Choosing gifts for toddlers and preschoolers is so much fun but can lead to a full toy box which hardly gets looked at. My advice is try to stick with classic toys or sets which can be added to over time. Quality toys, designed for little hands, will be returned to again and again so choose timeless classics rather than branded toys which children tend to lose interest in.
Duplo building blocks are a classic toy which will last many years. I prefer the classic Duplo, simple coloured building blocks, rather than the themed sets.
Duplo building plates or base plates are a great starting block for a Duplo creation and a great addition to a Duplo set.
- Play food, pots and pans
Little ones can spend hours playing with play cooking sets and wooden play food. I love the Green Toys brand tea set and cooking set. They’re chunky, sturdy enough to cope with preschool play and look gorgeous, plus they’re made from 100% recycled plastic and are BPA and phthalate free and dishwasher safe!
- Wooden table and chairs
A child-size wooden table and chair set is a classic item which will get many years use in your home. Keep it in the living area so small ones can sit at the table and play with playdough or play food and pots as you are cooking dinner.
As they get older it will make a great art and craft table.
- Train set
A train set is a classic toy set which can be added to each year at birthdays and Christmas and will bring joy to a wide age range. Take time to set up the tracks with your children. You will find they love complicated track setups.
You can choose from wooden or plastic tracks and push-along or battery driven trains. Accessories like tunnels and bridges are fun additions to a track setup.
- Baby doll
A baby doll or if you already have one, accessories like a doll stroller, sling or wooden doll cot are items little children love to play with. Blankets and easy to remove clothing and nappies/diapers (fitted cloth nappies/diapers with velcro or snaps) for dolls will also be firm favorites.
- Balance bike
Balance bikes are a fantastic gift for preschoolers as they are usually keen to ride for much longer than they’re happy to walk. Paired with a quality helmet this would make a great present. Be aware that kids can take off on their bikes and get a decent way ahead of a walking parent so it is wise to keep young ones close and not be given free rein unless you’re walking along a safe path. Check out this article on how to choose a balance bike for your child.
Children love being read to so you can never go wrong with books.
Board books with sturdy pages are great for little ones. Some of our favourites have been Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, Peepo by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, The Little Yellow Digger by Betty and Allan Gilderdale, I will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney and Alfie books by Shirley Hughes.
- Farm animals
Farm animals or in fact any set of animal figurines, whether farm or wild animals make a great gift for preschoolers. Schleich make true-to-life miniature animals which make a great collectible toy set that can be added to each year.
- Cars and vehicles
Tough and chunky toy vehicles are a great choice. Fisher Price Little People have some fun vehicle sets. Green Toys also have a range of toy vehicles.
If you prefer wooden vehicles check out the range at Kilmarnock Enterprises.
Older preschoolers love HotWheels or Matchbox cars as they’re small enough to carry one in each hand when out and about.
- A photo book
Create a photo book online or simply put together a photo album of your family. Children love to have a book all about themselves and their family members. This might be as simple as a photo of each member of the family including pets, with their names, or elaborate as a story all about your child’s first day at kindy or a holiday or even a scrapbook of events through the year.