Best Gifts for Preschoolers

Apartment Therapy Gift Guide 2012

We asked and you answered: what are the best gifts for preschoolers? Many reader suggestions for this age group were similar to gifts for toddlers including books, blocks, play kitchens and accessories, cars and trucks, trains, dolls and costumes. One of the major themes is gifts that encourage imaginative and pretend play.

1. Tool Kit (like Tool Belt & Accessories, $30.95, For Small Hands): It may be time to graduate from very basic tool toys to kid-safe versions of the real thing. There are many tools made in small sizes for kids and since their use should be supervised, it can be a nice bonding time with parents.

2. Marble Runs (like Quadrilla Twist and Rail Set, $150, Fat Brain Toys): Marble runs combine the skill of building with the fun of racing. Wooden ones are a wonderful investment, but plastic versions can offer more versatility. (We've been happy with one from Mindware.)

3. Museum Membership (shown: Bronx Zoo): Do you have great local museums for kids? Zoos, aquariums, art or children's museums? A membership is a great gift and if you can get there often, will save you money in the long run. This is a great gift for grandparents to consider giving (and enjoying with them when you visit).

4. Floor Puzzles (like Jungle Tower by Crocodile Creek, $15.30, Oompa): Preschoolers are ready for puzzles with more pieces, probably 24-48. Once they've done them a few times, see if a friend wants to trade for awhile.

5. Animal Figurines (like wooden animals from Holztiger or plastic animals from Schleich):

6. Playsilks (like 6 hand dyed playsilks, $42, Desert Dyeworks): Playsilks can be used in all kinds of imaginative ways: as costumes, doll hammocks, capes, forts, etc.

7. Cutting food (like Melissa and Doug Cutting Fruit Crate, $13.99, YoYo.com): Several parents mentioned how much their preschoolers enjoy cutting food toys. They employ motor skills and make nice play kitchen accessories.

8. Art and Craft Supplies (like Kid Made Modern Brush Set and Shimmer Shine Paints, $9 - 10, Target): It might be time to expand beyond washable markers. Preschoolers will enjoy higher quality supplies for their creative expression.

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Apartment Therapy Family Gift Guides 2012

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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