The 50 BEST Kids Toys (2021)

Looking for the best toys for kids?

 

I have some amazing learning and play toy ideas that will be a HUGE hit! It’s the best feeling to give gifts to kids that they will enjoy and use repeatedly.

 

This list is for children that are between the ages of 2 and 6 years olds! Let’s get started with The BEST Toys for kids.

 


Toy #1: Connetix Magnet Blocks

 

Connetix Magnet Blocks are one of the most popular open-ended toys on the market.

 

Kids can build many different structures with them, make patterns, create shapes, put them on the fridge, the list can go on and on. This is one of the best toys for preschoolers!

 

Connetix Shop

Ways to Play

 

A. Build structures

 

Build amazing structures with Connetix Tiles! Let your little one’s creative juices flow by allowing them to come with their own design ideas or help them come up with a plan. Create castles, a car garage for their vehicles, or a home for their toys!

 

My kids love dinosaurs at the moment! They love building dinosaur cages!

 

 

B. Practice letter/number learning

 

Write on the blocks using a chalk marker! It wipes right off using a wet wipe. Make a letter match or create a number line. Have even more fun by doing this on the dishwasher, fridge, or even the garage door outside!

 

 

C. Color Sorting

 

Work on those fine motor and color matching skills with this fun sorting activity. It’s SO simple to put together and the kids will love being able to use kid-friendly tweezers.

 

 


Toy #2: Block Letters

 

Want more of a hands-on toy for your little one? We use these letters for so many learn and play activities!

 

In my experience with teaching my children, being able to touch and play with letters is the BEST way for kids to learn the alphabet!

 

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I get asked the question a lot what the secret is to teaching your kids? My answer is always the same daily repetition, even if it’s for a few minutes!

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Puzzle play– Take all the pieces out and have your little one find where it belongs! I love this method because they see the pictures underneath the letters, which starts the connection to the letter.

 

2. Search and match– This activity is my kid’s favorite! I hide the letters around the house, and they have to search for them. Once they find one, they have to tell me the letter; then they place it in the right spot.

 

3. Sensory play– These letters are PERFECT for sensory play activities since they can be placed in water. We did an activity called Alphabet Soup, where I placed them in water, and the kids had to find specific letters for each recipe!

 

alphabet soup activity

 

Want to grab these recipe cards? I have 36 different recipe cards! 20 are alphabet recipes, and 16 are sight word cards. This is an activity that can work if you have older children too!

Alphabet Soup Activity

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #3: Letter Learning Popsicles

 

Aren’t these learning popsicles the cutest? My kids love using these popsicles for learning!

 

What a fun way to work on upper and lower case letter matching! I love the bright colors on the popsicles as well.

 

learning alphabet popsicles

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How to help your child learn with this toy

 

1. First, choose one letter to focus on. Have your child identify that letter! Then, place 3 potential matches in front of them. Have them try to figure out which one is the match!

 

2. Explain to them that there are upper case and lower case letters. They may see either of them when you read stories to them. Even though they may look different or smaller, they are still the same letter.

 

3. For older kiddos, you can have them make the sound that each letter makes as well when playing!

 

RELATED: The BEST Toys for 3-Year-Olds

 


Toy #4: Learning Puzzles

 

If you have seen my other articles or a part of my Instagram community, you know about my love for puzzles.

 

Puzzles are how my kids learned their letters, numbers, colors, and shapes as toddlers. I don’t like to brag about this, but I am very passionate about telling you what works so you can do this at home with your kids.

 

learning puzzles

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This set is the best because you get three puzzles, and they are all Disney-themed! You can’t beat that.

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Learning– For your child to learn best with these puzzles, you need to work with them and do them quite often. I suggest at least once a day! Even if you just pick one to work on each day, going over the letters, numbers or shapes daily will help teach your little one.

 

 

2. Independent play– Once your child knows some of the letters, numbers, or shapes, see if they can figure out where each puzzle piece goes!

 

3. Games– Hide the puzzle pieces around the house and have your little ones search for them. Once they find a piece, they can bring it back to the puzzle and place it where it belongs!

 

RELATED: The BEST Learning Toys for Toddlers

 


Toy #5: LEGOs

 

LEGOs have quickly become one of our favorite toys around here. We have these regular sets of LEGOs along with the DUPLO blocks. My kids love both! This set is perfect for 5-year-olds since they are a little smaller.

 

This is a great set because you can build a whole bunch of different things; it’s not a themed set.

 

LEGOS

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Ways to Play

 

1. Build structures- We buy LEGOs to build, right?! Let your kiddos go to town and build whatever structure they like. It doesn’t even have to be anything specific. My kids love to be creative and make their own buildings from video games they like to play, imaginary castles, etc.

 

2. Letter building- Play and learn by creating letters of the alphabet with my LEGO letter building worksheets! Letters A-Z are available!

 

LEGO Letters Mat

 

CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE LEGO BUILDING WORKSHEETS!

 

or… if you have older ones, you can practice

 

Word building- I love using LEGO blocks to work on spelling and sight word building with my 5-year-old. What a fun way to practice sight words, right? Write letters on the blocks with a dry erase marker to build specific words. You can write the full word on a bigger LEGO piece, and then they can use the blocks to match up the letters to create the word.

 

3. Bath time with blocks- You will thank me after this recommendation! Bring your LEGO blocks into the bath with your little ones. They will love filling them up with water and also creating things that can float in the water!

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #6: MEGA Bloks

 

Got a smaller one that can’t play with LEGOs yet? These blocks are bigger and are perfect for toddlers.

 

Mega Bloks are perfect for toddlers! They are bigger building blocks and easier for kids to be able to build structures.

 

 

MEGA Bloks

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Ways to Play

 

1. Play– Let your little ones explore the blocks! They can build whatever structures they want! See how tall they can make a tower without the blocks falling!

 

2. Creating towers– Place some painter’s tape up on the wall at different spots. Have your little ones use the Mega Bloks to build a tower up to the specific spot where the painter’s tape is.

