Edutaining Kids .COM                        2009 Holiday Gift Guides for Kids
Guide to Children's Products for Fun & Learning

 

   Gift Guide: Preschoolers 2014

 

Preschoolers can be the easiest people to shop for—they are wide-eyed and enthusiastic about almost any new toy they unwrap. But if parents want that initial excitement to last beyond Christmas morning, it is wise to shop around. When it comes to toys and software, any parent will agree that there are wiser choices than others--toys that entertain and educate at the same time are ideal. Often, though, some of the best gifts are toys that inspire imagination and encourage discovery. So, while electronic teaching aids can be fantastic, tubs of paints and wooden blocks are priceless.

 

Top Gifts
for Preschoolers

10+ TOP PICKS

2014 EDITION



1

 

Leap Frog's LeapPad Ultra

Tablets are where it's at for portable fun and learning. This very kid-friendly tablet is specifically designed for young children and is filled with fun and truly educational (or edutaining) activities. The LeapPad Ultra Kids Tablet is currently available in green or pink. It's tough, the apps are strong and appealing, kids love the camera and video options, and it includes a kid-safe internet browsing experience.

The only real problem with this choice is that additional apps/software for the unit are necessary for full enjoyment of the tablet, as users cannot access non-LeapFrog apps such as Google Play, and they are quite expensive. A regular tablet will be desired once the LeapPad Ultra has outgrown its appeal, and this has to be considered as well (some parents would prefer to skip right to a "real" tablet instead). If you can afford it, however, you will likely be happy with your choice. A regular tablet will be desired down the road, but this one is quite perfect for the younger set. For more reviews, information, or to buy: LeapPad Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition

We love this tablet. The Galaxy Tab 3 can be run in standard mode, and it's the same Galaxy Tab 3 that adults use. In kid mode, there are nice parental controls and preloaded kid-friendly apps with the option to acquire more. You can load up this tablet with apps from Google Play, for example, or the Samsung Kids Store.  It's fun right out of the box. We love the carry handle that turns into a tablet stand and stylus version, although the other version with the orange bumper is good as well. For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition (7-Inch with Carrying Case and Stylus) or Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition (7-Inch with Orange Bumper Case)


 LeapFrog Scribble and Write

Kids learn to draw shapes, objects and letters and are guided step-by-step through the process with this great toy that is both fun and educational. Kids use a stylus to trace letters and objects on screen. The feedback is encouraging, and if kids are not satisfied with what they've drawn, or if they're done, they can use the slider to erase it and start over. Kids are taught how to draw letters properly, which is a bonus.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog Scribble and Write at Amazon.com]

 

Fisher Price iXL  6-in-1 Learning System

Kids will love this nifty learning gadget that acts as a game player, digital book reader, mp3 player, art book, notepad, and photo viewer. Books can be set to be read aloud or kids can interact with them. The system comes loaded with assorted games and books to start, but add-ons are, of course, available, and the price of these should be factored into your purchase decision, as most kids will want more from the device. Kid testers were especially thrilled with the art program that functions much like a basic paint software program. In the note book, kids trace letters (upper- and lowercase) and numbers. Parents can help kids load their own music and photos for a personal touch.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System (Pink) or Fisher-Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System (Blue) at Amazon.com]

 

 LeapFrog Text and Learn

Preschoolers will love this Blackberry lookalike! They'll feel grown up while engaged in fun learning activities about letters and numbers or even when texting their My Pal Scout (sold separately as a standalone toy. See below). Kids learn about letters and letter sounds, explore the QWERTY keyboard and roleplay. Note that kids who have already been exposed to fancier graphics through video games and portables might not find the basic screen images comparatively appealing. However, this is an affordable toy that most young kids will enjoy.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog Text and Learn at Amazon.com]

My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet by LeapFrog 

What toddler wouldn't like a customizable puppy friend who actually says his/her name? Young children will adore their little "pals" that say their name, whether it's the endearing green Scout or the popular purple Violet plush dog friend. Both pals are interactive and very customizable via the Internet, so yes, you will need an internet connection in order to have the little plushie say your child's name and present learning songs, sounds, and activities that you think most appropriate and fun--although the toy comes preloaded with a handful of such tunes and activities. In order to download content from the Internet, the toy can be connected to your computer via a USB cord, which is thankfully included in the package! If your child has an uncommon name, it may not be in the database, even though it's quite extensive. If this is the case, there are a number of common nicknames to choose from. Parents can also customize the toy according to favorite colors, foods, and more. Very cute--and quite inexpensive for what you get!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog Text and Learn and/or LeapFrog My Pal Scout or LeapFrog My Pal Violet at Amazon.com]

