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Gift Guide: Perfect Toys for Curious Kids


December 12, 2022

Finding the right present for a child can be a challenge – there are so many options! This toy gift guide will help you find gifts that are not only fun but have educational value, too. Help a curious child learn something new, explore a budding passion, or gain expertise in a field of interest just through the gift you give!

Check out our toy gift guide below, organized by age, for the top toys, games, and other goodies to give the little geniuses in your life this holiday season.

Gifts for Babies and Toddlers

Melissa and Doug NP Book Tower | Macy’s

Our toy gift guide starts out with this set of 10 chunky books to set your child up for a lifelong love of reading. Each sturdy, wipe-clean book covers a different topic to introduce vocabulary words. They also help little ones eight months of age and up build dexterity and problem-solving skills by allowing them to practice turning pages and stacking books back into the tower carrying case, which comes complete with a handle.

fisher price toy

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Lil Gamer | JC Penney

This kid-friendly electronic device looks like an old-school Nintendo Gameboy and teaches colors, numbers, and shapes to babies and toddlers from 6-36 months old while helping them develop motor skills. It entertains with lights and music, too!

The Play Kit | Lovevery

Lovevery’s Play Kit for 0-12 months is a subscription box that’s thoughtfully curated by age with appropriate toys and activities for every developmental stage. This subscription box delivers high-quality, made-in-the-USA toys that help children “build brand new neural connections.”

the block set

The Block Set | Lovevery

For slightly older kids (18-48+ months), look to this set of 70 wood blocks from Lovevery in various shapes and colors that little ones can build, stack, sort, count, play, learn shapes and colors, and more. It has a storage box that doubles as a shape sorter and ramp for extra play. This gift encourages imaginative play and problem-solving and helps your little one build motor skills.

Police Station and Helicopter | Lego

The big Duplo blocks in this set are perfect for little hands! The helicopter, police car, officer, dog, and police station are sure to be a hit with toddlers aged two and up. This toy builds motor skills and promotes imaginative play, a critical developmental milestone.

Gifts for Preschool and School-Age Kids

Astronaut Starter Kit | Kiwi Co.

This kit (for kids five and older) will fire up the imagination of any space-loving kid. It includes all the pieces needed to paint and build a spinning solar system, plus a rocket and launch pad. It’s a perfect way for science-loving kids to learn about space exploration and the planets in our solar system.

set of colors

Critter Creator Metallic Bug Fossil Kit for Kids | Crayola

Kids seven and up will learn about fossils while having hands-on fun with this kit. They will love that it provides all the parts to create and paint fossils from 10 types of bugs, plus a playmat. (And parents will love that it uses washable paints!)

Historical Characters Doll | American Girl

American Girl dolls were first created by founder Pleasant Rowland to teach young girls (age eight and up) about American history through the stories of girls living in past eras. The dolls in the historical characters line come from different times, places, and backgrounds. Not only will a child discover a beloved doll, but the series helps spark an active interest in history.

Gifts for Tweens & Up

Tinker Crate | Kiwi Co.

Tinker Crate for 9-12-year-olds is a subscription box that arrives at your door monthly with a creative and educational STEM-based project. Kids who like to figure out how things work will love building their own projects from scratch and watching them come to life! Subscribe for three, six, or 12 months.

microscope toy

Discovery #Mindblown 48-Piece Microscope | Macy’s

Open up a whole new world for the budding scientist (ages 8 and up) on your holiday gift list with this comprehensive microscope set. It features a microscope with 100X, 600X, and 1200X magnification, prepared slides, blank slides, tools to collect samples, and more. It will fire up their curiosity about the world that’s invisible to the naked eye, plus teach practical lab skills and foster a mindset of curiosity required for success in science.

Great Paintings Puzzle | White Mountain Puzzles

No toy gift guide would be complete without a puzzle! This 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle is ideal for older teens who love puzzles or for younger teens and tweens to do with parents. Featuring 19 great paintings from artists including Gauguin, van Gogh, and Botticelli, it’s a fun and different way to spark interest in fine art.

Architecture Lego Sets | Lego

Kids aged 12-18 (and up!) can learn about world-famous buildings and structures in one of three cities – New York, Paris, and London – while putting together these special Lego sets. It’s a fun, challenging, and hands-on way to get interested in other places and cultures.

What is the 5-Gift Rule?

Have you heard of the five-gift rule? It’s a popular guideline that helps you keep your gift-buying in check by giving you both a focus for each gift and a limit on the number of gifts you buy for a child. The five gift types include:

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read
  5. Something they didn’t know they wanted

Why the five-gift rule? Because any parent or caregiver who’s ever taken a box of barely used toys to the local thrift or charity store knows just how easy it is to get carried away with gift-giving.

If you’re one of several people shopping for a child’s gifts for a birthday or the holidays, consider coordinating with your fellow gift-givers to ensure you give thoughtfully without succumbing to excess.

Happy shopping!