I have had several people ask about Christmas gift ideas, so I thought I would create a post to share with all of you some of our “best hits”.
- Haba – My First Orchard
My husband and I love board games. Orchard was one of Sweet Pea’s first games. It is better than Candyland, but is still easy enough to be played by preschoolers.
- Gamewright Hisss Card Game
Another fun one is Hiss, which is very simple and involves matching up the correct colors to build a snake.
- Thomas And Friends Wooden Railway – Water Tower Figure 8 Set
The all time best toy we have ever given to Sweet Pea is a Thomas the Train Wooden Railway set. She still plays with it almost every day. We bought Sweet Pea this Figure 8 Set over 2 years ago and then slowly expanded our collection with gifts from relatives and via Craig’s List. I strongly prefer the “Wooden Railway” pieces over the other sets.
- Thomas And Friends Wooden Railway – Wooden Playtable and Island Adventure Playboard
If you have a train set, I recommend also getting a sturdy train table. Originally I made the mistake of thinking that she could just play on the floor, but that didn’t work very well. The pieces ended up all over the place and Sweet Pea often would want to leave her track set up just when I was ready to pick up. We bought an old train table from Craig’s list, but this official “Thomas” one has great reviews. Note that you have to buy the table and the play board separately.
- Little Adventures Cinderella Princess Dress Up Costume and a Fullness Slip for Little Dress Up Shop Dresses
Sweet Pea received a Little Adventures Cinderella Dress (along with this half slip to add “pouf” to the dress) from Santa last year and still puts it on almost weekly. We have been very happy with it and it has held up much better than many of her other dress up clothes.
- Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Costume Set
We also have a pretend doctor kit, which has been fantastic for Sweet Pea. I can’t locate the exact one we bought anymore, but the best part of it the white doctor coat. A lot of the kits just seem to have a box of plastic instruments, but Sweet Pea really likes to dress up in the coat. This Melissa and Doug version got good reviews, although it isn’t the one that we have.
- Play Kitchen
Sweet Pea _loves_ her play kitchen. She’s had it since she turned 3 and still plays with it constantly. The problem with play kitchens is that they take up a lot of room. I saw this one that folds away, which might be nice. I also couldn’t find the exact playset that we have so I just linked to a highly rated one, but I think almost any pretend kitchen would do the job.
- Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart and Pretend Food Basket
In addition to a play kitchen, Sweet Pea has a shopping cart and a basket of pretend food that she loves. She often goes shopping and then uses the pretend food to cook in her kitchen.
- Crayola 25-count Washable Glitter Glue
Glitter glue is probably Sweet Pea’s all time favorite crafting material. The Crayola glitter glue is much less messy than regular glitter, but is still sparkly and exciting.
- AquaDoodle Mat
Sweet Pea has spent hours drawing on an AquaDoodle Mat. It allows her to draw on a really big space and I love that there is no mess because the “ink” is just water. Ours was 2nd hand, but just FYI when I was searching for a link to these, I noticed that they were crazy expensive on amazon.com ($37.99!) as compared to Toys R Us ($22.99).
- Wii Console with Mario Kart Wii Bundle – White
Sweet Pea has been playing our Wii for years. It is a great “active” video game system for kids. Sweet Pea loves playing Mario Cart with the rest of the family and can even navigate and play WiiFit totally on her own. Now I wouldn’t buy this just for a preschooler, but it would make a great gift for the whole family.
- Nintendo 3DS – Cosmo Black and Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever and New Friends
Sweet Pea loves playing Nintendogs. I carry my Nintendo DS around in my purse and pull it out for her whenever we have an unexpected delay. It is fantastic in waiting rooms and at slow restaurants. Our Nintendo DS is very old (it was mine before she was even born) so I linked to the updated Nintendo 3DS versions.
- Vtech Kidizoom Plus Digital Camera
We bought this Vtech Kidzoom Digital Camera for Sweet Pea last Christmas and she has used it all year. She often runs and grabs it to take pictures. My only complaint is that the pictures are a little blurry, although before we bought this one, I did a lot of research and it seems that was a common complaint with all of the kid cameras.
- Gerty Balls Nobbie Football
This is the best “easy to catch” ball I’ve ever found. It’s soft, squishy and easy to hold. Great for toddlers.
- Strider PREbike Balance Running Bike
Sweet Pea got a Strider Running Bike from Santa when she was 2 and has used the heck out of it. She has used it for over 2 years and is just now getting too big for it (and she is very tall for her age). The reason I like it so much is because we take so many family walks and when Sweet Pea rides, she can keep up with us and doesn’t get too tired. I would highly recommend it for 2 or 3 year old tots, but I am fairly sure Sweet Pea will be too big for it by the time she turns 5 next spring.