 

3. Matching alphabet letters- Cut white labels into thirds. Write the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet on the labels and place them on the blocks. Then, have your little ones match up the correct upper and lower case letters!

 

matching alphabet letters

 

I also saw this awesome building table that goes along with the Mega Bloks that I had to mention!

 

mega bloks table

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Toy #7: Mideer Puzzles

 

Mideer puzzles are our favorite to build with. The pieces are high quality and the pictures are exciting for the kids!

 

I love puzzles because they help kids use their critical thinking skills! I especially love puzzles like this that can help kids learn after they build!

 

space puzzle

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Ways to play

 

A. Build the puzzle

 

Work on this puzzle as a family or challenge your child to build it on their own! This is a puzzle that grows with kids, which makes it perfect for preschoolers and early elementary-aged kids!

 

B. Teach the Planets

 

Build this puzzle and then review the planets with your kids! Also, teach them some important facts about each planet.

 

 

C. Shape Building

 

Here’s another Mideer puzzle product we love! This is a magnet set that kids can build vehicles with!

 

My 3-year-old LOVED this puzzle. This is great for STEM skills.

 

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Talk about different forms of transportation with this fun magnetic puzzle. Also, have the kids work on building skills by showing the cards to the kids to see if they can build each one!

 


Toy #8: Arts and Crafts Kit

 

If you have a little one who loves arts and crafts, this set is AMAZING!

 

This art set has everything you could want when making crafts, art projects, or just creating whatever they want!

 

 

craft kit for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Threading– There are a bunch of bright-colored pipe cleaners and beads in this kit. Practice some fine motor skills by threading the beads on the pipe cleaners! You can even have them find the letters of their name and put them in order on the pipe cleaner.

 

2. Popsicle stick crafts– Popsicle stick crafts are so fun to make and simple! Create fun faces using the googly eyes and pom-poms!

 

3. Get creative– Put all the pieces and parts out and let them go to town and create whatever they want to make! Having a kit like this will be exciting for the kids to experiment with new supplies!

 


Toy #9: Dress Up Clothes

 

I can’t even tell you how many times my kids want to play dress-up each day.

 

Currently, while I am writing this article, we have been in quarantine due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Pretend play has saved my sanity many times throughout this time :).

kids dress up costumes

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I love this set of dress-up clothes because it is gender-neutral, and it also teaches children about community helpers! Also, maybe your kids will love these so much, they may want to use it for Halloween, which saves money there, right?!

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Dramatic play- All of these outfits can be used for different dramatic play scenarios. Some examples are to use the doctor’s costumes to get a pretend check-up, pretend to build with the construction outfit, and pretend to put out fires as a firefighter!

 

2. Community helpers- These outfits are a great way to introduce the concept of what community helpers are to your kids. Explain what each of the outfits represents and what the accessories are used for.

 

3. Fine motor skills- Developing fine motor skills is essential to build little hand muscles to do everyday life activities! These include things like buttoning buttons and zipping zippers! Challenge your kiddo to put these outfits on themselves if they are old enough. Encourage them to try to zip and button if they can. Assist when needed, so they don’t get frustrated, but it’s great practice!

 

RELATED: FUN Fine Motor Activities

 


Toy #10: Marble Run

 

Some open-ended toys are excellent because they teach children how to use problem-solving skills.

 

Marble run is a fun toy for kids! It challenges them to build structures to allow the marble to go through the tubes to make it to the bottom. However, kids need to use critical thinking skills to create the structure, so it stands and allows the marble to make it through the towers.

 

marble run

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Ways to Play

 

1. Ideas from the book- There is a booklet that shows different designs that you can create for the marbles to go through. These designs can be helpful in the beginning when learning how to work with the blocks with this toy.

 

2. Create your own- Most of the time, we create our own marble track. What I love about this is that there are a lot of fails in the design. I stated earlier that this is a great toy to practice problem-solving skills. Have your kiddos try to figure out how to fix any issues.

 

Marble Run STEM engineering toy

 

3. Marble races with two towers- Create two separate towers; they can be the same or different, and see which marble can make it to the bottom first! The kids will go WILD for this activity. They won’t want to stop doing it :).

 


Toy #11: Dinosaurs

 

If you follow me along on Instagram, you know my family has a huge love for dinosaurs! Especially, Jurassic Park dinosaurs.

 

This holiday season, the Scorpious Rex is the hot toy to grab. But honestly, any of the Jurassic Park dinosaurs will make a perfect gift.

 

jurassic park figures

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Ways to Play

 

1. Playtime– just let your little one’s imagination run the play! Allow them to come up with ideas on situations with the dinosaurs!

 

2. Learn and Play– Kids LOVE when you bring in their likes during learning. While practicing some sight words or math facts, have the kids talk like the figures to answer the questions. Believe me; they will love it!

 

3. Dino Painting– Have the kids dip the dinosaurs’ feet into paint and make prints on paper!

RELATED: Dinosaur Activities for Kids

 


Toy #12: Vtech Watch

 

Here is another great toy to help your little one learn how to tell time! I actually just got this one for my daughter; I know she’s just going to love it.

 

It is very similar to the camera that I mentioned above. However, it is a watch, so kids can wear it all the time and check the time!

 

vtech watch

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Ways to Play

 

1. Practice telling time– Check in with your little ones every now and then to see if they can read the time on their watch!

 

2. Take photos– This watch has a feature where the kids can take their own photos! There are also some fun picture effects that they can add-on to their photos for more fun!

 

3. Action challenges– There are several active challenges on this watch! This is a fun way to get kids moving! Try the 3 challenges and see if they can beat their score each time.

 


Toy #13: Me Reader

 

We’ve had our Me Reader for about 3 years. In the beginning, my daughter just listened to the stories; now, she is actually reading the stories without the Me Reader.

 

These stories have been her favorite ones to read lately! She is so proud of herself for reading these books, and I am proud of her too!

