Gifts for preschoolers should inspire, not clutter! And what better way to get your little one moving and grooving to the beat of their imagination with a special book and a matching toy. After reading the book, cuddled up with a loved one, your child can springboard off the storytelling into pretend play with one of the matching toys.
I've carefully selected the picture books based on my experience both as a parent and as a story time volunteer and I know your 3-5 year old will love all these choices! So whether your child loves vehicles, space, or going zen with a coloring book, your will find the perfect present in this gift guide for your preschoolers to inspire their imaginative and creative spirits.
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Book and Toy Gifts for 3-5 year olds
In Iggy Peck, Architect Iggy loves building so much he will build anything, anywhere out of any material. This best-selling picture book is ideal to inspire creative feats engineering in your preschooler! Give your little builder a set of the Citiblocs. The blocks are precision-cut to be identical which allows children a greater range of building possibilities than traditional blocks.
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin is an award-winning book that introduces kids to the instrumental members of an orchestra. Preschoolers love making noise, er, I mean music! And don't know know that a foundation in music is great for later math skills! Kids can make music of their own with Melissa & Doug Band in a Box.
Sky Color is a lovely book is about a girl who learns that painting the sky goes beyond the color blue. It teaches kids to think outside the box and use their imagination to help them soar! This Silk Rainbow Streamer is perfect for painting the sky during pretend play.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is is one of my (then) 3 year old’s all time favorite books (and he got it as a gift!), and for good reason. The clever rhymes and appealing illustrations of all kinds of trucks will have your child asking for it again and again. Pair it with any construction toy. I like the Melissa & Doug Trailer & Excavator. You could also pair it with the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Matching Game and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Lacing Cards.
If you find most alphabet books annoying try out the zany Z Is for Moose, named one of the best kid books of its year by Kirkus Reviews. After reading, kids will want to put what they've learned into action and exercise their pre-literacy skills with a classic magnetic wooden alphabet set, which comes with both upper and lower case letters.
A Bargain for Frances is book I remember from my own childhood and I always wanted my very own china tea set. It's a classic story about a little raccoon who visits her friend for a tea party. This Green Toys Tea Set may not be china with a blue pattern like the one Frances covets, but it’s made out of 100% recycled plastic, does not contain BPA, phthalates, or lead paint and meets FDA standards for food safety.
Some kids, like my youngest, have a birthday that falls during the winter holiday. Celebrate with the hilarious A Birthday for Cow!, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers (the Amazon recommended age is 4+, but this is obviously a huge mistake because 3 year olds LOVE this book) and a Wooden Birthday Party Cake. My kids had one of these cakes and it was one of their most used toys during their pretend play sessions. They served me many a slice of wooden cake, and each one was delicious.
Cars Galore is another one of my boys’ favorite books. It truly is one of the most imaginative car-themed books you will ever read and I love that it is oversized so kids can really dig in. Its colorful illustrations and playful, rhyming text will win over every kid. Pair it with any set of toy cars, like this 3-Piece Car Set from Automoblox.
The Scrambled States of America, filled with lots of state facts, is a hilarious way to introduce your kids to the uniqueness of each state. Plus, it's an excellent example of plain old fashioned excellent story telling. After they fill their brains, they can put together this USA Map Floor Puzzle, which has pieces shaped like the states. My boys adored this puzzle and I credit it with helping them learn geography!
How to Catch a Star from the marvelous author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers is about a boy who dreams up ways to catch hold of his very own star. Kids can catch their own stars and place their very own glow-in the dark constellations on their ceiling. What preschooler doesn't want to fall asleep under the stars every night. Magical!
Dog Loves Drawing. Dog gets a blank book and starts drawing away, to surprising results. Inspired children can start drawing with Colored EcoPencils made from reforested wood and triangular in shape so they do not roll off the desk. Be sure to include a sketchbook. I love all the sweet Eeboo sketchbooks.
So what are you waiting for? The best gift for preschoolers is definitely a book and toy combination. It's literacy and pretend play to spark their imaginations.
More gift guides:
Best picture books to give as gifts that children don't already have!