniture below).

The Kidcraft Dollhouse:

  • Includes 19 pieces of furniture.
  • Two molded plastic staircases allow kids to continue the action on different floors.
  • Three levels of open space, Windows and doors that open and close
  • Solidly made, a great value for the money.

Jupiter Workshop Modern Wood Dollhouse with Furniture

  • Costs a bit more but is made of wood
  • Comes with a whopping 70 pieces of furniture, including patio furniture, a retro wall clock, computer, solar panels, recycling bins!
  • Only takes an hour to assemble, which you will really appreciate!
  • Solidly made, a great value for the money.


Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Box

This is one of my favorite toys for toddlers and preschoolers.  They cook, play house and restaurant, serve each other food.  They pack bandannas to run away to the forest. Cutting the food is so satisfying.

This set contains eight pieces of wooden food, a cutting board and a wooden knife. Food makes a fun “CRUNCH” sound when sliced. With 31 pieces, it’s also a great way to introduce the concepts of part, whole and fractions. Comes in wooden box with slide-on lid. 

Age recommendation:  Some 18 month olds are ready for this kit, some aren't.  It will depend on whether they're likely to put small pieces in their mouths.  Older toddlers will love it, as will preschoolers.


Medieval Castle Cardboard Playhouse

Kids love playhouses.  In the winter (or if you live in an apartment), they are great to have indoors.  You can make one yourself from cardboard, of course. But sometimes it's worth it just to set up a pre-made playhouse and start them playing.  I love that these come ready for kids to draw on and decorate.  Even if you reinforce with duct tape (often a good idea especially for a birthday party or rambunctious three year olds), you can cut the duct tape when you're done, fold it up, and store it.  Pull it out again in a couple of months for another round of imaginative play.  Rocket ship? (see Shuttle Imagination below)  Adventure castle? They're all fun, and can easily metamorphose into teepees, forts, or simply a game of house. 100% recycled materials. 



Air Power Soccer Disc- Indoor/Outdoor

Kids need to move.  When your child has too much energy, or can't pry himself away from a screen, how about a game of soccer or hockey?  It doesn't matter that the rain is pouring down.  This air power disc works anywhere.

Presenting the Air Power Soccer Disk, the amazing new disk that turns nearly any smooth surface into a sport court, indoors OR outdoors. Use it on low-pile carpeting, wood floors, sidewalks and driveways - there's just no end to the ways you can play. With its powerful hover action, the Air Power Soccer Disk literally floats on a cushion of air.

The disk's outer rim safely protects furniture and walls while allowing great rebounding. Just switch it on, place it onto any smooth surface, and a simple kick propels the disc for fast sports action indoors or out. -Kick It - Enjoy an exciting game of Air Soccer any time, any where. Stick It- Using a regular hockey stick, you can play full scale Air Hockey.  Bowl It - With the Air Power Soccer Diskand a few empty plastic bottles, you can convert your hallway into a bowling alley.

Anti-Nausea Seaband for Children

Does your child cry in the carseat? Maybe she's car sick! Many moms swear by the Seaband, a great remedy for carsickness.

Advantages of Anti-Nausea Seaband for Children include:

  • Drug-free, so there are no side effects
  • Can be used in cars, on planes, on boats, on Ferris wheels (anywhere!)
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Safe for ages 3+


Blocks: 60-Piece Standard Unit

Every toddler and preschooler should have at least one wooden block set in their toy collection. (My kids used them until middle school.) The Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks include 60 precision-cut, standard-shaped, solid wooden blocks that will engage your child's imagination in open-ended play for hours. Designed for ages three and up, these blocks feature smooth, rounded edges and are housed in a convenient, sturdy wooden storage crate.

  • 60-piece standard unit block set allows children to build towers and towns
  • Stimulates creativity and hones basic motor skills
  • Features natural look; pieces are easy for little fingers to grasp
  • Excellent tool for teaching math concepts, organizational skills, sequential skills, and spatial relations

Your little architect will love building bridges, towers, farms for her animals and endless other projects. In these days of electronic toys, it's important not to forget the fundamentals of childhood development. Wooden blocks offer children endless ways to exercise their imagination as they improve their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. They also help children establish important relationships between the "part" and the "whole," and the help to provide basic lessons in math, engineering and gravity.


Chewable Necklace

Does your child chew on his collar or sleeve when he gets anxious or excited? The solution is Chewelry! This necklace is great for boys or girls, and there are lots of designs.

