Parents of preschoolers know exactly how busy they are at all times. From morning until their eyes close at bedtime their bodies and minds are constantly in motion as they absorb information about the world around them. Kids ages 3-5 are working to navigate the social world and friendships that prove to be both rewarding and tricky. Like toddlers, preschoolers spend a lot of time trying to make sense of their word through imaginative play that often mirrors what they see from us. They clamor for our devices and ones of their own but it’s always important to balance screen time with outside time and the many other things that preschoolers need for healthy emotional, social, and physical development. Here are my gift picks for preschoolers this holiday season that will keep their minds and bodies busy!
Classic Training Slack Line ($69.98)— A favorite at our own kids’ preschool, Slack Lines are cool because they create a balance beam in your own backyard between two trees, teaching balance, confidence, and strength in a fun way. I love this Classic Training set because it comes with two lines that can be strung between the same two trees to provide a foot balance beam and also a line for hands to hold as preschoolers make their way across. As kids grow, the second line can be strung between two other trees for an additional balance line. The set also includes tree pads to ensure the nylon webbed Slack Lines don’t harm the bark of your trees, instructions, and a carrying bag. Please note that this gift is recommended for ages 5 and above but I am recommending it to preschoolers based on our personal experience. I’d start preschoolers with a Slack Line close to the ground and provide a line for them to hold on to and then gradually increase the height as they grow and become more confident in their balance skills.
Take-A-Part Airplane ($29.99) — A gift from his grandparents, Thomas spent years playing with this airplane. This versatile toy is a great play toy for imaginative play but it also comes with a battery operated screwdriver to remove the gray plastic bolts so the airplane can be taken apart and put back together. I loved that this toy grew with my son thanks to multiple possibilities for play and learning and was also nicely priced at just under $30. Not a fan of airplanes? There’s also a crane and a 4×4 truck!
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite with Samsung Kids ($139.99) — As parents, we’re always on the lookout for the best devices for our kids that are affordable, durable, yet provide fabulous content in a safe way. The new Samsung Kids is an all-inclusive subscription service designed in collaboration with Fingerprint, a trusted name in children’s education and entertainment. Samsung Kids offers educational and entertaining content and apps correlated to Common Core Standards and featuring brands and characters children already love like DreamWorks Animation, The Jim Henson Company, Highlights for Children, HiT Entertainment, National Geographic, PBS KIDS, and Sesame Workshop in an ad-free environment. A 3 month trial comes with the purchase of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite tablet and is affordably priced at $4.99/month for a wealth of content and great parental controls that help you keep an eye on screen time while also monitoring their progress.
Monopoly Junior ($16.99)— Young real estate barons can practice math and real estate acquisitions with quick transactions that are designed for kids. Even though this game is recommended for ages 5 and up, counting savvy preschoolers will enjoy practicing beginning math skills as they count their money to purchase fun properties like an ice cream parlor and skate park.
Ski Skooter ($52.99)— Older preschoolers will enjoy practicing their balance while riding down snowy hills in the Ski Skooter, a foldable kick scooter that is a great alternative for sledding and snowboarding because it can be used on grass, sand, snow, and even carpet. Ski Skooter features a sturdy folding handle, non skid upper deck surface, and is available in red, blue and green. It is designed be used for ages 4 and older with a 220 pound weight capacity.
nabi Collector’s Edition Tablet: The Force Star Wars™ Bundle ($169.99)— Let’s face it, preschoolers want to be on devices because they see us using ours but not all devices are family friendly. For years, nabi tablets by Fuhu have been well regarded because of their price, kid-friendly design (the bumpers have withstood drops of up to 8 feet exceeding the height of your preschooler), intuitive parental controls that lets kids know of limited screen time in fun (rather than nagging) ways, and edutainment (educational entertainment) aligned to Common Core Standards thanks to the Wings Learning System. If you’ve held off on getting your child their own device up until this point, Collector’s Edition Force Star Wars Bundle may make you take the leap. Your preschooler can show their allegiance the Light or Dark Side with the world’s first Android tablet built just for kids. Vader-like black bumper and striking Stormtrooper frame and exterior sticker wrap to show allegiance to the Dark Side while Light Side features a Jedi-worthy glow-in-the-dark Drop Safe® bumper as well as a R2-D2 frame and sticker wrap. Regardless of which side you choose, all limited edition tablets come with an individually stamped holographic mark to demonstrate that it’s part of a limited release.
Books for Preschoolers:
- First Big Book of Who by National Geographic ($14.99)— Introducing 4-6 year olds to historical figures for the first time isn’t always easy unless it’s done with bright pictures and using age-appropriate language. National Geographic’s First Big Book of Who provides age appropriate biographies about famous people from Cleopatra to Napoleon to Martin Luther King that preschoolers will enjoy first for the pictures and then for the text as they become more fluent readers.
- The Day the Crayons Came Home ($18.99) —For everyone who loved The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt’s second book about the spirited crayons is a must have for your family library.
- Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues ($17.99)— Pete is just like your preschooler, having too much fun to go to bed until he comes up with a great idea to have a sleepover but there’s one problem- his friends don’t want to sleep! Thanks to creative problem solving, Pete gets his wild animal friends to settle down so they can get some rest for a new day of fun.
- Imaginary Fred ($18.99)— Imaginary Fred is an imaginary friend who dreads when his real life child finds another friend to play with and forgets about him. Sometimes it’s just for a couple hours but other times it’s for good until he meets Sam who tells Fred he has room in his heart for more than one best friend. Then Sam meets Sammi and Fred fears his time with Sam are numbered until Sammi introduces Sam and Fred to her imaginary friend, Frieda. This sweet story features delightful illustrations and is a great story about friendship that will be enjoyed for years.
- More Caps for Sale ($18.99)— In the never before published sequel to Caps for Sale, the mischievous monkeys are at it again! The sequel picks up where the original book leaves off and as the peddler walks home for the day with the unsold caps he retrieved from the monkeys in the first book, he doesn’t notice that they’re following him step for step. What the peddler doesn’t realize is that the monkeys mean no harm are actually helpful!
- Sharks Sticker Activity Book ($6.99)— Shark obsessed kids will love this sticker activity book that features mazes, spelling and pattern games, drawing activities, and tons of shark facts!
Need more ideas? Visit my past Preschool Gift Guides and other 2015 Gift Guides that will help you find the best gifts for all ages!
- 2014 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Preschoolers
- 2013 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Preschoolers
- 2012 Gifts for Preschoolers
- Preschool Gift Guide 2011
- 2010 Holiday Gift Guide: Preschoolers
- 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: PRESCHOOLERS
- 2008 Holiday Gift Guide Toddler and Preschool Edition
Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. All images courtesy of the companies. No compensation was received for this post.