Finding the right gifts for kids can be so hard. As a mom, I want toys that will help my kids learn and grow, not just cheap pieces of plastic. While I am all about the thought of the gift and being grateful for all the things people give my kids, I will admit that sometimes I groan on the inside when my kids get gifts that I know are going to be forgotten about in a week or two. Or worse yet, broken. So, if you’re wondering what to get those kids on your gift lists, here are some gift ideas for kids that they will love, and so will mom and dad.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #1: LEGO BRICKS
Lego Bricks. While there’s definitely an appeal to the cool sets (we own so many Star Wars sets, I’ve lost count), I like the basic standard bricks too. We started our collection with the LEGO classic medium box and it served us well for many years. We still play with this set of classic blocks often. It’s perfect for building houses, vehicles, and more!
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #2: GIZMO GEARS
Gizmo Gears. We got this set back in 2012. They have been through all of my kids and are still holding up. There have been a few casualties, but the majority are still in great shape. My 8-year-old doesn’t play with these as much any more, but he’ll still sit down with his brothers and build for a while. My 5-year-old enjoys pulling them out and my 3-year-old is obsessed. They snap together relatively easily, but little hands might need some help.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #3: SNAP CIRCUITS
Snap Circuits. These are great for a little bit older kids. My 8-year-old LOVES them and making different contraptions, including a radio. My 5-year-old doesn’t quite understand the science behind it. While he likes to snap the pieces together, he gets frustrated when nothing happens because the pieces aren’t put together correctly. This is perfect for teaching the basic laws of conductivity and electric currents.We bought the larger set because I knew my science-loving boy would grow with this set. They do have a smaller Snap Circuit set, if you want to try them out first before you shell out for the big one. However, the big one is TOTALLY worth it!
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #4: TOY CARS
Toy Cars. My kids have all loved to play with cars. For hours. Sometimes they like to play with a car mat, but you can almost always find a few cars in our diaper bag… and there might even be one or two in my purse. The chunky cars with big wheels are perfect for little hands and we have more die-cast cars than I can count. These Blaze and the Monster Machine cars are a big hit with my boys, especially the younger ones. And I really love the variety of vehicles available in die-cast cars. This Matchbox set has lots of cool options to play with.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #5: WOODEN TRAIN SET
Wooden Train Sets. We have been building our wooden train set collection since my 8-year-old was born. We scored some at garage sales, were gifted some, have found great deals and our collection has just kept on growing. It’s one of the first toys that come out when we have play dates and everyone loves to play. This is one I like to play with my kids. We work together to build amazing tracks.This set of tracks is a great starter kit and these train cars are fun, brightly colored and will fit with any future wooden train toys you decide to acquire. This is a toy that all my kids like to play with, despite their age differences and has grown with my kids.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #6: MAGNETIC TILES OR BLOCKS
Magnetic Tiles or Blocks. We got a set of the real-deal Magformers a couple years ago for Christmas and my boys LOVED them. I got a few more to supplement their stash this past summer when I knew they would all be playing with them at the same time, but this time I tried a knock-off brand of magnet tiles and they fit in well with our brand-name tiles. There is a slight size difference, but all the tiles still line up and stick together. We will be adding more tiles to our collection yet again this Christmas and Santas is going to throw in these cool train car bases as a little bonus. All of my kids still play with these usually 2-3 times a week, even though they’ve been around a few years. Those are the toys I find worth having!
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #7: BOARD AND CARD GAMES
Board and Card games. We love a good game night, but it can be hard to find games the whole family enjoys playing together. My mom gifted my oldest with Grabolo this past year and we just love it. All of us really legitimately enjoy playing this game together. It’s fast action, it’s all about observation, reaction time and memory. But, the rules and game play are simple enough for my littlest kids (3 and 5 years), even though the box says 6+ years.
