From science to art to pretend play, our recommendations will help you pick the perfect toy for the special "big box".
If your Mighty Girl is especially drawn to science, art, robotics, or something entirely different, it might be worth spending a larger portion of the holiday gift budget on one very special present that will allow her to delve deeply into that interest.
In six thematic sections below, we recommend a number of toys perfect for filling the "big box," ranging from large-scale building sets that can be easily shared among siblings to dollhouses that will provide endless opportunities for imaginative play. While more expensive than the average disposable toy, the high-quality nature of these toys also means that they last for years to come — and be there to pass on to younger children in the future.
For more girl-empowering toys of all varieties, check out our 2019 Girl Empowerment Holiday Gift Guide.
Under Construction: Big Building Sets
When a kid is building, there's nothing more frustrating than running out of pieces! With these extra-large sets, kids can really allow their imaginations to run wild.
Wooden building blocks are fun for even the youngest kids, and with this extra-large 102-piece starter set, you can be sure that you've got enough blocks to keep them building for years! High-quality wooden blocks like these are designed on a standard unit, so that all of the blocks work seamlessly together for building. In addition to standard squares, rectangles, and triangles, this set also includes inspiring pieces like towers, arches, and X shapes. The high-quality, natural beech wood is beautiful to look at and comfortable in the hand; this will definitely become a heirloom toy.
Kids who aren't old enough for regular LEGO can still have plenty of building fun! This 560 piece set of DUPLO bricks includes both basic and decorated bricks, several figures, windows, fences, vehicles, and more. The set was designed to allow several kids to play together, making it perfect for families with multiple children or for those who like to have big building playdates. For a smaller set with 160 pieces, check out the Creative DUPLO Brick Set.
It's easy to build big ideas with the Little Tikes Waffle Blocks! Eighteen blocks slot together in ways that encourage creative building, indoors and out. The 14 by 14 inch plastic pieces are durable enough to hold up to plenty of serious play, and a variety of cut-outs encourage kids to experiment with different possibilities. You'll be amazed at what she can create!
Pay tribute to 32 women who changed the world with this set of heirloom-quality blocks from Uncle Goose! Each block features one woman's name, portrait, quote, and a short explanation of her historical importance. Together, the blocks can be assembled to form the Suffrage Movement slogan Deeds Not Words. They're sturdy enough for play but also make a beautiful display piece and learning tool — and, like all Uncle Goose products, they're made in the USA from sustainable Michigan basswood and non-toxic inks.
Arts and science combine with this set of DUPLO blocks! Preschoolers will construct a STEAM park full of dynamic moving rides, fun games, and scenes using the special selection of LEGO DUPLO bricks. Along the way, they grow their understanding of gears, motion, measurement, and solving problems together in a fun and engaging way. Kids can follow the included inspiration cards, or just let their imagination run wild. This set includes 295 pieces, including both standard bricks and unique accessory pieces like slides, wheels, a cannon that actually "fires," and even fun park-themed items like balloons!
Create beautiful structures with these translucent magnetic tiles! These tiles easily connect to create 2D or 3D shapes and patterns. You'll be amazed at how big kids can build with a little inspiration. This set includes a variety of different shapes to provide plenty of building options, but since all Magna-Tiles sets are compatible, you can also add this set to your existing collection for even more epic builds.
Take Magformers to new heights with this set that lets you build a curving, looping track for the included sky shuttle! Each shape connects with embedded magnets that never repel one another, so building is easy. Your shuttle can do a 360 degree spin, climb a lift elevator, pass over a seesaw, and more! You can even start and stop it with the push of a button. It's the perfect choice for any budding engineer.
Quadrilla marble run sets are among the best available, and this is the most exciting set yet! The Vertigo includes 134 building pieces, including straightaway rails, spiral funnels, and a seesaw, plus plenty of marbles to run down your enormous track. You can use this set alone or combine it with more Quadrilla sets for even more gigantic marble races. Since it's made of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, you'll also know that it was sustainably built — and that it's tough enough to be in the family for generations.
This impressive creative brick set provides plenty of colors, sizes, and shapes to prompt building and discovery! With 1,000 bricks included, the set allows children to imagine and create all sorts of figures, objects, and buildings. Children develop fine motor skills while constructing, and the building cards will support and inspire their creativity. Serious LEGO builders will be thrilled to have a wider selection of the 2X4, 2X2, and 1X2 blocks that always seem to run out too soon.
