Preschool & Elementary
My preschooler isn’t too hard to please when it comes to toys but we try really hard to gift items that encourage open-ended play. And we love toys that work together and foster a sense of imagination! Some of his favorites are magnetic tiles, Lincoln Logs, Legos, building blocks, and stacking toys. Our house is limited on space so we also try to find gifts that store neatly in bins or on shelves.
My 4th grader mostly enjoys building Lego masterpieces, cooking, and Pokemon cards so I find it’s a little more difficult to shop for him. Hopefully our list helps you finish your holiday shopping this year!
And while we limit screen time as much as possible…both of our older boys (9 and 4 years old) love our Nintendo Switch–especially when we hook it up to the television! It’s helpful when we need a little quiet in the house.
If you find your kids get bored easily, try renting toys from the Toy Library of Arizona which is currently based in the East Valley. Get a membership to access the toy catalog of over 260 toys. Families are allowed to rent at least two toys at a time. For more information visit thetoylibraryaz.com or read about the Toy Library of Arizona in our Winter Issue.
- Yoto Mini Player. A KidStop pick! Yoto Mini lets kids explore their imaginations as they explore the world. Kids from 3-12+ use physical cards to explore the best audiobooks, music, activities and educational audio on the move.No microphone. No camera. No ads. Set up a new Yoto Player or Yoto Mini between November 1st and December 20th and a free digital copy of Let’s Move Winter Wonderland will be automatically added to your library $69.99. us.yotoplay.com
- Magna-Tiles. Recommended by educators. Crafted with high-quality ceramic magnet and food-grade MABS plastic that is free of BPA, phthalates, latex, and toxic materials. Magna-Tiles help kids excel in early-childhood development. Foster STEAM learning, support cognitive development, nurture social emotional health, promote language development, strengthen motor skills, and boost creative thinking. Ages 3 and older. $24.99-$$129.99. magnatiles.com
- Wooden Tool Set. This classic toy set improves motor skills and encourages imaginative play. Durable wooden tools and fasteners so that children can play at construction work. Comes with 24 individual pieces, including hammer, wrench, screwdriver, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Ages 3 and older. $9.99 harborfreight.com
- Train Set. Classic, holiday or themed, train set have always been a childhood favorite. Prices varies. lionelstore.com
- Play Kitchen. Encourages role play which helps children to develop social skills by imitating grown-ups and inventing their own roles. Grows with your child. The height of the legs can be adjusted to 3 positions. Ages 3 and older. $99.99. ikea.com/us
- Himiku Stacking Rocks. Each block is handcrafted using sustainably sourced Beech and Pine Wood and painted with non-toxic water based paint. Starting at $41.65. Ages 3 and older. himiku.net
Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Wooden Rainbow Stacking Tunnel. Children can stack, sort and build. Can be used as a cradle for dolls, fence for animals, a tunnel or bridge for vehicles, house for dwarfs and dollhouse dolls, build amazing sculptures. Ages 3 and older. $96. grimms.eu
- Headphones. Have some peace this holiday season with the use of headphones. Concern about safety and volume limits for your child? Check out PC Magazine’s “Best Kids’ Headphones for 2022” pcmag.com
- Board Games. Does your family love playing board games or would like to start? Check out our friends at Common Sense Media. They have compiled a proven selection of tabletop hits (Best Board Games, Apps, and Websites), which still shine on screens and will get kids thinking critically and strategically. commonsensemedia.org
- Play Dough Subscription Kit. There are many companies that offer Recurring Monthly Playdough Kit Subscriptions. You can try busyboxchild.com or youngwildandfriedman.com
- Waytoplay Flexible Toy Roads. Kids can create their own world. Choose from roads, highways, expressways. Flexible, waterproof and indestructible. All ages. $44-$139. waytoplay.toys
- Fort Builder. Strong, snap-together builders! Attach the poles to the kid-friendly connectors…then cover with a your own sheet or blanket for hours of fun. Comes with 45 poles and 25 connectors, plus a step-by-step guide that shows you how to build everything from a kid’s castle to a super-cool igloo. Ages 4-11. $59.99. lakeshorelearning.com
- Legos Creative Brick Box. A KidStop pick! Designed with builders of all ages in mind, LEGO® bricks will encourage open-ended building play, and inspire any imagination. Windows, eyes, and lots and lots of wheels add to the fun and offer endless possibilities for creative construction and vehicle play. Comes in a convenient plastic storage box and includes ideas to get the building started. $34.99-$49.99. Ages 4 and older. lego.com
- Edible Chemistry Set. A Wildings pick! The chemistry experiment you can eat and drink! Make cabbages do your bidding, fizzy drinks, color changing foaming jelly, polymer pudding and much more. $18. copernicustoys.com or wildlingstoys.com
- Books. Again, our friends at Common Sense Media has a list of “50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12.” From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook kids of any gender. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid’s library. Others open kids’ minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are recent releases that have the timeless quality of classics — the kind that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. commonsensemedia.org
- Nintendo Games. Nintendo Switch OLED Model $349.99 and the Nintendo Switch $299.99 are both a three modes in one. Designed to fit your life, transforming from home console to portable system in a snap, and Nintendo Switch Lite $199.99 is a system for gamers on the go. Designed specifically for handheld play—so you can jump into your favorite games wherever you happen to be. nintendo.com
- Paper Plane Challenge Kit. Discover eight awesome new paper plane games? You will find everything you need to know in this kit. Just choose a plane, follow the straightforward instructions, and you’re ready to fly! Ages 8 – 12. $12.99. hobbylobby.com
- Kindle Kids. Lets you take your stories wherever you go. Designed for reading – no distractions from apps, videos,or games. Ages 3 – 12. $119.99. amazon.com
- Lascoota Pulse Scooter. Light weight kick scooter allows teens to cruise with ease with its non-slip, weight absorbing, and extra wide deck that ensures a secure footing and comfortable ride. It is constructed with aluminum and steel, comfortable rubber handle, reliable brakes, and equipped with front suspension designed to withstand everyday use and abuse. Ages 13 – 18. $120. lascoota.com
- Bike Helmet. Whether your child is riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or skating, a good helmet is a must have. Bicycling has an article about “The Best Bike Helmets for Kids,” from babies, toddlers and teens. bicycling.com
- KiwiCo STEM Subscription. A box of awesome, delivered monthly. Projects for every age and interest. Designed by experts. Age ranges: 0 -5, 5 – 9, 9 -12, 12 and older. Prices varies. kiwico.com
Coming up next:
- Gift Guide (Part 3: Stockings Stuffers & Experience Ideas)