The focus is on preschoolers today…and what curious little creatures they are. With their imagination in full gear, 3-4 year olds are entering a peak period for pretend play. And they LOVE to learn and ask questions—about everything, so have fun educating them, encouraging self-expression and exploratory play with some of my picks below:
1 // The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost Their Name & The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home £19.99 each These beautifully written and totally unique personalised books make the perfect keepsake Christmas gifts for children of all ages. The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost Their Name takes children on a special adventure based on their name, for example, Harry has this book and he meets a Hippo, Aardvark, Robot, Rabbit and Yeti – each character he encounters along the way gives him a letter so that he is able to recall his name at the end. The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home takes children on a mystical adventure through outer space and all the way back home again…to their actual home. By inputting their address during the design process, the book uses Google Earth to generate and include a birds eye view of their home on the page and an illustrated sign with their road name on. Characters can be personalised in both books to look your child as well!
2 // Paw Patrol Treat Time Marshall £34.99 This little pup is ready for a Ruff-ruff Rescue! VTech presents Paw Patrol Treat Time Marshall, featuring the real voice of Marshall! Treat Time Marshall comes with 4 modes; Letter Treats, Learning Rescue, Search & Rescue and Music Time. Feed Marshall treats to learn colours, letters and phonics! That’s not all; Marshall teaches fun fire fighter facts, vocabulary, plays music and more! It’s perfect for kids like Riley and Harry, who are at preschool or reception year of school and learning phonics.
3 // Peppa Pig Party Time Race Game £9.99 Anyone that is a fan of Peppa Pig and familiar with the TV will enjoy playing this game, the aim of which is to be the first member of Peppa Pig’s family to arrive at Suzy Sheep’s house for her birthday party. It is recommended for children aged 4+ and i’d agree with this, although the instructions are pretty simple to follow so it could just as easily be used by younger children if they were being supervised/assisted by their parents. Players need to roll the dice and move around the game board, trying to avoid the ‘hazard’ spaces that will delay their journey. When you arrive at the party, you can only join in if you have the Invitation Card! It’s a fun and exciting game that is easy to learn and play and features a brightly coloured and entertaining game board that youngsters will enjoy interacting with.
4 // Paw Patrol Launch N’ Roll Lookout Tower Track Set £49.99 I am SO excited for the boys to open this up on Christmas morning. They are both massive fans of Paw Patrol and are going to love being able to re-create scenes from the tv show and build their own Adventure Bay with the Paw Patrol launch n’Roll Lookout Tower Track Set. It comes with 9 track pieces, 1 launching tower, 1 stop light and a fully functioning collapsible bridge. There is a button on the side of the bridge to collapse it and a separate lever the pups can use to fix it. Also included in the set is a Rubble dump truck racer, a Ryder racer, a Chase mini figure and a Zuma mini figure. Additional racers can be purchased separately and there is plenty of space for all at the Tower, which has 6 parking spaces. Once the pups spot an emergency from their Tower, kids can rotate and press the periscope to launch the Paw Patrol racers into action! They’re ready and waiting for a ruff-ruff rescue.
5 // Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar £49.99 I saw this in action recently at Dream Toys 2016 and knew instantly it had to be included in the Christmas Gift Guides as there is nothing else like it on the market. As well as encouraging your little one to experiment as they play, the Code-a-pillar will help them to develop skills like critical thinking, reasoning, discovery, memory, problem-solving and experimentation. Code-a-pillar inspires little learners to arrange and rearrange the easy-to-connect segments in multiple combinations, making Code-a-pillar go forward, left, right or wherever they choose. There’s no end to the combinations your little one can make!
6 // Leapfrog Count Along Till £19.99 Little shoppers will have bags of fun with this till which is designed to encourage them to practise their counting skills as well as being perfect for role play fun. It features real scanning sounds, a light up face, shopping and counting songs and 8 yummy pretend food items that correspond with buttons on the till’s touch screen. If little ones press the number buttons 1-10, the till will say the numbers and sing a counting song. They can even swipe items across the scanner, then push the total button to hear how many of the 10 count-along coins to insert.