With this 1,907 piece LEGO set, kids have enough pieces to build the foundation of a whole community! Kids can experiment with building houses, stores, vehicles, animals, and more, plus all the minifigures to go along with them. Since no directions are included, only inspiration cards, kids will get to work their brainpower as they figure out how to create the community they want! This set is big enough to support up to six kids playing at once, perfect for larger families or group playdates.
You'll be amazed at what you can build with these simple planks! KEVA maple planks are perfectly cut, identical construction blocks that stack with surprising stability. Narrow towers can reach all the way to the ceiling! Incredible stability is achieved by cutting the planks with great precision, but since all the pieces the same, no energy is wasted searching for specific shapes or connectors. Young builders will enjoy simply stacking, while older ones will explore the incredible potential of this kit to create elaborate structures.
Get into the ultimate magnet-building fun with this enormous set of Magformers building pieces! This unique building system uses magnets embedded in plastic, allowing kids to create 2D and 3D shapes quickly and easily. Since they always attract, the moment any two pieces touch, they connect! This set includes a wide variety of shapes, including several sizes of squares and triangles, pentagons, hexagons, and some fun accessories, including wheels for building vehicles. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can put together some impressive structures with this set.
Fans of the innovative 3D marble run building allowed by Q-Ba-Maze will love this Colossal Stunt Set that includes over 270 pieces! Q-Ba-Maze cubes easily attach together for elaborate marble runs in unique shapes that do unexpected things. Now, you can make your Q-Ba-Maze even better with additional stunt pieces like light-up cubes, spirals, trampolines, wheels, and more. It's the ultimate set for kids who love this creative and flexible system.
There's a hidden side to this playset from LEGO! Build a double-sided school building that's 11" high and 16" wide, full of interesting details to explore, and guide the minifigures — including ghost hunters Parker L. Jackson and Jack Davids — around the set. Then, download the augmented reality app to discover how interacting with the model makes it come alive!
Explore renewable energy with this set from K'Nex Education! 583 pieces allow kids to build multiple models that teach them out we can generate electrical power from wind, water, and solar energy. The step-by-step instruction manual encourages kids to develop STEM skills, promotes teamwork and cooperation, and shows them the importance of eco-friendly energy!
Set your sails for a building challenge with this LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle building set!This 962-piece set allows you to build a highly detailed ship, the Leviathan. Construct the captain's quarters, cannons, masts, and more. Then you'll build a bottle using LEGO components, complete with a buildable cork and a wax seal, and a stand complete with a nameplate and a built-in "compass." It's a unique building project that you'll be delighted to display when it's done!
Enjoy a building challenge — and a tribute to NASA's Moon missions — with this massive three-foot LEGO model of the NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket! At 1,969 pieces, this set provides a fun building challenge packed with authentic details: it features 3 removable rocket stages, including the S-IVB third stage with the lunar lander and lunar orbiter. With The set includes 3 stands to display the model horizontally, 3 new astronaut micro figures for role-play recreations of the Moon landings, and a booklet about the manned Apollo missions.
Big Ideas: Science, Technology, and Robotics Kits
These options are more than just gifts: they're windows into understanding some of the cool science and engineering concepts that kids have only heard about!
There's a little scientist in every kid! Ignite their natural curiosity with the Little Tikes STEM Jr. Wonder lab, the only STEM lab designed for preschoolers. As they test out the 20 different hands-on experiments that this set has to offer, they'll explore math, engineering, and science in a playful way, complete with fun sounds and phrases. Twenty lab accessories are included, and the lab tray is removable for easy clean-up. It's a terrific way to introduce STEM to your playroom!
Coding gets a friendly face with Cubetto, the wooden robot who allows kids to learn coding without ever looking at a screen! With this Montessori-approved coding toy, kids use colorful blocks in a tangible programming language; how they order the blocks affects how Cubetto moves. Through a series of maps and stories, kids learn to guide Cubetto through a variety of adventures — and build an understanding of basic coding logic and cause-and-effect along the way. It's a great way to get kids starting on coding through hands-on play.
This full-featured tablet is perfectly tailored for kids! The new Fire HD 10 has a 10.1” 1080p full HD display and a faster processor than previous models. It comes with 32 GB of internal storage and a battery that provides up to a 12-hour charge life. A 2-year worry-free guarantee ensures you're covered for accidental damage. Plus you get a one-year membership to the FreeTime Unlimited subscription service, with over 15,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games for kids aged 3 to 12.