 

2Sing-A-Ma-Jigs

These critters are sure to keep your preschooler entertained!
Sing-A-Ma-Jigs sing in their own language, and when in groups, harmonize with one another. The dolls themselves are colorful and pleasing to the eye, and each different doll is original with different shapes, colors and even singing pitch! These dolls are sure to make anyone -- of any age -- smile.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price The Sing-A-Ma-Jigs - Yellow or All Sing-A-Ma-Jigs Toys at Amazon.com]

 

Caring Corners Mrs. GoodBee Interactive Dollhouse

A dollhouse that teaches good habits, manners, and responsibility? Yes, the Caring Corners Interactive Dollhouse (Mrs. Goodbee) does just that. Encouraging, thoughtfully designed, and loaded with replay value, this dollhouse is the one our kid testers returned to time and time again. Twelve rooms with delightful little features are featured.

Kids need only ring the dollhouse's doorbell and Mrs. Goodbee welcomes them warmly, and then guides them with helpful instructions and practical tips. She reminds them that brushing their teeth is important, and that it's nice to say "please" and "thank you", for example!

The doll house folds open and closed for expanded play and easy storage. Very well done!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Caring Corners - Mrs. Goodbee Interactive Dollhouse at Amazon.com]

 

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

This incredible railway and train set will be sure to provide hours of entertainment! Train sets are a classic, and continue to be extremely entertaining to this day even with a lack of flashy gadgets and electronics that often populate toys today. Our child reviewers returned to this set numerous times and always were able to find new ways to enjoy it. Melissa & Doug's version is very customizable, with a lot of available expansions and accessories that ensure to keep things interesting. The set is very sturdy, and is a great quality toy overall that will last for years upon years, which is perfect to re-use with any future children or to pass on to friends or family.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set at Amazon.com]

 

 

3

 

Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera

The Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera (Blue) and the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera (Pink) look like toy cameras, but are real digital cameras encased in truly "kid tough" material. This is our pick for the youngest of digital camera users simply because it's tough enough to be trusted with preschoolers. The quality of pictures is low, no doubt, but children so young really are not concerned at all about the quality of pictures. Its attractive features do not include picture quality--they include durability and ease of use. This digital camera makes a good introduction to the fun and learning of photography. It has a 1.3" color LCD preview screen and kids get instant gratification when they view the pictures they have just shot. Deleting the pictures that didn't turn out well is easy. Also unique is the camera's two-eye viewing feature, which makes taking pictures sort of like looking through binoculars. that makes looking through the viewfinder a breeze. It has only 8 MB of built-in memory for up to 50 pictures, but there's an SD card slot for expanded storage capacity. The USB cord for connecting to the computer is included, as well as software that does the job of transferring. Note that for older kids who can be trusted to handle a camera with relative care, we recommend a "regular" digital camera for the same price. See our Digital Cameras for Kids guide.

 

Kidizoom Camera Connect by Vtech  Although this camera boasts video and sound, its image quality is poor. Its 1.8" LCD screen is acceptable, and a tad larger than the one on the Kid Tough camera, but still not great for little eyes. However, this camera comes with a wide variety of fun features that are sure to continuously entertain your preschooler, such as fun photo and voice changing effects . It also has a large internal memory storage that allows many photos to be saved on the camera at once, which is a definite plus. For more information, user reviews or to buy: VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect Because lower-end adult digital cameras are really quite inexpensive these days, we recommend getting one of those for kids approximately ages 6 and up, depending on the maturity of the child and the care with which he or she handles the camera.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect (Blue), VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect (Pink), VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect (Orange) at Amazon.com]


Little People A to Z Learning Zoo

The chunky Little People from Fisher Price have been treasured by many young preschoolers for years. The Little People toy sets haven't "needed" funky electronics to attract children to them. Still, the electronic interaction of the Little People A to Z Learning Zoo is an added bonus, especially since this interaction gets children interested in learning their ABCs through animal sounds. This playset includes a Little People zookeeper, 26 animals with names from A to Z, and zoo items that kids can place them on, such as a waterfall, tree with swing, and a car. Kids can store their big collection of chunky animals in the included storage bag. Cute!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Little People: A to Z Learning Zoo at Amazon.com]

 


UNO MOO

It's UNO but easier enough for preschoolers to understand. UNO MOO helps kids learn their animals and colors, not to mention strategy and turn taking skills.

