The Ultimate Toy Gift Guide

What this is NOT: a guide to the hottest toys of the year. What this is, however? A compilation of really really WILDLY good toys. A list of our personal favorite toys designed to stand the test of time. The toys we were excited to play with as moms when our kids were these ages, the toys that our kids played with over and over and over again, the toys we are buying now for our tweens and teens, and the toys WE ourselves buy as gifts for all of the other kids in our lives that we love.

The Best Toys For Kids: Table of Contents

Our top toy gifts are divided by category and age (you can click on the tabs below to navigate) but there is a TON of overlap with our recommendations, so please take time to scroll — SO many toys that are wonderful for multiple age groups and interests!

Shop By Category

Shop By Age

THE BEST OF THE BEST (TOYS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KIDS)

We have SERIOUSLY strong opinions when it comes to toys for kids. In general, we look for open-ended toys, the kind that foster creativity, help develop critical thinking skills, and/or just get some of that energy out.  We love STEM and STEAM gifts, but aren’t going to swoon over gimmicky robots. Instead, we look to high-quality art supplies, building toys of all kinds, and seriously good board games.  

THE 15 BEST TOYS EVERY FAMILY SHOULD HAVE

You’ll find the best of the best below…the toys that got the MOST playtime in our households, the toys we are saving for our grandchildren, the toys that truly grow with your kids.

TOP 15 GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID

THE BEST ART SUPPLIES FOR FAMILY CREATIVE PLAY

We are HUGE believers in high-quality art supplies (not wasted on kids — to the contrary, we think). So much good art play to be had with these (for you and them), and one of the best gifts for all ages.

ART SUPPLY GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID

THE BEST FAMILY BUILDING TOYS

Building toys that live in our family rooms and purses. Hours upon hours upon hours of fun family play.

BUILDING TOY GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID

THE BEST GAMES TO PLAY AS A FAMILY

One of our absolute favorite family activities! We play board games on vacations, on holidays, on weekends, after dinner, and really…any time we can fit them in. Our kids learned how to play chess in pre-schools (it’s never too early to start), and there are tons of creative ways you can include little ones in most of these games even if they can’t play by all the rules.

FAMILY GAME GIFTS THAT WE ALL ENJOY

The Best Wheels For Kids Of Every Age

Our kids like to go, go, go. When we gather outside with friends and tell the kids to bring their “wheels,” below are the wheels that show up. For bikes especially, we suggest going to your local stores to get fitted, and if you have a local skateboard shop, it’s fun to customize your own.

Wheel Gifts For All The Ages

The Best Toys For Hosting Playdates

We like to let the kids “do their thing” during playdates and not intervene with planned activities too much, but sometimes having a few toys out as invitation to play ideas is not a bad idea. Below are our favorites.

Playdate Toys Great For Gifting

The Best Toys For Pretend Play

High quality costumes and gorgeous kitchen sets are two of our favorites in this category, but don’t forget the possibilities with a set of wooden blocks and a tube of “guys”.  Whether it be dragons or fairies or sea creatures or farm animals…little figures and blocks can go a long, long way.

Pretend Play Gifts

THE BEST TECH FOR KIDS

Although we love to guide our kids’ away from screens, tech and screen time absolutely have their place in our kids’ play as well. We are especially drawn to all music-making and music-listening technology. We’ve struggled to find tech building sets that keep our kids’ interests, but we will keep experimenting.

TECH TOYS GREAT FOR GIFTING

THE BEST OF THE BEST, TOYS TO GIFT BY AGE

TONS of overlap in these age categories, so don’t forget to check out multiple age groups if you’re looking for a great gift.

BEST TOYS FOR BABIES

Our favorite baby toys (from experience ) that we personally own and/or gift to the newest babies in our lives. Tiny treasures for our favorite tiny little hands.

GIFTS FOR BABIES (UNDER 1 YEAR)

Best Toys For Toddlers 

Our favorite toys for our favorite little toddlers who are On.The.Move. Pushing and pulling and building and creating…the play never stops. 

Gifts For Toddlers (Age 1-2)

Best Toys For Pre-Schoolers

Our pre-schoolers were ALL about pretend play, and these were our favorites for helping them create all their little worlds.

Gifts For Pre-Schoolers (Age 3-4)

Best Toys For Little Kids

Obstacle courses, puzzles, wheels and a bit of tech…these are the toys our littles played with on the regular.

Gifts For Little Kids (Age 5-7)

Best Toys For Big Kids

Big kids STILL play! They sometimes just need a little inspiration. These fun and creative toys should do the trick (in addition, of course to a few techy items too).  

Gifts For Big Kids (Age 8-10)

Best Toys For Tweens & Teens

Our tweens and teens are listening to their fair share of moody music while hiding in their rooms, but we still like gift ideas that support (or inspire) bouts of creativity, independence or play. And while the MagnaTiles and wooden blocks, have moved to the side…they do still come out every once in a while.

Gifts For Tweens & Teens (Age 11+)

Phew! And that’s it, folks! So much fun to remember so many of the wonderful toys our families have enjoyed over the years. Happy playing everyone! 

Thank you!