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Best Of Chicago

Best Gifts For Preschoolers

December 15, 2010 7:00 AM

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Best Toys For Preschoolers

(credit: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Adults who are not totally immersed inside the world of preschoolers, often have a hard time figuring out or remembering what the little angels find intriguing and fun. Here’s a list of winning Christmas gifts for the little tykes in your life. These are sure to keep them busy and happy while braving the cold Chicago winter from the warm confines of the house, or during brief jaunts outside on days of weather respite.

Melissa and Doug Monster Bowling Set

Found at: Building Blocks toy store
Lakeview, 3306 N. Lincoln Ave. / Chicago
(773) 525-6200
or
Wicker Park, 2130 W. Division St. / Chicago
(773) 235-1888
www.buildingblockstoys.com

Made of soft, colorful textured pins that look like silly monsters, this bowling set, complete with a soft creature ball, is the perfect hands-on activity for busy three and four year olds who need something do while stuck inside on cold days. Because the pins and ball are made of soft cloth, parents needn’t worry about small hands or toes getting pinched or being misused as other objects that could cause harm. Even younger siblings can join in on the bowling fun with this set without fear of breaking or harming the other bowlers. While little ones will simply enjoy playing with the ball and aiming to knock over the pins, parents will like that the movement of rolling the ball toward the pins helps increase hand-eye coordination.

Candy Land Castle Game

Found at: Toys ‘R Us, locations suburb and city-wide
www.toysrus.com

For preschoolers who may not be ready for complicated board games, the Candy Land Castle Game offers three and four year olds an easy-to-learn game that is exciting and educational. Each player receives a board with shapes on it. Players then take turns pulling the candy cane, which opens the chimney for a shape piece to come sliding out. If the player has that shape on his board, he places it there. If not, the shape is deposited back into the chimney. This is a winner in parents’ eyes as it teaches kiddos shapes and colors, promotes turn taking and aids in improving fine-motor skills.

Parum Pum Pum

(credit: justb-byou.com)

Just B. Byou Parum Pum Pum Set

Found at: Target, locations suburb and city-wide
www.target.com

There’s not much preschoolers love more than making a joyful noise. The sturdy instruments found in the band in a box set, are colorful and alluring. Little hands love to shake the egg shaker and tambourine to the beat of songs, giving them a feel for how to keep tempo with the music. An actual drum with drum sticks adds a little bass to the existing percussion arrangement and aids in developing extra hand-eye coordination. With all of these instruments, quite a few friends or siblings can share and either make their own music together, or play along while listening to recorded songs. And the part parents will love? Each instrument in the set can be neatly stored inside the drum so the instruments have less chance of getting lost or left behind.

High Five by Highlights magazine subscription

Found at: www.highlights.com

High Five is more than just a good read chalked full of fun stories for preschoolers – it’s an interactive magazine featuring hidden-picture searches, crafts and kid-friendly recipes. All of those features add up to one great gift that will have little ones clamoring to the mailbox in hopes of finding a new edition to read each month. Parents will appreciate the stories that feature a bi-lingual family, thus introducing little ears to common Spanish words, and the little ones will love to find the hidden objects in the picture and point out the silly, out-of-place items in a double-page, seasonal picture scene. {A good aid in explaining the extreme Chicago seasons to little minds, while keeping those little minds occupied during days with sub-zero temperatures.}

Kettler Air Navigator

Found at: Building Blocks toy store
Lakeview, 3306 N. Lincoln Ave. / Chicago
(773) 525-6200
or
Wicker Park, 2130 W. Division St. / Chicago
(773) 235-1888
www.buildingblockstoys.com

The snow’s gotta melt sometime, and when it does the Kettler Air Navigator is a wonderful first bike for preschoolers who want to explore their world but are still mastering the skill of pedaling. {It’s also a fun toy to ride around the basement on cold days when your preschooler’s energy level is through the roof!} The Kettler has a high-bar handle for parents to grasp so they can help their little ones push over bumpy sidewalks or steer while crossing the street. Preschoolers love the trunk feature of the bike and use it to store the many goodies – rocks, sticks, and leaves – they find during strolls around the neighborhood or jaunts to the park.

Hyacynth Worth writes life out loud at Undercover Mother. She tackles the various facets of motherhood, faith, natural parenting and healthy living in between chasing after two young boys.

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