The animals and farmer in this set are appealingly chunky and colorful. Kids love them.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: UNO MOO Preschool Game at Amazon.com]

4
Lite Brite Four Share Cube 

The classic Lite Brite toy was updated, now in the shape of a cube and featuring four surfaces on which to place colorful pegs which light up and glow with the press of a button! A storage unit included makes clean up easy. The extra surfaces not only make it a fun toy to share with friends and siblings, it is great for solitary play too. Furthermore, kids can keep their work-in-progress, move onto another creation, and return to a previous surface! 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Lite Brite Four Share Cube at Amazon.com]

 

Leapfrog - My Own Leaptop

This very affordable and educational "Leaptop" allows your child to mimic having their own laptop, while teaching important skill sets through fun learning activities. This easily portable system is a fun way for a preschooler to practice their alphabet with learning activities that use the full keyboard provided in the system, and encourages growth in their vocabulary through games and song. This fun system even allows your child to send and receive "e-mails" and messages from LeapFrog's My Pal Scout, mentioned earlier in this article. Unfortunately, the screen can be quite dark, which can make it hard for children to easily see the screen when they are not in bright rooms. Overall, this system is long-lasting entertainment that allows your child to feel grown-up while still providing important learning opportunities. A must buy.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog My Own Leaptop, and/or LeapFrog My Pal Scout or LeapFrog My Pal Violet at Amazon.com]

 

Leapfrog ClickStart My First Computer

The Clickstart My First Computer system by LeapFrog is a fabulous new electronic system for preschoolers designed to mimic using a computer (desktop or laptop) via the toy itself and a television screen.

The system includes a colorful keyboard (qwerty) and mouse with a tray for the mouse (this mouse pad can be fitted on the left or right). Hooked up to the television (required) and the TV becomes a monitor. Games for the system, designed for preschoolers, are sold separately. The unit itself does come with learning games, but families will want to expand their software collection for the system, and the price of that software should be factored into any decision to buy.

The keyboard is wireless! The unit itself is lightweight. These factors add much to the system's portability as well as a sense of order in the household--it's uncluttered without the wires and doesn't hog space in the TV area. The games offer hints and clues if children need them. The manufacturer's age recommendation is 3-6, but we feel 5-6 year olds, while they might like to play at first, will not find much challenge in the current selection of learning games. As such, we recommend this for 3-4 year olds, and some ages 2+ savvy kids with supervision. We love the system! The only real down side is its need for batteries (4 AA batteries and 4 C batteries), and consumption can be quite high. (An AC Adapter for the unit is available and sold separately--it's too bad they didn't include the adapter with the product.)

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog ClickStart My First Computer at Amazon.com]


5 Breakfast Menu
 

Children love play food, and they're attracted to wooden toys like bees to honey. This adorable, solid playset by Plan Toy features a breakfast in bed theme complete with a serving tray and breakfast food items, as well as the very popular salt and pepper shakers! Kids can serve you breakfast in bed, so to speak, without having to bake a thing!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Plan Toy Breakfast Menu at Amazon.com]

 

Cutting Food Box 

How about "slice-able" cucumbers, bread, and more? This set features wooden play food, and each food item contains slices that connect together with Velcro. When kids use the included wooden play knives to slice their food, it makes a very satisfying "crunch". Kids can assemble sandwiches with the set, and when they're done playing, all the pieces fit back into the wooden box, and a slide-on lid keeps the set neat and easy to store.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Cutting Food Box at Amazon.com]

 

 

Counting Fun Fruit Bowl (by Learning Resources)

We love simple toys that reinforce basic concepts in a visual and hands-on manner. This fruit toy does just that. Each piece of plastic fruit is divided into numbered sections and can be assembled (and taken apart) easily either by magnets or friction fitting. Kids learn basic counting, but they are also laying the foundation for understanding the concept of fractions. Another true bonus is that healthy foods are featured, reinforcing the fact that fruits are treats! Excellent.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Learning Resources Counting Fun Fruit Bowl at Amazon.com]

 


