What a thrill it is to give the perfect grandchild gift, to see the little face light up. But grandparents like to give value as well, to give toys that will stand up to a 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old. The preschool toys in this list meet the value test and are suitable for preschool grandchildren ages 3-5 although, like most great toys, they will continue to fascinate for years to come.
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Maybe you've heard of the trend toward teaching kids to bike by using bicycles with no pedals. The argument is that they will master regular bikes more easily if they have learned on a balance bike. Also, balance bikes enable kids to skip the awkward training wheels stage. This FirstBike model has a steering limiter and hand brakes for extra safety.
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Let your little builders go big with this fort-building kit of heavyweight cardboard. The panels fasten together easily with Velcro connectors, and tons of configurations are possible. The panels have an authentic-looking wood grain, but they are lightweight enough for the grandchildren to handle. Buy this 16-piece set first. If it's a hit, you can augment it with the 32-piece set. What fun!
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If your grandchildren can't have pets for some reason, My Dream Puppy is the next best thing. Snuggles is one of the Little Live Pets line of interactive plush animals. Features like expressive eyes, lifelike sounds and a body that really moves take this gift out of the realm of toys and into the realm of companions. Your grandchild may love it even if there are real pets in the family.
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Made from recycled milk jugs, this toy is also perfect for starting a conversation about recycling and the environment. (They are never too young.) It's also a chance for grandparents to practice what they preach. The truck features working parts and has no metal axles to rust. It's also American-made.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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This toy is hard to explain, but its appeal is undeniable. Start with these little spinners that Fisher Price calls YoS. Set them on a track on the Yo-ller Coaster and watch them go. The kids get to flip switches to control the way the Yos travel. It looks like magic, but a special magnet inside the Yos make them cling to the track.
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This well-crafted set by Haba is a wonderful initiation into game-playing. Set up the board with four fruit trees and roll the die to see if you get to pick fruit or if you have to add a piece to the raven puzzle. If the fruit is picked before the raven is complete, all the players win. It's a cooperative game rather than a competitive one, so it's perfect for kids to play with parents or grandparents. Kids will love defeating that rascally raven!
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There are lots of kids' tables on the market, but most are too small to accommodate budding artists. This one is generously sized and has built-in receptacles for art supplies, as well as paper that spools from a roll that hangs under the table. The colorful table comes with two matching bench seats.
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If you'd like to encourage a grandchild's interest in music, invest in this adorable table-top piano. It has 25 keys that are standard piano width, so that a child can easily make the switch to a full-sized piano later on. The sound is produced by hammers striking rods rather than wires, so the sound is different but still melodic. It comes with a color-coded strip to place above the keys to guide young learners.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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It may be time to say bye-bye to those old school wooden blocks. IO blocks are soft to the touch and interlock securely. It's easy to create animals, vehicles, robots and more.You can get building ideas from a downloadable app for phone or tablet, or you can just let the grandkids wing it. This set consists of 59 pieces in a travel case that locks securely. If this set is a hit with the grandkids, it can be augmented with other sets.
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This brightly attractive board is a slightly different version of the classic Melissa and Doug puzzles. It features six doors that close with different types of brass hardware. A toddler will have fun learning to open each latch, but there's much more to do. The doors are different colors and are numbered, with appropriate pictures under each door, making the puzzle a marvelous vehicle for learning colors and numbers as well.