 

me reader books

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Ways to Play

 

1. Listening– The Me Reader is designed for your little one to flip the book’s pages and click on the shape that matches the page to hear the story. If your little one is too little to do this, you can do this part for them.

 

2. Looking at the pages– Looking and imagining what’s happening in the story is an excellent activity for kids. They will create ideas about the story, discover different characters, and learn about different settings.

 

3. Reading– Once your child gets old enough, they can start reading the books on their own without the Me Reader. Even if they have memorized the words to the book, this is still helpful because they see the words on the page and recognize them.

 

RELATED: Engaging Sight Words Activities For Kids

 


Toy #14: Osmo

 

When I talk to teachers that have Osmo in their classrooms, every one of them has said GREAT things about it!  This is currently on my list of things that I want to purchase as well.

 

Osmo is an interactive gaming system for learning! Say what?!

 

Yes, kids love Osmo because they are playing games. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel too badly about some screen time when it engages my kids in learning.

 

osmo

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When children play with Osmo, they are doing hands-on learning games that involve math, science, and art! The tablet doesn’t come along with the Osmo; a piece goes on top of your tablet.

 

Want to learn more about Osmo? Take a look at the following review!

 

 

 


Toy #15: Step 2 Desk

 

I couldn’t recommend this desk anymore! We have had this since my daughter was 2 years old, and it is used daily!

 

kids desk

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Features

 

1. Drawing/coloring– The flat part of the desk makes it an easy space for your little one to practice drawing or coloring! If the marker gets on the white part, it can wipe off very easily! I do recommend if you are using crayons or another supply that isn’t washable, that you place an art tray down!

 

2. Storage– Store coloring books, sticker books, workbooks, markers, crayons, or other supplies right in the desk! I love this feature of the desk because I don’t need to use a ton of my storage space for the kids’ craft supplies!

 

3. Technology– it shows on the pictures that it can hold up an electronic device like an Ipad. You can have your little ones work on an educational app, or even if they are doing virtual learning, they can use this space!

 


Toy #16: Play Kitchen

 

There is an endless amount of activities you can do with a play kitchen and fake food!

 

We’ve had this play kitchen for about 5 years, and the kids still play with it at least once a day.

 

play kitchen for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Dramatic play- We have played restaurant, grocery store, cooking lessons, baking play, and many more dramatic play scenarios with our play kitchen. The kids love pretending to work in the kitchen to whip things up for us to pretend to eat. I love the imagination that goes into these dramatic play activities. Each time we play, it’s different, making it still engaging and interesting to the kids. 

 

2. Food group sort- Learning how to sort food into their correct category is a great homeschool lesson for kids that is simple to pull off! On a cardboard piece, I wrote the category names at the top, and then we worked on sorting the foods into their groups. This is a great way to teach kids what is healthy and what foods are not healthy.

 

fake food for kids

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3. Create recipes- This kitchen comes with measuring cups, pretend condiments, cups, and utensils. Come up with some recipes with the fake food and kitchen supplies for your kids to make. They will LOVE this activity and want to do it over and over again. Plus, it’s great practice for learning how to cook and understand what measurements are.

 


Toy#17: LEGO Duplo My First Number Train

 

Now, I did mention before that DUPLO blocks are for older children. However, these just aren’t regular blocks.

 

They have numbers on them, so this is a great way to work on number recognition skills. If they can start building with them, great! If they struggle with putting the blocks are the train, it’s a great toy to GROW with your kids.

 

 

Lego train

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It has blocks that connect to make a train and has numbers on the blocks so toddlers can learn how to put them in order!

 

How you can help your child learn with this toy

 

1. Tell your child what each number is on the blocks when they are playing with it.

 

2. Put a few number blocks in a line and ask them to find a specific number.

 

3. If your child is old enough and knows how to count, have them count to ten while putting the number blocks in sequential order.

 

4. If your child knows how to count and knows their numbers, have them try to put the numbers in order!

 

RELATED: SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities

 


Toy #18. Musical Instruments

 

Kids love playing with musical instruments! It’s entertaining to listen to the different sounds each instrument makes.

 

This set is awesome because it includes various instruments, and they are all easy for 2-year-olds children to use.

 

musical instruments

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Ways to Play:

 

1. Explore– Let your little ones explore the instruments. Talk to them about what each one is!

 

2. Sounds– Each instrument will make a different sound. Discuss the differences like higher or lower pitch or what sound it makes!

 

3. Start a band!– Get everyone in your family involved and create your own band. Have each person have a different instrument they can walk around marching as a band would!

 


Toy #18: Jumbo Droppers

 

I just got these for us to use at home, and we are LOVING them!

 

The kids enjoy their colors, and they know when they get brought out that they are doing a fun art or science project.

jumbo droppers for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Mixing colors- Kids loving creating their own “potions” by combining colors with these droppers. The best thing about this is that it’s super simple to set up. You need a few clear cups, depending on what colors you want to use, food coloring, and a larger clear jar our cup to create the potion in.

 

Put some water and a few drops of food coloring in each small cup. Place the color droppers inside the cups with the food coloring. Let your little one choose which ones they want to add into the larger jar, and let the fun begin!

 

2. Rainbow cloud experiment- This is one of my favorite experiments to do with my kids! In a clear glass, fill it 3/4 of the way full with water. Then, squirt a thin layer of men’s foam shaving cream on the top. Drop a few drops of food coloring on the top of the shaving cream, and voila! Check out this beautiful rainbow in a glass! Your kids will love watching the colors in the glass.

 

 

3. Dropper learning- Break a longer piece of paper towel off and write a few numbers or letters with different colors scattered all over it. In a few separate cups, fill the cup 1/2 full of water with a few drops of food coloring, depending on what colors you want to use! Call out a number or letter you want your little one to find. With the dropper, they will squeeze up the color liquid and squirt it on the paper towel! This is a fun and great way to practice recognition skills.