6 KidKraft Savannah Dollhouse

This dollhouse will hold its appeal longer than most dollhouses, simply because it is designed to accommodate 12" fashion dolls (Barbies, My Scenes, High School Musical, and the like), so that it grows with a young child. Besides the glamorous pink decor, there are some light-up features that kids adore. The dollhouse comes with some wood furniture, and the walls are detailed backdrops. The dollhouse is tall, sturdy, and looks fabulous -- it would make quite a statement under the tree!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Savannah Dollhouse at Amazon.com] 

 


7

Fun Explorers Rocket Ship by KidKraft

How fun is a multi-level rocket ship play house? This one will set children's imaginations on fire! It comes with a working elevator and a number of important figurines, such as astronauts, space vehicles, aliens, and more. Very cute!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Kidkraft Fun Explorers Rocket Ship Set at Amazon.com]   

 

Chalet Dollhouse by Plan Toys

This absolutely gorgeous wooden Chalet Dollhouse, by Plan Toys (a division of Brio), is a treasure for any young preschooler. It includes two parts, one with three levels, the other with two levels, and kids can arrange it to their liking, creating many play opportunities. The package includes some furniture and accessories, but do note that the family figurines are not included, and many kids will want to buy more furniture for the dollhouse. Parents should factor in the cost of these extras. The Doll House is solid and durable and is beautifully constructed. Best of all, it's gender neutral, so that little boys can enjoy it as well. Preschoolers will be proud!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Plan Toy Chalet Doll House with Furniture at Amazon.com]   

 

8

LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics

This is an electronic toy that is effective, attractive, and affordable. This excellent and educational toy "factory" allows children to practice the alphabet through song and play. It comes with all 26 letters of the alphabet, as well as a little electronic unit that speaks and plays music. Children place any magnetic letter onto the unit (the reader) and the letter is recognized and named, along with a fun little song that reinforces the letter's name and phonics sound! This set is simple, appealing, and rather easy on the pocketbook. As children grow, of course, parents can help children put letters together to form small words. Highly recommended.  

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics at Amazon.com]


9

Bunny Hop Memory game

Children need to use their brains in order to catch the bunnies in the carrot patch. Kids need to collect at least one bunny from each color category in order to win the game. Preschoolers love to see the bunnies hopping out of the patch, and parents enjoy the fact that no batteries are required!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Bunny Hop at Amazon] 



10 ABC Puzzle: Upper & Lower Case

There's something satisfying about wooden puzzles. With the ABC Puzzle: Upper & Lower Case, kids refine motor skills as they learn the alphabet. While there are plenty of alphabet puzzles on the market, this one is especially educational. It features letter pairs--both upper and lower case wooden letters--that fit into the puzzle tray. As well, this puzzle is of the "see-inside" variety. Pictures of objects that start with a letter makes it easy for caregivers to reinforce letter sounds with little learners. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy ABC Puzzle: Upper & Lower Case at Amazon.com for approximately $15 US] 

 


More Outstanding Choices:

 

Baby Alive!

Very attractive for many preschoolers, Baby Alive speaks, eats, and wets diapers. As long as you're prepared for the mess (and for some, the diapers may be considered wasteful), the doll is highly entertaining for many children who like to care for "their baby". One of our kid testers (now 4 years old) has had the doll for six months and still sleeps with her every night. This can be a "hit or miss" toy, which is something you might want to keep in mind. When kids like it, they can't get enough of it, but not all are interested.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Baby Alive Real Surprises Baby Doll or all Baby Alive products ]

 
See and Spell

Kids spell 3- and 4-letter words by placing colorful wooden letters into the precut letter boards. It's simple, but absorbing for little ones. And, of course, it helps kids learn that words are useful and fun.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Melissa and Doug See & Spell.]

 

 

Zhu Zhu Pets

Zhu Zhu Pets are all the rage. They squeak, they scoot about, and they chatter their way into little kids' hearts. While they are sure to please little fans, long-term play value is questionable. Also note that due to short supply, while they retail for about $10, they are often going for much more than that. Buy at Amazon: All Zhu Zhu Pets products

 

Fisher Price Smart Cycle (Arcade Learning System)

For kids who are attracted to arcade-style games on the television, this unit takes care of some of the concerns parents have for their kids' lack of physical activity when they're playing electronic games. Kids pedal their way through games with this cycle (a stationary bike) that attaches to the TV's A/V jack. Although we love this unit, we tend to recommend the Nintendo Wii more for active participation in video games, as well as greater long-term benefit, if you can get your hands on one and are prepared to spend more money.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price Smart Cycle at Amazon.com]

