Are you shopping for a preschooler or toddler? There are so many choices on the shelves and online when shopping for young children that it can be a bit overwhelming. With the help of our two younger children, I have compiled a list of our ten favorite toys to go along with our list of stocking ideas.
Fisher Price Little People
These make for fantastic toys for children. They come in a variety of types from Disney Princesses to people of various careers. Over the years they have changed from the ones I had when I was a child to larger plastic ones today. They even changed the design a bit from when we first started collecting them for our son to when our daughter was born.
Many board games are geared towards children ages 4+ or older but we have found that we can easily adapt some simpler board games for our younger daughter. Those that are easier for her to understand (and to play as a 3- and 4-year-old) include Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Raccoon Rumpus, and Koala Capers.
Wooden blocks make for excellent toys for younger children. You can purchase alphabet ones to work on educational goals or just simple ones for them to build and create cities. Or you can purchase a set of plain wooden blocks like Brain Blox. These allow for a lot of creativity since they are not painted and do not have a design on them.
All kids love to build with Lego and their Duplo line is perfect for little hands. They come in a variety of sets from ones with instructions on how to build as well as just sets to allow your child's imagination to roam free.
A great toy for younger children is a plush. Because they are soft, they can be played with at most any time. They make for the perfect companion for a car ride or for when they are not feeling well (although I recommend ones that are washable for those sick days).
And if your child has one favorite plush, I recommend buying more than one of the same in case it gets lost. We are lucky that our two younger children have tons of favorite plushes but every time they want to bring with them on a road trip, I worry about them losing a favorite toy.
Crayons & Paper
Even at very young ages, children enjoy coloring and drawing. You can provide them with just scrap paper or pick up coloring books for them. Our children have moved from wanting to color in coloring books to drawing their own pictures on plain paper.
Balls & Outdoor Toys
Getting to spend time a lot of time outside is a bonus for us since we are homeschooling. There are a variety of toys that are great for playing with outdoors—like balls, hula hoops, chalk, and bubbles. Some of these might require more help and supervision to enjoy than others but most younger children enjoy using them on a sunny day.
For younger children, board books might be the way to go. The pages won't tear and the books tend to be sturdier for rough hands. And there is such a wide selection of board books! You can pick ones that have actual stories or ones that just teach words, colors, or numbers.
Indoor Tents & Tunnels
Another way to encourage fostering imagination and creativity is to provide them with indoor tents and tunnels. Your children can pretend they are camping outdoors in the woods or the outback. If you can connect lots of tunnels, they can create their own 'underground' home.
Do your young children have any favorite toys they would add to this gift list?
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