Christmas Gift Ideas for Preschool Age Children

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Preschool age children have their own mind and their gift lists will change daily. Get organised with our money saving plan.

Are you stuck for gift ideas for preschool age children?

If you have survived the ‘not interested in Christmas’ early years you are probably now hit with your pre-schooler and the never-ending Christmas list.

Like babies and toddlers you do not need to spend a fortune on pre school age children. Why you ask? The clue is in the name – they are rarely home once they turn three to play with their toys.

Again I will assume you have an appropriate budget for your pre schoolers’ Christmas gifts. If you have read a few of my posts you may even have sold some of their outgrown toys and clothes to help reduce the impact on your bank balance.

1. Dispel the myths

If you have other children, nieces or nephews or have seen what others spend on their children at Christmas you do not need to spend an ‘equal amount’. It is not a competition between children or others children to see who has the most.

Like I said in my opening remarks – once children turn three they are eligible for preschool funding so will be away from home more than not. This reduces the amount of time they have available to play with a room full of toys!

Last Christmas our twins turned three, and I was completely overwhelmed by what to buy them (bearing in mind they had a birthday party as well). That was when I discovered the ‘list’ and for the first time, I was really in control of my Christmas budget. The ‘list’ help me to make a deliberate decision on every gift I chose for my children. For the first time ever I was not shopping for the sake of it.

2. Work out what 20% of your budget is

I’m going to talk about this again because it is that important. Once you have decided what your budget is for gifts for your child, work out what 20% of the budget is. For example, if your budget is £100 then 20% is £20.

If your child has a bank account, transfer the money to their account instead of spending it on additional gifts. Our budget is now reduced to £80.

Imagine if you did this every Christmas and Birthday until they turned 18? That would at least £720 (more with interest) that your child will have to start their adult lives.

3. Make a list of potential gifts

But what do you buy them you ask? This is where my planner comes in. Download it below. This will help you to focus on buying a small amount of gifts for your preschool age child. It will save you from panic buying and ending up with house full of things they don’t want or need.

Read on below to see where I explain some of the categories. The first column on the plan is what I work with and I use the headings across the top of the other columns to give me extra inspiration. Remember that just because a gift is on the list, you do not have to buy it. Try to give yourself a few options so that you can flex your budget and save money where you can.

Something to read:

Select a book that is going to be suitable for the next 6-12 months. Young children love books and they are one of the most beneficial gifts you can give. This year my children will be getting a National Geographic kids subscription. They are obsessed with volcanoes at the moment so fingers crossed for a regular feature.

Something to wear:

A beautiful Christmas outfit which you have spent a small fortune on is not going to give you the same cost per wear as something like the next size pair of pyjamas which will last you a season. The pyjamas from last Christmas are still being worn every day in our house. This is in stark contrast to the Christmas dresses which cost twice as much and were worn twice.

Middle Size present:

Open-ended toys are ideal for this category. Think wooden play food, blocks, plastic animals and board games. Check out our recommended range of open-ended toys in our shop.

Something from the Santa list:

You are probably noticing this year that your child is starting to mention things they would like. That isn’t a bad thing but it is important to remember you do not have to buy every single thing – some of the best gifts my children have had have been true surprises. I would select again something open-ended which will give them months of playtime. This will save you money in the longer term as you are not having to constantly replace loud, flashy toys as they get bored.

Something they need:

This could be anything. At this age children tend to start taking an interest in sports. Last Christmas my three year old twins had swimming kit ready for when they started swimming lessons. This was a cheap gift, I was going to spend the money anyway and they loved it! You might think that all sounds boring but this is money you are going to spend at some point in the near future anyway. Be your future friend and put it under the Christmas tree, at such a young age the joy is in the wrapping paper anyway.

Handmade gift:

This could be something you make yourself (which I would love to do but never have the time) or it could be something you buy from Etsy, a local market or from a business you see on Facebook. There are loads of small businesses out there who need your support!

eBay/charity shop bargain:

This gift is meant to foster a sense of ‘reuse and recycle’. It can be anything. The ideal gift in this category is a balance bike.


I have seen so many social media posts where the stocking gifts cost more than the main gifts. Keep it simple and do not go overboard with ‘tat’ – remember you have to find a home for it all. I tend to buy three items for the stocking; something small (usually less than £5), a new bath toy and a chocolate of some sort (which is a personal choice but you could put a packet of toddler crisps in there).

Cash in the bank:

I have already told you how beneficial this is. It is a the makings of a future nest egg you can give your child when they turn 18. Its also a great idea for family and friends to contribute towards too.

Click here to read my suggestions for pre school gifts for 2020.

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