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A modern dollhouse
Hape All Season House ($ 115 at time of posting)
Hape’s three-story all-weather home is bright, neutral and open on all sides. My daughter loved being able to access any room from almost any location to adjust the furniture and play with the wooden figures (sold separately). I liked the sets of additional furniture and accessories that we could purchase (like these pets). It was a staple toy during her toddlers and preschool years – until we had a puppy who eventually devoured everything in the dollhouse, including the two families who lived there.
—Jackie Reeve, editor
The fastest scooter
Micro Mini Deluxe ($ 90 at time of publication)
When she was 3, my second daughter received a Micro Mini Deluxe scooter for Hanukkah. This is Wirecutter’s choice for the best scooter for kids under 5, and any doubts I had about the value of such an expensive scooter for a preschooler were blown away once saw how my daughter handled the Micro Mini compared to the cheaper scooters she had borrowed. friends at the park. Other models were wobbly, clumsy, difficult to steer, and laborious to propel. It zips and slides on the Micro Mini with ease, skillfully navigating corners by shifting its weight and slowing and stopping using the foot brake on the rear wheel. She still has a lot of space to evolve with this ultra-resistant scooter; Thanks to the easily adjustable handlebar, the Micro Mini can comfortably accommodate children up to 5 years old, which also means that several children can use it. (Pro tip: Extending the scooter handlebars to full height allows an adult to tow a child back home.)
—Courtney Schley, editor
A classic red tricycle
Schwinn Roadster 12 inch Tricycle ($ 85 at time of posting)
The Schwinn Roadster, Wirecutter’s recommendation for the best low-profile trike, is designed for confident riders who are ready to tear up the terrain. Unlike other tricycles fitted with plastic or foam tires, the Schwinns are filled with air like a bicycle, making them a more grippy and faster ride. The trike’s heavier construction and low center of gravity (it’s a classic Big Wheel riff) give it the stability needed to handle faster, tighter turns, making it an exciting ride for a kid of. 3 years. And with its shiny red and silver metal body, black tassels on the handlebars, a bell and a wooden deck on the back (a platform where a friend can hitchhike), you can’t beat the Schwinn. for style.
—Kate Gammon, Wirecutter contributor
A magnificent glider
Woom 1 Balance Bike ($ 199 at time of posting)
Woom Bikes, based in Austin, Texas, is one of the few companies in the US that makes high quality bikes for kids, and there is a certain level of passion for them in local parent circles. The concept of Woom is pretty straightforward: Start kids on a beautifully designed bike designed just for them, and they’ll fall in love with the bike for life. Seeing it actually work on the little ones in my life is pretty cool. The Woom 1, our upgrade pick in our guide to the best balance bikes, offers advanced features including an ultralight frame and MTB-style handlebars that make it especially suitable for a ready-to-ride 3-year-old. start rolling. (the Woom 1 is the entry point of the line, designed for 18 months to 4 years). The ultra-low frame is easy to assemble and disassemble without jamming their leg, which my dressed-up kid enjoys. It also features a handbrake – a rarity in the world of balance bikes – that helps kids switch better to high-end pedal bikes.
—Caitlin Giddings, Wirecutter contributor
Wild Republic Squirrel Monkey ($ 10 at time of posting)
World Wildlife Fund Adopt a Three-toed Sloth ($ 55 at time of publication)
Like many children, my second daughter developed a full-fledged animal obsession that started around the age of 3. In his case, they were monkeys, monkeys and other monkeys. After amassing a large collection of plush monkey animals, a monkey necklace, and other monkey items, she informed me that she was ready for a real, living one. Instead, for a $ 50 sponsorship, we “adopted” a squirrel monkey named Chestnut from our local Philadelphia Zoo. We printed and framed the accompanying adoption certificate stating that my daughter is now Chestnut’s ‘zoo parent’ and paired it with a plush squirrel monkey from Wild Republic, which contains dozens of plush creatures small and very large sizes, as well as these magnificent birds that make authentic bird calls and were produced in partnership with the company Audubon. The World Wide Fund for Nature offers adoptions for more than a hundred species, so chances are you will find any animal your child loves, whether it’s a three-toed sloth, of a dugong or a pangolin. Each adoption comes with a stuffed animal, adoption certificate, photo, species information card and a reusable WWF tote bag.
—Courtney Schley, editor
Family membership in a science museum
Franklin Institute Family Membership ($ 149 at time of posting)
Our city is full of parks and children’s play areas, but you can watch your child go up and down the slide or stack blocks before your eyes start to freeze (or stick to your phone). A large science museum, however, is designed to interest people of all ages. We have been family members of the Franklin Institute, a children’s science museum in Philadelphia, since my oldest daughter was 3 years old. At the IF, little kids have fun to touch, crawl, climb and run, while older kids and adults can get engrossed in science and technology exhibits, planetarium shows, and interactive workshops. My three children, now aged 6, 4 and 2, never tire of the Franklin Institute, flocking first to the old standbys: the imposing 19th-century steam engine, the psychedelic brain exhibit and the Giant Heart 18 feet tall, which they can climb, crawl and slide down.
—Courtney Schley, editor
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