 

dropper number activity

RELATED: How to Teach Toddler Colors (9 SIMPLE strategies)

 


Toy #19: Slime Kit

 

Are your kids obsessed with slime as much as mine? The Nickelodeon slime kit is the best! I don’t know why this isn’t actually at the top of my list!

 

My kids play with this slime kit almost daily! Slime is just a blast to play with! 

 

slime kit for kids

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*There are some parts in this toy, so make sure to have a parent watching children who are younger playing with this toy.*

When playing with slime, I also suggest grabbing an art smock. This way, your little ones’ clothes won’t get slime all over it when they are playing!

art smock

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Ways to play

 

1. Create blends– There are SO many different colors to choose from in this set. Mix colors to see what they would change into! See if you mix the colors if they would make a new color!

 

2. Add in the extras– You get some little foam balls, pom-poms, and sequins to add in the same. This will change the consistency. This is a great sensory activity for the kids to explore!

 

3. Cover toys– Grab those TOOB toys or other small figures and cover them with slime! My kids love doing this activity the most. They love pretending and imagining by doing this activity.

 


Toy #20: Sprinkler Splash Pad

 

This is the cutest splash pad that I have seen! I love the fact there are letters on this pad! My mind is racing with all the fun learning possibilities that can happen with this toy!

 

Your toddlers and preschoolers will love splashing around on this little splash pad on warm summer days.

 

splash pad for toddlers

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Ways to Play

 

1. Letter search- While playing outside with this toy, practice some letter recognition! While they are playing, ask them to stomp on certain letters. Some other ideas are to have them find the letters of their name, and you can even have them find the letters of the alphabet in order!

 

2. Cover the letters- With some water toys, have your little one cover-up the letter you shout out! They will love searching for the letters through the water. For beginners, start in one section and just do a few letters that are close to each other. For older toddlers, you can say any letter!

 

3. Animal sounds- Practice animal sounds by having your little one step on the animal, you say. When they step on it, have them pretend to be that animal by making the sound or even doing movements!

RELATED: Outdoor Toys for Toddlers


Toy #21: Crayola Color Chemistry Set

 

So there’s another term out there in education land called STEAM. The only difference between STEM and STEAM is the A for Art. 

 

The Crayola Color Chemistry Set focuses on both science and art with it’s 50 different experiments that you can try, including making your own colorful volcano, bouncing colored bubbles glow in the dark worms, and of course, slime!

crayola chemistry set

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Age Level: This toy does say that it’s for 7+, but my daughter was doing the experiments with us at age starting at age 3.

 

Adult supervision is needed for them to do these safely and correctly!

 

I will advise that some of these activities can be quite messy! Place an art tray down to help with the cleanup.

How this toy can help your child learn

 

1. This toy helps your children learn about mixing colors to create a new color! Kids can discover how to combine two colors to make a new color.

 

2. By doing experiments like the erupting volcano, your child will learn how mixing certain elements can cause a chemical reaction.

 

 


Toy #22: Blocks Rock!

 

These wooden blocks are AMAZING! We have a set and we just adore them! There are so many learn and play activities that you can do with these.

 

I love STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) toys. They have the kids use critical thinking skills as well as their creativity.

 

blocks rock

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Ways to Play

 

1. Color Match

 

The kids got to be active in this activity! I placed some colored tape on the floor. Then, the kids matched up the colored blocks with the correct squares on the floor.

 

2. Math Comparisons

 

Grab my FREE printable on my website for these blocks! These are great for work on math comparisons like greater than, less than, and equal. Use a dry erase folder to do this activity over and over again.

 

Click HERE for your FREE Blocks Rock Math Sheet

 

3. Building Competitions

 

Use their building cards to do building competitions to see who can build their towers faster. Ring the bell when they are finished!

 

Check out the video below to see how these activities are done! 

 

 

RELATED: STEM Toys for Kids 


Toy #23: Sand Table 

One of the most beloved toys that we use outdoors is our sand table. I especially love the one that is shown below because there is a space for sand and water!

 

My kids always want me to add water to our sand table because we don’t have a special area for water like this one. This is the one I would get if I were to do it all over again.

 

 

sand table for kids

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Ways to Play

 

Materials to extend play: magnetic letters/numbers

 

1. Sand handwriting- Have your kids practice upper and lower case letters, numbers, and writing their own name in the sand! Grab my FREE letter and number traceable, so they can look at each letter or number’s shape so they can recreate it in the sand. 

 

Upper Case Traceable Letter Cards

Lower Case Letter Traceable Cards

 

Traceable Number Cards

 

2. Alphabet search– Do your kids love to play searching games? Hide some letters or numbers in the sand. When they come across one, have them tell you which one they found! You can also use my FREE Alphabet sheet so they can match it up like a puzzle.

 

3. Bury toys– This is kind of the same concept but with toys that they love! We hid our play bugs in the sand, and my son wanted to do this over and over again. Find some toys that won’t get ruined if you put them in the sand and see if your kids can find them all! They can also count the items they found to add some learning into play.

 

RELATED: FUN Handwriting Activities For Preschoolers

 


Toy #24: Baby Doll

 

Baby dolls are the perfect open-ended toy for kids! Kids love taking care of their own baby!

 

This specific baby doll is a popular one for 2021!

 

baby doll

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Ways to Play

 

1. Take care– this baby actually sneezes and sniffles! Kids can use doctors’ tools to give the baby a check-up.

 

2. Pretend play– give the baby a bath, play toys with the baby or create a picnic set up! All of these imaginative play ideas will be so fun.

 


Toy #25: Water Table

 

Are you looking to have some summer fun with your little ones? A water table is your perfect outside addition to your toy collection.

 

Playing with water always adds more fun to any play. Toddlers and kids gravitate towards it!

 

water table for kids
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Ways to Play

 

Materials to extend learning: water beads, fine motor tools, tear-free soap, sponges, or toothbrushes.

 

1. Free play- Sometimes, you don’t need to plan a specific activity. Just let the kids lead the play! Let them enjoy just splashing in the water and creating their own fun. They may learn some new ways to play as well!

