We're back to work over here!
After Halloween I picked up this Melissa & Doug Construction Worker Role Play Set at a local Halloween Store at a discounted price. It could be used as both a Halloween Costume and a dramatic play costume. It comes with a hammer, saw, helmet, vest and goggles with a tool belt built into the vest. I knew my son would enjoy pretending to be a construction worker! He didn't give me much time to photograph this set before he ripped into it and put it on! We've had play tools from some other brands that have not held up well, but these look to be well made and have survived a couple months with a 1 and 3 year old - I'll update this post if I find out otherwise. Note that the manufacturer recommends this set for ages 3 and older. Although I think my son started playing with similar tools between ages 2-3, so use your judgement as to whether it may be appropriate for your toddler!
The role play set alone is a nice gift, but there are lots of items you could add on if you wanted to give more. To continue the construction theme, you could include the Learning Resources Pretend & Play Tape Measure. We also once had a tape measure by a different manufacturer that broke easily, but before it broke, my son measured everything! He didn't fully understand the concept of the numbers and measuring, but he thought he did and had fun anyway. I also like the idea of the Learning Resources Word Construction toy. I think kids would enjoy screwing and unscrewing the pieces for play, and also learning to spell words when they get to that stage.
My son chose the book, B is for Bulldozer, at the store and it has been a good book for going through the alphabet and construction elements. He has learned the names of some equipment by reading this book.
Any combination of these elements would make a great gift! If I were to give this gift to one of my son's preschool classmates, I would use Caution Tape as the bow for the package!