‘Tis the season to start thinking about presents for the kiddos. While I’m of the opinion that children don’t need an overwhelming amount of gifts, I also like choices! That’s why I compiled this list of the best gifts for preschoolers. Some are smaller items, with others as “big ticket” items. They can be given individually or put together in gift sets for the kiddos! Being the list-maker that I am, I even broke the gift suggestions down by category! 😉
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art themed gifts for preschoolers
Liquid watercolors, how I love thee! They’re amazing to paint with, and they’re perfect for dyeing unfinished wood. I adore Discount School Supply’s liquid watercolors, as well as Sargent’s. By far my favorite are these glitter liquid watercolors, though!
My preschool students are in love with our washable glitter paints right now. They have created murals, individual paintings, glitterific pumpkins, and so much more. And it’s only November! Glittery craft paint can also be found HERE and HERE.
These are fun to use when exploring pointillism, making dot name art, or anytime, really. They’ve been a staple in my classroom and home for years now. They can be found on Amazon, Discount School Supply, or at local craft stores.
Preschoolers love to create and glue with different materials. Not only is it engaging and creative, but it also works on fine motor skills. Some of the kids’ favorite collage materials include craft gems, googly eyes, foam stickers, construction paper, and pompoms.
There’s just something about creating art on a canvas that makes it “real” to the kiddos. Canvases can be found in black, white, thin, and traditional styles. I love that a variety of sizes are available, from 3×3 to 8×10 to 18×24 and beyond!
Having a place to create is essential for a preschool artist, even if it’s the kitchen table. If there’s room for it, though, an artist’s easel would be well-loved! There are also double-sided easels, four-sided easels, and wall easels for different families and classrooms.
I really need to buy stock in tape. It is a consistent “winner” when it comes to my students’ favorite art supplies! Tape can be used for resist projects, to add some flair when displaying art, and in the spotlight of a child’s artistic masterpiece. Some favorite tapes include colorful masking tape, washi tape, and patterned craft tape. If your artist is so inclined, a multi-tape dispenser would be a great addition too.
Play dough can be made at home with the kiddos, so assembling a play dough-making kit might be a great idea! There’s also the traditional PlayDoh, glitter dough, and basic play dough to purchase. Cookie cutters and play dough kits would be fun gifts to add alongside the play dough.
There are some wonderful art sets out there, filled with a little bit of everything little artists can use. Check out this drawing kit that comes in its own wooden case, a giant art jar filled with goodies, and a Spirograph set that I may or may not be coveting for myself. You could also create an art set on your own and fill it with items your artist adores!
Another staple in our art center is some variation on beads! Perler beads, classic pony beads, and even cut up straws are perfect for stringing and creating! Wooden beads and alphabet beads always seem to be a hit, too. Pair with some pipe cleaners or string for a homemade beading kit.
presents for the math-loving child
These colorful, stackable cubes are so versatile! My students use them to make patterns, measure things, work on counting, etc.
While dominoes are generally thought of as a game, they can easily be used for a variety of preschool math activities. We’ve used them for sorting, counting, subitizing, and addition activities in the past.
We always have pattern blocks in our math center! Kiddos can use them to sort by shape and color, to build with, and to create cool designs. There are beginner pattern block puzzles for kids just starting out, as well as a variety of pattern block cards with fun designs.
I have a recycled icing container full of dice in my classroom – no, I’m not kidding. Those dice get a lot of use! We use them to play dice games, for other subitizing activities, for silly games, etc. The kiddos even use them for made-up games that only they know the rules for! Nowadays, dice come in a zillion different connotations – traditional dice, colorful dice, large foam dice, wooden dice, shape dice, numeral dice, etc. You can even make your own special dice using small wooden cubes if your little mathematician would prefer that!
Ok, I admit the kids and I love a good geoboard. We’ve made our own using an old corkboard, and we’ve turned pumpkins and trees into unique geoboards too. If you go that route, you can make a geoboard kit using foam shapes, golf tees or pushpins, and rubber bands. There are also store-bought geoboards the kiddos love, of course – traditional single-sided, double-sided, clear, and colorful transparent geoboards.
Children who love measuring, pouring, and scooping would love a measuring set for Christmas! Traditional measuring cups and measuring spoons are an option, as are kid-oriented pour and measure sets. Other ideas to consider are measuring tapes, traditional sand timers, electronic timers, scales, and an all-in-one measurement set.
gifts for preschool scientists
Eye droppers can be used for science experiments, art, water play, and fine motor activities. Plus, the kids just love them. There are a few varieties to choose from – traditional eye droppers, squiggly droppers, and larger eye droppers.
When considering science gifts for preschoolers, you can’t go wrong with magnets! Magnet kits, horseshoe magnets, magnet wands, magnetic marbles, and magnetic discovery boards would definitely fit the bill.
I have a couple of small, homemade light boxes, and they are such fun! Perhaps your little scientist would enjoy making one herself? There are also store-bought options such as an LED light panel, table-top light table, or a stand-alone version.
I don’t have one permanently in the classroom, but a friend is letting us borrow one of hers for the month. The kids and I are excited to do so! In scoping them out, I’ve come across a starter microscope, as well as a child’s microscope kit, and a “talking” microscope.