 

2. Add water beads- Water beads are such a fabulous sensory play filler! With this specific water table, they would be SO much fun. Kids can work on pouring and scooping skills. You can also add some fine motor toys so the kids can work on building those tiny muscles!

 

3. Toy wash- Grab some of your little one’s favorite toys and put them in the water table. Add some tear-free soap inside the water table so they can wash their toys. Give them a sponge or a toothbrush to clean the toys! Make sure to have some clean water available in another container or bowl so they can wash off the soap.

 


Toy #26: Doctor Kit

 

It’s so funny because when it’s actually time to head to the doctors, my kids are NOT excited most of the time. But, when it comes to playing doctor, well, that’s a completely different story.

 

We love to play doctor at our house. We have these fun toys that we use on each other to play and also our other toys!

 

 

doctor kit for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Stuffed animal check-ups– Bring in the toys for a check-up! Use their favorite toys to go to the doctor’s office to feel better again!

 

2. Play dentist– There are also some dentist tools inside this doctor’s kit! Pretend like one of you are the patient, and one is the dentist. Talk about the importance of keeping our teeth clean by flossing and brushing!

 

3. Talk about health– Talk about ways to keep your body healthy when playing with these toys. Discuss with your little ones why people go to the doctors to get well checks, and when they are sick. Also, talk to them about the importance of taking medicine to feel bad if they are sick (we struggle with this sometimes because they are scared to take medicine), so if you role play it, it might be easier!

 

To go along with this toy, I also have a packet on community helpers! Talk about what community helpers are and what they do for a job.

 

community helpers prints

 

Click here to check out my Community Helpers Learning Packet!

*14 pages with 3 different activities included.*

 

Activity #1: Color in the community helper and circle which career they have. Then color in the pictures at the bottom that go along with that community helper!

 

Activity #2: Community helper match-up: Draw a line from the community helper to the correct supply.

 

Activity #3: Community helper puzzle cards- Cut out both the community helper and the description. Match up the community helper to the right description!

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #27: Radio Flyer Tricycle

 

If you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait for your kids to start learning how to ride a bike!

 

I have dreams about going on family bike rides together in the Metroparks when my kids all know how to ride their bikes! This tricycle is the perfect start to your toddler’s journey to riding a bike.

 

 

radio flyer bike for toddlers

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Ways to Play

 

Materials to extend learning: toddler’s helmet and cones.

 

Always have your little one wear a helmet when riding a tricycle, bicycle, or scooter! 

 

1. Gently push- You’ll have to help your little one at first get the hang of what they are supposed to do with their legs and their arms to steer. At first, have them place their hands on the handlebars and their feet on the pedals. Gently push them, so it makes the tricycle move. They will see that the pedals start to move, and their legs will too! You also will have to help them steer at the same time.

 

2. Riding alone- Once they get the hang of what to do, the next step is to let them try it independently. I suggest having them do this on a straight away, so they don’t have to turn until their skills improve.

 

3. Set up obstacles- When your little one gets the hang of things. Set up come cones for them to practice weaving through them or set them up in a circle formation so they can practice steering to make turns!

 


Toy #28: Art Set

 

I’m a huge fan of giving kids art supplies for gifts! This Crayola art set has everything kids need to create

 

It has crayons, colored pencils, and markers!

art set

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Ways to Play

 

1. Free draw– give your kids some blank paper and let them create!

 

2. Color a picture– use coloring books to color beautiful pictures!

 

3. Directed drawing– there are so many cute directed drawing books out there.

 

directed drawing book

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This is a great way for kids to work on making shapes and creating fun things in an easy way! 

 


Toy #29: Animal Figures

 

These mini animal figures are one of our favorite toys we have.

 

There is an endless amount of ways to play with these fun animal toys. Plus, there are SO many different options of types of animals you can grab.

 

animal figures

Want 15% off your order from Safari LTD? Use the code ABCDEE at checkout!

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Sensory play– we use these animals in sensory play ALL the time. I’m going to link my sensory article, take a look at it for inspiration.

 

2. Animal sort– if you get more than 1 set, you can have the kids learn about the different animals and sort them by where they live.

 

3. Create a zoo– this is one of my kid’s favorite things to do with these small animals! They love creating pens for the animals and pretending to be the zookeeper.

 

RELATED: Sensory Activities for Kids 

 


Toy #30: STEM Building Blocks

 

STEM building blocks are TOO much fun!

 

There are so many different objects that you can build and create with these blocks. What I love most about these is that toddlers can even use the tools to make designs! My 3 year old helps me build what he wants, and he is always very eager to do it himself.

 

STEM building blocks

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Ways to Play

 

1. Create objects in the booklet- There are 42 designs provided in this booklet for you and your little one to create. There are things like animals, cars, letters, and numbers. What a fun way to practice letter and number learning! These are varied levels of designs for a variety of ages.

STEM building blocks

 

2. Race vehicles- Create two types of cars and race them around the house. You can even make a painter’s tape track like the one you see below to make the race more realistic!

 

3. Design your own ideas- One of my favorite things to do with these blocks is to let kids create whatever they want. Often, we end up creating homes or vehicles for their toys to ride or play in!

 

RELATED: STEM Toys For Kids

 


Toy #31: Doll Houses

 

Kids love their dollhouses. It’s one of the best open-ended toys on the market.

 

I love this specific dollhouse in comparison to the Barbie Dreamhouse because it actually can fit dolls inside of it!

 

doll houses

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I know there are a ton of different dollhouses out there. I like this one because there is SO much room to place the dolls and play. Some of the houses are too small, and the kids can’t actually play with their Barbies or other figures!

Ways to Play

 

1. Free play- Let the kids have fun playing with the toys included with the house and their toys. They will have so much fun just playing out a variety of different play scenarios on their own! My kids just love lining up their toys in a row on our dollhouse.

 

2. Play games about things that happen at home- Play bedtime routine, dinner, practice talking about the potty, etc. These real-life situations that occur at home are so much fun to play out with their little toys.

