Grandma Gets Ready for the Holidays 2013: Best Preschool Age Gifts for Christmas or Chanukah 2013

Preshool GIftsThis Grandma gets ready for the holidays early.  Searching Toy Portfolio  for the best new Oppenheimer Toy Award platinum award winning toys is the first place I look.  I make a list, not only for myself, but for GG and the aunts and uncles for the best gifts for Christmas and Chanukah at every price range.  I save the list past the holidays for visit presents during the year.

Here are some of the best choices for preschool age grandchildren in 2013.

The one gift I always want to get is the outfit the preschooler is going to wear for a picture with the grandparents.  I send three alternatives to the parents and let them pick one.

A great gift is pajamas.  The parents do not want to spend money on specialty pajamas and this Grandma comes to the rescue.  The best are the superhero pajamas as preschoolers are into superheroes and these are more expensive.  Click here to buy Superman.

 Click here to buy Batman.

Click here to buy Disney Princess pajamas for girls.

The absolute best holiday gift for a preschooler is an Ipad.  Yes, an Ipad.  I know it is expensive, but maybe all the grandparents can get together to buy it.  This year, Oppenheimer Toy Award awards gives two Ipad related gifts its highest Platinum Award:

Fisher-Price Create ‘n Learn iPad case.  (Ages 3+. $39.99).  Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

Slip in your iPad, and the tablet becomes a smartboard that teaches letters, words and handwriting. Hold the alphabet cards in front of the iPad’s camera, and amazing 3-D animations appear. (Hold up the C card, and watch the cake get sliced.) The case is made with Otterbox technology, rendering juicebox spills powerless.

Click here to buy in pink:

 Click here to buy in blue.

Imaginext Apptivity Fort (Ages 3-7. $49.99).  Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

This is the first toy we’ve seen that immerses the iPad in a play environment. The knight figurine can interact with the iPad’s games and challenges, or he can traverse the castle turrets and drawbridge. The iPad also serves as a transparent but interactive backdrop: Touch the onscreen camera button, and watch trolls run at you from the living room.

 Click here to learn about and buy:

The BIG preschool age toy of the 2013 is a new building toy.  Yes, I have bought it already for all the preschoolers on my holiday list.  It is Fat Brain Toys “Squigs.”  In order for the children to have enough to really make things you have to buy the Deluxe Set with 50 pieces.  (Ages 3+ $50 deluxe set).  Here is what Squigs are:

Building block, meet suction cup. That duo inspired the perfectly named Squigs. The colorful silicone pieces come in a variety of sizes. Stick them together to make crazy creations and structures. Then pull them apart with a satisfying “pop.” Perfect for bath time fun. Squigz are fun little suckers! Apply pressure to two Squigz. Air rushes out and the fun rushes in!

Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface – Squigz are a species all their own. They flex. They stick. They suck people into creativity. Once they take hold, it takes some pull to separate them. When Squigz POP! in protest – you’ll have to admit. your hands and ears are shamelessly delighted! They ARE flexible fellows and committed joiners. Squigz and fellow Squigz have one chief enterprise – creating things. Willingly, they assemble to become rockets, vehicles, a cushion for the cat, jewelry. they thrill in uniting as a ginormous octopus or squid.

Squigz are scientific sorts – always up for playful experimentation and defying gravity – sticking to bathtubs, windows, school lockers, tabletops, and office desktops. (And they are mannerly guests too – never leaving a trace of their presence.)

 Playful curiosity. It’s a whole new gig – thanks to Squigz.

Squigz Starter Set has 24 Pieces, Deluxe Set has 50 Pieces

A lively toy innovation – new Suction Construction!

Encourages creativity, fine motor skills, interaction, playful experimentation

Provides relaxation and sensory stimulation

Pieces connect easily and POP! apart

Gratifying fun for bathtub, walls, windows, school lockers, tabletops, desktops

Flexible, pleasantly pliable

Generously-sized components

Eight different, versatile shapes

High quality silicone rubber

Leaves no residue or marks on surfaces

Enjoyment for a wide range of ages

 Yes, this Grandma is ready for Squigz all over her house.  Be careful if there are babies in the house as some of these are small.  Click here to buy Deluxe Set:

For more building toys for both boys and girls, Tinkertoys go modern in 2013.  Oppenheimer Toy Award Platinum goes to: Tinkertoy Super Building Set  (KNEX $40).  Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

We love this new, satisfying set of Tinkertoys with 150 pieces.  These plastic Tinkertoys are better than the old school versions because the set includes bendable pieces in addition to the more traditional spools and straight rods that allow for more interesting builds. There are suggested 15 builds, but the big appeal of Tinkertoys from our point of view is that they can be used as an open-ended building set. Our testing parents loved the sturdy box with lid that can be used for storage. The set also includes panels and faces for added fun. Tinkertoys are also available in pink – which we recommend if it’s the only way the girls in your life will build.

