The PSP Gift Guide: 3s, 4s, and 5s

The ultimate gift guide for the 3s, 4s, and 5s in your life has arrived! From art supplies to costumes to puzzles and beyond, Park Slope Parents members have suggestions for kids of all genders, interests, and attention spans.

Read on for the recommendations—and if you’re not already a member of PSP, join our community today to connect with families raising young ones the same age as yours.

Shopping for someone on the younger side? We have crowdsourced Fantastic First Birthday Gift Ideas, plus member recs for Top Toddler Toys and Activities!

PSP may receive small amounts of compensation for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. We are a community-supported site, and we include these products because they've received positive reviews from our members.

Adventurer kit

Things to include…







“Our daughter, turning 3, just got a set of AlphaBots (26 A to Z letters that contain embedded robot action figures)... she lacks the finger dexterity/skills to enjoy it right now but it'd be a terrific gift for Age 4 if the child likes action figures.”


Animal toys

“Plastic animals like the ones sold by Schleich or Safari Limited. The beauty of these animals is that they appeal to multiple age groups and are great for messy play or fun in the bathtub.”


Art supplies

“My 5 year old loves anything art related, she recently got an Ingenio Smart Projector which helps her learn how to draw animals. She's also deep into all the "paint by sticker" books.”

“Tempera paint sticks and art paper (they dry pretty much instantly).”

“Sidewalk chalk.”

“We love the products sold by Ooly.”



Balance bike or pedal bike

“You'll get more mileage out of [a pedal bike] at this age (can always remove the pedals if you want them to do balance bike first and they haven't yet).”


Balance game

Janod Weights Balance Game



“Bathrobe - not a toy but will be cute!”


Bead jewelry kit



“For 5 year olds I think lots of big kid chapter book series sets could be a good idea.... Magic Treehouse, Amelia Bedelia, My Father's Dragon, etc, to be read at bedtime.”


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers

Good Messages

Truman, by Jean Reidy

The Tiger Who Came to Tea, by Judith Kerr

Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev

All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon

Love Is Powerful, by Heather Dean Brewer


Emily’s Everyday Manners, by Cindy P Senning

Wintry Tales

Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter, by Eugenie Doyle


I See the Moon: Rhymes for Bedtime, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

How Do You Say Good Night?, by Cindy Jin”


EmbraceRace has a list of 20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace & Do Good. Also check out PSP's Understanding Race page, which includes recommendations for great board books featuring kids of color.


Box subscriptions

Ideas include:



-We Craft

-Little Passports

-Jambo Book Box offers subscriptions tailored to the 3–4 and 5–6 age sets and featuring two inclusive books each month.


BRIO trains



Bristle blocks




Car tracks

“On our list for this year is an upgrade from the Little People car track to a hotwheels one.”


Chia pets


Coloring books


Cooking supplies (real and pretend)

“Knife and Kevlar glove to help with food prep”

“Cooking / baking simple things - pretend and real (e.g., Play-Doh baking trays)/”

“These ice cream sets get a ton of play too.

Melissa and Doug Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter

Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Cone Playset



Cups and mugs

“Best cups for smoothies! Elk and Friends Kids & Toddler Cups

Fun Outdoor Cups for Hot Cocoa & a little thermos pitcher.”


Daniel Tiger toys

“Daniel Tiger teaches her so much and over the past year she plays with the plush figures and little figurines nonstop with no slowing down.”


Djeco toys


Digital cameras

“We just bought omzer digital cameras for our 3 1/2yr old and as presents for a 4, 5 and 6 year old. They can personalize the camera and it takes videos and photos with fun filters. Can’t wait to get their reactions.”

“Helps if it’s one of the impact/water resistant kind”



Dry erase boards

“Our 3.5 year old has also really enjoyed having a dry erase board. She uses stencils and stuff on it and used it recently with Picasso tiles to draw grass and flowers around the tile house.”


DUPLO sets

Duplos have been a perennial hit since 2nd bday.”


Fairy lights

“Get these fairy lights! They are so simple and really warm things up! I just have them draped over shelves.”


Fat Brain toys



Ideas include:

-“Cooperative games like Hoot Owl Hoot and Outfoxed are fantastic.”

-Count Your Chickens

-Monkey Around

-Friends and Neighbors




Gift memberships or gift cards

-Prospect Park Zoo

-Brooklyn Botanic Garden

-Music Together (for socially distant concerts in the park)


Grimm’s Wooden Toys

“We love Grimm’s toys (rainbows, peg people, stepped blocks, wooden marbles etc) along with basic wooden building block construction. Our 4 year old loves building with these and wish we had it for our now 8 year old when he was younger (but he sometimes plays with them too).”


Hess Trucks


Ingredients for potions

“Food color (lots of bathtub potions currently)”


I Spy books

“I Spy book series, especially I Spy Silly Animals.”


Jungle Jumparoo


KAPLA blocks


Kinetic sand

“Kinetic sand in a plastic bin - add plastic dinos, playdough tools, plastic cars/trucks, plastic character figurines to keep it interesting.”



“Our 4 year old is also crazy into legos (the smaller bricks now).”



Light-up things

-Glow sticks


-Lanterns: “Surprise hit of the year was this Target lantern. It's fun inside in a tent or under blankets, with lights off and outdoors on walks, etc.”


Light table

Guidecraft makes one that is a good size for NYC living.  You can get all kinds of good manipulatives for the table including animal x rays and transparent letters and numbers.  Magnatiles are also great to use with the light table.”