7 // Bob the Builder 4-in-1 Shaped Puzzles £9.99 There are four brightly coloured Bob the Builder shaped jigsaw puzzles for preschoolers to enjoy piecing together inside this easy to carry storage suitcase box. Each jigsaw puzzle is shaped around the picture of the characters and popular construction vehicles – including Bob, Scoop and Muck – to make puzzling more fun and interactive for them. Inside the box there is an 8, 10, 12 and 14 piece jigsaw puzzle and they have all been produced using a high-quality cardboard to ensure that they last as long as possible without showing signs of wear and tear.
8 // Baby Annabel Interactive Doll £49.99 So cute and weighted just like a real baby, Baby Annabell is the perfect doll for all mini mummy and daddies. With incredibly lifelike functions, Baby Annabell sleeps, drinks, cries and sucks her bottle – just like a real baby. She now has a wetting function too so little ones can sit her on the potty when it’s time for her to wee or be ready to change her nappy! She’d make the perfect Christmas gift for any doting children and even those that may be expecting their first sibling.
9 // Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set £14.99 & Leapfrog Fridge Magnetic Numbers Set £14.99 We bought Riley the Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set for his birthday and it’s been such a useful tool. It’s literally bought phonics to life and made the whole learning process much more interactive and fun for him. It features 26 singing and talking letters to reinforce alphabet knowledge and helps children recognise letters and the sounds they make. When a letter tile is placed in the bus window and pressed, Tad will sing a song about the letter’s name and sound. Press it twice and Tad will say a word that begins with the letter, and then use the word in a sentence. There’s also a music note to move and 3 sing-along learning songs, including the ‘Alphabet Song’ and ‘Wheels on the Bus’. The Leapfrog Fridge Magnetic Numbers Set works in an identical way, only it uses 10 food tiles and 10 matching number tiles for children to help Scout get ready for his picnic. It’s great for teaching numbers, colours, counting and matching skills through talking and fun sing-along songs. Plus the magnetic letter tiles have been specially designed for little hands, so they are easy to handle and help strengthen motor and coordination skills.
10 //Mr Tumble’s Fun Sounds Musical Car £29.99 Mr Tumble’s Fun Sounds Musical Car has over 7 exciting features for little ones to play with. Push the bright and colourful car along to hear engine sounds, press the big red nose to make it flash and watch the car as it wobbles along. With a Mr Tumble character figurine who fits into the driver’s seat, songs from the show, and amusing phrases from your 3 favourite characters; Grandad Tumble, Aunt Polly and Mr Tumble himself – children will have hours of enjoyment! Also includes 4 Makaton word cards for kids to learn.
11 // Hape Discovery Spaceship £104.99 & Hape UFO £19.99 I’ve actually bought this for the boys’ for Christmas and it has to be one of the most impressive wooden playsets i’ve seen in a long time. The 3 main panels of the spaceship have highly detailed graphics on both sides to resemble the interior of a real spaceship and it comes jam-packed with accessories so that budding astronauts can live out their space fantasies. Not only can the top section of the spaceship be removed and converted to a rocket module, but it even has a working lift! This Discovery Spaceship from Hape is guaranteed to put smiles on little faces on Christmas morning. Also from Hape is the UFO Playset, which works in perfect harmony with the Spaceship and features a colourfully painted UFO with a drop-down panel that transforms into a staircase, a removable command centre console and a very friendly alien.
12 // LeapFrog Leaping Letters £14.99 Leaping Letters is a really fun way to teach children the alphabet and also helps to build matching and fine motor skills. Kids race against the clock to put all the letter pieces in their spots before time runs out and they all go POP. An adjustable timer allows all ages to get in on the fun and you can change up the level of difficulty easily with colour-coded letter pieces that let kids progress to using all 26 letters of the alphabet. When they’re ready, they can advance on to word building and start forming words with add-on activity cards that make beating the clock an exciting challenge. Leaping Letters is the perfect educational toy to keep little fingers busy and comes with everything kids need to match letters, explore the alphabet and build fine motor skills.