 

Leapster L-Max

The Leapster L-Max is a handheld portable unit that mimics Nintendo's GameBoy, but with important differences that make it not only more kid-frienll. The comparatively large screen is also a touch screen, and kids interact with the games by using a directional pad and an attached stylus. Game cartridges, available separately, offer children "edutaining" games that support learning. What's the main difference between the Leapster and the Leapster L-Max? Besides a slightly less bulky unit, the L-Max can be played as a portable or can be plugged into the TV and played on both the little and "big" screens. The unit is backwards compatible -- the original Leapster game cartridges can be played on the new unit. Most of the original games play on both the portable and TV screens, while some only play on the handheld. The Leapster L-Max is now available in pink as well as the standard silver. Read our full review of the L-Max here.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Leapster L-Max Handheld at Amazon.com]

V.Smile Cyber Pocket Learning System

A similar portable handheld game unit is found in the V.Smile Cyber Pocket by Vtech. This unit can also be played through the television, and in fact, children can change from playing through the TV to playing through the handheld mid-game without skipping a beat. The games created for the V.Smile Pocket, called Smartridges, are educational learning adventures. With a flick of a switch, the unit can be customized for left- or right-handed players. Happily for owners of the V.Smile TV Learning System, Smartridges are compatible with both the handheld and the television systems. Smartridges each feature an adventure-style game as well as a handful of Learning Zone games that can be played independently of the adventure. The V.Smile now even includes a touch sensitive writing pad which adds an extra spark to the games and helps children practice their writing skills. The age ranges for the Smartridges are Ages 3-5, Ages 4-6, and Ages 6-8. The titles include such favorite characters as Blue's Clues, The Backyardigans, Scooby Doo, Spongebob SquarePants, Shrek, Dora the Explorer, Lil' Bratz, and a whole lot more. A pink version is also available. Unlike the Leapster L-Max, the LCD screen is not touch-sensitive.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: VTECH V.SMILE Cyber Pocket (Grey/Chrome & Blue Velvet Color Version) or VTech - V.Smile Cyber Pocket - Pink at Amazon.com]

V Smile

The concept is excellent: the V.Smile is an electronic learning system designed for children too young for traditional video games. The colorful unit plugs into the TV and accepts software in the form of cartridges (called Smartridges). Children use the unit's large, kid-friendly joystick to interact with the software. Parents of young children, especially those with older siblings, know that their preschoolers are itching to play video games like the "big kids". The V Smile offers games that truly play like video games, but feature a distinct educational component at the same time. The unit comes with one software title, a Smartridge called Alphabet Park Adventure. Additional Smartridges, many of which feature popular licensed characters such as Winnie the Pooh and Scooby Doo, are sold separately. This makes an exciting gift.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: V.Smile VTech - V.Motion Active Learning System at Amazon.com]

 


coverRalph's World CDs & Video/DVD

Kids just love the three recordings in the Ralph's World line of children's music. And adults adore them too! The result? Great family listening. All three albums make great purchases. The first title, simply called Ralph's World, is a fun place to start. The lyrics and delivery are fresh, fun, and enormously appealing. Now available is a video and DVD, Ralph's World: Say Hello, that features fun skits for each of sixteen songs, culled from the three albums. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: All Around Ralph's World, Ralph's World At the Bottom of the Sea, or Happy Lemons. Also available, Ralph's World: Say Hello (VHS) and Ralph's World - Say Hello! (DVD).]

 

 

Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls & Cabbage Patch Kids Babies

A blast from the past! The original Cabbage Patch doll frenzy occurred in the early 1980's. Many parents of today's children took part in the thrill of the dolls: each doll is entirely unique and comes with adoption papers that include a name and a birthdate. Kids loved them then, and they love them today. Many parents will be happy to know that today's Cabbage Patch dolls have not been "updated" with technology or anything of the sort. 

Cabbage Patch dolls were re-released last year. This season, they introduced Cabbage Patch Kids Babies, such as the one at right. These adorable dolls come with a kit of baby accessories (including a diaper), and they smell like baby powder!

