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Well before I started teaching elementary ages and now middle schoolers, I loved spending time with toddlers and preschoolers. I observed them as an undergrad psychology major, taught them during my graduate studies, and finally, watched my own grow up as a mother.
My Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers reflects this age group’s innocence, curiosity, and their ability to see the world as a wondrous place. Kids this age have a pure view of the world, brazen honesty, and bring you into their world through imaginary play.
2020 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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 let them explore their curiosities, figure out the world through play, tap into their imagination while exposing them to beginning math and reading skills, and foster social and emotional growth.
It’s always a hard call as to whether to include tech gifts. Last year I left them out but this year I have one product that I think is really perfect for this age group. Otherwise, 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.
Wooden Toy Phone from Bannor Toys ($15.99)
Since toddlers love to act out what they see, a pretend wooden phone is a must-have for this age group and this one from Bannor Toys is my favorite. Handmade of beautiful, yet safe, hard wood, this phone is designed so all the numbers and buttons replicate a real phone. It even features battery life, email, and time to make it even more like mom and dad’s. This phone is the same size as the real thing but doesn’t have pretend noises or voices. Hooray for a great imaginative toy that is simple, beautiful, and affordably priced for the little ones in your life! Oh, and Bannor Toys will personalize the back of the phone with a single name for no additional charge! Simply use the notes box at checkout to let them know whose name you’d like on the phone.
Interactive Vet Clinic from Little Tikes ($95)
Young animal lovers will love pretending to give stuffed pets checkups as they role play being veterinarians. The vet clinic comes with a stuffed Yorkie pup, tabby cat, and turtle and accessories like a bandage, booster shot, stethoscope, otoscope and more. It also features an adjustable play scale, working overhead exam light, folding checkup counter, and x-ray with 3 translucent ‘x-ray’ slides that can be drawn on with the included marker. This vet playset helps develop problem solving skills and promotes empathy through imaginative, vet role play. Toddlers and preschool aged animal lovers will learn how to care for pets, use of enhance creativity while having fun. Best for ages 3+
Pretend Charcuterie Set from Fisher Price ($21.34, exclusively on Amazon)
No one can say no to charcuterie especially during pretend play! This darling 17-piece set comes with salami, cheese, pull-apart grapes, and crackers for pretend snacking and a kid-friendly knife to “slice” the soft salami and cheese. Also included in the gift-ready package are 2 fabric napkins, 2 faux-marble plates, and wood-accented cutting board. Best for ages 3+.
Design & Drill Activity Center ($39.99)
Young builders will love getting their hands on this toy drill that really introduces kids to STEM and early math skills while helping them develop fine motor skills. Kid-sized bolts can be fastened onto a sturdy activity board but they can also sort and count the colorful bolts and map out all kids of designs to develop critical preschool math skills. It includes 120 chunky plastic bolts, reversible power drill, screwdriver, combination wrench, 2 drill bits, and 10 double-sided, easy-to-follow design activity cards but be sure to give a pack of AA batteries since the drill requires 3. Best for ages 3+
Dimpl Digits from Fat Brain Toys ($19.95)
New to the Fat Brain Toys Dimpl line comes Dimpl Digits, a squishy silicone toys that encourages ages 2+ to explore numbers, counting, reading, colors, and reading. Number words appear in English on one side and Spanish on the other. Little fingers can push the bubbles and explore with touch Braille numbers on the Spanish side and numerals on the other. This colorful toy is the perfect size to tuck in a bag, making it travel friendly for rides in the car or stroller. Best for ages 2+
These heirloom quality blocks made from maple, cherry, and walnut will be a gift to be enjoyed for generations. Each of the 1.5” blocks are made in Iowan and are 100% natural and non-toxic thanks to a beeswax and flax seed oil finish. The set comes in a cloth carrying bag. Best for ages 2+
With older siblings learning at home, toddlers want to be doing the same thing and Animal Island Learning Adventure (AILA) is just the tool to help. AILA is a hands-free tablet featuring high quality ad-free age appropriate content. Curated by educators to provide interactive screen time, AILA provides child-centered and play based content through auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning. AILA fosters letters and literacy, numbers and numeracy, STEAM, and social emotional learning through vocabulary, curated story books, sing-alongs, and lullabies. Curious about what your child is learning? A free mobile app for parents lets you track learning. Designed for kids 12 months and older but I think best for ages 2+
Pound & Roll Tower from Melissa and Doug ($14.99)
The Pound & Roll Tower is a classic pounding toy that requires kids to pound the balls through the built-in holes to watch them roll down the ramps. It features brightly colored and smoothly sanded pieces that help children build early shape, color, and size-differentiation skills. Best for ages 2-4
S’more Fun Campfire from Fisher Price ($24.99)
If a night around a campfire is more of your family’s thing, Fisher Price’s S’more Fun Campfire provides toddlers and preschoolers a chance to safely make their own s’mores any time they want. This 18-piece set comes with 2-sided mat for campfire play or picnic, stuffed log with crinkle fire, felt axe, wood sticks and pretend marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, and even a wearable bear paw for make-believe bear encounters! Best for ages 3+
Wooden Rainmaker from HABA ($19.99)
HABA’s birch wood rainmaker features colorful balls that are fascinating to watch and interesting to listen to. Holes in the center of the rainmaker are just big enough to allow the balls to fall through to the other side if the rainmaker is tilted in just the right way. Kids will have fun experiment with the tilting angle, influencing how loud and fast the balls move, and shaking the rainmaker for rhythmic beats or turn slowly for the sound of a rainy day. Best for ages 2+
Best Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Establish a love of literacy by adding these titles to your little one’s library.
You’re My Little Baby by Eric Carle ($7.99)
Beloved author and illustrator Eric Carle’s brand-new interactive book features sweet text about baby love. Touch and feel elements on every page are combined with sweet words that show how parents throughout the animal kingdom dote on their babies. It’s perfect for showing a baby how they’re loved- whether by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other caring figures in a child’s life. Best for ages 2-4
Super Torta by Eric Ramos ($16.99)
It’s never too early to expose young ones to foods of the world and Super Torta does just that! This charming story is about Bombo who loves tortas and never forgets to pack them for lunch. But when he accidentally drops one of his tortas in a bucket full of radioactive goo while on a school field trip, the only person that can save the city from doom is Bombo himself! What is a torta? A torta is the ultimate sandwich made with a baguette-style bread called bolillo. You can have a chicken torta, steak torta, cuban torta, or the classic one with ham. Whichever way you have it, you’ll agree it is one of the best sandwiches west of the Mississippi!
Little Muir’s Night with words by John Muir ($8.99)
This dreamy board book about the natural world that comes alive at night will be one that you read over and over again. Perfect for little nature lovers, Little Muir’s Night pairs conservationist John Muir’s prose with cheerful paintings by award winning illustrator Susie Ghahremani. This Yosemite Conservancy title directly supports Yosemite National Park. Best for ages 0-3
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 Gifts for Unplugged Fun
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Outdoor Adventures
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
NEED MORE IDEAS? VISIT MY PAST TODDLER GIFT GUIDES:
- 2019 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- 2018 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- 2017 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. Images courtesy of the companies featured.