Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide, Pre-School Boys Ages 3-4

Whether it's a birthday or a holiday, I always struggle with what to buy for boys, which is kind of funny, considering that I'll soon be a mom to three of them. There's just so much out there for them that a mother could literally go cross-eyed trying to find the latest and greatest "thing" whether it be a toy, educational game, or whatever.

As always, I try to strike a balance between the amount of toys we bring into our house with the amount of fun-but-learn-y type things as well. This year we will be following the much talked-about "Want Need Wear Read" schema for buying each of the boys' Christmas presents. Some of these items will be coming from Santa himself while others might be gracing the lists that the grandparents have requested.

Similar to most "pre-school aged boys" out there, my oldest continues to be very interested in trucks and trains. If I had to guess, these are probably two of his very most favorite things. The Melissa & Doug train table that he was gifted with for his birthday last year continues to be the number one played with item in our house. I'm talking uninterrupted hours of fun nearly every day. Accessories for this table are always a welcome gift but the drawer to our table is nearly overflowing with train parts!

Within the last several months, he's become an avid storybook "reader" and for the first time ever, I'd like to start replacing some of the educational "puzzles" in our house with board games. It's also about the time that I begin weaning him from our iPad and introducing him to a more kid-friendly tablet which is why the LeapPad will be on his list this year.

All that said, here's my picks for the Holiday Gift Guide for the Pre-School Age Boy!

1. Bruder Mack Granite Dump Truck I'll be honest with you, any Bruder truck will do just fine for your pre-school age boy. After buying Carter's very first Bruder truck for his third birthday earlier this year, we are hooked on this brand. Pricey, yes, but I know a secret. I recently stumbled upon a hoard of these trucks in our local HomeGoods store for nearly 50% off the retail price. What's so great about them? Not only do they have tons of working, operational parts but this trucks are TOUGH and can withstand even the biggest blows! A win-win in any boy Mom's book!

2. Bicycle With Training Wheels If you're seriously considering buying your pre-school aged boy a bike this holiday season, I suggest you take him to a nearby cycle shop and have him fitted for one. I have an unusually tall three year old and it turns out the typical "entry-level" 16" bicycle was too small for him! Not only will Santa be bringing him an 18" bicycle with training wheels, but he'll also receive all the accouterments as well- which I'm tempted to include knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. 

3. LeapFrog LeapPad2 Learning Tablet I've heard nothing but great things about this tablet and the bundle of educational games/apps that you can purchase separately for it. It's an eReader, photo lab, music player, art studio and more! And it's time that my three year old start using something geared more towards his age than our personal iPad. 

4. Board Games like the Super Why ABC Letter Game and Cootie. For the last year or so, most of our educational learning activities have been in the form of flash cards and puzzles. This is the first year I'll be introducing more "board game-type" activities with Carter and I'm kind of excited! I'm glad I waited to start these because prior to now, there was no hope of him sitting still long enough to learn and play!

5. VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Playset This one is purely for fun. Have you heard of or seen the Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Play Sets? These things are awesome! There are a variety of electronic "smart cars" and various play sets (train station, racetrack, construction zone) that work together for hours of fun! The SmartPoint vehicles respond to different points on each play set with various songs, phrases, learning rhymes and more! I first found these items in Target and have been slowly stocking up on the cars and trucks- thankfully they each have on/off buttons because they can get pretty noisy! Carter absolutely loves them and I can't wait to see how excited he is to see what Santa brings! 

6. The Day the Crayons Quit And Other Stories Although it took a couple of years, my three year old finally looooves his books and no matter what the occasion, there is always room for more books, I say! Never one to miss an opportunity to stock our home library, Santa will be stuffing each of the boys' stockings with books this year. Two that are on Carter's list include The Day The Crayons Quit and Boy and Bot. Looking for additional recommendations? Some of his other favorites include Steam Train Dream Train, Night Night Construction Site, Mr. Wolf's Pancakes and Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night. 

