Recommended Gifts - Preschoolers

Looking for gift ideas for a different age?


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.)

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

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.

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.

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.

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 bundles of food 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 25 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 Hover Soccer Ball

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 power disc works anywhere.

The hover soccer can float on a cushion of air produced by a powerful fan and built-in rotary motor, which makes this toy easy to glide over any smooth surface. You can use it on your home floor, flat ground and low-pile carpet, etc., and turn any floor into an air hockey/soccer field.

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.

Cash Register

Kids love to play store and "pay" for purchases. This cash register gives them practice in recognizing and handling coins and paper money (US denominations) and the calculator helps them develop basic math skills.

 

  • Encourage beginning math and calculator skills while providing lots of opportunities for imaginative play. Features a built-in, solar-powered calculator that helps familiarize children with the use of a calculator. They will also learn currency denominations and have fun handling life-sized money. Large buttons on the keypad are easy for little hands to press and the cash drawer makes a “cha-ching” sound when it opens, just like a real register! Measures 10-1/2 L x 9-1/2 W x 5-1/2 H inches.
  • Working solar-powered cash register with LCD display
  • Extra large buttons and storage drawer designed for little hands
  • Encourages early money skills, fine motor development and social interaction

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.

 

Cleaning Set

As Maria Montessori first told us, children love to clean, when they have child-sized tools they can handle. Great way for your toddler or preschooler to "work" alongside you as you do housekeeping, and a natural way for children to transition to real participation in the household.

 

  • 6-piece cleaning set for hours of pretend play housekeeping
  • Includes broom, mop, duster, dust pan, brush, and storage stand
  • All pieces durably made and sized for kids
  • Dust pan snaps onto all handles
  • Sturdy wooden construction


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!

Fabric Tunnel

Crawling and tunnel play are excellent for muscle and motor skill development in toddlers and children. Tunnels lead to hours of fun and physical play! This tunnel collapses flat for easy storage and portability.

 

 

Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Building Set

  • Supports critical thinking and problem solving skills while honing fine motor skills
  • Gears! sets help build confidence, perseverance, and self-esteem, arming kids with the real-world, early STEM-supporting skills necessary to prepare them for future success
  • Parts are all interchangeable, allowing for endless combinations and designs
  • 116-piece set includes colorful gears, flowers, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, wiggly stems, and more!
  • Ideal for ages 4+
  • Made by Learning Resources
  • 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

     

    Kinetic sand

    Sensory strong! This mixture of sand and a small amount of silicone makes the perfect sand for children to play with inside. Moldable without water, not messy. Clean and non-toxic.

     

    • The one and only Kinetic Sand now with beach sand: is like magic sand that sticks to itself and not to you! It oozes, moves and melts right before your eyes. It flows through your fingers like a slow-moving liquid, but leaves them completely dry
    • Endless educational creative fun: stimulate children's imagination and enhance their manipulative ability. Soft, easy to shape or sculpt that impressively holds its shape and incredible detail. Since it never dries out or hardens, you can build again and again
    • Non-toxic: made with a special formula of beach sand and Polymers, this addictive sensory sand is hypoallergenic, and non-toxic making it a perfect gift for indoor or outdoor play for kids aged 3+
    • Includes: 3lb Kinetic Sand Beach Sand

     

    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

    Mp3 Player for Audiobooks

    Let your preschooler listen to audio content they want, whenever they want: music, stories, audiobooks, or lullabies without being concerned about screen time! Content can be imported offline or streamed directly from the speaker. It's fully portable (8 hours built-in battery), wireless (wifi, bluetooth) or local offline.

    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.

    Parent and Child Puppet Set

    Puppets are invaluable to act out scenarios with children, from planned separations to potty training. Every home needs a "parent and child" puppet set to facilitate these "stories" and these dolphins are plush, adorable, and non-gendered.

    • 13" soft plush toy made with high-quality materials

    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 in Reusable and Durable Storage Bag

    These balls will keep kids busy for hours. 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
    • All balls are crush-proof, non-PVC plastic, and phthalate free. 
    • Safe, non-toxic, and easy to clean.

    Posable Pocket Fairies

    • Each posable doll fits into pockets or purses for fun on the run.
    • Ages 3 and up.

    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/

    Sensory Sox

    This sensory sock is the perfect place for your preschooler to relax and get the sensory feedback they need. This unique dynamic movement sensory sock will help to improve self-calming, balance, increased body and spatial awareness, and heightens movement creativity.

    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).


    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

    SwaddleMe Mommie's Melodies Soother

    Easily soothe your little one to sleep with Mommies Melodies.

    • Plays 6 songs to relax baby to sleep
    • Features a "Cry Activated" mode that turns on music when baby wakes up
    • 20 minute auto shutoff with cry activation
    • Able to hang on the crib rail to ease baby
    • Electronic module removes easily to wash plush

    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 4' x 6'.  Durable and easy to clean surface.



    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

     

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