Toddler & Preschool Gift Guide

Gift Guide - Toddling Around Chicagoland

It’s getting down to the wire! If you are still looking for gifts for your kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews here are a few items I’d recommend. All of the toys listed below are ones we own and love, unless otherwise specified. My kids are currently 11 months (Campbell), 4 years (Dexter), and 6 years (Cooper). 

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Melissa & Doug Deluxe Fuzzy Make – Your – Own Monster Puppet

This is pretty much the cutest toy ever. All the pieces are easy to attach and detach and you can make tons of different combinations; easy enough for a young toddler but interesting enough for a preschooler or older. I love that this toy promotes creativity.

Fisher-Price Imaginext

Fisher-Price Imaginext toys are always a hit in our house. We have 2 different castles, a Monsters University set, pirate ship, space shuttle, and more.

Toddler and Preschooler Gift Guide - Bilibo - Toddling Around Chicagoland

Moluk Bilibo

I’ll admit I saw this toy years ago and thought it was ridiculous. The kids had a chance to try them out at a friend’s house and they loved them so much that friend bought them for the boys for Christmas last year. Dexter enjoys lounging in his or taking it onto the wood floor in the kitchen to spin.

Uncle Milton Rainbow In My Room

This projects a rainbow across the wall. I found this on sale years ago and thought it looked interesting so the boys got it for Christmas. Years later we’re on our second one (the first was used daily and dropped several times so I was amazed it lasted as long as it did) and the boys still insist on having it on at bedtime EVERY NIGHT. I think it’s really pretty and it has a timer so it turns off after 10 minutes. We love it so much I’ve ordered other Uncle Milton products, like the Uncle Milton Shooting Stars in My Room.

LeapFrog LeapReader Reading and Writing System

I love LeapFrog. We’ve never had a LeapFrog product that disappoints. The Leapfrog Leap Reader and Writer can read books like the LeapFrog Tag system (yes, materials are interchangeable), but it can also do activities and games with kids and help teach kids how to write. Cooper and Dexter were especially fans of the 3D Monster’s University book.

Boom Boom Balloon

We discovered Buster Balloon (now called Boom Boom Balloon) at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair last year. It’s hilarious and we all love playing it. A balloon sits in the middle and each player has to roll a die and push plastic sticks into the balloon, clicking them according to what they roll. The last person to go before the person who pops the balloon wins! We like this game a lot and brought it with us several times while visiting family.

Hape Bamboo Super Moose

We received the Hape Bamboo Super Moose game so I could post a review of it. You can read my full Hape Bamboo Super Moose game review, but to give you the shorter version – we really enjoy this game. It’s fairly simple to play, but challenging for all of us. Surprisingly, Dexter is the champion every time we play!

Radio Flyer Ziggle Ride On

We received the Radio Flyer Ziggle to review and this is another favorite toy (see the full Radio Flyer Ziggle review). This is great for a large age range; both my older boys liked it but I think an older child would also enjoy it and be able to go faster and spin out more on it. Dexter still struggles with peddling a bike so this is a good alternative for him so he can get moving too. It is very low to the ground so I would really suggest it for wide open spaces or private property and NOT for use around cars.

Crayola Marker Maker

Cooper is obsessed with making art and Santa gifted this to him a little early this year. He LOVES it and John and I were surprised at how easy it is. The recommended age is 8+ but Dexter was even able to make his own marker. Everything in the kit fits together for storage and it isn’t messy. We did have a bit of leaking ink at one point, but it cleaned up very easily. You can make 16 markers with the Marker Maker and then purchase refill kits to make more.

Crazy Forts!

This is a toy we do not own (yet). We discovered this at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair this year and finally had to drag the boys away from the floor model. It reminded me of giant Tinker Toys used to build forts. Sheets can be hung with clothespins to make a fort for the kids to play in. I think the kids would love building the fort as well as playing inside it once it was done.
Toddler and Preschooler Gift Guide - Ikea veggies - Toddling Around Chicagoland






Ikea Play Food

Ikea play food is fun, durable, and inexpensive. We have almost all the sets available and the kids have used them for years.
Toddler and Preschooler Gift Guide - Ikea easel - Toddling Around Chicagoland








Ikea art easel

At only $14.99 ($9.99 for Ikea Family members) this is the most inexpensive art easel we’ve found. It’s large, durable, and the we use it for large art projects. This makes a great gift.

Recordable Story Books

Recordable Story Books are great for kids when family members live far away, or even just for when Mom or Dad has to work during story time.
Do you have favorite toys you recommends to other parents?


  1. Thanks for making the list! It’s really hard to shop for kids when you are in a tight budget but the Ikea art easel is definitely a must have! The Moluk Bilibo seems a good gift too!

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