 

3. Add something new into play- Bring in some other toys for different types of play with the dollhouse. For example, you can bring in a tea set, doctor’s kit, or animal toys to engage with the dolls to bring new play experiences in.

 


Toy #32: Teaching Time Clock

 

A wonderful skill to start teaching is how to tell time! My 5-year-old is constantly asking me what time it is or how long is it until we leave to go somewhere!

 

It’s a life skill that we use EVERY DAY!

 

teaching time clock for kids to learn how to tell time

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This clock’s name is Telly. He’s an interactive teaching time clock!

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Exploring the clock– First, just let your child move the hands of the clock. Telly will tell them what time it is when they stop moving the hands. This will give them the feel of how this toy works!

 

2. Teaching– To start, teach your child about each o’clock (1:00, 2:00, 3:00, etc.). After that, I showed my daughter the half hours, then 15 and 45 minutes. Then we went into going around the clock counting by 5’s.

 

3. Show digital and analog time– You can show your kids both the digital and analog time on this clock! They should try to read the digital clock’s time and then move the hands on the clock to show what it would look like on the analog clock.

 

Interested in some FREE printables about clocks?

 

clock learning packet

 

Click HERE for your Clock Learning Packet!

 


Toy #33: Barbies

 

Barbies are such a HUGE hit over here at our house at the moment. My 6-year-old just can’t get enough of all her Barbies and changing their outfits!

 

What I love about Barbies is the fact that they are open-ended. She has brought them in the bathtub, in our pool, on vacation, and plays with them in her dollhouse.

 

barbie school set

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Ways to Play

 

1. Dress up– Change the Barbies outfits! It’s so much fun putting on different outfits and pretending to play in different scenarios with your little ones.

 

2. Dollhouse play– Barbies fit along perfectly with a dollhouse. We have played for so many hours having the Barbies go to different rooms in the house.

 

3. Bathtub play– We bring some of our Barbies into the pool or tub with us! We don’t like to get their outfits ruined, so we make sure it’s a swim Barbie. Bring in a toy boat for even more fun!

 


Toy #34: Cash Register

 

Looking for a fun way to introduce the concept of money to your little ones?

 

A toy cash register can be used for so many different play scenarios to show your child about the different coins, dollars, and how to give change.

 

toy cash register

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Ways to Play

 

1. Coin sorting- Coin sorting activities are a great way to introduce the concept of money to your kids. I have a Money Learning Packet available for you to work on these skills with your kids. Use the coins and the dollars to bring these worksheet activities to life to help your kids learn about money.

coin sort worksheet

CLICK HERE to grab your FREE Money Learning Packet

 

2. Play store- This can be any type of store! The grocery, ice cream shop, restaurant, Starbucks, Target are some of our favorite pretend scenarios. Have your child ring up the items, type it in the cash register, and then return change if needed! This is a play-based learning strategy that will help teach the concept of money.

 

3. Add money- While playing store, switch roles, and have them be the person who buys the products. Work together with your child to add the money to see if they have enough to buy each item. Inside the Money Learning Packet, there are also activities to add pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollars, along with this fun who has more activity! 

 

adding money

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #35: Interactive Globe

 

Into traveling? Or have a little one interested in learning about our world? This is the BEST interactive globe out there.

 

We just got this globe a few months back, and we really enjoy learning about all the different countries.

 

interactive globe

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Ways to Play

 

1. Exploring the globe– Let your child use the interactive pen to click around the globe and start learning about different areas of our world!

 

2. Buttons to learn– Use the buttons at the bottom of the globe to guide learning. There are 5 functions (nature, continents and oceans, countries, cities and capitals, and U.S.A Cities and States.

 

3. Questions– There is a find it mode on each of the categories on the globe! This tests kid’s knowledge about what they have learned, and you can earn points! I love this way of checking for understanding.

 

 


Toy #36: Sports balls

 

Yes, that simple, a ball!

 

There are ENDLESS amounts of gross activities that can be done with a ball for kids. I am a physical education teacher, and one of the must-haves in my gym is a bunch of playground balls.

 

 

 

set of sports balls

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Ways to Play

 

1. Throw and catch- Practice throwing and catching skills with the football and basketball! Show your child the correct way to throw the ball underhand and overhand. These are critical gross motor skills that will help them later when playing sports and games at school with their friends. Make sure to have them step with one foot towards their target, throw with one hand, and aim for their partner’s hands!

 

RELATED: 14 PROVEN Basketball Drills For 5-Year-Olds

 

2. Kick and trap- Soccer is one of the best games for little ones because it’s all about running and kicking! Also, work on trapping and passing skills by passing back and forth with this soft soccer ball!

 

5 year old soccer spot shot

 

RELATED: 26 Soccer Activities for 5-Year-Olds

 

3. Aiming skills- With the soccer ball, practice how to kick the ball to a target like a soccer goal or in-between cones. If you also have a smaller basketball hoop, you can practice aiming skills in the basket! Your kiddo will be a step above the rest if they start practicing these gross motor skills at a young age. Plus, it’ll boost their confidence if they practice these skills! They will be more willing to play in the future if they know some skills already.

 


Toy #37: Fit Bit for Kids

 

My 5-year-old just loves her Fitbit! She loves to check it to see how many steps she has gotten for the day.

 

Wearing a Fitbit helps kids want to move and stay active! They will get excited to see if they could beat their previous steps from the day before.

 

fitbit for kids

 

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Ways to Play

 

1. Exercise together– Challenge your children to exercise with you! It’s a great way to bond together and teach your kids the importance of staying active to keep your body healthy. They should wear their Fitbit to see how their steps will increase when they move.

 

2. Create a family fun day– Due to COVID-19, I created a Virtual Field Day for my physical education students. I also created it to share with all of you! Check out my field day activities that you can do at home with your kids to exercise and have a great family fun day. Have the kids wear their Fitbits so they can track how many steps they took throughout the day!

