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I had two boys before my little girl was born, so I was eager to indulge her in "girly" things. She's three now, and I am happy to share some of her favorite toys from the past two years, as well as some wish list items.
Looking for Learning Toys?
I believe that most any toy can be a "learning toy," especially at this age. In each toy category below (pretend play, music, etc), I included a short list of educational values that can be gained through that particular type of play. So if you want to include an educational toy on your "gifts to buy" list, I thought it might be helpful to know you probably already have plenty in mind (and in the toy box)!
Pretend PlayCan't say enough about the values of pretend play. It helps to develop social skills, language skills, imagination, and story telling abilities. All of that is laying the foundation for future academic success. Pretend play gifts can range from stuffed animals to dress-up to Little People play sets to play kitchens to the boxes the gifts come in! My daughter is a big fan of baby dolls, they are definitely her favorite pretend play toy. She especially loves to feed her babies. One of her favorite dolls has been this Baby Alive Doll.
This year, the BIG pretend play gift is going to be this KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen. I can hardly wait to play with it along with the kids!!
Blocks/Construction PlayThese types of toys are easily extended to all sorts of educational activities, such as patterning and sorting, but even in free play they provide opportunities for problem solving, fine motor strengthening, and color identification. Building toys are often associated with boys, but girls love them too! My daughter's favorite "girly" blocks came inside our Mega Bloks Lil' Pink Bus.
This year, Corinne will get a bigger set of girly Mega Bloks to extend her collection.
PuzzlesPuzzles are great tools to strengthen fine motor skills, enhance hand-eye coordination, and promote problem solving. My daughter really loves puzzles. One of her favorites is this Princess Mix 'n Match Peg Puzzle. Peg puzzles are an easy and natural way for toddlers and preschoolers to strengthen their tripod grasp (which will help with a proper pencil hold).
MusicChild sized instruments provide a wonderful form of sensory play. Both sensory play and music have been shown to boost brain activity and improve memory- yay! We all know how much easier it is to commit something to memory, like the alphabet, when it is put into song.
I love to hear Corinne sing in her microphone. Ours is a cheap plastic dollar store find, but she thinks she is hot stuff when she sings into it. I think this Pink ELC "Sing Along Star" Microphone would be a super fun upgrade someday! I can definitely picture her belting out her ABC's and the Hokey Pokey with this cool big girl mic. :)
We have a lot of instruments in our home- child sized and adult sized. Our kiddos love to gather a few together to form their own little band, and it is SO fun to watch! Although we don't have this particular set, I think this "My 1st Band Kit" would make for an adorable band ensemble for a group of younger musicians.
Arts and CraftsArts and Crafts foster creativity and self expression, develop fine motor skills, and provide a variety of sensory experiences.
My daughter loves putting together outfits on her various dress-up toys. And like most three year olds, she loves stickers. So I think she will absolutely fall in love with this Melissa & Doug Dress-Up Reusable Sticker Pad.
Easels are so much fun for kids! And as an added bonus, they allow children to create on an incline, which promotes a proper pencil hold. My boys loved the easel we had when they were younger, but it has since broke. This Pink Step2 Easel looks sturdy and would make a fun creative center for a little girl. They also have it in red if you're looking for one a little more gender neutral.
Do you have a little girl? What is her favorite toy or game? I would love for you share it in the comments below, it may be helpful to others who are shopping for a little girl.
Need more gift ideas for the little ones in your life?
Check out the other idea lists from the 2013 Gift Guides for Kids.
You also won't want to miss the Gift Guide for Kids Pinterest board!
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