Note that you can order these dolls through Toys R Us (see link directly below this description) by choosing a general description of the doll, such as "Blonde Hair Girl, Pink Sweatsuit", but because each doll is one-of-a-kind, the eyes, hair styles, and faces will be different than those shown. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: All Cabbage Patch Dolls at Amazon.com (Toys R Us)]

 

 

 

Scholastics Storybook Treasures: Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics -- DVD set

Children's storybook classics put to video, narrated beautifully, are featured on the 16 disks of extras-loaded DVDs in this amazing set. Preschoolers will enjoy these treasured stories, from Where the Wild Things Are to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, come to life. The format celebrates storytelling -- the original illustrations are used so that kids can enjoy the books as they were originally intended. Very nice! 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy Scholastic Storybook Treasures: Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics (Thinpak Packaging) at Amazon.com]

 

Caillou's Holiday Movie

Caillou's first full-length movie is a real treat. An advent calendar generates anticipation for Christmas, and Caillou takes part in many winter activities as he gets ready for the holidays. The movie explores and introduces children to holiday traditions in different cultures as well. The DVD edition is well worth purchasing, not only because of its extras in the form of an animated interview with Caillou and two multi-level games, but because it can be viewed in English, French, and Spanish. The multilingual feature is of particular interest to families who want to encourage second-language acquisition at an early age. Highly recommended. Our Rating: A

[For more information, user reviews, or to buyCaillou's Holiday Movie DVD at Amazon.com]

 


Fisher Price Read With Me DVD System 

This exciting electronic unit by Fisher Price offers kids the chance to watch specially designed DVDs, featuring popular characters and classic stories, and interact along with them in educational ways. Designed in conjunction with Scholastic, the system includes the hardware itself and a bonus DVD, along with activity cards, a DVD case, and a kid-friendly remote control. This DVD-based learning system requires that you own a DVD player. Additional DVD software titles must be purchased separately. These include classic storybooks such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Dr. Seuss, and more. Children place the activity card over the wireless Read with Me controller and answer educational questions. Over 100 questions are programmed into each DVD, so children are kept stimulated and enjoy different experiences each time they watch.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher Price Learning: Read with Me DVD System with "Where The Wild Things Are" Rom at Amazon.com]

 

Imaginext - Fisher Price Line of Building Toys

Imaginext is a new line of building toys that is ideal for older preschoolers as well as Kindergarteners. A number of sets are available, and each is compatible with the next. Plastic pieces snap together in a variety of ways. This is a very satisfying and durable system that encourages creativity, planning, a nd building skills.  Pictured above left is the Black and Red Pirate Ship. At right is the Castle Wizard Tower. Both sets are cute and educational--and they will last well beyond the construction phase.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Imaginext Black and Red Pirate Ship, Fisher-Price Imaginext Castle Wizard Tower or Imaginext Sets at Amazon.com]  

Magnetic Calendar  

This perpetual calendar can be assembled for any month, and kids will love setting it up. The Magnetic Calendar is a fantastic educational tool. With the help of parents, children add magnetic pieces of the month, year, and days, and then they personalize it! Kids can add magnets for each holiday, soccer days, going to the dentist, getting a haircut, the first day of winter, and more. It's a visual aid, and it helps children understand calendar concepts, numbers, and the importance of being organized.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Magnetic Calendar at Amazon.com]

 


Band in a Box
 

Cymbals, a triangle, maracas, a tambourine, and more...for making lovely (not jarring) music the "old-fashioned way". What fun! This set inspires imagination. Kids will parade around the house with their very own musical instruments, delighted that they can make music any way they want. There are plastic sets of musical instruments for kids on the market, but this set is more realistic and entirely more satisfying. Everything fits back into a wooden box for easy storage.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Band-in-a-Box at Amazon.com]

 


coverPizza Party
 

This toy by Melissa & Doug is ideal for younger preschoolers. Any way you slice it, this wooden set delivers lots of fun with a serving tray, spatula, play cutter, slices of pizza, and more than 50 toppings (wooden circles painted with mushrooms, pepperoni, and other such yummies) that attach to the pizza slices with velcro. Very satisfying toy that serves to inspire the imagination.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Pizza Party: Wooden Pizza Set at Amazon.com]

 

 
 

Magazine Subscriptions

Graduates of Babybug magazine as well as newbies will thoroughly enjoy LadyBug magazine. High-quality stories and illustrations, games and activities, rhymes, and more make up the pages of this special magazine designed for preschoolers. Kids will get a present in the mail throughout the year with a gift subscription to the magazine. Preschoolers will feel extra special receiving mail that's just for them, throughout the year. 