In this kit from Thames & Kosmos, kids as young as four can learn coding principles and skills — no computer required! Kids will build a selection of different model robots, from a fire truck to a mouse to a peanut butter sandwich. Then, they'll lay down physical code cards, drive the robot over them to load the program with the bot's optical scanner, and put the robot on a map grid so it can execute their commands! 30 lessons in six clever stories progress in complexity, covering sequencing, loops, events, conditions, functions, and variables; when they're done, they can create their own robotics adventure!
Little kids can do real science with this Deluxe Scientific Workbench from Hape! This workbench comes with 79 pieces, including everything you need to demonstrate key scientific principles with 15 experiments. Kids can build a Digger, a Zoetrope, a Rotating Light, and more, learning about the secrets of physics as they go. It's sure to inspire plenty of scientific discovery!
Explore coding and robotics in a tactile way with Botzees from PAI Technology! Use the 130 blocks included to build six pre-designed Botzees, or create your own. Then, you can teach your Botzee to move, dance, make sounds, and more! The app (compatible with iOS 12 and up and Android OS 8 and up) is engaging and intuitive. Once they've got the knack of it, they can start exploring the 30 augmented reality puzzles to learn even more coding concepts.
Build a robot as easily as you build with blocks thanks to Cubelets, the world's first robot blocks! These magnetic cubes easily snap together. Combine cubes that let your robot Sense, Think, and Act; depending on how you assemble them, your robot will have a different personality. You can also use brick adapters to attach your favorite brick construction toys. Once your robot is built, use the Bluetooth Hat to connect it to the free companion app to remote control or program it. Perfect for teaching design thinking, coding, problem solving, engineering and more, this flexible robotics kit includes six Cubelets, perfect to get budding inventors started.
This clever little robot can do amazing things — with a little help from you! Dash is a fully-assembled robot that perceivse the world with sensors: she can hear sounds, observe objects, and sense if you are moving them. Using the compatible apps, you can direct Dash to do all sorts of things, learning programming concepts as you go. For even more robot fun, check out the Dot Creativity Kit, which lets you dress up Dash's partner Dot in a variety of costumes before playing some fun games!
Osmo is a unique learning system that allows kids to combine tablet time with actual hand-held pieces, letting kids interact with the app through tactile play. Attach the Osmo base to your tablet and start exploring the included apps and toys, which encourage creative thinking in math, wordplay, art, and problem solving. It's truly the best of both worlds! This version of Osmo works with iPads; there is also an Osmo Genius Kit for Fire Tablets.
Kids can bring their creations to life with the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox! This 847-piece set allows kids to build five multifunctional models, and then learn the basics of coding so they can teach their models to dance, interact, or explore. The easy-to-use LEGO Boost app (which is compatible with many newer phones and tablets, as well as most Windows 10 devices) provides a step-by-step guide to building, and then encourages kids to explore their own ideas. Older kids can explore robotics through LEGO with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit for ages 10 and up.
Minecraft-crazy kids will love this kit that teaches them how to build their very own real computer! This kit from Piper includes a wooden computer case with a 9" LCD display with 1024x600 resolution and integrated speaker. As you follow the included directions, you'll set it up with a Raspberry Pi 3 Project Board with 1GB RAM and a 1.2Ghz Quad Core CPU, plus gadgets like buttons, switches, LED lights, motion sensors, and more. After the computer is built, use the included SD card full of Minecraft-inspired Story Mode levels and Piper Code projects to explore the full potential of your computer. It's a great way to get kids crafting with technology in real life rather than on a screen.
This enchanted unicorn kit has everything you need to create a buildable, codable UnicornBot! The 3D, 360° animated building instructions on the free JIMU app (compatible with devices using iOS 9.0 and up or Android 5.0 and up) will guide you through assembling the 440 parts, including smooth motion servos, a motor, and an RGB light-up horn. Then, you can use the easy-to-learn Blockly coding platform to teach your Unicornbot to move, pick-up objects, recognize colors, and more! It's a fantasy-inspired introduction to the basics of robotics and coding that kids will love.
Avengers, assemble — including you! With this set from littleBits, kids will join their favorite Avengers, including Iron Man, Black Panther and Shuri, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, to create their own superhero identity. Eighteen in-app activities get kids building gear with the easy to use littleBits components, adding new abilities with easy block coding, and designing the perfect superhero icon with the LED Matrix bit. Authentic Avengers sound effects make this an absorbing and exciting way to learn real STEM skills!
With this fun kit from littleBits, kids can build their own interactive space rover! littleBits are easy-to-use electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets and allow anyone to build, invent, and prototype. The space rover kit comes with 34 components that kids can use to complete 30 space-themed projects inspired by the challenges facing real NASA astronauts and engineers, including a space rock collector and an alien life detector. It even includes stories of real-life space pioneers to inspire young explorers and engineers. Once they've tried the included projects, kids can experiment endlessly with their own inventions!
