The best gifts for your preschool grandchildren
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Although I love children and grandchildren at every age, I can’t deny that the preschool years are my favorite. From ages two to five, children are in a developmental explosion! It’s so much fun to watch them figure out how to do things, and to hear the hilarious and wise things they say.
Thoughtful gifts for two-, three- and four-year-olds can help them as their language, motor and emotional skills develop. Take time to ask their parents what sorts of gifts will be welcome and what they'd like to avoid. Respecting their wishes as you shop will make everyone happier. Here are some of the best gift ideas for preschoolers.
Gym classes, music classes, peewee sports, swimming lessons—there are a multitude of activities for preschoolers in every town. Check with mom and dad to find out if they’d like you to pay for an activity for your grandchild, and let them make the decision on what might be best. If you want to have something for the little one to open, get them something to go with the activity: a set of music makers, a swimsuit, etc.
Toys that Develop Motor Skills
Fine motor skills, like grasping and manipulation, develop rapidly if the right tools are provided. I love the Balancing Boat by PlanToys, which has multiple ways to play depending on the child’s age and skill. This is also a key stage for developing large motor skills, so anything that gets the whole body moving is ideal. Look for a right-sized scooter, balance bike, or tricycle (don’t forget a helmet!). Or if your grandchild’s parents have the room and would like one, a slide or climbing gym is a great gift.
The Best Picture Books
Picture books allow a child to develop concentration and language skills. Two- to five-year-olds love rhyme and repetition, and the best books make reading a pleasure for the adults in the family. Some of our favorites include Pirate Stew, Unicorn (and Horse), The Hidden Rainbow, Silly Sally, Frog on a Log, and The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza).
Memberships for the Family
A membership to the zoo, aquarium or children’s museum is a gift that will provide a year of enjoyment for the whole family. Again, check with your grandchild’s parents to see if this is something they’d like. To find a zoo or aquarium near your grandchildren's family, check the American Zoo Association directory.
Pretend play explodes around the age of three, and nothing is more fun than pretending to be someone else. A good dress-up box is a perfect Christmas gift for three-year-olds. Look for elements that can be imagined in multiple ways—they might be lurking in your own closet! Hem an old party dress so it’s short enough for a little one, and put in those shoes you bought for a wedding and never wear. Check thrift stores for costume jewelry and hats, fancy shoes and clothes. If you’d like, purchase a kit of basics, like this one.
This is also a great age to start giving gifts that provide opportunity for connection. If you are a long-distance grandparent, make sure you read oursuggestions for gifts for grandchildren who live far away.
Do you have ideas for gifts that we should include? Let us know in the comments!