Budget Friendly Gift Ideas for Preschoolers

A fun, fresh collection of preschooler gift ideas costing less than $20. Most stocking stuffers are from Australian small business!

Stocking stuffers for preschoolers and budget friendly kids gifts are what I’m hunting for at this time of the year!

I’m always on the look out for presents costing under $20 (under $15 is even better!) so I thought I’d share some of my favourites to help you with your Christmas or birthday present shopping.

I dearly love supporting Australian small businesses (I am one myself after all), so most budget friendly gifts on this list you can buy from Aussie mums. Of course the big guys have some great gift ideas too, so they will also be mentioned. If you’re a DIYer, I’ve got a few great ideas for you too!

Busy Bags make a great gift. They are easy on the purse, educational, fun and can be taken anywhere. Flying Sprout (me!) has a nice big range to choose from.

Pineapple Busy Bag, $14.95
Pineapple Busy Bag, $14.95

 

Play Doh stamps are personalised name stamps, great for little ones learning to read, write and recognise their own names. Doh Stamp offer fast turn around times and a huge variety of coloured name stamps.

Name stamps, $17-$19
Name stamps, $17-$19

 

Play Dough is a wonderful gift that can be used again and again for fun and learning. Happy Hands, Happy Hearts have a range of beautiful smelling, handmade play dough options.

Licorice playdough $15
Licorice playdough $15

 

Shaped Crayons are a novel little gift that preschoolers are sure to love. Tinta Crayons make toxic free crayons in lovely bright colours and a variety of fun shapes.

Insect Box of 6 Crayons, $16.95
Insect Box of 6 Crayons, $16.95

 

Animal Figurines are great for play and learning. Oh Ivy stock a huge range of animals from all continents of the world.

Edward the Elephant, $10
Edward the Elephant, $10

 

Head Bands are fun accessories for little girls. Top Knot has a large range of styles, sizes and fabrics from sweet newborn and playful toddler through to funky adult. All styles are practical and fun.

Classic Grey Big Bow Headband, $18
Classic Grey Big Bow Headband, $18

 

Toy Necklaces are the perfect two-in one gift. Critterz create fun necklaces which are great for boys and girls! They can be worn as well as played with so there is entertainment anywhere your child goes.

Readymade Caveman Batman, $18
Readymade Caveman Batman, $18

 

Fidget Tools are great for developing fine motor skills and keeping restless hands occupied. Happy Me Shop stocks a range of fidget tools for little ones through to adults. These cute worms are actually little puzzles!

3D Worm Puzzle, $9
3D Worm Puzzle, $9

 

Ok, this company is not Australian but it is too good not to share! The Idea Box stock a huge range of these fantastic boxes. Each box contains many activity ideas to keep little ones learning, exploring and engaged.

Mini Wiggle Box, $14.09
Mini Wiggle Box, $14.09

Water Painting is a simple, mess free and totally relaxing activity. Emma and Doug’s Water Wow books are great for travel and quiet play. There are a wide range of these books and they are all great!

Available from various locations, $8 at Officeworks
Available from various locations, $8 at Officeworks

Wooden Toys are super cheap at Kmart. If you are after some big bang for your buck, Kmart is a great place to find wooden toys and activities that encourage learning and free play.

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Learn the Alphabet Chunky Wooden Puzzle, $5 from Kmart

LEGO and Duplo is always popular. It is unisex and everlasting! You can now purchase small kits, perfect for budget friendly gift giving.

LEGO Duplo Family Pets, $10 from Kmart
LEGO Duplo Family Pets, $10 from Kmart

Other fun suggestions:

DIY Cubby kit – Consisting of rope, pegs and a strong material. You can buy your own supplies from Bunnings.

DIY Small world or sensory play kits – Include some water beads, a tub and animal toys for endless fun.

Books (is it possible to ever have too many!?) – We love the authors Julia Donaldson, Bruce Whatley and Aaron Blabey.

Activity Books and stationary – Crayola brand is great quality, child and budget friendly.

 

If you have any suggestions, please share them. I’m always keen to find out about wonderful gifts that won’t break the bank!

The Benefits of Playing with Play Dough

Playing with play dough is a wonderful tactile experience that is a treasured part of childhood. Manipulating, moulding, rolling out and cutting the colourful dough is not only fun and relaxing, it is assists with building vital life skills too!

Playing with play dough is a wonderful tactile experience that is a treasured part of childhood. Manipulating, moulding, rolling out and cutting the colourful dough is not only fun and relaxing, it is assists with building vital life skills too!

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Manipulating play dough strengthens those all important fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those that involve the use of small muscles in hands, fingers and thumbs. By strengthening these motor skills children are then more able to hold a pencil and write, cut with scissors, do up buttons, tie shoelaces and correctly use a knife and fork….all fundamental skills they’ll use throughout their lives.

 

As well as being a fabulous material for building fine motor skills, play dough play allows, even encourages, freedom of expression and imagination. Children can create anything they like when playing with the mouldable dough. There are no rules when it comes playing with play dough (except maybe keep it off the carpet!).

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Image from Freepik

Play dough is also a great activity to have on hand for times when your child might be getting tired, frustrated or just generally in need of some quiet time. It is a safe way for them to express them selves and take out frustration in a productive, harm-free way. Tactile stimulation with play dough can be calming and has great benefits for children with hyposensitivity.

 

Children are able to engage all their five senses when playing with play dough. They can see the different colours and creations, feel the play dough change shape as it is moulded, smell the unique fragrance, hear what it does when squeezed or thumped and…lets be honest, as kids most of us had a taste of that salty home made play dough when we were little! Sensory play encourages curiosity as children explore the world through their five senses. Investigating and exploring what play dough can do is, in some ways, even an early scientific investigation.

 

Having play dough available is great when it comes to building numeracy and literacy skills in a fun way. Children can represent different numbers, letters and make sums by using number stamps, forming small balls or rolling out long, thin snakes which can be twisted to form the desired shape. Play dough is also handy for alphabet and spelling activities with letter stamps.

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Play dough is also useful as a tool when learning about colours and shapes. It comes in a huge range of colours so can be helpful when your little one is learning to identify different colours. Primary colours can be mixed to create secondary colours too. Children can make shapes, either flat or 3D, easily with the use of play dough. Flying Sprout’s Tomato Busy Bag uses plasticine, rather than play dough, to build colour and shape skills.

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Play dough play lets adults be kids too. Playing freely with your child is a wonderful bonding activity and play dough allows you to be working on the same level. Unlike Lego for example, there are no ‘right ways’ of connecting pieces together and any play dough creations made by you are likely to still have a child-like quality to them.

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Image from Freepik

This simple product makes a wonderful gift! Of course there is the popular brand we all know, Play Doh, but I have recently come across a glorious small business which creates beautiful smelling play dough, Happy Hands, Happy Heart. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to check out Emma from Happy Hands, Happy Hearts, she has an amazing Instagram feed featuring very clever play dough art!

 

If you’d prefer to make your own at home, here is a great play dough recipe that doesn’t require cooking!

 

As you can see, I’m a big fan of play dough and believe it definitely offers your child more than a few minutes of quiet play time!