With this innovative game from Thames & Kosmos, kids use real-life sensor data to create a world of fantastic creatures! Connect the base station to your device, then use the sensor pods to collect readings about your environment. Inside the app, creatures appear whose attributes are based on the data: a low temperature reading might result in a creature with long hair to keep warm. As kids play, they gain experience measuring light levels, volumes, and temperatures, making physics come alive! Please note: this app requires a device with Android 4.4.2 or later or iOS 8.1 or later.
Create your own custom Droid — and learn a little about inventing and prototyping — with this Star Wars Droid Inventor kit from littleBits! With the free Droid Inventor app, kids will give their R2 unit some new abilities over 16 missions. Then, they can use the easy littleBits components to experiment with their own inventions! The modular parts snap together easily with no glue or soldering, perfect for quick and easy inventing and problem-solving. This set is compatible with all other littleBits sets, so the limit is your imagination.
Budding electricians and electrical engineers will be thrilled with this enormous set of Snap Circuits, the modular system that lets kids explore electronics with no solder or glue! This giant set includes over 80 pieces and can be used to build more than 750 different projects — and then kids can experiment with the pieces to come up with their own circuits. Once they're done this set, they can delve even deeper with the Snap Circuits Student Electronics Training Program, also for age 8 and up.
Build and customize your own musical instruments with this kit from littleBits! littleBits are modular electronic components that click together without glue or solder, making them perfect for kids to experiment. In this kit, kids will do 12 activities that teach them how to build high-tech instruments like a synth guitar and air drums. Then, play your instruments in a variety of different ways — and take the apart to invent your own. This kit is also compatible with all other littleBits kits, so the only limit is your imagination!
The Big Engineering Makerspace from Thames & Kosmos is part science kit, part inspirational building kit! As kids work their way through the five chapters in the 128-page manual, they'll explore a variety of different physical principles and engineering concepts, including buoyancy, wind power, gears, pneumatics, hydraulics, optics, and much more. The 258 modular pieces build 20 models from the manual, but can also be used for kids to invent their own machines. Best of all, batteries are NOT required, so she can get building right out of the box!
Combine Sphero and Star Wars and you get this awesome little BB-8 droid! This real spherical robot is about the size of a baseball, but there's big fun in that little package: BB-8 shows a wide range of expressions and will even perk up when it hears your voice. You can use the Sphero BB-8 app to program BB-8 to patrol an area or even to take "holographic video" that you can display in augmented reality. It's the perfect pick for any fan of BB-8 and Rey!
This is the ultimate invention toolbox! littleBits snap together with ease, making it simple for kids to experiment with the projects in the kit — or to create their own. With sixteen modules in this set, including motors, switches, lights, wheels, buzzers, and more, you can try a variety of fun projects, including an R/C racecar and an automated bubble blower! Best of all, littleBits are all compatible with one another, so you can mix and match these modules with any other littleBits set. Fans of littleBits will also want to check out the new Rule Your Room Invention Kit.
This pocket-sized robot is packed with tech that lets you customize how it interacts with you! Evo's proximity sensors, optical sensors, and LED lights let you enjoy teaching it tricks quickly and easily, or you can connect to the Ozobot Evo app to experiment with Evo's code, customizing your bot to do almost anything you can imagine! For another option suitable for younger robotics enthusiasts, check out the Ozobot Bit two-pack for ages 6 and up.
Check out the amazing microscopic world with this microscope that provides amazing quality for the price! This biological microscope offers five magnification settings, 40X, 100X, 250X, 400X and 1000X, and offers LED bottom lumination so you can easily get a good look at your specimens. A sturdy metal framework and a dust cover ensure it holds up to plenty of hard use! Just get yourself some blank slides or a set of prepared slides and get ready to see the world in a whole new way!
You can build your own tiny but powerful computer for a fraction of the cost of a pre-built system in a store, thanks to Raspberry Pi! This set includes everything you need to assemble a credit card-sized computer; then, use the included SD card to run New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS) to start learning programming basics. Everything you need, including a case and a power supply, is included in this set; just connect a screen and an input device and you'll be on your way.
Explore basic chemical principles with this modeling kit from Thames and Kosmos that uses magnetic bonding sites to represent how atoms join up to become molecules! Fifty atom models representing sixteen elements join together to create thousands of different molecules; scan your models with the included iOS app to learn what molecule you've created, and see how many of the most common ones you can find. It's a hands-on way to learn about the building blocks of chemistry.
