Finding gifts for the kids in your life can be hard, especially if you’re looking for something educational and fun! We’ve rounded up a gift guide of educational gifts for kids to help you.
This Year’s Favorites
These educational gifts cover a variety of skills and interests.
This set includes 20 activity sheets and a pair of safety scissors designed to help children keep proper cutting form while they work on their fine motor and cognitive skills. Children advance from simple activities to more complex under adult supervision.
Note: The included scissors seem to work best for right-handed users.
Tired of couch cushions being stolen for construction? Swap them out for this easy-to-build fort kit and enjoy watching creativity flourish! This set is especially nice for siblings to share as they cooperate to bring their vision to life.
Ages: 4–8 and 8–14
Real tools, real blueprints, and real materials—the perfect example of experiential learning! Two starter kit options allow you to choose based on age and skill level. Starter kits contain necessary tools, materials, and instructions to guide students through projects. Refill packs are also available.
This giant floor puzzle is not your typical jigsaw! Oversized pieces come together to create a nearly five-foot-long puzzle with vivid colors and illustrations. Once the puzzle is complete, turn off the light for a new view! Also included are ten fact cards about ocean life for extended learning.
Part craft and part growing kit, this DIY treehouse will appease children who love to make things their own. Children use a variety of crafting techniques to construct the treehouse, then plant seeds for real greenery. Imaginative play is more fun when you’ve built the structure with your own hands!
Ideas for Expansion
Often, families already have core components of popular toys. Expansion sets are a great way to refresh much-loved favorites, especially if buying for younger siblings!
Bring some nature to your magnetic play by introducing these forest animals to your collection. With four wild animals and pieces with printed designs, children can expand their imagination and storytelling. Other wildlife-themed sets are also available.
A new take on the traditional marble run, this set takes the power of gravity and introduces a variety of other movement options to introduce users to concepts of physics. Expansion sets include options for lifts and tunnels to push construction creativity.
You may think you know Jenga, but this new gameplay adds more excitement and drama to a game night. This team-based version challenges players to build a structure based on verbal instructions from a teammate as they compete against another team building at the same time.
Note: One Demme Learning employee has collected numerous classic Jenga sets and uses them in a multitude of ways. Some suggestions: build supertall towers, create extra long domino runs that span across multiple rooms, and develop various structural designs.
K’NEX is known for their classic construction sets, and now they’ve added architectural options to their lineup with three famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel Tower, and London Eye. Kids can learn about building concepts and can extend learning by researching the history of the locations.
Note: While not compatible with classic K’NEX pieces, Kid K’NEX allows younger children to start their own building exploration with pieces designed especially for them.
Board games are some of the best choices for educational gifts for kids because of the wide variety of topics. They’re a great option for practicing specific skills or honing general problem-solving skills.
Make practicing addition and subtraction an adventure through the swamp with this easy-to-learn game! Children become familiar with operations, number value, and how to begin doing mental math. Try this if your math fact practice could use some shaking up.
Ready for a more challenging math practice? This educational game covers counting, addition, and subtraction while introducing place value. Added bonus: there are three different levels so children can continue to play as they increase their abilities over time.
Cooperative games are great for practicing teamwork, and we love this one for its cleverness and deductive reasoning practice. Players work together to collect clues and solve the mystery before the fox gets away. This is especially good for sensitive children who don’t like highly competitive games.
Games that focus on literacy skills are harder to come by, which is why we love this sight word bingo. The rules are the same as regular bingo, except instead of numbers, each card contains common sight words for players to find and mark. There are three levels of increasing difficulty to move through.
Ages: 5+, 8+
Single-player games may not immediately come to mind when you think of board games, but they are great for road trips and quiet time. Rush Hour presents challenge cards for players to build the traffic jam before using logic to free their car. It also comes with a handy drawstring bag for easy transport!
You may be familiar with the better-known dice game, Tenzi. The creators use the same frantic energy for this block-building competition game, where players choose a challenge card and race to complete their block tower. And, also like Tenzi, there are multiple variations of gameplay to keep things interesting.
Is regular chess a bit intimidating? Try starting with this version, instead! A wonderful introduction to the pieces and movements, the game includes instruction cards to guide play. Once players understand the basics, they can then fade out card use until they’re playing in the traditional manner.
One of the most unique games we’ve played in a very long time, Concept encourages players to think outside the box. Players can choose a topic from the cards (or come up with their own) and have to find a way to communicate that idea to others through a variety of icons.
Note: While the manufacturer lists the minimum age as 10, we’ve found that younger players grasp the idea fairly easily and come up with the best descriptions! With that age group, we suggest talking through the thought process and omitting the competitive element.
For more board game favorites, visit our blog post: 50 Favorite Family Board Games [List].
Don’t Overlook the Classics!
Favorites earn their status for a reason. There are so many toys and games that have held strong over multiple generations, so don’t feel like you need to find the latest and greatest each year. Here’s a list of classics that kids still love:
- LEGO, especially Technic and Architecture (and Duplo for the younger ages)
- Wooden puzzles
- Stacking rings
- Shape sorting ball or box
- Model building kits
- Brain teaser puzzles
- Train sets
- And books! Progress through board, picture, easy readers, chapter, and classic books as children grow.
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