  • Made from FDA approved food grade silicone
  • Phthalate, BPA, PVC, Latex and Lead free
  • 18" Safety Lanyard with instruction for cutting to size


Child-Sized Table and Chairs

Every child needs a child-sized table and chairs for drawing, building and working on projects.  If you keep it in or near the kitchen, your child can be near you but happily absorbed in his own "work."  Toddlers and preschoolers also prefer eating at child-sized tables instead of on booster seats or in high chairs, so if your child is eating without you, a child-sized table is usually a better option. This kind of table is also great if your child has a "bedtime snack."  When my son was small, we had one in his bedroom and one near the kitchen, and used them both daily.

 


Doctor Kit

Every toddler and preschooler needs a doctor kit.  Why? Because all children have medical appointments during which their body is touched, poked, prodded and sometimes hurt by doctors and nurses.  We know this is to help our child stay healthy, but it often doesn't feel good to children.  Playing with a doctor kit allows the child to "work through" those feelings and overcome any related fears.  It also helps us as parents prepare our child for doctor appointments.  (Note: The Melissa and Doug kit does not have a blood pressure cuff. It does have a white lab coat. I used to recommend the Fisher-Price Doctor Kit but it has been on lists of toys with high toxin levels, so I have removed it from my website.)


Extra Large 12-Piece Stacking Rainbow Arches Wooden Blocks

These gorgeous blocks lend themselves to creative play, whether your child is driving trucks under a tunnel, building a fort for his animals, or looking for gold at the end of the rainbow. Highest quality, long-lasting and guaranteed to be used for your child's entire childhood.

  • L 14.25 in. x 6.5 in. tall x 2.75 in.
  • Beautiful wooden stacking rainbow includes 12 pieces
  • Stack one on top of another; push them out into a tunnel; turn one upside down for a see-saw for dolls
  • Made in Germany
  • Grimm's Spiel und Holz - Spiel Gut Award Winning Toy!

Hanging Swing Chair by Harkla

All kids love cozy places. Kids with sensory issues are often calmed most easily when those cozy places swing. All kids will want this hanging chair in their room and find it soothing, but it is especially great for sensory seeking children.

"Swinging helps create a calm, relaxed sense of well-being, along with building a sense of balance and body control."

  • Comes with ceiling hooks, carabiner, and air pump
  • Safe up to 150 pounds.
  • 100% lifetime money-back guarantee

 

Magna Tiles

One of my favorite toys for preschoolers, Magna Tiles are great for open-ended imaginative play, while also laying the foundation for math skills!

  • Blocks easily connect
  • Inspires creativity and brain development
  • Teaches patterning, shape recognition, building and motor skills

Max - A Cooperative Game

Players work together to get the creatures safely home before Max the cat gets them, and children learn to use logic, consultation and cooperative decision making in an exciting way. For 1 to 8 players ages 4 through 7 years.  Made in Canada using recycled boards and papers, soy-based inks, water based glues and safe paints.


Ooze Tube

Very calming for kids from toddlers to teens. (Works for frenzied adults, too!) If you sit with your child to watch this the first few times, and hand it to your child when she's over-excited, you'll find that she gravitates to it when she wants to calm herself down.

Peaceable Kingdom Count Your Chickens

The baby chicks have flown the coop! Count Your Chickens is an award winning cooperative counting game. Players work together to help Mother Hen collect her chicks and bring them back to the coop; if they are successful everyone wins! Children learn counting and important social development skills with no reading required. For 2 to 4 players ages 3 years and older.

Children will learn:

- Counting
- Taking Turns
- Following Directions
- Social Development
- Cooperation


Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot!

Hurry Owls! It's time to go home! In this game, players help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Two levels of play allow this game to grow with your child. Game includes 1 game board, 6 owl tokens, 1 sun token, 14 sun cards, 36 color cards and instructions for two versions of game play. Cooperative games emphasize play, not competition. Kids work together, they help each other and, most importantly, they play for FUN! For 2 to 4 players ages 3 years and older. 

Children will learn: 

- Simple Strategy
- Problem Solving
- Following Directions
- Taking Turns
- Social Development
- Cooperation

 

 


Pit Balls with Polka Dot Hamper

These balls will keep kids busy for an hour. Just dump them in a kiddie pool or playpen to create your own ball pit.

  • 200 "Phthalate Free" pit balls
  • Provide safety and comfort for children in play tent houses or ball pits
  • Each ball measures 6.5cm (~2 3/4" inches) and can withstand ~150 lbs. All balls are crush-proof, non-PVC plastic, and phthalate free. The balls are designed to fit a child's hand while not being too big or small.
  • Safe, non-toxic, and easy to clean.


Sensory Play Table

All kids need sensory play! And if you have a child who craves tactile experience -- Are you constantly trying to stop her from touching everything? -- she NEEDS a way to get her hands into textures. Solution: A play table to keep messy play contained.