With this dual LED microscope from Thames and Kosmos, she'll be amazed what she can see! Precision mechanics, quality optics, and bright lighting make this the perfect option for kids who are ready for their first real microscope. This set includes the microscope itself, which offers up to 400X magnification; a 12-page instruction manual for the scope; a 48-page full-color microscopy book; and a set of over 20 sample collection tools and accessories. Seventy experiments provide plenty of ideas on how kids can find, prepare, and observe natural specimens with their microscope and explore the microscopic world!
With this set you get a truly gigantic physics kit for your budding scientist! Thames and Kosmos's Physics Pro kit covers topics like fluid dynamics, energy, oscillation, hydraulics and pneumatics, and includes over 200 pieces to allow young physicists to explore these principles. By following the guide, you'll build a wind tunnel, pneumatic shocks, and a hydraulic lift, and learn more about how physics directs the technology we use every day.
Combine the versatility of LEGO with the fun and excitement of robotics with the Mindstorms set! You'll create a variety of different robots using the LEGO bricks, then connect the EV3 processor brick with a remote control to direct manually, or with your device to program with an intuitive, icon-based language. Instruction are included for the There's a huge online community of Mindstorms fans excited to share their ideas — and see yours!
See the heavens with this high-quality refractor telescope from Solomark! This entry level telescope and astronomy kit is perfect for the budding star-gazer. This telescope comes with two 1.25" eyepieces, K20mm and K9mm, for 20-power and 44-power views. It also has a finderscope to make it easier to spot a particular object you're looking for, and a smartphone eyepiece adapter so you can take exciting pictures of what you see! It all packs inside a special grab-and-go backpack so it's easy to take stargazing on the go.
Arduino is the perfect way to get young technies creating their own inventions! This open-source electronics platform incorporates easy-to-use hardware and software so kids can learn to create a variety of interesting projects. In this kit, a selection of basic components and a 72-page instruction manual let you learn the basics of Arduino programming. Once you've got the knack, you can buy additional kits and let your imagination run wild! Inventing has never been so simple.
Advancing chemists can really test their stuff with this kit from Thames & Kosmos! This set includes dozens of additional tools and chemicals compared to smaller sets, and the experiments in its 92-page, full-color manual cover key concepts like chemical equations, atomic structures, and the periodic table. The experiments included in this set are perfect as preparation for high school level chemistry or for budding scientists who want to broaden their chemical knowledge.
The future of technology may be very, very small! Nanomachines are tiny — often only a few atoms wide — but this kit will help teens start learning the basics of nanotechnology, first by discussing size, scale, and orders of magnitude in the International System of Units, then by learning how electromagnetic spectrum, laser light, electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy can make machines this small visible. With 41 experiments in the 72-page manual, you'll feel like you have a whole lab in your bedroom.
Big Imaginations: Pretend Play Toys
From detailed pretend play kits to fun play spaces, these toys will kick kids' imaginations into overdrive!
This birch cube is the perfect place to nestle with a good book! Large cutouts on three sides of this 30" cube let kids climb in and out easily, but still leave them feeling cozy and secure. You can line it with your own blankets and pillows, or get a version that includes an easy-to-clean vinyl mat. It's the perfect hideaway for budding readers!
This is the perfect compact kitchen for little would-be chefs! It features a see-through oven door and an enclosed space that can act as a cupboard or a fridge. It also comes with a 30-piece accessory set the includes sliceable vegetables, as well as pots, pans, and utensils. But at only 21 inches long, it's easy to slot into even small play spaces! If you're looking for a larger play kitchen set, check out the Uptown Espresso Kitchen for age 3 - 8 or the fun, bright red Vintage Kitchen for age 2 - 8.
Calling all budding carpenters! The Master Workbench play set from Hape includes all the tools your would-be builder needs: hammer, saw, screwdriver, wrench, vice, angle, screws, nuts, bolts, gears, links and more. The bench is even height-adjustable so it can grow along with her, and kids will love the bright, cheerful colors. For even more building fun, add Hape's wooden tool box set.
Young Wonder Woman fans will love getting behind the wheel of this awesome electronic Jeep covered with character graphics! The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler has two drive speeds plus reverse, Power Lock brakes, and a parent-controller high speed lock for beginner drivers. The tough wheels can take her over both hard surfaces and grass, and there's even room for her to drive a friend — and bring all their superhero supplies in the storage compartment. She'll be racing to save the day in no time!
