9 holiday gifts preschoolers will play with more than once

by Julie Snyder

Preschooler toysYou spent time researching the best educational toys. You traded your hard earned cash for the perfect gift.

Your preschooler ripped off the wrapping paper, peeked in the box, set the carefully chosen item aside and spend the next two hours playing with...you guessed it...the box.

This age group constantly questions and tries to discover the answer to "why?" or "how?" With those bright imaginations, boxes can be great toys!

There are gifts preschoolers may enjoy more that the wrappings. One of these may grab your child's attention time and again.

Gifts they'll play with over and over

New on the scene

1. Imaginext Eagle talon castle: If you've got a kid interested in knights and castle, you may want to consider this world of medieval adventure. It's packed with walls, windows, a drawbridge, cannons, people and secret compartments to explore.

2. Switch and Go Dinos® from Vtech transform between a dinosaur and a vehicle. They come equipped with an LCD screen that your child can customize. In critter mode, they even play interesting facts about the dinosaur.

3. Lego Friends: toy sets created mainly for girls, with shapely female figures and play sets in pinks and purples may give someone on your list a new-found interest in building.

Classics toys earn a place in the heart and toy box

4. Blocks: Last year blocks were for stacking, balancing, (and much to our chagrin) throwing. This year they're fences, skyscrapers, furniture or anything a preschooler may need for pretend play. Unfortunately they're still good for throwing.

5. Imagination station! Can you go wrong with dolls, puppets, actions sets or play sets? Preschoolers will soon have their new friends playing and discovering right alongside. At times, the toys will take the blame for mischief instead of your child. That's a true friend!

6. Cars and trucks: You may opt for a rainbow assortment of matchbox vehicles or perhaps your child would enjoy Chuck My Talking Truck, a toy with places to go and lots to say. It even comes with its own sturdy book.

Techie toys

7. Tablets: Some parents opt for an adult tablet. Others choose one intended for kids like the nabi 2. It's shaped like a blob with rounded edges, your child can browse the web kid-style, watch movies and TV shows, read books, learn math and play games.

8. Kid-friendly camera: Fisher Price's See Yourself Camera lets your child swivel the lens to take pictures of themselves. Use the smiley button to special effects options.

Draw it; make it

9. Arts and crafts supplies: Crayons, markers, paint and paper keeps kids creating and busy for hours. For a child who loves pictures and scrapbooks, Crayola Digital Camera Scrapbooking Kit includes a kid-friendly digital camera and case, a photo editing CD, and a bunch of scrapbook supplies.

Are you looking for a gift for an inquisitive preschooler? What tops your list?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.