There are A LOT of toys out there. This Christmas 2019 gift guide for preschoolers will help you sort through all the madness and find some quality preschool gift ideas. These are investments and should be good! So what makes a toy worth recommending? These are some of my biggest factors. They need to be good quality, can be played with for years, lots of open ended play and educational or skill enhancing toys. What are the best ages? Preschoolers are 3-6, so if you are searching for 4 year old gift ideas- than you are in the right place.
Some of these were featured in my toddler guide, because they follow those requirements I listed above. A great toy lasts for years- so something can be bought for a toddler and they learn more and more ways to play with it. But if you haven’t gotten yet as they enter preschool age- it’s still very much worth getting!
These are some of my favorite choices and there are a lot of options on this list! To make it easier, I’ve organized them into categories. What you decide to buy will depend on what your child is interested in. This list does not mean they need ALL of the things of course. One other tip that I have found helpful is to send the list to the grandparents and aunties you know will be getting your little ones a gift!
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Nothing says creative play more than making art! My kids love to color, paint, and draw. I have a craft station packed with all the supplies and it’s perfect for them to grab what they need without my help. I love that this case has all they would need to sit down and paint. Easily transported to grandma’s house or outside to play.
Perfect for younger preschoolers. The pegboard activity is great for creativity and fine motor skills. Progresses in difficulty by matching the pictures and then creating their own pictures with the color pegs.
Easy to use and put away! Great introduction to marker play and creative design. Helps develop hand eye coordination and art creation in a simple medium before advancing to more complex drawing.
Fun pattern play that ranges in difficulty from easy to more difficult. Carrying case also makes this a perfect travel toy! It is engaging and interesting. I remember when Miles could only master the first few cards and now can fly through the more advanced puzzles. This is still a favorite in our house after owning it for 2 years.
The ultimate quiet time sensorial toy. This activity table is great for kids playing independently and a Play Doh Creations Chef Kit is the best start set. An amazing tip for multiple play doh players is to buy a few $1 shower curtains from Dollar Tree. Lay it on the ground before play and it catches all the extra remnants that escape during play and clean up.
My son goes to a Montessori preschool and became obsessed with the hammering work they have there. I haven’t seen another game quite like this one. Children use real nails and a wooden mallet to create designs on a cork board. Comes with lots of shapes and design ideas.
Books should be part of every Christmas or birthday. It’s always a good opportunity to replenish their shelves and instill the fact that books are just as fun as every other toy they receive! This book is beautiful, with a similar message to the Places You’ll Go but a great update to the classic story.
Amazing story about seeing the beauty in the everyday, appreciating everything you have and giving back to your community.
Helps develop early STEM skills with screen-free play. Children use the remote to program Botley and send him on his way through command sequences and obstacle courses.
Spark curiosity by using a real microscope. It is easy to use, yet works really well. Focuses and zooms, changes lighting and includes a science kit with 25 slides, petri dish and lots of other accessory.
Building Enthusiasts- Magnets, LEGOS, Blocks and More!
These magnetic blocks are a step above the Picasso Tiles. In addition to the magnetic building blocks, it includes car pieces and other accessories. Gives kids the ability to build cars, robots and expand their imagination. We have multiple sets of magnet tiles and they are one of our favorite open ended toys- both my 5 and 3 year old can play with these for hours!
These are like the ubiquitous preschool toy. But they have to be mentioned. There is nothing like simple natural wooden blocks for endless open ended play and building. The quality is also exceptional and can be passed down to multiple kids or given to another family when your kids outgrow them.
Oodles of Pals building set lets you make lots of different designs- of varying sizes and difficulty. k’nex also makes amazing models for older building enthusiasts, starting at 7 or 8 years old if your little ones love this set.
No list is complete without mentioning LEGOS. Start with DUPLO sets and move up to the older sets around 4 or 5. The LEGO city collection is a great starter set for smaller LEGOS or the LEGO and friends- lots of characters and adorable scenes.
Our house has exploded with LEGOS after Miles’ 4th birthday. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but that boy will concentrate so hard on putting together a Lego space shuttle or city vehicle. It’s pretty amazing to watch. Having the right storage makes having a LEGO fan a lot more manageable. 🙂 We have two of these case storage organizers and they work perfectly. Don’t know how we were managing before them. Maybe not a gift, but definitely worth mentioning if you see your kids becoming avid fans.