Lincoln Logs

“Good old fashioned Lincoln Logs have been a huge hit this year.  Introduce your favorite character figurines and make news 'homes' for Cookie Monster or Peppa Pig etc…”


Lunii Storyteller

“Both kids also love the Lunii Storyteller. It's screen free and has choose-your-own-adventure type stories. Great for travel or just sitting around it listening to stories. It also tells stories where you don't have to choose if they just want to cuddle up and listen.”


Magazine or sticker subscriptions

“A quick shout out to High Five Magazine from Highlights for being a delightful publication that makes my 3-year-old super happy each time it arrives. It's lovely and engaging and has lots of great stories, but I also want to give them especially high marks for including so many illustrations of people wearing masks in the December issue. Kids wearing masks in a search/find spread, a story about a chicken picking out which mask they'll wear on a walk outside (which also taught some Spanish words), and a poem about washing your hands. All super exciting to my son, who recently asked why Pinkalicious wasn't wearing a mask in the book we were reading. Even if they weren't normalizing mask-wearing in such a great way, I'd still recommend the magazine. It's for kids 2-5 and that age range seems right. I know a very precocious 4-year-old who also loves it. Might make for a good holiday gift for someone?”


"Nat Geo Little Kids is great."


"Mine also get Ranger Rick Jr. which is for ages 4-7 but I think there is a toddler-level version called Ranger Rick Cub."


"I gifted a friend’s daughter a subscription to Pipsticks stickers, which she enjoyed. Not a magazine but stickers are always fun."


"We got our kids Babybug subscriptions when they were that age. It’s in the 'Cricket' family of children’s magazines. I was devoted to Cricket as a kid - it had amazing art and stories by well known children’s authors. Babybug is for the youngest kids and in a year or two she can graduate to Ladybug."


"They might like Chirp Magazine.

It's for ages 3-6, and part of a series:
Chirp (3-6)
Chickadee (6-9)
Owl (9-13)

My son enjoyed receiving them for a number of years, maybe 5-10.
I think Chirp, Chickadee and one or two years of Owl."



“I can't even believe how much mileage we get out of Magna-Tiles. It's been years and they both still play with them every day! Last year we got the car/wheel extension pack which was a HUGE hit. They just made a great new Magna-Tiles storage bin that zips up into a box and folds out flat, too.”


Magnifying glass

“Magnifying glass and journal for outdoor exploration.”



Make-believe props

Ideas include…

-Doctor kit

-Tea set

-Dolls and doll houses

-Kitchen supplies / chef apron and hat

-Sword for dragon-slaying


“We love our doctor kits and I buy her bandaids that she puts on everything & all over us.”

“My son, 3.5 also plays with dolls. We have baby dolls and a couple of mermaid Barbies. The fun thing is whoever is holding the baby gets to yell at the other person to ‘keep away from my baby.’ ... He also does a lot of ‘cooking’ in his ‘kitchen.’ He's also getting into costumes now and I've picked up some great stuff super marked down from Hanna Anderssen. He also likes imaginative play with Little People toys.”


Melissa & Doug wooden toys


Musical instruments

“Musical toys continue to be great, drums, ukes, keyboards - we keep them all in the tent, which has been renamed the ‘musical tent.’”

“Drums, flutes, etc.”


Nugget Comfort cushions


Obstacle course supplies

“Items for making an indoor obstacle course: plastic spot/place markers, balance beam, stepping stones, scooter board, etc.”



“Same as Magna-Tiles, but cheaper.”



Pikler triangle

Pikler triangle with slide is still going strong.”


Paper models

“The pop out and glue together paper dinosaur models.”


Playmobil toys



“I hear this is #1 in a lot of homes too!”


Popular Playthings toys

“Mix or Match vehicles from Popular Playthings (many different kinds of vehicles you can mix and match, magnetic)”


Practice shoe

“Wooden practice shoe with laces (this is just a weapon really)”





Puzzles and puzzle books

Melissa & Doug Wooden Jigsaw

Petit Collage Beginner Jigsaw

“The Highlights Puzzle Buzz is a big hit with our 4.5 year old. It’s for ages 4-7.”


RC toys

RC anything (I have an inflatable shark zeppelin coming)”


Rope or bungee cords (for the adventurous)

“Rope to tie knots and make spiderwebs with (make sure this is easy to see so no one trips).”


Science kits





Sensory kits and tables

“We also recently discovered premade playdoh-type sensory kits (I know I can make them myself but I don't have the time/energy!) One really cool site is Young, Wild & Friedman and we've gotten some there. I then rotate them and put some away and pull them out in a few months and they play with them nonstop again. If you are crafty and want to make them yourself this would also be good inspiration!”

“Sensory table for water/sand play and various accessories (measuring cups, scoopers, strainers water beads, etc.). Ikea makes a nice option, but I’ve also just used a large under-the-bed drawer.”


Snap Circuits


Sorting toys

“This has gotten a ton of play over the past year.

Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie


Spooner Board

“Like a balance board but safer.”


Stepping stones

“We need indoor physical outlets for the winter. Can be part of forts w obstacle courses”


Sticker kits and books

“Just got these sticker gems that she loves using to decorate little christmas tree drawings. Outuxed 1250Pcs Rhinestone Stickers

“Roger Priddy sticker books are great if you have the patience to do it with them.”


Stomp rocket


Tegu Blocks






“To tinker on things around the house, help a parent fix something”

“Current fave is a big piece of wood, nails, and a hammer”



“Get an adult one so it’s not a unitasker.”


Walkie Talkies


Wikki Stix


Wobble board