Enjoy an expertly crafted, beautifully painted dollhouse that your kids can change with the seasons! The All-Season Dollhouse allows you to rearrange not just the furniture, but also the stairs and even the roof, for hours of novel dollhouse play. And, like all Hape toys, parents will feel good knowing that the wood comes from FSC managed forests and is finished with non-toxic inks and paints.
This terrific table from Melissa and Doug provides a big space for your child's big imagination! With a 50 by 32.5 inch surface, there's plenty of room to set up a train set or a dollhouse, build a village out of blocks, and more. It also makes a great place for arts and crafts time! At 16" high, it's just the right size for kids to reach while they're kneeling or sitting on the floor, and a large side drawer ensures everything they need is close to hand.
Kids will feel like they've blasted into outer space with this tent and tunnel combo from Pacific Play Tents! At 48" square, this two-pole dome tent is big enough for 3 to 4 kids, and since the floor is waterproof, it can be used for indoor or outdoor play. The four 19" diameter tunnels are 4 feet long and easily attach to the tent. It even comes with a handy bag for transport or storage!
Get cooking with this sleek and modern play kitchen from KidKraft! Kids can open the fridge door to pull out food, pop it on the stove or into the microwave to cook, then take care of the cleanup by tucking the washing into the dishwasher. Clever details like a speckled countertop and a chalkboard surface for notes will appeal to kids and encourage pretend play. Just add some play food and cookware for hours of fun.
Get ready for a medieval adventure with this wooden castle from Melissa and Doug! This detailed castle unfolds for easy access to the inside, or folds up if you need to raise the drawbridge in preparation for a siege. Inside, you'll find a spacious courtyard, turrets, a dungeon, and more. Any would-be knight in shining armor will love this set.
Visit Lucky's home in Miradero with this Playmobil playset based on Spirit Riding Free! This gorgeous house playset offers plenty of space, including Lucky's room with a poster of her mom. Outside, Spirit is waiting for her to join him for their next adventure, while Aunt Cora is inside to welcome Lucky home from school. This set is packed full of accessories that will let kids play out all sorts of imaginative stories!
Run your own stable and take care of your own horses with this set from Schleich! Everything from horses to feed and grooming supplies to the stable and riding arena are included in this set, complete with details like doors and windows that really open and a removable roof. Kids will love imagining plenty of adventures on horseback, while parents will love that the durable plastic construction ensures she'll love it for years.
Get ready for a day on a busy horse farm with this set from Playmobil! This giant set includes everything kids need to care for and show their champion horses. Fenced in paddocks provide a place for the horses to graze, while four stalls provide shelter at night. The set includes lots of fun figures and accessories, including two horses and a foal, barn cats and kittens, saddles, grooming tools, and prize ribbons.
Imagine yourself in aeronautics with this enormous LEGO set. With the 1,176 pieces in this set, you can build satellites, space shuttles, airplanes, helicopters, an airport, and more. Parents and educators, as well as young builders, will appreciate the mix of male and female heads and hair so that women can be equally represented in these careers. Inspiration cards are included, but kids will enjoy having to puzzle out how to replicate what they see — and then playing out scenarios with their creations.
Get Creative: Arts, Crafts, and Music Toys
With a bigger investment in an arts and crafts toy, you can get an awesome easel or a real musical instrument! These gift ideas are sure to delight creative kids.
This toy piano from Schoenhut is a great way to introduce basic keyboard skills to young children — and it looks just like the real thing! Instead of strings, the hammers hit metal rods, so you don't have to worry about tuning it regularly. The two and a half octave keyboard provides enough notes to play some real tunes, but still offers a comfortable reach for young musicians.
This terrific child-sized desk from Step2 provides plenty of storage for the budding artist! Molded-in compartments make it easy to keep different art supplies separate, and kids will love the push-button light that ensures they can see easily as they work. A hinged dry-erase writing surface conceals even more storage underneath! Plus, parents will love the durable construction — and the easy-clean surfaces for when art gets a bit messy.
Give her a space to create with this wooden art table from KidKraft! Everything they need to create their next masterpiece is accounted for on this table, from the paper roll stored under the tabletop to the two paint cups with lids. Storage space on both sides keeps all their supplies organized and close to hand, and the drying rack keeps artwork safe until it's ready to display. Budding artists will love having their own mini art space.
Sit down to an inspiring craft space with this fun table from Alex Toys! Two matching benches allow multiple kids to work at once, while the paper roll and child-safe paper cutter let kids easily set up a new piece all on their own. Recessed cup holes and a canvas bag provide plenty of storage for all the craft supplies you'll need.