Age 3 or even age 2 is a perfect time to start on scooters and tricycles. I looked at a lot of different scooters, because I wasn’t sure that this one was worth the price tag for this particular brand. In the end, I decided it definitely was. The quality is one of the best and can be shared through multiple kids or passed on to friends.
In the same vein of scooters, getting started on bike riding and more excuses for outdoor play is always great. You can decide if you want to go right into balance bikes or start with a tricycle that can transition to a two wheeler. Many parents have raved about how easy the transition is to a regular bike from a balance one. And it grows with your child from 18 months to 5 years old.
If you have the space for it, why not?! Guaranteed to be lots of hours of play and is also perfect for birthday parties at home. Great price and lots of good reviews. My friend has it in her basement also, so it’s not strictly an outside toy.
Active kids need somewhere to burn energy! These can also be coined successful nap inducers. My sons’ school just sent out an email recently on how the playground was open before school started. They have noticed that kids, especially little ones, focus so much more on their work if they’ve had a chance to burn some energy first. Which is when I realized that we needed some climbing fun for our home as well!
There is nothing better than the real thing to help stimulate the minds of your little budding scientists. In this garden, you get 5 caterpillars, all the food they need and a mesh habitat to grow your butterflies. So cool!
Another great gift for the little Scientists in your life. Real hands on experiments that kids can conduct with easy to follow beginner activities. Also introduces a lot of science terms and tools.
Family game nights is something that we have started recently and preschool is the perfect age to get started! You probably hear about the classics, but there are some other games that are a lot more fun for us adults to play as well! Qwirkle is one of my favorites. Involves strategy and pattern play that make it fun for everyone.
Memory games have been a really fun activity for us to play with our 4 year old. We started out with a small amount and moved on to bigger “boards” the more we played. And this memory game in particular is beautiful! Another option is the Life on Earth Matching Game that has more animals and plants instead of faces.
No reading required as toddlers compete to get their squirrels fed. Helps with color recognition, beginning matching skills, and of course turn taking and how to win/lose. My 3 year old always picks this one out and my 5 year old still enjoys playing it with him and the whole family.
Puzzle game that is ideal for working on logical thinking skills, problem solving and spatial reasoning. Kids use puzzle pieces to create a path from the little red riding hood to her grandma’s house . Has varying levels of difficulty so your child can play with it for years to come! It is part of a line of games from SmartGames with more advanced games for older kids- all with great reviews.Hoot Owl Hoot
This is a nice change as it’s a cooperative game. There are no winners and losers, which was hard for my boys to accept at first. Which confirmed why it was a great addition to our collection, they work together to get all the owls to the nest. Teaches that there is not only one way to play a game.
Imaginative & Pretend Play
Hideaway spaces are perfect for the imagination. I love how this teepee tent comes with a carrying bag, decor, and fairy lights! It’s also waterproof, which is everything with kids. It’s a great place to read with your kids or have them tell stories to each other. Possibilities are endless.
Okay, okay. The traditional materials for building forts is imaginative and free. BUTTT, these are super amazing. Your kids can build really cool forts of different shapes, which doubles up this toy as a building kit but then also have endless hours of imaginative play after they construct them.
Imaginative play is strong at this age. They come up with some of the funniest scenarios. I’ve bought a pretend kitchen for my boys as well- this is great for any gender! Don’t forget the accessories though. No play kitchen is complete without some food and cooking utensils.
You can add to the pretend kitchen, and set up a little store. This grocery store/lemonade stand is a perfect addition to use more pretend food and practice pretend selling to friends and siblings.
Pretend and imaginative play is not complete without some dress up costumes. You can get a pack of 6 or pick out the ones your child would be most interested in like a fireman suit or a pack of princess dresses.Wooden Doll House
Perfect wooden doll house that is good quality and full furnished. Traditional 3 story dollhouse, that is award winning and sparks roleplay imagination among friends.
Miscellaneous and Fun!
Our train sets are constantly played with and a train table keeps them all together and organized. It is one of the first toys that my boys (at 2 and 4 years old) played together for hours without any arguments or destruction. So I suggest it a lot when they are looking for something to do. 🙂 Still true as they’ve gotten older!
I’m not really sure what category Hot Wheels fits into, but I do know that my boys are obsessed with their tracks. It’s also the first thing they usually play with when they have friends over. Tons of time racing cars, each other, and adding tracks together from various sets. This criss cross one is still the all time favorite though.
Takes real digital pictures! And at a great price, this is such a fun beginner camera for kids to play with. Also has a selfie mode, collages and cool photo effects to play with. This is on our Santa list for this year!
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