For most kids, the holidays are a time to get a bunch of fun goodies. But, honestly, how many plastic princesses and toy cars does one child really need? When you’re looking for a gift that will really pop, go for educational toys. No, this doesn’t mean you have to wrap up a bunch of books—instead, look for a fun, fresh way kids can learn about the earth, the stars, or other passions.
Give the kid who loves digging around outside and pocketing rocks something to help broaden their exploration. A geology set includes items to help them investigate rocks, including special hammers and picks, a magnifier, a detailed identification guide, and sifting trays. If the boy or girl enjoys getting even messier, let them make and understand goop with a kit like a scientific slime factory. Not only does a gift like this help kids make classic green slime using the science behind the sludge, but it allows them to create and bottle their personal gooey recipes. Who knows? You may even receive a bottle on your next birthday as a thank you!
How about a replica of your household kitchen to get their imaginations going? There are so many different play sets, so try to find one that comes decked out with a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher—all the things your tot needs to learn about how a real kitchen comes together. Add some toy food to the mix, and maybe lunch will be on your kids. (It may be the wooden kind, but it’s the thought that counts.) Not only is this a great way to play, but educational toys like these teach children about cooking, food, and organization.
Some wouldn’t call a telescope a toy per se, but to a child (and even some adults), it’s exactly that. This awesome tool becomes a plaything to see the stars, space, and whatever else might pop up through that great glass eye. Of course, eventually, it’s time to put away the games, but that doesn’t mean the stars have to go to bed, too. With an indoor star machine, watch the celestials play across the ceiling and see if your young astronomer can match the constellations to the ones on the other side of the telescope before sleep takes over.