Little School of Smith's

The holidays are quickly approaching and many people are already Christmas shopping! I love to have most of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving so that I can relax and enjoy all of December with my family.

With that being said, I know everyone is always looking for great gift ideas for kids. I get asked often what our favorite/ go-to educational toys are. Today I am sharing a list of toys that are educational, open ended, and continue to grow with your child. They help children develop eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, creativity, imagination, and cognitive development.

These make perfect gifts for any child in your life. Most of them being $30 or less!! 👏🏻

All of these are great for both boys and girls and a large range of ages (mostly ages 18 months- 8 years old.) Most of these we own and all my kids love and play with all the time. I have a 5 year old girl, 3 year old boy and 16 month old boy and these are some of their favorites, as well as some they will be getting for Christmas this year.

Tap on the highlighted link or picture to get to the product!

(This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, no extra cost to you. I only link items I love or have used!)
  1. Shape Mags – These magnetic shapes for building are the best! We have had these for over a year and ALL my kids play with them all the time!
  2. Number Bots/ Alphabet Bots– These transforming toys are so cool to help children understand their numbers and letters through hands on learning and play.
  3. All-In-One Magnetic Writing Center This is a double-sided magnetic write & wipe board that invites kids to draw, spell and explore the alphabet. 
  4. Ultimate Fort Builder– My kids would love this! So cool all the different ways you can build forts!
  1. Aquadoodle Drawing Mat– This is always my go to gift for toddlers. We have owned it for many years and love it. This magical painting pad allows your child to paint with just water! Mess free and fold up for easy storage. This one comes with great stencils also!
  1. Perler Beads– This is a great activity to keep little hands busy, concentrated and helps with eye-hand coordination/fine motor skills. Made for ages 5+ because of all the little pieces.
  1. Way to Play Roads– These roads are the best!! They puzzle piece together and are a rubber-like material so can be used indoors and outdoors for any toy vehicle. They can get wet, dirty, etc. and clean right up!
  2. Melissa & Doug Sequencing Set– This is a fun activity set that promotes matching, sequencing, and hand-eye coordination.
  3. Melissa & Doug Shape Puzzle– We have had this puzzle set for a few years and it is always getting played with! The boards are double sided and perfect for younger kids learning about shapes and how to complete puzzles.
  4. My Town Block Set– Super fun block set for imaginative play and building! My kids love these!
  5. Wooden Montessori Stacking ToyA great hands-on, stimulating, and fun way to learn to count from 1 to 10. Stack the colorful rings, match them to their numbers, and can create simple math facts for older kids! This is great for toddlers and preschoolers to learn color and number recognition and fine motor skills.
  6. Button Art– My youngest will be getting this for Christmas this year. He loves puzzles and this is a simple set for him to learn to match the colored buttons to the correct spot on the large picture card.
  7. Stacking Peg Set– My son was gifted this for his birthday and although it looks very simple my kids actually play with this a lot. They have fun stacking the pegs and making different patterns.
  8. Zoo Dominoes– My oldest son will be getting these for Christmas! He loves stacking dominos and knocking them over, but these will be easier for little hands and they come with fun obstacles to add to his creations. He will love it and spend many hours having fun with these!
  9. Marble Run– Marble runs are also a great gift for many ages. Fun to build and play as the marbles make their way down the run.
  10. Magnetic Creation Station– We have this set and love it! Use the shapes to try and rebuild 20 unique scenes. Great open ended toy for kids to explore and rearrange the shapes any way they want to build a scene of their very own also. Comes in a great wooden latched box to be able to take on the go.
  11. KiwiCo Subscription Boxes– This is the gift that keeps on giving! These boxes are SO fun and are full of toys, games and STEM activities! You can set it up for specific ages and however you wish for each child to receive (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) You can also purchase boxes separately if you don’t want a subscription. Each of my kids get these and LOVE when they come in the mail! Below is one of the boxes we recently got for my 16 month old! Use this LINK to get $10 off!!
  12. Playdough kits– My kids love playdough and I’m always a bit reluctant to pull it out because we have so much and it’s always everywhere. However, these kits would be perfect just to pull out when they want to play and put everything back in when they are done! Each comes with soft, non-toxic playdough as well as figures and accessories for a ton of creative play! There are a number of different theme kits as well. Check out PLAYfull Days Etsy shop HERE. Kinetic sand and Play Foam are great gifts as well, or perfect stocking stuffers.
  1. Story Cubes (great stocking stuffer!)- Even though this is meant for a little older children for creative writing, we even use them for younger ones to roll and verbally tell a fun story. These are also fun to have them roll and then gather some of their toys to act the story out!
  1. Dimpl– This toy is mostly for babies, but all my kids fight over it! It has different silicone bubbles in different sizes and colors for them to push and pop all the way in and flip it over to repeat. It is a great sensory toy that is simple yet addictive. We use ours for in the car, waiting in offices/restaurants and even during church! My kids love it and it would also make a great stocking stuffer!
  2. Games- Kids love to play games and there are so many fun learning games to choose from! Check out my Educational GAMES Gift Guide for 20 different games for ages 3 and older!

These are all great options for gifts for any of the kids in your life- nieces, nephews, grandkids, siblings or even your own children. Open ended, creative toys that will be played with over and over!

For more great educational toy options check out these websites:

https://www.fatbraintoys.com

https://www.lakeshorelearning.com

https://www.educationalinsights.com

I hope you have found something to make your shopping a little easier and quicker this season!

Happy Shopping!

(This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, no extra cost to you. I only link items I love or have used!)

2 Replies to “Educational TOY Gift Guide”

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