There are so many gifts to buy throughout the year with birthdays and special events, but during the holiday season I especially suffer from gift fatigue. There are just too many decisions to make about buying gifts, especially for kids, that will not just end up as more clutter sitting in their closet. One way I have tried to give more meaningful children’s gifts, and make the process more fun, is to pair a book with a related gift. This creates a gift that encourages reading and learning, but still has a fun/toy component so that kids who aren’t avid readers will not be disappointed. Pairing a toy with a book also allows the themes of the book to be carried into a child’s creative and imaginative play time. I’ve decided to collect some of my favorite book/gift combinations in a series of posts to help anyone else out there who might be looking for that perfect gift for a special child this holiday season. I’m starting with gifts for the preschool crowd and I have to admit, this was the most fun guide to put together! There are so many wonderful, fun, quirky, playful books for preschoolers and lots of great toys to go with them. Simply click on any picture below to go to the purchasing website.
Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson is the most adorable book for preschoolers about the joys of exploring nature. A little boy goes out to explore the forest and meets an unexpected friend who explores with him. The illustrations in this book are incredible and the story is short and engaging for preschool aged kids.
This Little Explorers activity set from uncommongoods.com is the perfect companion to Explorers of the Wild. Not only is there a set of wooden binoculars for exploring but there are also stickers and coloring activities to keep your little explorer busy in the car or on the trail. The best part is the cute backpack covered with “patches” to keep everything together and portable.
Pokko and the Drum is a beautiful, funny book about being yourself and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd. When Pokko gets a drum from her parents, they quickly tire of the noise she is making and ask her to play her drum outside but not too loudly. Pokko walks through the forest playing her drum and ends up starting a musical parade with other animals following behind.
We have read many, many dinosaur books in the past 7 years and Life On Earth: Dinosaurs by Heather Alexander is one of our very favorites. The bright pictures and liftable flaps make this book super engaging for a wide age range of kids, while the text is rich in dinosaur facts. Both my kids and I have learned a lot from this book and it kept my son busy like few other books did when he was a preschooler.
Janod puzzles are some of the highest quality puzzles for children that I have come across. The pictures are lovely, the pieces are durable and I love that these puzzles come in a sturdy box for storing. At 24 pieces, this dinosaur puzzle is a great size for challenging preschoolers without being too difficult and the pieces are nice and big.
In Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty, Iggy Peck is a little boy with big dreams. He loves building things, to the consternation of his parents and teacher who find his building tendencies inconvenient. However, when Iggy’s class gets in a dangerous situation during a class trip, his talents come to the rescue! This is an encouraging read for any child who loves to build or create.
This Big City Architecture block set is definitely on the more expensive end of the gifts in this guide, but I’ve found that when it comes to blocks, you get what you pay for. The more expensive blocks I’ve bought for my kids tended to be bigger, more durable, and had a larger variety of pieces that made them more interesting to build with. If you have a child in your life who loves to build, I think these blocks would be worth the splurge to encourage their interest for years to come.
The Season books by Sam Usher are a set of four books about a little boy and his grandpa and their adventures with different weather and seasons. Titled Rain, Storm, Snow, and Sun, each of these books is a delight and this box set of all four is sure to engage your preschooler all year long. I loved using these to introduce the seasons to my little ones and talk about how our weather and experiences compared to Sam and his grandpa.
I have just been looking for an excuse to buy this adorable wooden weather station playset by Moon Picnic. With simple graphics and interchangeable wooden pieces, this is an engaging, fun way to introduce preschoolers to concepts like temperature or wind speed.
In R is for Robot by Adam F. Watkins, a team of quirky robots work together to build the alphabet, making silly noises along the way. I have found this book to be a little more engaging than most alphabet books for this age group and it kept my son giggling the whole way through. It was one of the few alphabet books he repeatedly requested to check out from the library.
My has asked for these transforming Alpha-bots for Christmas every year, even now that he is 7 and knows his alphabet backwards and forwards! A few of our friends have the letter or number versions of these robots and kids seem to love them. These transforming bots are a fascinating, hands-on alphabet exploration tool that would be a great companion to R is for Robot.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle is one of my all-time favorite books for preschoolers. The story is short enough to engage their attention, has an enjoyable rhyming beat, and includes both animals and vehicles: two of preschoolers favorite things. Best of all, this story teaches about the importance of both teamwork and forgiveness.
I love toys that function as two toys in one, and this Melissa & Doug shape sorting dump truck does just that. It is made of solid wood, features bright colors, and even has two people that come in and out of the cab. This would be great for imaginative play or shape and color practice, win/win!
The dot by Peter H. Reynolds is the story of a little girl named Vashti who is initially hesitant to express herself creatively until she gets some encouragement from her art teacher to, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” This simple advice leads Vashti into a whole creative world with just one dot. The dot is an encouraging read for either kids who are hesitant to try new things or those who already love expressing themselves creatively.
Although I have yet to try them, I have heard wonderful things about the vivid colors and high quality of Micador paints. This jumbo watercolor palette with large pans of paint looks perfect for smaller hands to use. Pair it with a simple pad of white paper for a creatively inspiring preschool gift.