Toniebox Starter Set
$99.99 • TonieBox • Get Yours Now

Kids love stories. Stories are what fire up their imagination and get them started on reading. Now parents have an ally that doesn’t have to rely on screens to get their kids’ imagination moving. TonieBox looks like a soft, unassuming plush box, but it is so much more. This wirelessly rechargeable speaker is the durable base to a universe of stories. It’s durable, plushy, and simple to operate for kids. You just squeeze the ears to control volume and tilt it over to fast forward or rewind, but where are the stories? They are in the Tonies, a series of adorably crafted figures that attach to the box via magnets. It takes a lot to knock them off, and if you do, the story picks right back up where you left off as soon as you put it back on. The starter set comes with tonies featuring audio books of Disney’s The Lion King, Pixar’s Cars, The Gruffalo, and a creative Tonie that you can use to record your own stories and messages. We loved how easy the Toniebox is for kids to pick up and use themselves. We loved how safe it feels and how well it’s made, and we love the amazing variety of additional Tonies you can add to your child’s collection. It’s like building a library and a toy collection all at the same time!  What’s not to love???

$19.99+ • Magformers • Get Yours Now

LEGOs are awesome toys, but they aren’t the only kind of construction experience out there for little kids. Sometimes, you need to switch things up and bring in the magnets. Magformers has several wonderful sets of magnetic shapes that not only teach your child about the power of magnets, but also lets them create all manner of structures. It’s not just fun, it’s a low-key way to start teaching kids about engineering and physics. Also, with their variety of sets, these are good as anything from a stocking stuffer to a huge gift. 

Disney Baby Mickey Mouse Stacker
$14.99+ • Green Toys • Get Yours Now

Every baby needs a stacking toy. It’s pretty much a ubiquitous part of the baby toy experience, but if they are going to have one, why can’t it be Mickey Mouse? Even better, why can’t it be Mickey Mouse and good for both the kid and the environment?  We put so much plastic in our kids’ hands. The nice thing about Green Toys’ Disney Baby Mickey Mouse Stacker is that it isn’t just free from BPA, PVC, and Phthalates, it is also made completely from recycled plastic. So, instead of just creating new waste that could end up in a landfill, you’re preventing some from ever going there. As a bonus, your kid will have fun learning how to stack stuff!

Smarty Flutter
$24.99 • Smarty • Get Yours Now

We’re grown-ups and we still have trouble telling our left from our right. If you have a kid between 3-5 on your gift list, this could make sure they end up in a better position than us. Smarty Flutter is an education roleplay toy. We love that it makes you get up off of your butt and move around. As you carry it around the house or yard, it tells you which direction to go and gives you little reminders with built-in lights in case you aren’t quite sure which way to go. Along with that, this butterfly also helps kids with emotions and shapes. It’s a fun toy that can really help your child grow. Excellent as an early stem toy. 

Hamama MicroGreens Starter Kit
$79.00 • Hamama • Get Yours Now

Do you know someone who loves getting their greens, or someone who talks about wanting to grow their own food, but worries they slept in on the day they were handing out green thumbs? Hamama’s Microgreens Starter Kit is an excellent gift for them. We don’t use the term idiot-proof a lot, but it is actually hard to screw this up. You literally just put the seed pad in the tray, add water, and make sure it gets enough light. In around ten days, we had a full tray of delicious microgreens that we could just right off the growing pad. When you’re done, the pad is compostable so there’s no waste. This is not only a lot of fun as a kitchen gift for anyone who’s looking for an easy way to add something fresh to their meals, but we love the idea of setting this up with your kids as a STEM project (no pun intended). There are not a lot of plants that you can grow this quickly on the kitchen counter, let alone ones that taste this great!

My Fairy Garden – Fairy Light Garden with Musical Sound
$34.99 • My Fairy Garden • Get Yours Now

A big part of STEAM is fostering the imagination and creativity of children. It’s through creative play that children learn to think outside the box and solve problems creatively. What we loved about the fairy light garden is that it not only gives kids the chance to play creatively with an adorable set that features both lights and sounds, but it also gives them a chance to grow a real garden, learn the responsibility of having to water their plants, and reap the rewards of seeing things that they planted in the dirt, turn into living things. While this set is an awesome gift any time of the year, it is especially great during the holiday season. The snow may be falling outside, but you can create a living garden right in your home, and you can make it a home for the included toy fairy and horse, or your other toys and figures. 

Pura Loom 3-in-1 Deluxe Bracelet Maker
$32.72 • Activity Kings • Get Yours Now

Crafting is good for the heart and great for the mind. Teaching children how to create things for themselves sets them up for better, more independent thought, and more self-reliance. And, if they happen to make some cool looking bracelets in the process, how is that a bad thing?  The Pura Loom 3-In-1 Deluxe Bracelet Maker is easy to use, teaches your kid how to knot, weave, or twist their way to a new bracelet, and it includes enough materials so that they can make twenty great new bracelets with just what comes in the box. If you’re looking for a great indoor activity that will help teach creativity to your kid this holiday season, the Pura Loom could be just what you need. 

Mega Cyborg Hand STEM Experiment Kit
$59.99 • Thames & Kosmos • Get Yours Now

Between mobile phones and wearable tech, we are already slowly turning into cyborgs. So, why not teach kids the basics of cybernetics in a fun and interesting way so they can get interested in building the cyborgs that are destined to be fighting our wars and cooking our meals in the not too distant future. Thames and Kosmos never fail to put together awesome STEM sets that not only teach but also entertain. What we love about this cyborg handset is that it doesn’t even require batteries. It is completely manual. It teaches kids how to build their own cyborg hand through hydraulics and pneumatic systems. This is the kind of set we would have killed for when we were a kid. As a bonus, it isn’t even limited to just one hand style. You can configure and wear this hand for lefties or righties. You can even split the difference and reconfigure the entire hand to be a working claw. This set is designated as a 7-10 age range, but we think a smart 6-year-old would probably still love this and any kid up to around 12 will still have a lot of fun with it.