 

CLICK HERE for the Virtual Field Day Link!

 

3. Try to beat the previous day– Have a calendar set up so your child can track their progress throughout the week! Set goals together to see if they can beat their previous day’s score.

 

RELATED: 20 AWESOME Exercises For Kids

 


Toy #38: Hot Wheels

 

I love my Instagram community so much. I posted my 3 and 4-year-old best toy articles, and I asked everyone what their child’s favorite toys were.

 

Many people mentioned Hot Wheels!  I love being able to share ideas with everyone!

 

hot wheels garage

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How cool is this set?! I’m so excited to grab this for my little guy; I know he’s just going to love it. He loves dinosaurs and cars! The fact too that it’s a storage area and has tracks is awesome.

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Race cars– Put the cars on the tracks and watch them! See them go through the dinosaur’s mouth!

 

2. Storage– My son loves lining up toys and having particular spots for them. He’s going to love just placing the cars back in their specific spots!

 

3. Connecting tracks– This set can also connect to other track sets if you have others. This is a really cool feature of Hot Wheels products! I love that you can mix and match them.

 

hot wheels set

 

This is an example of how other tracks can be connected to this garage! This would seriously be hours of playing time for my kids! 

 


Toy #39: Sensory Table

One of the most beloved toys that we use outdoors is our sensory. This is the one we have, I get asked about it ALL the time.

 

There are so many ways to play with this table! I love that it has two sections and there is a cover for it so it won’t get dirty inside if you want to keep it outdoors!

 

IKEA flisat table

 

Ways to Play

 

You need at least two storage bins too to play! 

 

1. Sensory play– Set up a sensory activity using things like water, colored rice, oobleck, etc. If you need inspiration, check out my related link below this toy.

 

2. Alphabet search– Do your kids love to play searching games? Hide some letters or numbers in sand. When they come across one, have them tell you which one they found!

 

3. Toy rescues- Make Jell-O and stick some toys inside, have the kids try to get the toys out using kid-friendly tweezers!

 

RELATED: 40 Sensory Ideas for Kids

 


Toy #40: Trampoline

 

Does your child have a lot of energy that they need to burn off positively?

 

Look no further! Toddlers can jump their little hearts out in a safe way since this trampoline has netting around it to keep them inside the trampoline while they play!

 

trampoline

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Ways to Play

 

1. Free play- Let your kiddo jump their little hearts out! They will love just getting the chance to explore the trampoline and see what fun tricks they can do on it! They will burn off some energy and get some great exercise by using the trampoline.

 

2. Basketball play- Set up the inflatable pool hoop on the trampoline. Your little one will LOVE jumping and shooting it into the hoop. They can work on aiming skills from farther away as well!

 

3. Practice types of jumps- Practicing jumping skills develop gross motor skills! Here is a list of jumps to practice: straight, tuck, straddle, half turns, whole turns, and frog jumps!

 

RELATED: 20 AWESOME Exercises for Kids

 


Toy #41: Kids Camera

 

I asked my Instagram community what gifts they were thinking about getting their little ones and a kid’s camera was one of the responses that I heard the most!

 

This way they won’t take your phone to take photos, am I right?!

 

 

kids camera

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We have this camera, and it has been a major hit with my daughter! She can take as many pictures as she wants! It’s really heavy-duty too, which is nice in case it gets dropped.

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Take photos– The main reason you want the camera is for the kids to take photos! Upload their pictures to the computer if you want to save any.

 

2. Add fun backgrounds– Kids have the ability to add on some fun backgrounds or silly pictures into their photos. They can have fun adding their face into the backgrounds!

 

3. Games– There are a few games that they can play on the camera. 3-year-olds may struggle to play some of the games, but it’s nice that they can use it for years to come, and they will get better at it.

 


Toy #42: Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet

 

While this is not really a “toy,” this tablet has educational games and hundreds of FREE books!

 

We have this tablet for our kids, and it is perfect for young children to use. You can also link your Amazon account to the table so all the items you download from your account will show up on the Fire!

 

 

fire HD

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Ways to Play

 

1. Play educational games– There are tons of educational games that your little ones can play. When you choose to do screen time, it always feels better when they are learning, doesn’t it?

 

2. Read books– My favorite part about having the Amazon Fire is having access to an incredible amount of FREE books. It’s fun to look through them and read them with your little ones.

 

3. Watch shows– Going on a road trip or plane ride? We use this tablet for the kids to be able to watch shows when we are traveling. We don’t like to use it the entire time, but it is nice to have something for them to do when they are just sitting there for a while.

 


Toy #43: Chutes and Ladders

 

Chutes and Ladders is a great game to introduce to 5-year-olds and it’s jam-packed with learning!

 

I also remember playing this around that age when I was little too! Isn’t that amazing? It’s been around for so long, but it’s just a classic that is fun for kids to learn how to play board games!

chutes and ladders

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How this game involves learning

 

1. Number recognition– This board game goes all the way up to 100! Counting to 100 is a skill that kids are asked at the beginning of the year in Kindergarten. What a fun way to practice counting, right?

 

2. Counting– They have to spin the spinner and count how many spaces they are supposed to move! This is a great way for them to work on counting correctly.

 

3. Taking turns- Half the reason I love playing board games with the kids is that it teaches them how to take turns! This is an important skill they will need for the rest of their lives.

 

4. Following rules– They have to follow the game rules and learn they can’t cheat to win! They need to understand that they can’t take extra turns or move their player to different spots on the board to get ahead.

 

RELATED: Kindergarten Activities For Kids

 


Toy #44: Train Tracks

 

Train tracks are a classic open-ended toy that kids can find new ways to play with each time they pull this toy out.

 

train tracks and trains

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Ways to Play

 

1. Build your own track- Train tracks are so fun to build whatever design you want! Let your little one’s creativity run wild, and let them create a track for the trains ride on.

 

2. Alphabetical order- On dot stickers, write the alphabet letters and place one on each train track. Have your little ones work to put the letters of the alphabet in order to create a long track for the trains to ride on!

