School Literacy & Culture’s 2014 Gift Guide: Gifts for Promoting Imagination and Creativity in Preschoolers

At Rice University School Literacy and Culture, we understand The Critical Importance of Play. As you prepare to do your holiday shopping, we’d like to offer some suggestions for gifts that promote imagination and creativity in preschool age children.

Blocks are a big hit with children and parents alike. Building with blocks provides one of the most valuable learning experiences available for young children. Block play stimulates learning in all domains of development: intellectual, physical, social-emotional and language. Blocks are open-ended. Young children begin stacking them and soon they expand to creating castles, doll houses and roadways for cars in make-believe villages. These changes in the way in which children play with blocks makes them a wise investment, as they will certainly make for years of enjoyment.


1. Tinkertoy Super Building Set
2. Constructive Playthings Tree Blocks
3. LEGO Duplo Basic Bricks Deluxe
4. PicassoTiles Magnet Building Tiles
5. Magformers Standard Set
6. Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set
7. Constructive Playthings Jumbo Magnetic Builders
8. Kapla Blocks Octocolor 100 Piece Set
Reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do for your child. It develops their vocabulary, increases their general knowledge and provides them insight into other cultures and the world around them. Sharing a book with your child is a positive experience that allows the two of you to grow closer. Early exposure to great literature helps children to begin viewing books as a treat and an indulgence rather than a chore.


Row 1: Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli; Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli; Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet
Row 2:Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff and Kyrsten BrookerChristina Katerina and the Box by Patricia Lee GauchNana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Row 3: The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo WillemsGoodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld; Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins

Art Materials
Art supplies are a major catalyst for creative play. When a child creates a picture, paints a self-portrait, or hangs buttons from a pipe cleaner mobile, that child is beginning to communicate visually. Children draw and create to share experiences that might otherwise not be expressed. Art allows children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It also allows children to develop a sense of self-worth.


1. Kinetic Sand (2 Pounds)
2. Melissa & Doug Large Paint Brush Set
3. Melissa & Doug Jumbo Triangular Crayons
4. Play-Doh 10-Pack of Colors
5. Crayola Washable Kid’s Paint (6 count)
6. AquaDoodle Travel Doodle Mat
7. Do A Dot Art! Markers 6-Pack Rainbow
8. Fisher-Price DoodlePro

Play and Story
Imaginative play is a key contributor to a child’s overall development. It allows children to work through feelings, assists them in making sense of the world and builds empathy as your children put themselves in someone else’s shoes. When children participate in imaginative play, they are naturally exercising their ability to be innovative. Research shows that anything that encourages role-playing is considered good for the brain. Staying in character requires discipline and impulse-control as well as promotes self-regulation.


1. Table Top Puppet Theater
2. Fun Express Plush Happy Kids Hand Puppets
3. Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box
4. 11″ Soft Body Doll
5. Fisher-Price Little People Caring For Animals Farm Playset
6. Black & Decker Junior 14 Piece Toy Tool Belt Set
7. Step2 Little Cooks Kitchen Playset
8. FunsLane Kids Doctor Costume Set
9. Better Line 20-Piece Story Time Finger Puppets Set

Active Play
Active play happens when children use their large muscles to move around. This play releases energy and develops fine and gross motor coordination. The outdoors is the perfect natural setting for active imaginative play.


1. JustForKids Kids Garden Tools Set
2. Tonka Classic Steel Mighty Dump Truck
3. Kid O Go Car Push & Pull
4. Green Toys Jump Rope
5. 7″ Knobby Balls – 5 Pack
6. Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay
7. Backyard Exploration Critter Case

Authored by Brooke Brown, Rice University School Literacy and Culture
This entry was posted in gift guide and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to School Literacy & Culture’s 2014 Gift Guide: Gifts for Promoting Imagination and Creativity in Preschoolers

  1. Margaret Immel says:

    Excellent ideas! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Pingback: The 2015 Annual Gift Guide – For Toddlers | School Literacy and Culture

  3. Pingback: 2016 Annual Gift Guide | School Literacy and Culture

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