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Holiday Gift Guide: Educational Toys Kids LOVE

I love toys. I particularly adore toys that help kids build critical life skills through play! This year I am  featuring some of my favorite educational toys kids love. I have divided these toys into categories: science, technology, engineering, art (including crafts and music), math, and more. They cover a wide price range, but there should be something here for everyone!

holiday gift guide - educational toys

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Science Toys

Young children tend to love biology. My kids loved this Sprout & Grow Window. Pair this planter with any of these three books:

I am a big fan of buying real microscopes for kids instead of paying for the toy versions. This one that we own costs less than some play options, and provides much better image quality. I recommend adding a set of blank slides so that you can examine interesting things from around the house. You can check out this post for tips on getting kids started using real microscopes.

Subscription Kits

The great thing about subscription kits is that they are gifts that keep on coming all year round!

Green Kid Craft kits come full of fun experiments for kids.

Kiwi Crates Also have great science activities! Koala Crates, Doodle Crates, Tinker Crates, and the new Panda Crates make this service available for babies through tweens!

Technology Toys

The Sphero SPRK, is a fun, easy-to-use robot for kids check out our review here. We love the see-through casing that helps kids see what is happening inside.

It is hard to beat an iPad in terms of finding educational apps! My nephews use theirs to create amazing stop motion videos. My kids originally created their stop movies using our regular camera, but they switch to the iPad after we bought one for their weekly internet music lessons with Grandma.

We love all of the Snap Circuits sets, but this Snap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery Kit is our favorite!

Engineering Toys

Anna owns and loves this Brio Builder Construction Set Building Kit, which I bought at the recommendation of her occupational therapist back when she was still in occupational therapy. You can build cars and other cool projects with it, and I see her using it for two or three more years. My older kids play with it too.

LEGO Technic has some great motorized sets that are wonderful for building engineering skills! This LEGO pull-back racer is a great set to start with!

Art Toys

My kids and countless friends have enjoyed creating spin art with this simple spin art kit! I like that the art can be used for beautiful kid-made cards – and that it is easy to mass produce, say, for birthday thank you cards.

Math Toys

Emma got this Spirograph set as a birthday gift, and my kids have had a lot of fun playing with it while learning about shapes, lines, and angles!

I love pattern blocks, and this is a great pattern blocks starter set from Melissa & Doug.

My math-loving mother gave us Prime Climb as a gift last Christmas. It is fun to play, and color coding makes this game surprisingly accessible to young children.

Educational Toys Kids Love: science, technology, engineering, art, math, and literacy toys for kids.

Do you know a toy that would fit one of these categories that I have missed and you think we would love? Please let me know in the comments!

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MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

10 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide: Educational Toys Kids LOVE”

  1. Great list! My Emma also has a Spirograph set that she loves. I love the interesting patterns that you can make with it!

  2. I’ve been thinking if laptops should be shared with kids but it’s a good idea for the much cheaper chromebook. I may give it another thought to choose between a cheaper tablet or Chromebook. Thanks for sharing this list!

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