Children generally start preschool between the ages of 2 and 3, during which time they develop incredibly quickly. From getting to grips with language, learning how to count, recognising letters and perfecting a whole load of motor skills. If you're keen to help them with their early years education at home, we’ve got it covered.

TO ENCOURAGE COUNTING

Ok, so no-one expects a Countdown genius at preschool stage, but helping them with their numbers early means they won’t feel so challenged when they encounter proper maths lessons. An abacus ideal for their developing numeracy skills. Little Dutch does a lovely rainbow version: it's the kind of thing that they'll revisit again and again, as their counting skills grow.

Jabadabado Abacus

An abacus will help them learn their numbers.

HELPING WITH THEIR ABC'S

Before they're able to start reading, they need to figure out the alphabet. Abrams & Chronice TouchThinkLearn: ABC is an interactive board book with scooped-out die-cuts and raised elements that invites little readers to explore the letters of the alphabet in a whole new way. The TouchThinkLearn series also includes shapes and numbers - why not get them the whole set?

Touch Think Learn books

Abrams & Chronicle TouchThinkLearn books make leanring a physical experience.

FOR COLOUR RECOGNITION

If they’re more of a visual kind of kid, then the The Jam Tart Animal Alphabet Flash Cards are also great for encouraging colour recognition. The set includes 20 brilliantly-bold, double-sided cards, each with an animal and supporting text, such as 'Red Robin'. As they hit reception age, you can encourage their colour skills further by introducing the more nuanced tones like khaki and magenta. It's a set that supports long lasting learning - just what we like about it.

Animal Colours Flash Cards

The Jam Tart Animal Alphabet Flash Cards

SUSSING OUT SHAPES

Shapes and colours are a big deal at preschool, so give them a head start with the Classic World Geometric Puzzle. Featuring nine different shapes, with shapes within those as well, it’ll help them hone their fine-motor and sorting skills as they match up the colours. Double duty!

girl playing with Classic World Geometric Puzzle

Classic World Geometric Puzzle

THEIR OWN STATIONERY

While they don't need to take their own stationery to school yet, it's great to have a set to call their own at home. And for all of those pens, pencils and other crafty bits and bobs, they'll need a pencil case to stash them in. We rate the Engel designs, all innovatively made from recycled plastic bottles.

Franck & Fischer Mynte Pencil Case

A PLACE TO LEARN

Around the preschool age, it's great to set up a quiet zone at home where they can get busy with arts and crafts, small-piece play or figuring out puzzles or games. The Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chairs will look good in any room and the big compartments mean you can hide away lots of clutter too. Plus, the chalk board table top is perfect for unstoppable scribblers. (And keeps them off the walls!)

Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chairs

Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table & Chairs

PLAYING IS LEARNING TOO

The majority of time at preschool is spent playing, which is no surprise since they pick up and learn lifelong skills through amusing themselves. From pretend play to craft to open-ended play, we have a variety of goodies that will have them building knowledge while they have fun. We've a particular soft spot for the Wee Gallery Baby Animal Lacing Cards which encourage their tactile skills, concentration and coordination as they pull the needle through the holes. They can be unlaced and redone in a different pattern as many times as they like.

Wee Gallery Baby Animal Lacing Cards

Wee Gallery Baby Animal Lacing Cards

They say education is a lifelong journey and they'll certainly be taking their first steps more confidently with any of the above picks. If you'd like more help or inspo, why not check out our Learning Toys or hop onto a live-chat - we're here to help, 7am-11pm, every day. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.