The Ultimate Toy Gift Guide
What this is NOT: a guide to the hottest toys of the year. What this is? 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.
TOP 15 GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID
ART SUPPLY GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID
BUILDING TOY GIFTS THAT GROW WITH YOUR KID
GAMES! 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-school (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
Our kids like to go, go, go. When we gather outside with friends and tell the kids to bring their “wheels,” the wheels below are the ones 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
Playdate Toys Great For Gifting
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
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 the best toys for these age categories, so don’t forget to check out multiple age groups if you’re looking for a great gift.
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)
Gifts For Pre-Schoolers (Age 3-4)
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)
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!