Pretend play, early gaming, and a smattering of puzzles and crafts...these are excellent 2023 toy choices for pre-schoolers.
Umbrella Strollers ($29.95) Once your child is stable enough on his or her feet, they will delight in taking their baby dolls for a stroll, just like you do with them. This model, that really folds just like the real thing, is available in blue or pink.
Corolle Melody Music & Fashion Set ($15.50) The Carolle Girls Collection are designed for kids 4 & up. Each of the 11" tall dolls comes accessorized with cool add ins like rollerskates and a doggy. This is a multi-cultural doll collection, so be sure to check out all of the different styles and playsets. There are also optional clothing sets, which make great stocking stuffers.
Steiff Fynn In Suitcase Tan, 11 inches ($49.95) I've written up Steiff bears in a suitcase before. Flynn is just so yummy, soft, and cuddly-cute. The case makes for wonderful pretend play (not to mention fill and spill fun).
Pretendables Backyard Pizza Oven Set ($49.95) Fat Brain's excellent pretend set has everything you need to play pizzeria: A pretend oven, pizzas, and all the toppings. No batteries, no heat, just imaginitive play.
Bluey Paint & Play Tea Party, 6-Piece Wooden Tea Set ($14.99) I try to avoid too many toys that are branded with TV characters, but my grandaughter is a huge Bluey fan. For her third birthday she asked me for a tea set, so this one seemed perfect. Not only do you get a toy tea-pot and cups, it comes with paints so kids can make it their own. It was a big hit!
eeBoo: Build a Robot Spinner Game ($14.99) Not all robot toys need batteries. In this game the object is to assemble a robot with the required parts. It can be played solo or with a friend!
eeBoo: Alphabet Train Puzzle ($19.99) The title almost says it all: This is a very long (35") puzzle with 36 relatively large pieces. Unlike some puzzles that are done once all put together, the wonderful illustration can be used as a jumping off point for "eye-spy"-like games.
Funko Cranium Hullabaloo Pre-School Game ($24.99) This fun game uses a phone app to direct the action that has kids skipping, hopping, and dancing on colored tiles of different shapes. The games may seem silly, but they are really helping kids hone listening skills.
Melissa & Doug Pilot Dashboard ($109.99) Here is a toy to fire a child's imagination: a pretend airplane dashboard with control yoke! There are knobs to turn, throttles to control, and even swapable views outside of the cockpit window! Where will your child want to fly? Maybe pair this one with a globe to stimulate your child's interest in the world beyond "home".
Little Tikes Big Adventures Metal Detector Mining Truck ($39.97) A little bit of science mixes with a traditional toy truck to create new play patterns. All by itself, the truck with a rock tumbler makes for a good sandbox or beach play toy. What sets this apart from similar trucks is a real, working, battery powered metal detector so kids can "find treasure" hidden in the sand.