2017 Essential Play GIFT GUIDE: Toys that make the box go unnoticed!

This post contains affiliate links, for more information see my disclosure policy.


On a scale of 1- 10 how irritated do you get when you give a gift and the child seems more interested in playing with the box than the toy?

For me it used to be a 7 until I came up with a list of my favorite no fail gifts!

Here are my curated picks for toys that are seriously cooler than the box they came in!

GIFT GUIDE Selection Criteria:

  1. Multi-age/gender,

  2. The child is encouraged to exert energy (creative or otherwise)

    • ex: design, build, sort, stack, etc.

  3. The best gifts are for open ended play, however, some on this list some were too cool not to include.

Sagomi Bath Toys

No gunk bath toys. These bath squirters have a top you can open and drain out the excess water! 


ABC Wooden Blocks– these are an elegant take on a classic every child should have.  I love the simple black font!


Picasso Tiles– Magnetic colored tiles to literally create anything your child can imagine! My son will literally play with these by himself for 40+ minutes.  If you have more than one child I would buy a larger set. My son had a 100 piece and a 60 piece set and he nearly uses all of them to build his creations. Below is photo of a hotel he built.

Take apart dinosaur – Build and rebuild your own dinosaurs.  This comes with the tools your kid needs to build his/her own dinosaurs.   My son is best at taking these apart so I set up an take-apart play infivation at his work table.  Be sure to have tupperware containers with a secure lid to keep track of the screws and bolts.

Marble Run– Kids design and build their own marble run. They learn SO much from this game and it’s FUN!  The larger set is best with a multi-child household. I use this as a Choice station in class. Kids learn to share, design, build, and science concepts like gravity, motion, fine motor skills, etc.

Wooden Robot Stackers– build and rebuild your own custom robot! These are super cool natural toys from a small business mama in New York.  I LOVE her stuff!   http://www.littlemissworkbench.com/shop/wooden-robot-stacker

Magic Beads–  These are great for sensry play, they are inexpensive and make a great #stocking stuffer gift.

HandBells set for children  I saw these on Instagram. These are going in our music basket FOR SURE!

Toddler musical instrument set –  If you’re not quiet ready for handbells try this music set. We built our own, piece by piece but I would have saved time and money if I knew this was around.

Walking Hedgehog wooden toy–  https://www.andnest.com/collections/toys-games/wooden-toys  Just like it sounds. A beautifully handcrafted wooden toy hedgehog that walks! SO cool.

Food cutting– I have not encountered one kid who doesn’t love cutting play food! (Even older siblings jump in on this one!) It’s great fine motor practice, hand eye coordination & it’s food you won’t get in trouble for playing with!

Also cool for the right kid-

Necklace craft kitThis one is more for girls but my son has 2 older girl cousins who he adores and he will sustain this activity for way longer than expected. He loves the colors, that they connect AND you can wear it when you’re done. 

Melissa & dough weaving loom -Super cool gift for the crafty kid. 

Kids Karoke Machine   Our family cannot resist a good sing-a-long!

Have some favorites you’d like to share that didn’t make the list? Please let me know!

Christmas Gifts 2018




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.