Do you want to give an educational gift this year, giving something more than just amusement? Kids can learn loads when they are having fun, which makes educational gifts a double whammy, powerhouse, gift-giving option.
Give them the gift of fine motor skills, colors and shapes, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, creativity, imagination, an inquisitive mind, and a break from screen time. Puzzles, science kits, games, learning toys, books, and building toys can do all that and more.
Ok. You’ve decided to give an educational gift, but now you need some ideas? No problem. We polled our readers and asked about their favorite gifts that encouraged learning something new. Then, we added a few of our own ideas. The result? This list of top-notch educational gift ideas.
This list contains Amazon affiliate links.
Educational Gift Ideas
When it comes to gift-giving, you’re going to see your kids receive a ton of toys. Some of the best gifts, though, are educational. These gifts and toys engage your child for longer periods of time, encourage imaginative play and critical thinking, and may even inspire a lifelong passion. My favorite educational gifts for kids are ones that store easily, encourage independent play, and can be enjoyed for a long period of time (bonus points: they don’t require batteries, haha).
We polled our readers and asked for their favorite educational gifts for kids, and have rounded up their answers for you below.
I’ve seen these everywhere, and to be honest, the most I see them, the more interested I am in getting one for our daughter. These are essentially audio players for kids 3+ that play stories, music, and other educational things. The biggest draw to them is that they are screen-free and easy for little ones to play with. You buy the starter kit, and then you can buy as many extra “Tonies” as you’d like. Each Tonie character plays different things. Kidding Around readers highly recommended this.
I had never heard of this before a couple of our readers recommended it. But after learning more about it, I’m now wanting to tell all my mama friends about it. You buy a starter kit that includes the Osmo Base that attaches to an iPad or Fire Tablet. There are various puzzle pieces, drawing pads, and games you can buy to accompany each kit. And everything is educational and fun for kids.
Hot Dots is another great interactive and educational toy for kids. Kids simply take the “pen” and tap the dots throughout the books to help learn to read and get ready for school. Hot Dots come with different subjects, themes, and ages.
Time to work those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination! Magna Tiles are an ever-popular toy for kids. The translucent tiles are magnetic, allowing you to build 2D or 3D shapes. They come in a variety of shapes and spark hours of imaginative play for children. I’ve also known a dad or two to play with these to see how big a structure they can build.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Picasso Tiles are also very popular.
A Kiwi Box Subscription is an educational gift that keeps giving. Each month, your child receives a box in the mail with a new project appropriate to their age and interest. When you fill out the subscription form online, you’ll answer a few questions so the perfect box is delivered each time. There are subscription boxes for ages 0-12+
Coding Robot like the Elenco Teach Tech
One of our readers highly recommends a coding robot like the Elenco Teach Tech. These toys help teach kids how to program, code, problem-solve, and use critical thinking skills. This particular robot is recommended for ages 3+.
When one of our readers recommended Learning Wrap-Ups, I was immediately swept back to my childhood. I would consider these a classic toy and definitely an educational one. You simply wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right and self-check yourself on the back. Learning Wrap-Ups come with different topics, including math, pre-algebra, science, and vocabulary.
More Educational Gift Ideas We Love
Magazine Subscriptions: The gift that keeps on giving
Once a month or every other month, another installment of your educational gift arrives bringing fun and learning long after the holiday decor has been boxed up and put away.
Work out your strategy and think ahead to win these games. Really get that brain working, growing, and thinking hard, and of course, have fun, too! Our readers suggest these strategic board games:
More Educational Games
Love board games? See our HUGE list of family favorite board games for all ages. Here are a couple of our favorite educational games from that list.
Zingo is one of ThinkFun’s most popular and bestselling games, and is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award, among others. It’s a fun pre-reading game for ages 4 and up. There are versions for learning sight words, numbers, and using letters to make words. Like all of ThinkFun’s games, Zingo is built to develop critical thinking skills. Playing will improve language skills through fun and fast-paced play.
We played this with kids ages 8, 9, and 11 years old and they all loved it. I tried it also as an adult and it’s fantastic because it’s one of those games where you have to focus on the puzzle and nothing else. Gravity Maze is especially great for kids who like to play by themselves, for kids who love problem-solving, and for kids who are probably future engineers.
Gifts that Teach Science
If you have a science-loving kid, we have some tried and true classic ideas to share from personal experience! These teach things about real world, the natural world, physics, and lots more!
- Marble runs: Try this simple wooden set called Blocks and Marbles for older elementary children. It’s a long-time favorite.
- Magnifying glass, or pocket microscope
- Backyard explorer set
- Chemistry sets with test tubes and stoppers
- Rock and fossil sets
- Science kits and experiment kits
More Gifts With Educational Value
- Construction sets
- Building toys
- Play Kits from Lovevery
- Letter sets
- Stationery sets
- Shape blocks
Educational Experience Gifts
Children’s Museum Membership
A membership to The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is a WONDERFUL gift idea! I’m a big supporter of gifting experiential gifts to loved ones, and an even bigger supporter if it’s providing educational value. And TCMU is one of the best local places that offers constant and steadfast education and fun to kids of all ages in the Upstate.
If you’re looking for experiential gifts you can give to loved ones this year, be sure to read our list of experience gifts.
Don’t live in Upstate, SC? Educational experience gifts are everywhere. Look for local options this these for educational experiences you can give as a gift near you.
- Local museums
- Nature Parks
- Science centers
- Sports venues