[Sign up for a subscription to Ladybug at Amazon.com] 

 


Cranium's Cariboo Island

Some exciting new board games for preschoolers have recently been released. Cranium's Cariboo Island takes kids on a treasure hunt--for colorful balls! They unlock compartments with a special purple key after matching colors, sets of objects, or letters. Very cute! 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buyCranium Cariboo Island at Amazon.com]

 

 


A book with the title The Most Incredible Outrageous Packed-to-the-Gills Bulging-at-the Seams Sticker Book You've Ever Seen has a lot to live up to. Fortunately, it does just that. More than 450 stickers are included, and can be used on the pages of the book in a variety of ways. Kids love stickers--the more the better. Naturally, they'll love this "packed-to-the gills" sticker book, and will  be busy with it for hours. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy The Most Incredible, Outrageous,... at Amazon.com]

 

 

coverAnimal Alley Stuffed Animals 

Kids love soft stuffed plush animals, and the Animal Alley line from Toys R Us is a favorite. The animals are adorable and decently-priced. The selection is wide--ranging from small to jumbo-sized animals, and all types of animals, from frogs to bears to unicorns. Pictured at left is a jumbo Darny Dog, a huggable 43-inch dog. Caillou's Holiday Movie (2004) DVD fed animals. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: see the full line: Animal Alley Stuffed Animals at Amazon.com]

 

Geo Air (Geo Trax) High-Flyin' Airport: Fisher Price Transportation System

Part of the excellent Geo Trax Rail and Road System, the GeoAir High Flying Airport is sure to please. This set can be purchased as a standalone toy, or can be an extension of other GeoTrax toys. It's an airport set that's easy to put together, secure and rather solid, and pleasing with its twisty track and remote control designed for preschoolers (kids as young as 2.5 years). Jumbo the plane is placed on the twisting track and kids control the plane to "fly" backwards or forwards via remote control. The set includes a loading station, tower, traffic control, and more.

The pluses of this toy include expandability with other Geo Trax system sets, its durability, and good overall design. The main downfall is that it only includes one plane and one figure (Captain Jim). However, plenty of other sets are available so that, if desired, kids can create a whole little Geo Trax community. Pick up six AAA batteries to ensure little ones can jump right in and play on Christmas morning!

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price Transportation System GeoAir High-Flyin' Airport and all Geotrax toys at Amazon.com]

 

Grand Central Station: GeoTrax Rail and Road System

This is the meat and potatoes of the expandable line of GeoTrax toys by Fisher Price. GeoTrax Rail and Road System Grand Central Station features a remote-controlled train that zips along train track and travels in an elevator. The set comes with Aero the Train, Eric the engineer, and the train's passengers. Great stuff! More pieces and other sets (including the GeoAir set above) are available to expand the line so that kids can build their own little community. Durable and attractive.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price Geotrax Rail and Road System Grand Central Station and all Geotrax toys at Amazon.com]

 


Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letters

This is an electronic toy that is effective, attractive, and affordable. Most families recognize both the appeal and educational value of magnetic letters for the fridge. This set takes magnetic letters a step further. It comes with all 26 letters of the alphabet, as well as a little electronic unit that also sticks to the fridge. Children place any magnetic letter onto the unit (the reader) and the letter is recognized and named, along with a fun little song that reinforces the letter's name and phonics sound! This set is simple, appealing, and rather easy on the pocketbook. As children grow, of course, parents can help children put letters together to form small words. Highly recommended.  

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set at Amazon.com]

Elmo Live Encore

Elmo Live Encore is the updated version of last year's Elmo Live--a plush toy of Elmo, who, from his sitting position, crosses his legs, bobbles his head from side to side, tells jokes as his mouth flaps right on cue, sings songs, and even plays games. Kids activate this extraordinarily true-to-life plushie by squeezing his hands, nose, or feet. Elmo Live is, of course, expected to be at least as popular as its predecessors (such as Elmo TMX and Tickle Me Elmo). This one is the most advanced interactive Elmo we have seen yet.

Buy at Amazon: Fisher Price Elmo Live Encore

 

 

 

 


 

Need more gift ideas? See the current top sellers at Amazon today (updated daily):

BestSellers in Toys (Updated Hourly)

 

 

See Also:

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Also:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need more gift ideas? See the current top sellers at Amazon today (updated daily):

BestSellers in Toys (Updated Hourly)

Amazon's Top Picks in Toys

 Most Wanted Holiday Toys

 

 

 

 



 


Amazon's Holiday Toy List


 

 

BestSellers in Toys (Updated Hourly)


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