 

3. Train track building challenges- Challenge your child to build a specific track pattern like a circle or a track that goes through a bridge! These challenges will allow them to use critical thinking skills to see what train track pieces would fit together to create the pattern you want them to.

 

RELATED: The BEST Open-Ended Toys

 


Toy #45: Kinetic Sand

 

Kinetic sand is one of my favorite sensory bin fillers! I use it for letter and number learning sensory activities.

 

Not only is it great for learning, but it feels AMAZING! Every time I have it out for my kids and my husband is around, I always catch him playing with it too!

 

kinetic sand for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Building with sand toys- Included in the pack are a few sand toys that your kids can use to build castles in the sand. Building castles is easy for even toddlers to do with this type of sand! You can also use sand toys that you play with outside too! The kids also enjoy hiding toys inside the castles we make to search for them with the tools.

 

2. Sight word sensory bin- I created a construction-themed sensory bin for both my kids to play with. My younger one (2 yo) worked on alphabet recognition with the stones, while my older one (5yo) worked on sight word building. I have FREE sight word cards available for download! This was such a hit with both kids. Along with the kinetic sand, there are small stones and construction vehicles in this bin.

 

FREE Sight Word Cards

 

3. Shape puzzle- Create a shape puzzle by putting shape blocks inside the kinetic sand! Use shapes from a shape puzzle to create the design of each puzzle piece into the sand. Pick up the pieces and have your kids try to match up the shapes in the correct spot.

 

RELATED: The BEST 22 Sensory Bins For Kids

 


Toy #46: Easel

 

Do you have a child who loves art? Easels are a perfect toy for kids to work on a bunch of different art projects!

 

The best part about having an easel is the giant paper. Having the large butcher paper is great for your kids to do art projects on the easel, and I also use the paper for different projects, not on the easel.

easel for kids art

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Ways to Play

 

1. Free Draw- Let your little one draw, paint, or color with different supplies! Let them create whatever they want! This is an excellent way for kids to show their creativity and imagination!

 

2. Draw/paint the season- This is one of my favorite activities on BIG paper! Write the season at the top of the page. Brainstorm with your little one what objects, foods, weather, clothing, etc. remind them of the season that it is.  We used our watercolor set to paint for this activity. This is an excellent homeschooling activity for preschoolers!

season water color art

 

3. Spray the letters/numbers- There is a chalkboard on the other side of the easel! How awesome is that, right? Write the letters of the alphabet or numbers that you want to work on with chalk. Fill a spray bottle with water and ask your child to squirt a specific number/letter!

 

RELATED: 23 SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities

 


Toy #47: Candy Land Board Game

 

The first game that we introduced by daughter at 4 years old was Candy Land!

 

I also remember playing this around that age when I was little too! Isn’t that amazing? It’s been around for so long, but it’s just a classic that is fun for kids to learn how to play board games!

 

candy land board game

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How this game involves learning

 

1. Color recognition– If you have never played this game before, there are colored squares on each card. They will flip over the card on their turn and move to the color it shows. This will help with color recognition and matching skills on the board!

 

2. Counting– On the card, there will be one or two colored squares; they will have to move their player the correct amount of times on the board! It is challenging in the beginning because they have to learn how the board works with the twists and turns it has on it.

 

3. Taking turns- Half the reason I love playing board games with the kids is that it teaches them how to take turns! This is an important skill they will need for the rest of their lives.

 

4. Following rules– They have to follow the game rules and learn they can’t cheat to win! They need to understand that they can’t take extra turns or move their player to different spots on the board to get ahead.

 

RELATED: Kindergarten Activities For Kids

 


Toy #48: Princess Dresses

 

Just like the superhero capes, these princess dresses can be used in so many different ways!

 

Your little ones will love putting on these dresses to pretend like they are Disney princesses!

 

dress up girls costumes

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Ways to Play

 

1. Play salon– They can get dressed up and you can do their hair and make-up like they are at an actual salon! We have the cutest little pretend make-up set that is perfect for 3-year-olds.

 

2. Tea party– Set up a tea party using a toy tea set or items you have. They can dress up and bring other fun characters like stuffed animals to the party.

 

3. Play Disney– Yes, this is a game my daughter loves to play! She pretends she is one of the Disney princesses and we have to take our photos with and she signs our autograph books. Hey, what a fun way to work on handwriting skills!

 


Toy #49: Super Hero Costumes

 

Both my son and daughter love putting on these fun costumes! They pretend they are superheroes fighting all the bad guys!

 

Costumes are open-ended so kids can play differently each time!

 

super hero capes

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Ways to Play

 

1. Play superheroes– Pretend to fight off the bad guys in these fun costumes! If your little one knows about the different powers each superhero has, they can use those powers!

 

2. Toy rescues– Put toys up on the wall using painters tape! Trap them inside so the kids have to rescue them but taking the tape off of them. They will love this challenge and feel like they are saving something!


Toy #50: Pop It’s

 

2021 was the year of the pop it’s. This sensory toy is a great way to keep those little hands busy.

 

I will be buying multiple for my kids, it’s on their wish list.

 

pop its

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Ways to Play

 

1. Pop them– This is the main way to play. Pop the bubbles and flip it over! Do this repeatedly.

 

2. Add some letters or numbers on them– Use a Sharpie marker to write letters and numbers. Have the kids pop ones to work on recognition skills!

 


Final Thoughts and Conclusion

 

There are so many toys out there; it feels overwhelming to choose the right gift for kids!

 

All of the gifts that I mention in this article are open-ended toys. That means that if you choose to give one of these as gifts, it can be used in an endless amount of ways. These won’t sit in a closet for a year; I can promise you that!

 

I hope this list of the best toys for preschoolers has helped you narrow down your choices! Do you have any toy recommendations for preschoolers that you didn’t see on this list that you think should be added? I’d love to hear about them! Please share your ideas with our community by commenting below!

 

Happy Toy Shopping!

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