Aldersgate Preschool

My Christmas List – batteries not included


We are making lists.  We are all searching for the perfect gift for everyone on our list.  We hope we can find toys for our kids that are exciting and fun!  We also hope we are giving them gifts that will sustain their interest, encourage creativity and cognitive thought, last as a go-to toy for years to come and so much more.  Personally, I also look for toys that don’t include batteries.  Toys that are child driven.

With tomorrow being Cyber Monday I wanted to share a few ideas that might just be on sale then.  Click on the photo for the link to one site where you can purchase the item.  You may want to shop around tomorrow to see if another site is offering it at a lower price.

Here’s a list of some that I would recommend.

For  toddlers:

I would definitely go with some of the standards:

41-E0O75V-L DOLLS (soft body and no noises)  This one is from Melissa and Doug.  I have found this company to carry very quality and interactive toys for all ages.

download                 STROLLERS & GROCERY CARTS  Little Tykes brand has held up well for us.

71XwJk7baGL._SL1500_     CARS (again, no noises and fewer moving parts)  These are sturdy and the kids will love pulling them back to watch them zoom forward.

71CntjHlE-L._SL1500_ BALL TOYS  I was surprised to see how many of these now have music and other sounds.  I would opt for a more basic option.


For building and construction play:

WOOD BLOCKS:  These would definitely be my top 10 list of toys for kids!


For those of you worried about how to store these, we keep them in an old suitcase that even looks nice in my livingroom.  Afraid your girls won’t like them?  Consider adding some furniture or characters.

furniture  furniture

dog dogs (they also have cats and other animals)

LEGOS/DUPLOS:  These have been around for years and there is a reason.  The larger Duplo blocks are great for the younger kids and the traditional Lego’s have infinite possibilities.  I’m excited to know Lego is introducing the new Lego Juniors sets.  These are offered in a variety of play scenarios:

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SQUIGZ:  I always try to include some things that are new.  There are always such neat new toys!  These look very interesting and have gotten great reviews.  (We don’t have these yet but you can be sure they are now on our preschool list for future purchases.)  This link is to the deluxe set (as with most things, I’m think you need enough to make the play really fun) but there is a starter kit as well as other extending sets such as Squigz Benders that look interesting.


Other building sets we enjoy are:  Magna Tiles,  WedgitsGears


For Arts/Crafts & Sensory Play:


MARKERS, CRAYONS, CHALK   We encourage the children to use pipsqueak sized items.  The shorter length encourages the children to hold the item closer to the writing area which applies the most successful amount of pressure.


Do-A-Dot Art Daubbers  Kids of all ages enjoy these – and they are very low mess.


PAINT, WATERCOLORS, FINGER PAINT  I know, it’s messy, but it is so worth the risk of a little spill.  Purchase several of those cheap vinyl table cloths to put under your child’s chair while he or she creates.  These are from Lakeshore Learning.  I like their items however we purchase most of our art supplies from DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY.


TAPE  I know it sounds so basic but tape can become lines, roads, decoration, letters . . .  It’s also good fine motor work to tear it & scissor work to cut. (This and similar rolls can be purchased at Target, Walmart, etc.)


COLLAGE MATERIALS  A collection of different papers, ribbons, buttons, pipe cleaners, rhinestones, google eyes, tongue depressors, and more can supply hours of fun!


KINECTIC SAND  This wonderful feeling sensory material molds well without being wet.  It never dries out.


For Dramatic Play


REAL WORKING CASH REGISTER   I think the name says it all for this one.


DOCTOR KIT    If you don’t already have one, you need this.


MAIL BOX  This was popular while it lasted at preschool.  Hopefully with less continuous use it would hold up to your children’s wear and tear.

For Playing Games

In addition to the traditional games such as Candyland and Hi Ho Cheerio we have a few we especially enjoy.


TEDDY MIX & MATCH  There are a variety of ways to adapt this game to various ages.  I began using these in play with my granddaughter when she was just two years old.  I will do a blog post soon with ways to adapt toys and games like this one.

download (2)

MAISY GAME  This game encourages children to find their different color items to fill their board.  We also play it a variety of ways.  Watch for that blog post soon.


OH RATS!  This is an old Discovery Toys game – it’s worth the hunt.  Every person has a puzzle with one piece of each color.  If your spinner lands on a color you have already filled you get to yell, “Oh rats!”  It helps a child handle the disappointment of not getting to fill another piece.


SPOT IT JR  I haven’t played this game but it seems like it would encourage visual discrimination at an appropriate level for young players.

While I was researching for this post I came across a couple of games I would heartily endorse for older kids.  I couldn’t resist including them.

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For Large Motor Play:


TUNNEL  This pop up tunnel is always a hit when we get it out at preschool.  It would be great on those long winter days.



TRAMPOLINE   While we don’t have this specific model, a trampoline that can be used indoors is a great way for children to continue building hose large motor muscles throughout the cold weather and all year long.



BILIBO  We don’t have these yet but they are on the list.  They look really interesting.  There is a video tab to see a whole host of uses for this unusual toy.


PLASMACAR  Again, we don’t have these …. YET.  It looks and sounds exciting.  There is a video you can watch to see it in action.  (UPDATED:  We had a few families try this and unfortunately it didn’t seem to work as well as we hoped for our preschool aged children.  It seems this would be best suited for early elementary aged kids.)

Hopefully you’ve gotten a couple of ideas from this post.  Happy Shopping!

6 thoughts on “My Christmas List – batteries not included

  1. Happy to see a couple of these have already been purchased for my kids for Christmas! Love this post! Thanks!

  2. One of the best things we had at a family Christmas was a lot of new pom pom “puff balls” I bought from a craft store. I got several different sizes and colors. The kids had a blast sorting them by size, color, etc. We “cooked” with them, used them in construction trucks and had snowball fights. Out of all the new Christmas gifts, this one kept six young kids entertained the longest!

  3. I still love getting these emails! You guys always have so many great things to say. We really miss being at your school. Keep up the good work!

  4. I’ve said it before, but just want to tell you again how much I enjoy your blog posts. How many people can say that the preschool their kid goes to provides this kind of ‘service’? It’s like a gift-with-purchase!

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