Cheap Christmas Gifts
Keep Preschoolers Happy
When one of my daughters was two, another young mother and I took our preschoolers to a local toy store in early November. We set the kids on the floor with a selection of the sample toys, stood back and watched them play. All the toys that the kids pushed aside, we set back on the shelves. All the toys that we thought would drive us crazy got put back on the shelves as well. Once we had narrowed it down to about half a dozen toys that really interested the kids, we purchased them. However, we both gave our children one very cheap toy right away. The other toys were hidden in a closet for Christmas morning. Since they were so young, the children didn't seem to remember that they were with us when we purchased the gifts. Instead, they were as delighted as if they had never laid eyes on the toys before. They loved their new presents, and we loved knowing that these were toys they would actually enjoy ... at least for a little while.
Today, it is not as practical for you to let your children try out the toys before you buy them. Many stores don't have floor samples for your children to play with. In addition, often parents decide to buy gifts from a catalogue or over the internet, so it's not possible for them to watch how the kids interact with the toys in advance. As a result, we have to rely solely on what we know about our own children, and the advice of experts.
In addition, there are fewer toy stores than there used to be, which makes it even harder to try the toys out. Websites like Amazon print reviews of all their merchandise. In this way, you can sit at home and see what other parents thought about each toy you are considering.
If you want to check out the inexpensive toys on Amazon, most of which sell for under $20, use this quick link:
One huge help over the past few decades has also been the labeling on the toys. Today, you can find toys that have been marked with the correct age group so you know in advance if this toy will be appropriate for your child. Listed below are some toys and games that delight many children ages 3 – 5. I have put the exact titles in "Quotation Marks" so that you know precisely the words to use to search for them on Amazon or other toy websites. You'll also have the exact name if you go into your favorite local toy store. Of course, you know your child best, so choose gifts that are not only age appropriate, but will also excite him or her.
Alex Toys Craft Kits for Preschoolers
Alex Toys makes a variety of kits for preschoolers. In fact, some of the kits even include the term "Little Hands" in their name. These are delightful craft kits that would be appropriate for the child who likes to sit and create their own puppets, dolls and bugs out of "found" items. Among the many kits that Alex Toys offer are "Paper Plate Bugs," "Ready, Set, School Activity Box," "Paper Bag Puppets," "Crafty Fashion Show, Little Hands Art Series, and the "Alex Toys My Giant Busy Box." These craft kits do contain some small parts that could present a choking hazard for toddlers. Therefore, only purchase them for children ages 3 and older. You can also simply buy your child a Crayola water color set and some water color paper. They won't know that you only spend a couple of dollars, and they'll have a great time!
Dress Up Clothes for Preschoolers
Both boys and girls love to play dress-up. They can have a great time with some of your husband's old shirts, ties and hats. However, sometimes they want to have clothes that are geared to them. Here are some fun ways to let them indulge their imagination and creativity: "DC Comics Boys Trio Action Set Dress Up Trunk," with Batman, Robin and Superman costumes; "Ultimate Boys Costume Role Play Dressup Hat and Accessory Trunk" that includes hats for firemen, pirates, cowboys, wizards and more; "Aeromax Jr. Astronaut Suit with Embroidered Cap," for the future astronaut in your family; "Girls Princess Wonderland Dress up Chest – With Everything You Need to Create Three Beautiful Outfits"; and the "Girls Basic Ballerina Tutu Ballet Dress-up 2 layer Tutus." Watch your children transform themselves every morning into a new superhero or princess. You can also buy child size clothing that matches what you wear. If you put on an apron to cook, get them one, too. Along with these kits, you can indulge their enjoyment of their favorite characters with pajamas, books and dolls. These costumes and toys can keep little ones busy for hours. One bit of warning, however: Some kids will love these costumes so much they'll want to wear them everywhere. Most of the time, preschoolers can wear what they want wherever they want, so reduce the fights by letting them wear their costumes to the store or friend's houses!
Games for Preschoolers
Little kids love to play games with their parents and their older brothers and sisters. However, many of the games that are designed for older family members either bore or frustrate them, since they don't know how to read or handle money, yet. Here are a few games that the whole family can enjoy: "The Ladybug Game," "University Games Super Why ABC Letter Preschool Game," "Sequence for Kids," "Hi Ho Cherry-O," "Gamewright Hisss Card Game," and the long-time family favorite, "Candyland." Nothing delights a young child more than having their family gathered around the table playing a game that they can enjoy, too.
Puzzles for Preschoolers
Preschool is often the time when children are developing their manual dexterity and thinking skills. One way they can do this is by putting together puzzles. Puzzles are something that many kids will enjoy doing over and over. At first, they'll enjoy the help and attention that comes when a parent or older sibling helps them put the puzzle together. Eventually, however, they'll want to take over and do it all themselves. These puzzles are designed to help your child achieve success. Puzzles are also a great way to teach children about the states, and the world, as well as about animals, patterns, the human body and numbers. Montessori preschools, and other educational oriented preschools, often include puzzles as an important part of their curriculum. Here are some puzzles your preschooler might enjoy: "Melissa & Doug Alphabet Train Floor Puzzle," "Melissa & Doug Deluxe Zoo in a Box Jigsaw Puzzles," "Melissa & Doug Pattern Block and Board," and the "Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle." There are literally hundreds, or thousands, of other puzzles to choose from. Just read the label on the box carefully, so you don't accidentally frustrate your child with a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the sky!
If you are looking for other articles about activities and products for preschoolers, you may also be interested in reading:
A Cheap Way for Your Child to Have Fun with the ABC's
Amazon Price: $22.00 $12.19 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 11, 2014)
Kids Love all the LeapFrog Toys
Amazon Price: $21.99 $10.36 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 11, 2014)