Learn to play the classical guitar with this beautiful set from Yamaha! Everything you need to start playing immediately comes in one box, including a Yamaha CGS103A guitar, a lovely beginner's instrument with a solid spruce top that's available in full size for adults or 1/2 size younger players; a gig bag; a clip-on tuner; spare strings and a stringwinder; a polishing cloth; and an instructional DVD. You'll be playing beautiful music in no time!
This drum from Jungle Jam is a great introduction to the pan steel drum for kids or adults! Labels for the different notes help new players learn where to strike it to get different pitches. The height-adjustable stand lets you set it for any size player, and the stand is collapsible for easy storage. Budding percussionists might also want to check out the Gammon 5-piece drum kit, which is a real kit sized down for kids aged 3 - 10.
Remember the excitement of watching a Polaroid picture develop in front of your eyes? Kids today can have the same pleasure with the Fujifilm Instax camera! This easy point-and-shoot camera comes in several fun colors and has a simple to understand exposure adjustment, so you can get great shots with minimal practice, then watch the credit card-sized prints appear in moments. Make sure you pick up some extra film too!
Practice your drumming anywhere with this electronic drum pad that has all the features of a professional drum kit! This set from PAXCESS is powered by a rechargeable battery that gives up to 8 hours of play time, and it can be rolled up so it's easily portable. The 9 touch-sensitive pads give you three toms, two hi-hats, a kick, a snare, a ride cymbal, and a crash cymbal; two foot pedals allow you to add bass drum sounds, too. There's a built-in speaker for when you want to jam with your friends, but for quiet practice, you can plug headphones into the port and drum away as loud as you please!
Inspire your budding painter with this massive set of painting tools! This 133-piece set from US Art Supply includes both aluminum and wood easels; acrylic, oil, and watercolor paints; several high-quality brush sets; a sketch pad and painting pads; several professional-quality stretched canvases; and much more. Together, they provide just about everything she'll need to paint and create for hours!
Comgrow's Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D printer is an affordable, high-performance way to get started with 3D printing! This printer comes partly assembled, allowing you to get started fast but still learn about how it goes together and operates. You'll appreciate the upgraded extruder design that prevents clogs, the magnetic hotbed sticker makes it easy to remove complete projects, and the "resume printing" function in case of an unexpected stoppage. With a 220 by 220 by 250mm (8.6" X 8.6" X 9.8") print area, you've got plenty of room to create. Plus, with its fully open-source code, it's easy for you to share ideas with the online community! All you need is some filament and you've got everything you need to get started!
You can mix music on your own or with friends with this unique music game from Hasbro! Place DropMix cards onto the board, and a song starts to play; add more cards to mix songs in unexpected ways. Sixty cards are included, featuring hit artists like Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Disturbed, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Sam Hunt, Sia, The Weeknd, and more. Booster packs of cards are available to add even more songs to your list. Up to four players can participate in three different modes so the music keeps playing all day long!
Get Them Moving: Active Play Toys
It's always worth investing in a toy that will keep kids' bodies busy! These great toys will get them stretching their muscles both indoors and out!
Little kids love to climb — so give them a safe place to do it with this Soft Climb and Crawl Foam Playset from ECR4Kids. This indoor playground includes five foam shapes: a ramp, two blocks, a half-cylinder, and a cylinder. The dense foam structure of each lightweight piece keeps kids safe and cozy as they play, while the soft yet colorful covers are durable, easy to clean, and phthalate free. Plus, the bottoms of each piece have a non-slip surface, so you know they'll stay put as she plays. For more soft stacking fun, check out ECR4Kids' Soft Building Blocks too.
If your child can walk, they can use a balance bike! This alternative to traditional bikes with training wheels teaches kids balance from the beginning; instead of pedaling, kids push off from the ground with their feet. That way, when they're ready to move up to a regular bike, learning to use the pedals is a breeze! This Strider balance bike offers a mini-seat for toddlers and a standard padded seat for preschoolers, plus adjustable handlebars, so kids can get years of use before they need to move up.
Get ready for the races with this versatile car and track set from Radio Flyer! The Radio Flyer 500 set includes a shiny red ride-on car and a six foot long racing track. Pull out the step, climb on the car, and glide down — or ride the car on its own. The racing track doubles as a dual track for toy cars; you can race a friend and see who gets down first! When playtime is done, the base flips upside down and becomes a wheeled storage bin.
