Friday, 26 October 2018

Gift Guide for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If you are looking for presents for a toddler or preschooler than I have found a selection which will help to inspire their creativity, entertain them and help grow their minds. These include some of the favourite items we own, the best of the products we have reviewed this year and new products which I think will make the perfect gift for this age group, many of which I requested a sample of to be included in this gift guide.

A great selection of ideas for presents for toddlers and preschoolers


Great Christmas & Birthday Gifts for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Fingerlings Hugs


I originally received a Fingerling to review last year and while both children loved it, I was worried about it’s survival with a toddler around. This year we were sent Bella, the Fingerlings Hug. This supersize Fingerling is soft and cuddly and suitable from 2 years upwards. My toddler adores her and based on the number of kisses I hear Bella giving Little the feeling is mutual. It makes different noises depending on how it is moved and it can even repeat a short message back to you if you press it’s ear. Read our full Fingerlings Hugs Review to find out more. 

A pink cuddly monkey with a toddler

Micro Trike


Micro Scooters have a reputation as being one of the best models of scooter for children so when we had the opportunity to try their Micro Trike I was very keen. This trike is a great way to get toddlers around on short journeys, but it also folds flat and is light so you can easily carry it or keep it in the car for school runs etc. We have found it has been a great alternative to taking the pushchair out and it is so easy to manoeuvre with one hand. Suitable from age 18 months I would recommend it from when children have the upper body strength to stay in the sitting position for long periods without support and when they can be trusted to keep holding on.

A toddler on a pink Micro trike

Magicubes


If you have read my blog for a while you will know we love Magicubes from Geomag. We originally reviewed a couple of sets in 2017 and they are still played with several times a week by my toddler (and occasionally by my 7 year old too). They are basically building blocks, but the magnets inside mean they stick together. The original sets we reviewed could be put together to make animals, but that is rarely how they are used in our house.  We were sent 2 sets for this gift guide and I love them even more than the safari sets. There is a great starter set for little ones which have different body parts and combine to make a 3 cube high person (or animal) as sensible or silly as you like, the other set has different colours on each side of the magnetic cubes. There are lots of different sets in the range and you can see the full range on Amazon here.
Recommended from age 18 months Magicubes are brilliant for open ended play and they will be used for years. Read my original review of Magicubes to find out more.

2 sets of Magicube's in their packaging

Little Brian Paint Sticks


I love these paint sticks and find them so therapeutic to paint with. When I finally allowed my children to get their hands on them they were entertained for much longer than with pens or crayons and there was considerably less mess than with paint. My toddler still managed to make a bit of a mess with them, but it was really easy to clean up. They are hard to describe, but imagine the vibrancy of crayons without having to apply pressure or worrying about them snapping. They dry quickly and the end result looks great. The chunky ends of the paint sticks mean you wont have lots of detail, however the Little Brian chalks (which are like a cross between chalks and crayons) do. Both chalks and paint sticks can be used on a variety of surfaces from paper to windows. There is also a fabric set specially designed for decorating clothes. Suitable from age 3 and up.

A smily face on paper surrounded by packets of Little Brian paint and chalk sticks


Play Dirt


Children love to make a mess and they are very good at it, but as parents we aren’t always so keen. Fortunately there are products out there that are a great compromise. Play Dirt from Recreation is a tactile sand that feels like, well, dirt. It’s easy to brush up and means you can happily leave children playing with it on a table. A great (and less messy) alternative to a mud kitchen that works whatever the weather. There are a range of sets from the smaller Bugs in Dirt to the Monster Truck Rally Set which includes 2 friction powered trucks, a themed play mat and a patterned roller so children can create ramps and obstacles with the Play Dirt. Suitable for age 3 years plus.

Play Dirt Monster Truck Rally box and an open box of Bugs In a Jar play dirt with the contents spilling out

Floof


Also from Recreation, Floof is somewhere between foam and sand. It might look like snow, but it is super light, warm and can be moulded into a variety of shapes without you having to worry about it melting. This Builder Set is great because it comes with a play tray to build in as well as some modelling tools. Recommended from age 3 years sets Floof starts at £5.99 for a small pack.

