Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: for 3 - 4 years

This is the third installment of this week's Holiday Gift Guide with "Maya approved" toys for your little ones. [Check out my other gift guides for 0 - 18 months and 18 months - 3 years.]

3 - 4 years old is the stage that we are currently in with our daughter, and I have to say, it is the most FUN thus far! The thing I love about this age is that there is so much creative and imaginary play. My daughter will often play with her toys and create funny dialogues, which are so interesting to hear. Vocabulary and speaking is much better than it was in the last stage - now you can actually understand what they are talking about! Children at this stage will definitely be in preschool, and will be learning to share and socialize. They also like to help others. A major thing I noticed about this age is that my daughter's drawings have become less like scribbles and more like actual figures. During this age they will also start the very beginnings of learning how to write their name, and identify letters.

Check out my full list with links below! 
*Note that this list is gender neutral*

1. One of my friends gifted us this cool lacing game and I was amazed at how easily Maya did it - it looked quite hard to do but she was so ready for it! It is so colorful and the laces are really long, so they easily go through all the holes. It comes with several boards so you can easily pop one in your purse, the car, and they are also great for the airplane.

2. Maybe it's because we have a retail store, but one of my daughter's favorite imaginary games to play is taking people's money (ha ha!!!!). She loves to come up to me with her shopping cart, and tally up the vegetables, play with money, fake credit cards, and then get the receipt. This cash register is super cute because it has a weigh scale too. This is an excellent game to play for their counting skills.

3. Play Doh is a classic kids' activity that keeps them busy making shapes and experimenting with their hands. I like this set because it has such a great variety of parts. I often set up Maya with play doh while I am trying to do my make-up or cook something. It's also one of the few kids toys that are really cheap!

4. One of my daughter's favorite pretend-play activities is playing "doctor" to all her stuffed animals. This kit has 9 doctor tools that come in a cute kit that you can easily put away. After going to school, your kids will get sick frequently as they build their immunity up, so this kit helps make doctor visits a bit less scary.

5. This age is THE stage for puzzles and visual problem solving. I love to buy puzzles that have a learning element to them - like this cute map of the world. After it's done, we point to all the continents, oceans and countries and show my daughter where all her relatives live. Sometimes she lines up all her toy figurines on the map too!

6. Instead of regular play food, this chopping toy is a big hit with Maya and her friends. It is made out of really good quality wood and makes a chopping sound when you cut it. It is great practice for safe cutting for them, and how to hold a utensil. My daughter also takes it along in her shopping cart, and cuts the pieces for a picnic to share with all her animals.

7. I was thinking about getting a play kitchen for years, but I wasn't sure that my daughter would play with it. But now, especially at this age when she does imaginary play the majority of the time, she really gets into it. I prefer this kitchen set because it has two separate counters - one stove-top and one for dishes. I also love the peekaboo window and curtains. This kitchen set is less bulky and fits great in small spaces. Kidkraft kitchens in particular are very well made and durable.

8. We bought this ABC puzzle when we were traveling and we loved it so much that we bought two - one for grandma's house too! This is an upgrade to a basic peg puzzle because it is educational and teaches them to identify letters. Underneath the letters, there are cute drawings of words that are associated with the letters - like "A" for "apple".

9. This is a fun magnetic paper doll type of game so the kids can play dress up. During this age, getting them dressed is a big thing and you'd start encouraging them to learn how to dress themselves. This game makes it fun, without a big mess. I love how it is magnetic, so it doesn't fall off and go missing!

10. This is another magnetic toy - but for building! It's a great alternative to Lego, where you can build geometric structures like houses and castles. It is an award-winning toy for a reason!

11. Lately, it's ALL about figurines! My daughter loves to line them all up in a herd and put them in a tray "to take the boat to India"! She can play with them for hours around the house. I love this line because they are all hand-painted, well-made and durable.

12. We gave Maya a scooter for her 3rd birthday this year and she absolutely loves it. She tears around the neighborhood like an absolute little devil! This scooter tilts to the sides when you want to turn the wheels, making it easier for the little ones to coordinate. It has a bigger foot area than the "big kid" scooters. I have also noticed that using the scooter has really improved her balance too. This product is also inexpensive (thank god!)

13. Our newest edition to our home is this awesome Ikea art easel for kids. My daughter draws on it every single day, and I love that I can watch her from my kitchen. This easel fits easily into small spaces because it is narrow. It is also very sturdy, and has a nice tray to hold all their markers. A bonus is that there is a chalkboard on the back! Two children could easily use it at once.

14. One of Maya's favorite toys at grandma's house is a doll house. This is a beautifully crafted wooden doll house that is a keeper for years to come. A doll house is perfect for kids who like to play "house" and have an active imagination.


This concludes my holiday gift guides for this year!
Happy shopping, dear readers!


1 comment

  1. Great guide and tips..My God been busy buying some stuff for my family and friends :)


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