Since so many of you ask me here, through email, and on Facebook about the toys, projects, and gifts I recommend for gifted kids, I’d planned to share a list of suggestions a few times a month. I shared a “toddler edition” back in August… and then teething set in, and I was lucky to remember my name.

Now that the holidays are rapidly approaching, I’m resurrecting the series, and hope to spark some great ideas for your own shopping adventures. Feel free to share some of your suggestions in the comments – I’ll update the guides and share them again as sales and deals pop up in the coming months. {Make sure you like Raising Lifelong Learners on Facebook…I try to share deals there.}


Gifts for Gifted Kids Preschool Gifts via


I love preschoolers. They are so free, creative, and their imaginations are absolutely out of this world. This is truly a time to cement that creativity and encourage a love of the absurd.

Reading these suggestions, you may wonder where the “gifts for gifted kids” part comes in because most of these gifts would be great for any preschooler. And they would. I am all for encouraging kids – especially gifted kids – to reach for their potentials, but kids still need to be kids. It can be a constant struggle, as a parent of a bright child, to reign oneself in.


Not every moment needs to be about learning the next great thing. Sometimes we, as parents of gifted kids, need to encourage them to slow down and just play. The ability to simply play in the moment, with whatever is on hand, is a skill that will serve them well forever.


Open-Ended Logical and Critical Thinking

  • Automoblox are great wooden cars that come apart and push together to mix and match, forming different vehicles. All of my kids {boys and girls} love these.
  • Wooden building blocks are a staple. The possibilities with these are truly endless. Just the other day, Logan built a zoo for her Playmobil animals and the “Baby Isaac Monster” crawled through, destroying everything in its path.
  • A marble run is the ultimate in open-ended building fun. You’ll have to assess your own child on this, as mine won’t put marbles in her mouth, but we make sure to keep this away from the baby.
  • We bought Logan a box of gears for Christmas last year, and I think it’s been one of her favorite gifts ever. She plays with it often. Such a great, informal introduction to simple machines.
  • We love Lauri toys, and don’t think you can go wrong with any of them, but our favorite is the tall stacker pegs. All of the kids play with them – and Isaac teethes on the pegs {when I’m sitting right there with him}.
  • When Trevor turned one, we had a construction birthday party for him and bought these large red cardboard bricks to decorate and play with. He’ll be 11 this month, and they’ve been played with for the last 10 years without anyone tiring of them.
  • We don’t have this EZ Fort kit yet, but it’s on the list for this year. Since we’ve simplified our lives, and continue to do so, we don’t have a lot of furniture, nor is our kitchen big enough to drape with a bed sheet. As the kids love making tents, I thought this would be a fun way to incorporate some creative fort-building into our lives.
  • Pattern blocks and puzzle cards are a huge favorite of mine. They are bright and engaging for kids, and teach such wonderful visual-spatial and reasoning skills.


Pretend Play

  • I love dress up clothes, and while these are sets, we often buy Halloween costumes at 70%-90% off in the beginning of November to use for our dress up stash. We also love silks, streamers, and scarves because they can become anything the kids want them to be.
  • If I could justify the expense, I would love one of these Waldorf playstands for the kids. I adore the idea behind them, and can see all of my kids – even Trevor – engaging in so much open-ended play. It could be a house, tent, cave, reading nook, kitchen, store, lemonade stand, and so much more.
  • One of our most used toys is the Step 2 kitchen my parents bought Trevor when he was two. Each of the kids has loved it, and it still gets daily use. We’ve had lots of food to go with it, but the Melissa and Doug wooden food has been the best. In fact, all of our random {and cheap} plastic food has been replaced by different Melissa and Doug sets.
  • My girls love their dolls, and have several. I love that they learn care and compassion while feeding them in their high chairs, laying them in their cribs or bunk bed for naps, and changing their clothes.
  • Playmobil toys are fabulous for pretend play. We have a princess set, a pirate one, and an Ancient Egypt set. Logan recently got the zoo set as a gift, and would love to have more.
  • A dollhouse is fabulous for little gals and guys alike. We LOVE our wooden one, as it can be configured in many creative ways. We’ve had mansions, 2 separate townhomes, and small cottages. Wooden furniture and simple dolls enhance imaginative play.


Critical Thinking Games {and some just for fun}

  • The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel has been on our wish list for awhile. It looks so fun and creative, and I love the fine motor skills involved.
  • The Hisss Card Game has popped up recently on my radar and is something I plan to put in Logan’s stocking – visual discrimination, problem-solving, and creativity rolled into a fun card game.
  • We LOVE Hi Ho Cherry-O. It’s been a favorite counting game since Trevor was little. We’ve gone through two {those teensy tiny cherries!} and are due for a new replacement.
  • Zimbbos is a fun balancing game we’ve had our eyes on for awhile. It’s adorable and has had great reviews.
  • Have you played Zingo before? This is a fabulous early literacy game for little ones.

So – what have I missed? I know there are other fabulous, open-ended, creative play items that are must-haves for preschoolers. What are they? Share in the comments so we can all get our kids some great toys that will stand the test of time.

For more information on Gifted Kids, Check Out:



And… if you’re around this afternoon, I’ll be live “on air” with some of the other iHomeschool Network bloggers in a Google Hangout. We’ll chat about homeschooling your preschooler. I’d love to have you pop on over to the event page and chat with us live – you’ll see us chatting, and be able to send in real-time comments and questions. Can’t make it? No worries. The session will be recorded!