Countdown to the holidays has begun! Whether you’re a keen early bird shopper who will have everything wrapped and ready by December 1st or a last-minute straggler hoping for inspiration (or potential deals in the eleventh hour maybe?), we’re here to take the guesswork out of your holiday shopping. We’re sharing what our kids have on their wish lists this year. Here are 4 perfect holiday gift ideas for toddlers and preschoolers:
Let’s start with the basics: building blocks. There are choices to interest every age group and themes for every taste:
For babies: Melissa & Doug offer large plastic blocks that can either be stacked or nest into each other. Our local science museum carries huge, baby-friendly foam building blocks that our kids love! ECR4Kids produces these Softzone Foam Big Blocks and they’re used in schools, homes, museums, and play centers around the world.
For toddlers: Hape Toys has created a stunning set of maple building blocks in a variety of sizes and colors. All finishes are non-toxic and safe for children 12 months and older. We also love the safe, smooth, and natural wooden block set from Melissa & Doug: large enough for little hands to grasp without being a choking hazard and perfect for shifting from blocks as chew toys to creative, imaginative play!
For preschoolers: LEGO Duplo sets of building blocks are a great find for this age group! As kids grow up and their interests evolve, they’ll have tons of options for thematic play: LEGO Duplo carries everything from construction sites to airports to Minnie Mouse. LEGO has fun thematic packs for the older kids too, or grab a huge set of colored LEGO Classic bricks along with a few baseplates, and let their imaginations run wild!
Look for something bright and colorful with multiple learning opportunities. We love love love the cupcake set from Learning Resources! Babies and toddlers may find these perfect for gumming and trying to fit together. Toddlers will enjoy learning how to match shapes and colors, or pretend play. If we could only trai them to bring us a coffee with that freshly baked cupcake…
Another sure bet is Melissa & Doug’s Fill and Spill Soft Toy Bug Jug: great for counting skills, colors and sparking the imagination. Recommended for children 1-3, the soft bugs jingle and creak.
Both these choices are awesome for promoting development of fine motor skills!
Perfect for holiday travel, a snowy afternoon, or simple playtime, reusable sticker pads come in a variety of scenes and themes. Sturdy pages and more than 150 sticker choices mean toddlers and preschoolers can lay out imaginary worlds or create silly scenes. Melissa & Doug’s Reusable Sticker Pad is our favorite option and the vinyls cling really well to windows. Best of all: no sticky sticker residue on your table or glass after play. Would make a great stocking stuffer!
Is your kid a foodie? Or loves helping out in the kitchen? One of ours asks to bake chocolate chip cookies every single Wednesday! Random? Yes. Do we all benefit from his burgeoning culinary skills? Absolutely!
An apron, kid-friendly kitchen gadgets, a cookbook, or a step-up stool for reaching the counter are all awesome choices. Lots of places, even grocery stores now, offer engaging cooking classes where preschoolers and older kids can master the basics. Why not find a super cool kitchen playset for kids to practice their skills while you’re prepping dinner for real?
Little Tikes Cook ‘n Store Kitchen Playset is super cute in retro red. The KidKraft vintage kitchens range in prices and would definitely NOT be an eyesore in your dining room or play area. Melissa & Doug Chef’s Kitchen Pretend Play Set is minimalist in charcoal. And a bonus super cute idea that we love? The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck has great reviews and is perfect for toddlers! With a music function, recycling bin, light up grill, cash register, and service bell, I mean… come on! So much fun!