A Floof Builder set box next to a play tray with white Floof and and some tools

Little Tikes STEM Jr Builder Bot


We reviewed a couple of items from the new Little Tikes STEM Jr range in September and our favourite was this Builder Bot. This is great for preschoolers who will be able to assemble it in different ways resulting in a variety of movements when you switch it on. It’s a great introduction to robotics and pretty cute too. Find out more in our Little Tikes Builder Bot review. Recommended for age 3 years upwards.

An assembled Little Tikes Builder Bot from the STEM Jr range

Bubbles


From babies most children love bubbles. Baylis & Harding have brought out a children’s range: Kids! with bright and funky packaging that they will love to use, I particularly love the Foaming Bath Mousse and the Bubble Bath with fun shaped toppers. This Bubble Blowing Set is a great complement to the range and can be used in the bath or any other playtime. 

A packet with a pot of bubbles and 3 bubble wands

Brio Pull Along Bumblebee


We love the wooden based Brio products for their open ended play and we have found this pull along bee great for little ones. It’s wings spin round as you pull it along and my toddler often pretends it’s her pet. Yes it’s simple, but it is still regularly played with 8 months after we received it proving it has some longevity. Read my Brio Pull Along Bumblebee review for more information. Recommended for 12 months and up. 

A colourful bumble bee toy with a child reaching for it.

Playmobil 123


My eldest loves Playmobil, but some of the pieces are so small that they can be a pain to have in the house if you have younger children too. I recently discovered Playmobil 123 which is designed for younger children and after having a play I thing it’s great for toddlers and preschoolers. Playmobil 123 has chunkier pieces than the normal ranges, but they still have all the Playmobil charm. Sets range from around £4.99 to £34.99 with everything from dinosaurs to pirates and fire engines. Suitable from age 18 months.


Maya The Bee Light


At some point in toddlerhood it seems normal for children to start being a little nervous of the dark. This friendly looking Maya The Bee night light from Varta is battery operated so you don’t need to worry about positioning it near a plug, but it will help your child feel safe when you turn off the light. There are two light settings and an auto shut off (30 mins or 60 minutes depending on the light setting). It has a run time of 330 hours on the included 3 Varta AA batteries which means it will last for ages.

A plastic maya the bee character, standing on a red flower


Adopt an animal


If you are looking for a present that won’t make your house a mess how about adopting your child’s favourite animal at your nearest zoo? Ok it will take a little explaining that they don’t get to bring the monkey, lemur or giraffe home, but they will love to visit it. Most zoo’s have packages for a range of animals which may contain some of the following: a cuddly version of the animal, a photograph, information about your adoptee, tickets to visit and a plaque at the zoo to tell the world your child has adopted the animal.

A few examples of animal adoptions:
Animal adoptions at ZSL London and Whipsnade zoo start from £25
Junior Adoption Pack from Chester Zoo costs £65 (includes 2 zoo tickets and cuddly toy)
Children's adoption at Marwell Zoo costs £45
Animal adoption at Colchester Zoo start at £49.99 (includes 2 zoo tickets)

A toddler watching meerkats at the zoo

Rechargeable Batteries


Ok, not a present you will actually want to give to your toddler or preschooler, but it’s unlikely that Birthdays or Christmas will go by without a few electronic gifts. Rechargeable batteries can be a real cost saver so they are worth putting on your shopping list. These batteries from VARTA are precharged (which is handy) and can be recharged using all common Ni-MH chargers.

2 packets of AA rechargeable Varta batteries



***Disclosure: I was sent a number of products specifically for inclusion in this guide (VARTA batteries, Maya The Bee Night Light, Baylis & Harding Bubbles, Play Dirt, Floof, Magicubes and Little Brian Paint Sticks). This post contains affiliate links. If you buy a product after clicking through the link I may receive a small commission at no additional cost for you, thank you if you choose to do this***

A selection of gifts for toddler and preschoolers

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