The Ultimate Gift Guide for Your Toddler, Preschooler, or Little Kid

The countdown has begun!  The scramble to find the items on Santa’s list and find some great ones of your own is no small task.  Never fear – we have rounded up some of the hottest toys available for toddlers and pre-schoolers. 

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Legos: Duplos are great for little ones to provide hours of imaginative play and older kids can start building with Lego Jr. sets or any set their heart desires.  They also introduce little ones to basic engineering skills and will continue to grow with your child as her developmental skills increase.  Make sure there is somewhere to store the bricks with a Lay n’ Go Playmat that allows your child to play on the mat then simply fold up the mat with the Legos inside when done.  Pair your Lego gifts a with Lego storage bricks for an adorable and on-theme storage option.  For even more open-ended play, check out Strictly Briks Stacking Plates for more building options and Buildr Tape that allows kids to stick Legos just about anywhere.

Playmobil:  Palymobil is a classic toy loved by children all over the world.  There is sure to be something Playmobil to delight every child.  The Pharaoah’s Pyramid is a hot item this year and will allow your child to enter an ancient world without following a script of developed characters.  A fire truck or school bus are always safe choices. The take-along Pirate Hideaway is a perfect choice for your little matey and even more so for families traveling this holiday season.

Books: Books play a prominent role in most children’s lives and the holidays are a great excuse to add a few new books to your child’s budding library.  Some good choices are Pillowland by musician Laurie Berkner and The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen.


Get Active.  The winter months can be long and trying for children and parents alike.  Anything that gets kids moving can be a sanity saver.  Check out StompRocket, an interactive toy that allows children to launch soft foam rockets up the stairs or up the ceiling and keep kids busy for hours.  Or, new types of fidget toys like Metal Chuckz and Thumb Chucks by Zing can keep kids occupied indoors when they would rather be out.

Augmented Reality: The Stickbot Stuido Pro is a fun game that allows kids to place Bots into an augmented reality app so a new game can be played over and over again. 

Play-DohAnother classic toy that makes a great gift is Play-Doh.  The Shape and Learn Letters and Language set will help kids work on their fine motor skills and learn their ABCs all while having fun.  Or just go for a set of mixed Play-Doh for kids to knead as they wish.  

{ MORE: 30 Experience Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids }

Kid-Spa:  Does your child need a little pampering?  Bring the spa home with the Orbeez Foot Spa that will have your child living in the lap of kid-luxury.  Not her thing?  Check out the Orbeez Magic Chef Set that uses the same beads to allow your child to shape pretend food.   

Frozen:  Frozen is still all the rage, but your child’s doll collection may need some updating.  Check out this Elsa Play-a-Melody Gown that lets you hear the Let it Go melody on-demand.  Really, anything Frozen would be a hit for any fan of the movies.


Star Wars:  For Star Wars fans excited about the new movie, check out the new line of Star Wars figures, an amazing ForceLink BB8 playset or the Playskool Heroes version.  Anything Star Wars is a gift that most Dads would love to play with as well. 

Superheroes:  The Superheros your child grew up with may be little different than the ones you grew up with.  Check out the latest from Thor of Ragnarok like toddler-approved Hulk SmashFists or Thor’s Rumble Strike hammer.  Or, for a big impact check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Star Lord Helmet

Activity Mat:  Sometimes kids just need a little help to get started with imaginative play.  This Jumbo Roadway Activity Rug is just the thing for your little one to use for cars, trains, trucks, and dolls to explore their little city.  Plus, it's big enough for multiple children to use at once so it's great for siblings to use together or for playdates.  

Laser Tag:  One of the hottest toys this year is Laser X.  It's an at-home laser-tag experience that rivals that of a professional arena, all without leaving the house — or real lasers.  This set can be used inside or out and part of the beauty is that (with the optional tower) it can be played as a solo game up to an infinite number of players only limited by the number of guns you buy!  It's a great game that parents will enjoy as much as the kids.


Bean Bag Chair:  What is one thing every kid, and we do mean, every kid will love?  A bean bag chair that will grow with her for years to come.  The Nook Pebble Pouf is the perfect choice for any kid that needs a comfy place to sit or play — and what kid doesn't?  Even better it has a stain-resistant and washable cover and this bean bag can not just support an adult's weight comfortably but it looks stylish enough to fit into even the most grow-up decor.  

Custom Art: If you have a child who likes to color, check out the smART sketcher which can turn just about anything into a coloring page.  Use the app to take a photo of your child, the family dog, the front of your house, or anything you can think of and in seconds turn it into a projection your child can trace or color in just by putting a regular piece of paper under the projector.  The smART sketcher also comes with pre-loaded micro SD cards that are filled with a variety of activities including step-by-step drawings, learn-to-write letters and numbers, early spelling skills, and more.

Books!:  Books should be on every child's holiday list.  Check out tie-ins to popular movies like Ferdinand, a Roald Dahl sticker and activity book, She Persisted, a book about influential American Women, or the Little Excavator, for small truck-lovers everywhere.  

{ MORE: The Best Easter (and Beyond) Gift Ideas for Spring }

No matter what your children will unwrap this holiday season, be happy and have fun!

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The Ultimate Gift Guide for Your Toddler, Preschooler, or Little Kid

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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