There you have it! Just a little glimpse into what Santa will be bringing the oldest M brother this year. Are you a parent to a pre-school aged boy? I would love to know what is on his list for Christmas! Happy Shopping! 

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  1. I just read The Day the Crayons Quit and loved it. I plan on getting it for my little artist when she is a little older.

  2. We own like 10 Bruder trucks/tractors (seriously, it's all E plays with or wants) and they are awesome! The dump truck is his favorite for sure. I'll be curious to know if Carter turns to the leapfrog over the iPad. I've thought about getting one, but I don't know if E would make the switch.

    1. That's how I feel with my kids, so I'm curious to know as well!

  3. We have a Leappad for our 4 YO tornado, thanks to his Auntie. What I like: he can do it all himself, but I dislike that it isn't wonderfully friendly for a leftie. I love that it keeps him off my ipad. Last year, Santa brought two Bruder trucks. This year, Santa is bringing duplos, some new games for the leap-pad, a fishing pole (his major request), and some snow-boots, assuming I don't need to call him one more time at bedtime. What is Santa bringing you, AP?

  4. Wow our boys are so much alike!! K has a beginner type bike and its too small for him too. (It was given to us so we didn't have the option of getting him fitted for one). What size clothes and shoes is Carter in? My three year old is in size 11 shoes and wears 5t, and some of his sleeves are too shirt even in a 5! It's crazy!

  5. It's like you peeked into my Amazon account and saw what's waiting in my shopping cart! Rhys loves his Bruder trucks and we have been building quite a collection. We picked up a great little set of Vtech Go! Smart Wheels at Costco and I want to add a couple more vehicles. And my hubby is seriously considering the LeapFrog 2 - have you looked into the cost of the apps? I don't necessarily want him on our iPad either but the software and apps are so easy to use and download, I'm wondering how the LeapPad compares. Happy Shopping!!

  6. Our Carter is getting the Leappad 2 and I got those Vtech Go! Go! trucks for my nephew a few weeks ago! :) Great minds think alike!

  7. Just a thought but the pedal-less bikes (as opposed to bikes with training wheels) have become really popular because as it turns out, kids tend to adjust to "regular" bike riding much faster than our traditional "ditch the training wheels" method. They quickly learn to push and balance and adding the pedals on seems to be a lot easier than taking training wheels off.

  8. We are giving my almost 2 year old a bike as well but it's one of the Glider balance bikes that don't have any pedals. Our neighbors son has one and it only took him like 2 weeks to really be able to use it well. My husbands best friend who is really into cycling told us the glider bikes are actually better to get than ones with training wheels because it teaches them how to balance better and the kid is typically able to transition right to a two wheel bike without needing training wheels. Just something you may want to look into.

  9. I'm glad to hear carter likes the vtech go cars. I thought they looked a little young. We'll have to check them out.

    We love our brider trucks-we have a crane, dump, and digger. All found at Marshall's or home goods!

    Monroe has requested a firestation.

    Some of our favorite books are the amazing machines ones you suggested a while ago. Amazon has the mini box set pretty cheap this time of year. Makes a great gift!

    What is Mac getting? I'm at a loss for Gray. With a big brother, I can't think of much else we need. Maybe a y bike?

  10. Please don't ever stop doing these posts! C and his dada and papa went to the bike store. I didn't get details on what size he is getting. But yeah he's the size of a tall 4 year old so... Papa wants to get all the safety stuff too. Gloves. I've already sent out his Christmas list but I might be checking home goods for those trucks and adding the rest to his amazon wish list for bday.

  11. I needed this gift guide more than any other gift guide out there. I have a 3 year old nephew and I'm clueless. Thank you so much for your insight and recommendations!


  12. I can't wait to see my 3-year-old's face when he see his new puzzles and LeapPad on Christmas morning!

  13. I can't wait to see my 3-year-old's face when he see his new puzzles and LeapPad on Christmas Morning!

  14. I can't wait to see my 3-year-old's face when he see his new puzzles and LeapPad on Christmas morning!

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