Advent Blog: Preschooler Gift Guide


Each year I get a bit obsessive about one gift for the girls. I start looking online to find the perfect version, check prices everywhere and generally get a bit nutty about it. All the research and effort seem to pay off because these are the toys that are played with the most often. Here is a little list of those items.

Maple Unit Blocks
We bought a set of these for Annie's second Christmas. They still get used almost everyday. Any set of blocks is great but you can read a bit about unit blocks here and here.
Shop here, here and here

Kitchen Set


I spent quite a bit of time researching this gift. I really wanted a wooden set and probably looked at every wood set avaliable at the time. In the end we ended up making our own set. It wasn't very hard and I think we picked up all the wood from the odds and ends bin at Home Depot for less the $75. This set has provided hours and hours of play for my girls and it is the first thing most kids hit when they come to play. Boys, girls, 1 year olds, 10 year olds, everyone plays with this. We modeled ours off of this set. You can find all sorts of wooden kitchens in all price ranges. Here are a few of my favorites and if you would like to know how we built our set I'd be happy email you.

If you've got a kitchen your going to need some food.

I would love to have stocked our kitchen with all of the lovely Haba wooden food but we mostly have Melissa and Doug. I like that the Melissa and Doug food has the velcro and can be cut. Many happy hours our spent cutting bread and butter for tea parties. Don't forget the plates and cups, pots and pans.

A Doll House

Boys and Girls alike love to play with a doll house. Any sort of figure set can keep the 2-3 year old set busy for hours. Ours is the Plan Toys house and I think I now I would buy a different set. It is a little hard for the girls to use the bottom part of the house. Look for something that is open all through the front.

If it's in the budget any of these would be lovely heirloom toys...

This, this or maybe a castle

Don't forget the people here, here and here

Other nice wooden doll houses

Wooden Barn and Animals

What toddler doesn't love animals? A nice barn and animals keeps them busy and you get the joy of hearing all those moo's, baa's and meow's.

You can splurge on this or this and don't forget to add these.

A less expensive option is this and this. Which is what we have.

This is enough to get anyone started and to empty your wallet. There are so many options for all of these toys but really these are the ones the girls play with over and over again. I might buy a different version but I would buy each and everyone of these again for the girls and someday when I'm Grandma I will definitly splurge on my grandkids. These were really the big investment toys, next time I will have a list of the other stuff that keeps 'em busy - you know the plastic stuff. We have lots of that too.


taisa said...

Thanks for this great post- I really enjoyed reading it and, this being just my second christmas as a mama(and my first with a child who actually plays with toys!) I can already relate to the obsession with one special toy. This year it is the wooden farm. We asked for help from family and splurged on the osthiemer farmhouse, which kind of doubles as both farm and dollhouse. Your play kitchen is terrific!

MJ said...

I got a kitchen from a garage sale a few years ago and K and N were gifted some of the Melissa/Doug veggies. They are still a little young for them but will grow into them more as they age. I've been keeping an eye out for a dollhouse too (altho I have many pieces of Madeline furniture for it!) as I hope to develop it into a craft for K and N in the future. (Instead of model railroads, it will be a model dollhouse). I haven't found the bare wooden set that I really would like yet altho some of your links were tempting!

We've been on a Madeline quest because Madeline permits me to explore second language, geography and general creativity with them. I prefer Madeline over Barbie as I've posted about often in my blog!

Thanks for your insights on toys & games too!

MJ said...

I just checked out the Kathe Kruse link in your Blueberry Forest link! Those dolls look beautiful! It is nice to see realistic looking dolls!