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12 Toys to Help Prepare Your Child for Preschool

Published on: January 07, 2014

Lace trace toy

Lace and trace

This wooden toy set at the Smiling Tree Toys Etsy shop helps kiddos build their fine motor skills while learning numbers and shapes. A circular base, six different shapes and a shoelace make for hours of practice lacing and tracing. You can even customize the base with a name of your choice for a few extra bucks ($18 for simple design, $24 with custom name).

Mirror play toys for preschool prep

Mirror, mirror

This idea for mirror play by One Perfect Day gets kids thinking about shapes, colors and the concept of halves and symmetry. For around $40 on you can buy Grimm’s small version of six rainbow pieces for tons of stacking, balancing and building fun.

Preschool prep monkey lunchbox app

What’s for lunch

What’s hip and ‘app-ening? We love the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app ($0.99), which is simple enough for kids to play by themselves with matching, counting, color and letter games. Designed for preschoolers, each game flows from one to the next, rewarding kids with animated “stickers” for each game completed.

Control panel toy

Ground control

Round up all those doodads from the junk drawer to create a fun control panel for the kiddos like this one by Abernathy Crafts. Anything that can make a knob, switch or button will do (take caution for potentially sharp or rusty things). Let the kids decide what each object’s purpose is. On/off, up/down, louder/softer — imaginations required!

Bear wooden toy

Back to basics

Buckling, snapping, lacing, and zipping — get the kids preschool-ready with this basic skills learning board by Melissa and Doug. The wooden puzzle ($20) lets kids practice a morning routine by getting Mr. Bear all buttoned up and dressed, section by section.

acorn wooden toy

Little acorns

Get preschool prep off to a good start with these stacking bowls and acorns by the Cake in the Morn Etsy shop ($26). Their size is perfect for toddler hands to get busy counting and sorting! Check out the shop for dozens of other handmade wooden toys, games and felt stories.

Farm animals on a string toy preschool prep


Alex Toys’ wooden stringing farm set ($17) is a great toy to help preschoolers learn sequencing and counting. The best part is that after the playing is done, Old MacDonald’s farm is all strung up together for easy storage.

Alpha pops toys to prep for preschool


Learning Resources has a great selection of toys to get preschoolers ready for class, like these alphabet popsicles ($18) featured at 2 Flowers Learn. Each popsicle duo pairs a capital and lowercase letter with a connector for easy word-building exercises.

instruments for kids to make DIY prep for preschool

Garage band

Chalk in My Pocket put together a roundup of DIY instruments perfect for the tiny hands band, including castanets, guitars, drums, bells and wind instruments. Make one, two, or all for a homegrown marching band!

alphabet book

A new A-to-Z

No more “A is for Apple” nonsense. With the Augie to Zebra alphabet book ($17), each letter of the alphabet gets its own alliterative sentence of a name, an activity and an animal. What a great writing activity for kids to mirror as well!

Turtle toy with alphabet

Turtle teacher

With this turtle alphabet from the Puzzle People Etsy shop ($25) you really couldn’t ask for more — uppercase and lowercase alphabet pieces, numbers and counting dots, puzzle pieces, a smiling turtle? Preschool prep perfection.


72 counters toy

A big family

This set of 72 family counters by Learning Resources ($23) is great for imaginative play, since the different shapes and colors help kids to build self-awareness by identifying different members of the family. Over at 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 blog, momma Carisa uses them in her homeschool classroom to reinforce early math skills like patterning and counting.

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