Note: This table has a space for both sand and water, which allows kids to mix them. I love that, because it makes the sand the right texture to build castles. For cleanup, just drain the water, let the sand dry, and put the sand back into its own side. You can also put sand on both sides, water on both sides, or introduce other sensory objects like shaving cream, small animals, ice, pasta or beans. Here's a link with lots of ideas for using sensory tables:
http://www.playathomemomllc.com/2011/10/sensory-bintableplay/


Sit 'n Spin

Do you have a vestibular sensory-seeker? If your child loves to spin, this wheel is a great safe way to give your child that spinning input he craves, while building core muscular strength and stability.

  • Sit 'n Spin toy creates hours of spinning and twirling fun for your child
  • Toy can spin fast or slow
  • Toy spins like the original Sit'n Spin toy
  • Now spins more easily and smoothly
  • Includes Sit'n Spin base, 2 center post halves, one 10 x ¾" screw, two 6 x ½" screws, turn handle and instructions

Snugbug - Improved Weighted Blanket

If you have a sensory seeking, restless child who has a hard time self-soothing to sleep, this may change your life. Weighted blankets can be terrific to calm kids who need that extra security, but they sometimes have a way of sliding off a restless child. This wrap slips over the mattress like a pillow case, so it can't come off. 

"Provides the same deep pressure input as that of a weighted blanket. By snugly securing the same type of material around her bed, I was able to help my daughter achieve the input, spacial, and body awareness her body was so desperately craving. The SnugBug works by providing the body with deep pressure input which provides an overall calming effect by increasing endorphin and serotonin production."

 

Spill Proof Paint Cups

Kids love to paint, and like all art, it's therapeutic. These cups make painting very easy on the parents. The screw on lid will not accidentally come off, so spills are eliminated. And because the seal is airtight, the paint can be left in the cups without drying out! That means you can buy paint in cheaper large bottles, pour smaller amounts into the cups, and eliminate the chore of washing the cups in between. You can just leave the easel set up, with a splash mat under it, and painting becomes no big deal. Set of four, with colored lids (red, green, yellow, blue).



Spin Disk

Does your child love to spin? The Spin Disk lets kids spin inside or outside! Improves balance and coordination for all kids, but a must for kids who need the vestibular input of spinning. Allows children to lie down, sit, or kneel, while spinning. Daily use builds core muscles for overall pediatric development. Recommended by parents and occupational therapists. Unlike other older rotational devices, the Spin Disc has a larger oblong base (26"W x 24" L) that spins freely on an angle. For children or adults up to 125lbs.



Standing Easel

Every child needs an easel. This one is well-built, with great features:

  • Folds easily to store in the corner or under a bed
  • Locking paper roll holder and child-safe paper cutter to easily roll new paper
  • Double sided chalk and dry erase-boards
  • Washable plastic trays
  • Height adjustable

Tranquil Teddy Bear - Calm Down Companion

The Tranquil Teddy Bear and its glitter ball can be used to comfort and soothe a child.


Tumbling Mat

Every child needs a padded Tumbling Mat. It can be unfolded to allow rambunctious play inside. It fosters motor skills. It keeps kids busy in physical play, so they sleep better. Babies can use it to learn to crawl and walk, toddlers, preschoolers and older to roughhouse and practice tumbling and gymnastics.

This giant, colorful tumbling mat is safe for indoor or outdoor exercise and play. Open, it measures 46" wide x 72" long. When not in use, it folds to 46" x 24" and has handles for easy carrying.





Waldorf Flower Fairy Doll

Little girls and fairies are made for each other.

  • Charming Evi Dolls Waldorf Soft Fairy Doll measures approx. 6 in.
  • Made of natural materials: cotton fabrics, wool stuffing, wool felt flower petal collar and wool hair
  • Flexible body allows the fairy doll to be posed to flit among the flowers.
  • Beautiful wool braids with embroidered flower garland.
  • Made in Brazil. Ages 3 and up.


Wooden Shape Sorting Clock

Another terrific Melissa & Doug toy! This toy will grow with your child, beginning with fitting the shapes, proceeding to learning numbers, and eventually to understanding how to tell time.

  • Wood Clock
  • Colorful shaped numbers
  • Learn to tell time

CONNECT WITH DR.LAURA ON...

DOES THIS KIND OF PARENTING WORK?

My daughter reacts so much better when I empathize and stay patient. And now I get to model that behavior instead of letting my frustration get the better of me.

WHAT I'M READING

Reviews of the best parenting books l've found over the years