We also really like Suspend – there’s also a Junior edition that has plastic sticks instead of metal ones. I like the durability of the metal ones, but I’ll admit the sticks have tried to become swords in our home. Both games are a blast and I recommend them both. Rack-O is another family favorite that we have recently been playing with our boys. The two little boys (ages 3.5 and 5.5) play on a team with mom or dad and our 8-year-old can play on his own, with minimal help. This has been perfect for helping my kindergartner practice his numbers to 100.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #8: ACTIVITY TUNNEL
Activity Tunnel. I got one of these for my kids a few years ago and they still play with it. It’s is great shape, considering how my boys play with it. It wasn’t super expensive so I didn’t have to worry about it getting ruined. It’s been used as a hiding spot in Hide-&-Seek, as a tunnel to play with cars in, as part of countless obstacle courses and even as “secret play place” – that was the easiest “fort” I have ever set up! We have one very similar to this Doug & Melissa caterpillar version – the exact one we have isn’t on Amazon anymore and is an off-brand. All of our other Doug & Melissa toys have held up well and this tunnel reviews great. These activity tunnels provide a contained outlet for some of the crazy energy they always have, can be played with indoors and folds up super compact for storage.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #9: SMALL SLIDE
Small Slide. A small slide offers the same pro of helping the kids constructively use all that pent-up energy when it’s too cold to play outside. Ours is used mostly indoors and comes out to play when my kids are good helpers and clean up our family room or when they are jumping off my furniture and clearly need a better outlet for their energy. Even though my oldest has outgrownn this slide, he still enjoys playing with it. And, it makes a really cool ramp for cars… and stuffed animals too. This little slide is great for younger toddlers (1-3 years).
There is a big kid version if you are hoping for something a little taller for your kiddo to grow into. This one fits older toddlers and preschoolers well. I really like the size and compactness of the little one, but my kids love playing on their cousins’ larger slide too, when we visit. And I like that our small one is less distance to the ground if (and by if, I mean when) my kids fall.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #10: DRESS-UP CLOTHES
Dress-Up Clothes. Dress up clothes are definitely NOT just for girls. We have a huge bin full of dress up and it’s one of my boys go-to activities. It often gets pulled out when their friends come over too. Dress up offers so much room for imaginative play! I love that. Most of our dress up collection from old Halloween costumes; but, a couple years ago, our kids received Star Wars costumes (Jedi, Darth Vader and Yoda). We made them lightsabers out of pool noodles. Those were the coolest gifts they’d ever been given. And – bonus – we just raided the dress up box for Halloween the next year and we did a family Star Wars theme. It was super fun (and totally affordable, since we had half the costumes already)!
These superhero capes are awesome for every kid who wants to run like The Flash or shoot webs like Spider-Man! If your kiddos are into more realistic pretend play, this doctor costume and accessories set look like a ton of fun and are perfect for exploring caregiving. Or maybe you just have a kiddo who loves Doc McStuffins and wants to run their very own little stuffed animal hospital. And, sometimes you don’t need the whole costume. I really like this set of hats that will get the creative juices flowing. I can only imagine what my kids would come up with between the crown and the cowboy hat.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #11: WOODEN BLOCKS
Wooden Blocks. If you only get your children one kind of blocks, get a set like this! Seriously. These blocks are so versatile. My kids love to build towers with them, of course. But, they also use them with their toy cars, their dinosaur and super hero figurines, and they make race tracks for their hex bugs (another super fun toy). They test their building skills with competitions on who can make the tallest towers, who can build the tower with the most blocks and anything else they can come up with. All of my kids still play with these (and so does my husband…); it’s definitely a must-have toy in my opinion.
The biggest con is the storage space; but, if you take the time to put them away neatly, it really isn’t too bad. We keep our set in a treasure chest box my mom found at a thrift store. Having a specific container to put them all in definitely makes a big difference and this set comes with a great wooden box just for that purpose.
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #12: KEVA BLOCKS
Keva Blocks. We first discovered these fun, seemingly too simple toys at our local children’s museum. How much fun can you have with a bunch of wood planks that are all the same size and shape? Well, we easily spent an hour playing with just these blocks the first time. We’ve since been back to our museum and have played with only these – for the whole entire visit. So, turns out, you can have a TON of fun with them. I love that they allow for open-ended play and cater to a variety of skill levels. My husband was building structures several feet tall while out 8-year-old was trying his hand at building bridges he’d learned about at school. My 5-year-old spent time exploring basic balance and weight principles. And my 3-year-old and I built small towers that he thoroughly enjoyed knocking down.
