Christmas shopping can be so stressful sometimes. The sales, low inventory and constant barrage of ads can trigger anxiety and impulse buying. By the time you’ve finished it’s hard to remember half of what you bought or why. Jesse and I try to be as intentional as we can when buying toys for the kids. We want them to use and enjoy their toys. We look at what their current favorites are, or specifically HOW they enjoy playing and go from there. We started shopping pretty early, so I wanted to share the toys that we got for the girls to give you some preschool Christmas gift ideas. Plus, a little explanation of why we got them. Thinking about how the kids play and learn definitely helps narrow down which toys to explore buying.
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Upper Preschool Christmas Gift Ideas (4-5 yrs. old)
LEGO – LEGO is the #1 go-to gift for Mara. She has a little table in her room and sits up there and plays for hours. Jesse is also an avid LEGO fan, so they spend a lot of time playing together. We knew that LEGO was going to be on Mara’s Christmas list, but weren’t sure which sets she’d like the most. I had her flip through some toy ads and point out things that she wanted. Her biggest request was the LEGO Friends Heartlake City Hospital. Like, she hasn’t talked about anything but this hospital for days now. So we got her that along with a LEGO Friends glamping set (she really wants Jesse to take her camping) and a Princess Aurora set. We collect the Disney Princess sets because LEGO is constantly retiring them, so specific sets can be hard to find after a few months.
Treehouse Imagination Builder– Since Mara is more into the building aspect of playing versus playing with dolls, I fell in love with this buildable treehouse for her from Lakeshore Learning. She can create whatever kind of house or play area she wants and then her dolls can play in her creation. I’m interested to see if she likes this as much as I think she will.
Kid-safe Knives – Preschool is a great age for kiddos to start helping out in the kitchen. The curriculum we *very loosely* use for homeschool preschool (Blossom and Root) encourages parents to let their kids help in the kitchen at least once a week. I really struggle with this because I’m so Type A, but I know that she’d love to help more. I snagged some Nylon kid-safe knives so she can help me cut up fruit and things for snacks. I’m also hoping that having her cut vegetables may encourage her to eat them more often.
Bluey – My kids’ current favorite show is Bluey on Disney+. It’s this adorable Australian cartoon about a dog named Bluey and her dog family. The episodes are less than 10 minutes and most of them are just about Bluey and her little sister playing pretend with their parents and friends. My girls are OBSESSED. It has also inspired a lot of imagination play in our house. Plus, now Mara tries to speak in an Australian accent sometimes. Haha! We got Mara a Bluey plush doll and a book based on one of the episodes.
Board Games – Mara loves to play board games, so we have several preschool game options that we play fairly regularly. Our favorites are Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-o, Cootie and Count Your Chickens. We found a Bluey board game, which is based on one of the games the dog kids play on the show, to add to our collection for Christmas.
Science Kit – Mara and I have played around a bit with “experiments” over the past few months, like mixing baking soda and vinegar to make volcanos. I had a hodge podge of supplies to work with, so I thought a little science kit would be a better organized way to try out some STEM activities. The kit comes with a few suggested activities, but with the right supplies, there are a ton of great possibilities!
Marble Run – The Marble Genius Marble Run is a toy that we already own, but it was a fast favorite of Mara’s. If your kid loves to build, then I definitely recommend something like this. There are instructions for building specific tracks, but you can also build your own! Mara usually prefers creating her own tracks. This is a toy that we play with in Mara’s room when Bellamy is napping since the marbles are small and definitely a choking hazard.
Younger Preschool Christmas Gift Ideas (2-3 yrs. old)
Bike – A new big girl bike is Bellamy’s “big ticket” item for Christmas. She has a little tricycle, but she’s outgrown it this year. Our new neighborhood has sidewalks and trails, so it’s a great place for the girls to ride bikes. We debated between a regular bike with training wheels or a balance bike, but ultimately we decided on training wheels. Since that’s what Mara has we figured it would be easier to just do the same for Bellamy. Plus, she loves to do whatever Big Sister does.
Bluey Playset – Since Bellamy gets more invested in her favorite shows, she’s more into Bluey than Mara. She could watch it all day every day and never get bored. For that reason, we got her the playset of Bluey’s house and the family and friends figures to go with it. The toy is suggested for 3+, but we decided to buy it anyway. I will take away any pieces that seem too small for her. She loves to play with the Little People Disney Princess figures and castles that we own, but she hasn’t even seen half of the Princess movies. I think that she will especially love playing with characters that she knows and loves.
Bluey Stuffed Animals – Since we got Mara the Bluey doll, we bought Bellamy the little sister, Bingo. I love the relationship that Bluey and Bingo have. They are two adventurous and spunky sisters, just like my girls. Bluey and Bingo also have a little cousin named Muffin, who is Bellamy’s all-time favorite. We tracked down a little Muffin plush for her as well. I also got Bellamy a Bluey book, just so they’d each have one.
Puzzles – Mara has a little set of Melissa and Doug puzzles that Bellamy has been very into lately. She just loves to sit and put them together over and over again. She also has been loving dinosaurs. When I saw that there was a set of Melissa and Doug puzzles exactly like Mara’s, but dinosaurs, I knew I had to get them for Bellamy.
Dinosaur figures – Bellamy’s obsession with dinosaurs also means that we had to get her some dinosaur action figures. We chose a set of jumbo dinos, just so she wouldn’t lose or eat them.
Duplo – Though Bellamy is definitely not as into LEGO as Mara, she does enjoy playing Duplos with her sister. Mara builds houses and towns and Bellamy plays with the little LEGO people in the towns. LEGO is constantly retiring and then rereleasing Disney sets, so Jesse and I tend to snatch stuff up when we can. I found an Ariel Duplo set, so that’s the one we’re adding to our collection this year.
Flower Garden – This buildable flower garden is another toy that we already have, but the girls really like it. Technically, it’s another 3+ toy, but I started allowing Bellamy to play with it a few weeks ago and she loves it more than Mara. She loves to build the flowers and then tear them apart or uses them to play pretend. They are also great for working on her motor skills since the flowers are buildable.
For the girls’ stockings, I typically stick to treats and smaller toys. This year I’m using the stockings as a way to restock some of our arts and crafts supplies. I’m buying PlayDoh, stickers, glue sticks, paints; basically, anything the girls are starting to run low on or use fairly often.