This is Lu’s fourth Christmas and it’s definitely getting easier to get her gifts I know she’ll love and use, in fact I’d even say I’m a little spoilt for choice this year! When she was younger we used to get more practical things like vouchers for classes or shops so we could grab clothes in the sale. This year she’ll mostly get toys, books and crafts but we’ll still be careful not to overspend on thing like clothes which are just so much cheaper a week after Christmas.
If you’ve got a three or four year old in your family read on for some brilliant Christmas present ideas. All of the items below are tried and tested by us, many from brands we’ve loved for years.
Anything that was sent to be included in this guide will be marked with an asterisk *. If I’ve got a more in-depth review in an older post I’ll also link to that so you can find out more about the product.
Gifts for Little Readers
Luisa and I both love books, I always collect some throughout the year especially when I see sales or multi-buy offers. We’re starting to move on to longer stories and will be introducing chapter books soon – albiet short ones!
Some of the books pictured will form part of Lu’s book advent, more on that another day, and the rest will be wrapped up under the tree.
Many of the gorgeous titles featured are from publishers Thames and Hudson, we’ve bought quite a few of their books before. I always know we’ll find something perfect within their range because they tend to focus on lots of titles that have a whimsical and artistic theme.
One of Lu’s favourites we’ve had for a long time is ‘What are you wearing today?’ it’s super interactive and teaches a lot of vocabulary about patterns and shapes as well as the reasoning behind certain choices.
If, like us, you’re really in to books keep an eye for another post I have coming later this week which looks very closely at our top picks for the 3-5 age range and delves into each title.
The soft owl pictured is *Owliver – a ‘Cuddly Reader’ book holder from Thinking Gifts. It’s a really clever book holder that can be used for physical books or tablets. Because the book is supported your little one has two hands free to turn pages and doesn’t have to deal with the frustration of dropping the book accidentally.
Lu has been using hers for about a month now and I’ve also found it improves her posture a lot. Cuddly Readers are super soft, light and easy to transport, machine washable and all the styles come with a little pocket at the back for headphones or pens etc.
This absolute stunner of a festive anthology is the latest from Shirley Hughes. Snow in the Garden is everything you’d expect and more, a gorgeous book full of short stories, recipes, crafts and poems. As I said above there’s a bumper book post coming out later this week where you can see inside all the titles featured today in more detail.
I’ve previously written about some of our favourite feminist titles before so do check that post out too.
STEM Gifts for Preschoolers
The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM toys and activities are anything that focuses on logic, problem-solving, creativity and experimentation. There are so many toys that teach STEM skills in such a fun way that children have no idea they’re learning. Chances are you already have a lot of STEM toys at home, from blocks to slime kits – it all counts. Here’s some of our favourites that are well suited to three and four year olds.
I love these chunky cardboard dominoes* from JoJo Maman Bebe. The illustrations are bright, fun and teach matching skills. Dominoes might seem like a pretty simplistic game but there are lots of opportunities to extend the play by talking about colours, sounds animals make and incorporating counting activities.
The Kid K’NEX range is really a lot of fun, Lu has the starter kit already and this year we’ll have the ocean pals set wrapped up under the tree. The range is designed for children aged 3-5 and is often on offer on Amazon. We all love the bright colours, googly eyes and the fact that you can follow simple instructions or create something totally unique. I can assure you there’s no upper age limit haha
This Gruffalo Snakes & Ladders* game from Milly and Flynn is suitable from 3 years and can be played by 2-4 people. I love the way they characters stand up and the board is short enough to be fun for 3-5 year olds without ending in tears!
This Globe is the SmartGlobe Adventure from Oregon Scientific. I’ll be posting a full review towards the end of the week so if it’s caught your eye come back for that. So far we love it, the globe is super interactive and has AR features too. Children can use the Smart Learning Pen included to learn about continents, countries, geography, cultures, age-appropriate world topics and much more in this bi-lingual interactive Adventure globe which offers 19 English and six French language activities.
Presents for Mini Artists
Luisa absolutely loves arts and crafts, we often pick up some essentials for her craft cupboard as Christmas gifts. Last year my mum went to town in The Range and found some amazing products! We ‘do art’ most days in our house but I always try to be clever when steering the activities so that not every day involves a super messy activity. I’m still deliberating over whether or not to get a Tuff Tray, I think we’d benefit more from one with a stand but they are quite pricy so I’m going to dither some more.
For mess free fun that’s still tactile we love Little Brian Paint sticks, Playfoam and reusable sticker sets. Learning Resources sent Luisa some of the new Playfoam Pals Snowy Friends*, these little pods have cute figures inside and of course Playfoam to mould anyway you choose. Playfoam is non toxic and doesn’t dry out so it’s a brilliant way to enjoy sensory play without lots of mess.
We already have a Playfoam starter-kit and usually pop down this sweet Elphee place mat* as a play surface, it’s made of silicone so it’s non slip and dishwasher safe. It’s a lot bigger than a grown up placemat so we use it for cutting and sticking, playdoh and other fiddly little art activities.
I’ve previously reviewed paint sticks from Little Brian and featured them in various gift guides before. Basically they’re like chunky glue sticks but instead of glue its quick drying solid poster paint. The colours are really bright and satisfying for little artists. For a closer look check out my post here.
Gifts for Big Dreamers
If you’ve got a little one with a big imagination then they’ll love role play toys. Everything from Drs kits to play kitchens and fancy dress is super popular with Luisa right now.
For Christmas we’ve got her a Cuddlepanda towel from Cuddledry, she already has a Cuddlebunny towel that she loves. I’m going to put her new panda towel in a Christmas Eve box I think so I’ll show you that at a later date. Another absolute winner she’ll be unwrapping this Christmas is the ‘Steggy’ costume from Pretend to Bee. It’s a fun, soft and realistic Stegosaurus onesie – if your children like dinosaurs this is sure to be popular! I can’t wait to see Luisa running around in this, i’m sure you’ll see it pop up on our Instagram time and time again.
PHEW! There you have it, some of my top gifts for 3-5 year olds this Christmas. Come back later this week for a really close look at the books above plus some more gems and a bargain stocking filler feature too.
If you enjoyed this post check out my previous Christmas content.