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Every year my Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers list reflects this age group’s innocence, curiosity, and their ability to see the world as a wondrous place. Well before I started teaching elementary and now middle schoolers, I loved spending time with toddlers and preschoolers as an undergraduate psychology major, then through my graduate studies, and finally as a mother. Kids this age have a pure view of the world, brazen honesty, and bring you into their world through imaginary play.
The best gifts for toddlers and preschoolers help them develop social and emotional skills while fostering a love of learning. Kids between the ages of 2-4 need gifts that will let them explore their curiosities, figure out the world through play, and tap into their imagination while exposing them to beginning math and reading skills and also fostering social and emotional growth.
You’ll see that that this year I’m not including tech gifts like I sometimes have in years past. There are great products that combine real world play with brilliant technology to foster imagination and teach skills through play but because it’s natural for this age group to be drawn to screens like moths to flame, hold off. Enjoy the moments of unplugged together time as long as possible because there’s plenty of time to incorporate screens to promote meaningful learning in a fun way later on.
Best Gifts for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Personalized Name Puzzle ($26.95)
Made to order in Omaha, Nebraska, a colorful wooden name puzzle is a wonderful personal gift that helps encourage fine motor skills, letter recognition, spelling, and also name recognition and will be a treasured present for many years to come. Best for ages 2+
Richard Scarry books were childhood favorites for me and my husband so of course we passed our love of these classics to our kids. Even though our kids are now teens, What Do People Do All Day remains on shelf of family favorites that we just can’t bear to part with. With pages full of colorful illustrations showing how residents of Busytown spend their day, this book will captivate beginning readers. Best for ages 2+
Balance Board ($64.99)
The possibilities are endless with this natural curve balance board that is design to inspire imagination and creativity. Toddler and preschool ages will discover entirely new ways to play by standing on it to balance, sit on it to rock, or by flipping it over and turning it into a structure in imaginative play scenarios. Built to hold up to 220lbs, this solid heirloom item can be used for many years of adventure. Best for ages 3+
Wood Easel Tabletop ($39.63)
When you’re short on space but your child has no shortage of creativity, this double-sided folding tabletop easel features a whiteboard and black chalkboard surface to help foster your youngster’s fine motor skills. Measuring 16” x 20”, it features a solid wood frame, built in 13” paper roll holder (paper is included), and oversize clip to hold masterpieces in progress. Best for ages 4+
Jon Klassen’s Hat Box ($25.99)
This beautiful box set of a trio of books about hats are ones that you’ll find yourself reading over and over again. Each book features bear, fish, and a pair of turtles whose stories about hats (I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat) will encourage lots of winter story snuggles as they surprise and delight over and over again. Best for ages 3+
Play-Doh Compound Variety Pack ($14.99)
What is it about Play-Doh that we love so much? Whether it’s the smell or the satisfying tactile experience it provides, Play-Doh always makes a wonderful gift and this Variety Pack features different satisfying textures. Krackle and Super Cloud come in a box with classic Play-Doh for kids to squish, mold, and play to their heart’s content! Best for ages 2+
3 in 1 Toy Tent Tunnel ($33.50)
Great as a gift for one child or as a family gift, the 3 in 1 Toy Tent Tunnel from Discovery Kids features 3 removeable tunnel tubes and 32” pop up cube tent that makes a great play space for one child, siblings, or playdates. The easy to set up toy tent pops up and tubes attach to the openings. When play time is done and you want to reclaim your floor space, everything collapses and can be stored in the included carrying bag. Best for ages 2+
Junior Original Book Pack ($29.95)
This Junior Original Book Pack makes my list again this year because it’s a classic! It’s a product that I bought for our kids when they started preschool and I’ve bought for my little niece and nephew. All kids are proud to carry their own backpacks but I love this one from L.L. Bean because it’s just the right size for those just starting school. 10+ years later both of my teens have long their L.L. Bean backpacks, but they’re still in great shape. Pro tip: Pay an extra $8 for personalization that not only makes it extra special but helps them learn to read their name! For ages 4+ but our kids started using their book packs at age 3
The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow ($16.99)
Whether you’re wishing for the white stuff to fall from the sky or despise winter because of cold temps that keep you indoors, The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow will warm your heart. This sweet tale follows The Little Snowplow about a little snowplow who just loves his job on the Mighty Mountain Road Crew and just wants it to snow in time to do what he loves most for his birthday. Best for ages 2+
Best Subscription Boxes for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Toddlers and preschoolers love mail, especially when it’s something addressed to them! Here are my favorite subscription boxes for this age group.
Little Passports Early Explorers ($22.95/month)
This year give them a gift of adventure by teaching them about geography in an age appropriate way each and every month. Every month your preschooler will get a package from Little Passports filled with fun activities, educational toys, stickers, trading cards, and learning games based on a theme like art, music, or food that teaches them about the world. For example, the Oceans package contains an educational fishing game that teaches children about different sea creatures, contains materials to conduct a salt water science experience, and a beautifully illustrated booklet filled with fun facts about each of the world’s oceans. Included stickers, trading cards, and other bonus materials in each package to make learning fun and engaging for young toddlers and preschoolers. For ages 3-5
Koala Crate by KiwiCo ($19.95/month)
I love KiwiCo because they have a different subscription box tailored to each age and developmental stage and Koala Crate is just perfect for ages 2-4. Tadpole Crate delivers monthly crafts, inspiration and high-quality products that encourage creativity and wonder through open ended activities that are designed for you and your toddler to do together.
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES:
- Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Outdoor Adventures
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
- Dog Lovers
NEED MORE IDEAS? VISIT MY PAST TODDLER GIFT GUIDES:
- 2018 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- 2017 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- 2016 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own.