by Bethany McDaniels
Preschoolers -- they're not quite big kids yet, but they're not babies either! What are the best toys for this age group? We've taken a look at many of the most popular toys and came up with what we think are the top 10 choices.
1. Art stations and studios. Children this age are nothing if not creative! You never know if you have the next Picasso creating major works of art right there in your living room! Toys like the "Crayola Magnetic Double-Sided Easel," allow the tiny tots to paint, color, draw, use the dry erase board, play "school" and show off their masterpieces using the included clips! The double-sided nature of the easel allows for two kids to create at the same time or for one child to have two projects going at the same time. Great for rainy day projects, contests or anything else you can dream up! (Average price: $19 - $70)
2. Leapfrog Leapster and other similar devices. These electronic tools encourage children to learn something new every day. Besides, kids this age love buttons and doing things "their way." They can play games, read e-Books, watch videos and download learning apps. Depending on which device you get, your child may be able to connect online to play unique games and expand their library. (Average price: $44 - $110)
3. Toy balls. Yep, balls. Big ones, small ones, rubber ones, foam ones, Nerf balls, sports balls -- the list is almost endless! Preschoolers love to be active. This is a great age for learning to play T-Ball, Nerf basketball, games with plastic bowling pins and balls, and simply throwing around and bouncing a big rubber ball! You'll be more tired than they will just watching them go! (Average price: $1 - up)
4. Dolls & doll accessories. From Barbies and Elmo to "Baby Alive" type dolls, these toys remain a standard favorite for young girls. There is little that sparks a young child's imagination like a doll can. Little ones learn to pretend to do and be almost anything by playing with dolls. They can be a mommy or daddy, a princess, a veterinarian, a farmer, or learn their shapes and colors, depending on what kind of doll they get. With so many choices, you can find one that suits your tiny tot! You can't go wrong with a doll! (Average price: $5 - up)
5. LEGO® DUPLO® blocks. These blocks are specially designed for little hands as they are twice as big as standard LEGO blocks. They are a wonderful way to spark your child's imagination as they learn to build, create and develop their fine motor skills. Having been around for over 40 years, these block sets have expanded such that you can add set after set to keep your child interested with themes including a fire station, farm, bakery, dump truck, city scene, popular movie themes, and so much more! (Average price: $15 - up)
6. Riding Toys. At this age, children are ready to start riding toys such as tricycles and even small bicycles with training wheels! What fun! From a Big Wheel to a bright red trike to a 10 inch bicycle, your preschooler will expand his or her horizons and delight in riding around their yard or neighborhood, with you closely by their side. There are many possibilities so a good amount of checking to be sure you make the right choice for your child is needed but riding toys are a great toy for this age! And don't forget a helmet! (Average price: $35 - up)
7. Trains and train sets. Every little kid seems to love trains. And Thomas the Train seems to have particular appeal. From the chunkier Fisher Price trains with accessories to the wooden play sets to the motorized trains and Track Master sets, your child's collection can grow with them. You can also get a train table and add other play vehicles such as helicopters, airplanes, emergency vehicles and more! (Average Price: $5.00 - up)
8. Little People®.These friends and play sets captivate little ones’ hearts and imaginations. Often the first role-play toys a child is introduced to, the Little People friends inhabit a sweet world filled with wonderful adventures and great friends to make along the way. Play sets include a zoo scene, school, nativity, farm, city scene and more! (Average price: $10- 45)
9. The "Hot, must have toy!" No list would be complete without including one of this year's hottest must-haves: Let's Rock Elmo! Elmo is quite instinctive, not only playing his own instrument and singing, but he is also able to tell which instrument a little one is playing and plays right along! There are up to six songs that can be sung and he comes with a microphone, tambourine and drums (additional instruments are sold separately). A very cute toy for kids preschool age, and it looks to be the favorite for this year's holiday season. (Average price: $30.00 - 70.00)
10. Time together as a family. Time with mom and dad. Time with grandparents. One-on-one time with family members. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, and especially during the holidays, we tend to get so caught up with everything that has to be done, that it can be easy to overlook what baby wants and needs most. Your time. So if you find yourself stressing about what to get your baby for the holidays, don't worry. You already have it! (Average price: PRICELESS!)
What's your favorite item on your list? What did we leave out? Share in the comments!
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