Real life animals and plants encased in acrylic always go over well in my classroom science center! Butterflies, “scary” bugs, and under the sea sets are all fodder for little scientific minds.
Based on your child’s specific interests, you could put together your own science kit! If you’d rather purchase one outright, here are a few suggestions – “The Curious Kid’s Science Book” science kit, The Magic School Bus’ Chemistry Lab, and the Learning Resources’ Primary Science Lab Kit.
Don’t forget the science books! Go to the bookstore and pick out a few based on the topics your kiddo is interested in. A few to consider – National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of Why, The First Human Body Encyclopedia, and The Five Senses paperbacks.
Seriously awesome way for children to explore electricity! They’re available in different ability levels, but you know you’re child best. Look at the Snap Circuits, Jr. or the basic Snap Circuits Discovery Kit.
literacy-themed gifts for preschoolers
My preschool students loooooove to use magnetic letters! There are uppercase versions, as well as lowercase letters, wooden magnetic letters, and even huge magnetic letters to choose from.
Retelling stories, or making up stories, is more fun with finger puppets! They encourage language and fine motor skills in a very hands-on, fun way! Some suggestions – Goldilocks and the Three Bears puppets, The Three Little Pigs, and the “tell a story” glove with five sets of puppets.
White boards are super simple, but they act as a blank canvas for kids to write and create! Grab some plain white boards, lined white boards, or one with lines and room for a drawing. Don’t forget white board markers and erasers!
Journals can come in all shapes and sizes. Make your own using simple pocket folders and paper, or run by the bookstore and choose one that your child would love. There are design-your-own journals, embossed journals, and basic writing journals out there. All just waiting to hold stories and drawings!
I can’t forget puzzles when I’m talking about literacy gifts for preschoolers! Alphabet floor puzzles, book-themed puzzles, and wooden alphabet puzzles are always a hit with my pre-k students.
So Many Books
You just cannot go wrong with books as a present, in my opinion! Go out and find some books based on your child’s favorite stories! A few that my preschool students adore are While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat, What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story, and Sing and Dance in Your Polka Dot Pants.
Such a fun idea for a gift – magazines delivered to your home with your child’s name on them! Here are some possibilities for you to peruse – National Geographic’s Little Kids, Ranger Rick Jr., and Zooties.
ideas for the builders in your life
Magnetic tiles are amazing gifts for preschoolers who love to build in three dimensions! We have a few sets of Picasso Tiles, and I only have great things to say about them. Other possibilities include Magna-Tiles, MagFormers, and Magnetic Stick and Stack tiles.
I love to see children building with blocks that aren’t quite traditional! Here are some ideas to check out – KORXX cork blocks, WEDGITS, Four Elements building set, and CitiBlocs.
You could put together a design-it-yourself kit with cardboard tubes, tape, and such! On the store-bought front, here are some ideas – classic wooden set, colorful 100-piece set, and a Marble Run Coaster.
There are so many building sets out there! Take a look and choose what your kiddo might be the most interested in. Here are a few suggestions to start you off – the ZOOB building set, build-a-fort set, and the master carpenter project set.
pretend play gifts for preschoolers
Oh my word, but the cash register is almost always the store of the home center! It offers so many pretend play opportunities, and the kiddos just love pressing the buttons. You can find some choices here, here, and here.
There are so very many doll houses out there to choose from. Take a look at this deluxe wooden dollhouse, a fold-and-go dollhouse, and a “hi-rise” dollhouse. Don’t forget to consider a firehouse or a castle, too!
If you have room, a kitchen set up is perfect for preschoolers. You could make your own with wood or cardboard boxes, and there are a variety of store-bought options to choose from – deluxe play kitchen, uptown espresso kitchen, and walk-in kitchen and grill set.
Pretend Play Food
Use felt to make your child some pretend play food, if you’re into crafts. You can also take a look at what’s available in stores. Some of our favorite store-bought items are the sushi kit, cupcake stand and cupcakes, and slice and bake cookie set.
Dress Up Clothes
I like to pick up dress-up clothes right after Halloween for the best deals. Family members who can wield a sewing machine can even make their own versions. And there’s nothing like letting the kiddos have some of mom’s or dad’s clothes to dress in! In addition, there are so many costume ideas out there – career costumes, tutu collection, and an astronaut costume.
Puppets are a great way for children to tell stories and play pretend. You could assemble a make-it-yourself puppet kit with felt, googly eyes, markers, and brown bags. Otherwise, check out some of these fun puppets – animal puppets, farm animal puppets, and zoo puppets.
These are perfect gifts for preschoolers who like to emulate different jobs! A doctor/nurse’s kit comes in handy during pretend emergencies, and a tool kit helps fix things around the house.
People and Animals
Small people and animals are wonderful for pretend play, too. Children can create small worlds and tell all kinds of stories with them! Here are some to look into – wooden people, small insects, career people, and jungle animals.
Now that you’ve looked through this gigantic list of the BEST gifts for preschoolers, have I missed anything?
This gift guide is part of KC Edventure’s 75+ Gift Ideas for All Ages! Be sure to pop over there and check out the amazing ideas.