The box says ages 7+ and I would say that is an accurate suggestion for solo play, but our whole family enjoys playing with these. This beginner kit isn’t huge (it only has 20 planks and 30 instruction cards in it), but this is a case of less is more. The idea is to figure out how 2-dimensional images become 3-dimensional when you build them. It’s a great STEM activity and, of course, you can use them in free play too. If you want to expand your collection, you can get this expansion pack and increase your fun and Keva planks by 10 times! You’ll build some pretty great things with 220 planks. Or check out this cool contraption set with 50 more planks and 6 ideas for some fun Rube-Goldberg type contraptions (my kids are super into dominoes right now and they would LOVE the contraption set).
GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT MOM AND DAD WON’T HATE #13: A SUBSCRIPTION BOX
Subscription Boxes. These are all the rage right now and why wouldn’t they be?! Everyone likes to get mail, especially kids. And there are some really cool subscription boxes for kids! While these may not technically be toys, I couldn’t leave them off this list of Gifts for Kids that Mom & Dad Won’t Hate because these are awesome gifts! My favorite subscription boxes for kids are the KiwiCo Boxes because they have an awesome variety and you’re sure to find a box your kids will love. But, there’s a lot of options out there, so do a little research and check them all out. If you decide to check out KiwiCo, make sure you scroll down under the image and hit that 60% off link to get the best deal!
KIWICO HAS SUBSCRIPTION BOX GIFTS FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES!
The Cricket Crate is designed for kids 0-2. In each box you’ll receive a toy (think soft toys, wooden blocks, bright colored toys and chewables). You’ll also get a board book, which I love. I want all the books. There’s a magazine on child development for mom and dad and access to more online resources. There is a “Newborn Crate” specially designed for babies 0-3 months.
The Koala Crate is designed for ages 3-4. Each of these boxes focuses on one topic – like transportation or reptiles. It contains “creative materials” (mostly art supplies for your child to explore). There’s a guide for parents with activity ideas that support inquiry-based learning. A magazine with information on the topic of the box will expound on the things your child is learning. This magazine makes learning about the topic easy and fun. And all the information is right there, done for you. You’ll also be able to access more online resources and ideas.
The Kiwi Crate was the original boxes this company started with and they were amazing back then. Kiwi Crates are designed for 5-8 year olds. Each Kiwi Crate contains an age-appropriate project. Sometimes it focuses on art. Sometimes it’s more STEM. They’ll get creative learning materials and kid-friendly instructions to encourage their imaginations and tinkering. The Explore magazine with games, experiments and comics will further increase your child’s understanding of the project they did. And, of course, access to more online ideas and resources is also included.
DON’T FORGET THE OLDER KIDS!
The Doodle Crate is for kids 9-16+ and focuses on creative DIY projects. These aren’t just some lame projects, though. It’s things like making color-blocked candles or a wooden clock. If your kiddo is all about visual and creative arts, this is perfect for them. Each box includes everything your child needs to complete these projects, including all materials. There are also step-by-step instructions so they can do the projects and a guide with inspiration and ideas. If the written instructions and inspiration guide aren’t quite enough, they’ll be able to access online videos of the project.
The Tinker Crate is for kids 9-16+ and focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) projects – projects like building a trebuchet or hydraulic claw or using fiber optics to explore constellations. Each box includes all the materials needed to complete each STEM project and a detailed blueprint with step-by-step instructions. They’ll also get the Tinker Zine that has additional experiments and other activities. And there’s the access to online guides, in case the written instructions aren’t enough.
If you order anytime from now until November 28th, 2017 you can enjoy 60% off your first box. That’s double their usual first month promotion! Try out KiwiCo for less than $15, . Cancel your subscription any time.