Give kids a fun way to wobble, balance, rock, and more with this balance board from Little Dove! This 33" long, gently curved board is made from natural beechwood; it's sturdy enough to hold up to lots of enthusiastic play. It can be a wobble board, a rocker, or a bridge for active play; or, you can use it as a prop tunnel, mountain, or road for imaginative play. Felt on one side adds a little stability while protecting floors. You'll be amazed at all the creative ways she'll use it!
Enjoy some rocking and rolling fun — or some climbing adventures — with this combination teeter totter and climbing bridge from Simplay3! As a teeter totter, up to four riders can play with seat levels that accommodate both toddlers and young kids. Side rail grips give kids a sense of security and stability. Then, flip it over for a 5-step bridge with textured stairs! Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, this flexible toy is sure to be a hit.
She can practice gymnastics any time with this beam from Springee that folds up for easy storage! The extra-firm feel and 4" width ensure it feels like a real beam, while the low height means she doesn't have to worry if she misses a skill. When practice time is done, fold it up for easy storage. It's even available in a variety of colors to please every budding gymnast. For a low traditional practice beam, check out the Addie Practice Beam for ages 3 and up.
Your budding gymnast can practice skills like kips and back hip circles with this kip bar from Tumbl Trak! The new and improved design of Tumbl Trak's Jr. Kip Bar features a 1-1/2" diameter solid maple bar and two additional cross supports, offering much more stability than other models. The bar adjusts in height and the base is high enough to put a 4" mat underneath for safety. This kip bar is available in a choice of three colors.
This kid-powered seated scooter is fun and fast! Originally designed by a retired Boeing engineer in the 1970s, this scooter moves by twisting the handlebars from side to side. In no time, you'll be zipping along any flat surface. Because the seat is so low to the ground, kids find it easy to turn and stop without worrying about taking a spill. A few minutes will show you why this toy has been popular for so many years.
For years of climbing fun in your own backyard, check out this 10 foot radius dome climber. With sturdy powder-coated steel to prevent rusting and peeling and real rock climbing hand grips, this is a piece of play equipment that will stand the test of time! The top of the dome is 5 feet off the ground, and the spacing of the bars provides plenty of challenge for kids and tweens. And with a 600 pound total weight capacity, you won't have to worry if everyone wants to climb it at once.
This round outdoor swing from Swinging Monkey is a new take on the traditional tire swing. Spider web netting with a hole in the center allows kids to dangle their feet in the middle so they can pump their legs as they swing alone, or swing face to face with a friend! The swing itself can be hung from one point so it can spin and twist, or from two points like a traditional swing. Either way, she'll be flying through the air in no time! For a small round swing, check out Little Tikes' disc swing for ages 3 to 10.
Give the classic swing a new twist with the Swurfer! This American-made maple swing lets you "surf" through the air, just like a surfer on waves. Adjustable handles allow people of any height to ride, and the high-strength rope is UV and mildew resistant for use outdoors. It's a great way to build core muscle strength, and many surfers, snow boards, and wakeboarders use it as a practice tool; but it's also just plain fun.
You can train like a ninja with this kit from Slackline! With a 30 foot slackline and seven hanging obstacles, including Monkey Fists, Monkey Bars, and gymnastics rings, you can create your own line of obstacles that kids have to grab, swing, and overcome. As skills improve, move the elements further apart to provide a serious challenge! With a maximum weight limit of 250 pounds, even the adults might give it a try. If you prefer the traditional slackline, check out this portable slackline kit for ages 5 and up.
Big Gifts For Little Kids: Baby And Toddler Toys
One big gift can be extra practical when you're buying for younger kids! These baby and toddler toys provide big fun for little kids.
There's so much to explore with this colorful activity cube from Hape! The five sides of this Country Critters play cube include a shape sorter, a rotating maze, a ball roller coaster, a tracking panel, and a brightly-colored, unique floating wire maze. The included pieces are all painted in vibrant colors with large, animated eyes, which are sure to inspire plenty of imaginative fun and help develop fine motor skills.
Get your little one toddling with this classic walker wagon from Radio Flyer! It's stable enough to support new walkers, and the front bumper helps protect furniture once your toddler starts roaring around. Most toddlers love fill and spill play, and the large capacity of this walker wagon will let them move their favorite toys wherever they want to go. Plus, parents will love the nostalgic solid wood and bright red paint job.
This wooden activity center is packed full of fascinating things to explore! Four different quadrants provide different activities, including tracks with animal-themed gliders, colorful bead runs, a spring flower, and more. The base provides just the right height for stand-up play, and the unique design looks great in a nursery or playroom.