 Click here to buy.

Preschoolers love all kinds of balls.  See blog on Balls:

Our grandchildren watch Doc McStuffins.  If yours do too, please consider this award winning toy:  Doc McStuffins Deluxe Check-Up Center.  ($65) Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

Doc McStuffins follows the adventures of a veterinarian who operates on stuffed animals, and the dolls and play centers promise to be popular again this year. All three retailers have this playset on their lists, though it should be noted that Toys R Us exclusively has the “Deluxe” version of the kit pictured here. The Deluxe set has 14 bonus pieces, including a fetching pink labcoat. Click here to buy.

Another “doctor” choice, a Green Product, also a Platinum Award winning toy is: B. toys by Battat Inc. Pet Vet (Age Range 24m – 6 years $21.99)  Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

When “Meow” turns into “Me-ouch,” it’s up to your child to care of the 2 cute plush patients with a slide-out exam table with vital signs display, x-rays, and 4 vet tools: stethoscope, syringe, thermometer, and scale. The pet clinic comes with 4 private rooms and color-match keys, as well as a pop-out owl assistant. Click here to buy:

Preschoolers begin to play actual games.  It is so much fun to interact with grandchildren playing games.  Yes, you can buy Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders.  This Grandma’s favorites are Zingo games by ThinkFun.  This year’s Oppenheimer Toy Award Platinum goes to  Game play Zingo! Sight Words by ThinkFun. (3-7 years, $20).  Here is what Toy Portfolio says:

Players learn to quickly recognize and read sight words, which are words with spelling that is not always straightforward.

Click here to buy.

Click here to buy regular Zingo, which is a twist on Bingo with pictures and sight words.

Click here to buy Candy Land ($12).

Click here to buy Chutes & Ladders ($12).

Do not forget books. The 2013 Platinum Award goes to “I Spy on the Farm,” by Edward Gibbs, ($11).  It is described as:

Big bold illustrations of familiar farm animals are featured in the playful book with cutout holes that allow a partial view of the animal hidden on the next page. The text offers a clue to help the little listener guess who will show up when the page is turned. Based on the original game and always popular game of I Spy With My Little Eye, this is a fun way to introduce toddlers to knowing and naming, color concepts and animal sounds. It includes letter names. For young toddlers we suggest skipping the letter names – use the sound the letter make as a hint or skip the letters altogether for young listeners. That’s something they can grow into. Click here to buy.

This Grandma is always practical, so a special toothbrush caught my eye: Ashtel Dental Brushbuddies Talking Toothbrush (23m – 7year $6.99)

Brush BuddiesT talking toothbrush is an innovation in kids oral care. The unique product features 5 fun character designs as well as Papa Smurf and Smurfette with amusing voices that kids will get a kick out of. They actually educate kids and encourage them on healthy brushing habits. The voice recording is played for exactly two minutes, giving kids the recommended brush time without repeatedly looking at a timer. The audio playback guides kids to brush each section of their teeth, starting with their upper teeth, then switching to their lower teeth after the first minute, and ends the sequence by reinforcement and letting them know they have done a “Great job!”

I bought the dog.  Click here to buy.

This Grandma gives donations on behalf of grandchildren to charities at holiday time.  Preschoolers do not yet comprehend the meaning of charity, but it is never too early to teach children to think of other children less fortunate.  Show them the UNICEF website. This Grandma gives to the Backpack Program in our local community that feeds hungry children.  Find the Backpack Program in your community.

This year I hope to take my older grandchildren to help pack backpacks so they can actually experience where Grandma’s donation in their honor goes.

Do not forget a 529 plan contribution for college too!  We cannot start planning for the future too soon.

This Grandma has tried to give choices that cost little to those that cost a lot.  Of course, an Ipad is a holiday budget buster.  There are more award winners to choose from for a preschooler on Toy Portfolio  Parents and grandparents spend an average of $250 for gifts for Christmas and Chanukah and all the toys above, excluding the Ipad add up to just a little more than that.  Of course, offer some of these fabulous choices to GG and aunts and uncles to buy for a preschooler and spread the holiday





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