30 Adorable Play-Based Gifts For Kids
Kids bring a whole lot of joy to the holiday season -- and imagination. From baking holiday treats together to getting in the spirit with DIY holiday decorations, everything about the festive season is new and exciting as they wait for the big day to arrive. Kids are also the most discerning giftees on your list. Not to worry. These play-based gifts will inspire creativity and spark their imaginations while being totally adorable and fun too! Here are some of the best holiday gifts for kids this season.
Get your little rocker on imagination stage with this adorable Montessori-inspired gift, handmade by Julia's Wonder Boutique. It's so cute and promotes creative learning and listening -- win, win!
Think beyond the lemonade stand with these cute doorway storefronts. Choose from a camper food truck to a Boba tea house to a farmer's market for your kidpreneur. Swingly helps parents create play spaces that inspire kids to think creatively and grow through entrepreneurial play. ($99)
This sweet kit designed inside an old school lunchbox is so fun for kids! The portable dollhouse opens up to a bedroom on one side and a bathroom on the other with a wooden bed, side table, rocking horse, bathtub, toilet, and bin. Kids can carry it around with a handy strap and keep all 12 magnetic pieces in place for pretend play anywhere, anytime. ($48)
The Woom ultralight balance bike was designed for kids aged 18 months and over -- and designed specifically for kids. Balance bikes are amazing at getting kids to learn to balance without training wheels so they can move straight into pedal-only bikes. Woom takes kids through every stage in style and ease. Choose from an assortment of colors and levels, and they even have a warehouse option for gently used Wooms. ($249+ new)
Here's something you can do together as a family. The Christmas in the Village 500 Piece House Puzzle is packaged in a house-shaped box with a scene designed by artist Louise Cunningham. The puzzle is made from recycled paper, FSC-certified material, and nontoxic inks. ($14)
Kids can travel the world in their own kitchen with America's Test Kitchen recipes and fun facts about everywhere from India to Italy. They can travel to 12 countries for more than 60 recipes, plus cooking tools provided with each box. ($30/month)
Kids can learn about coding and app development in an age-appropriate and culturally representative way with this fun activity kit founded by a Black mom of four who wanted to see more representation in STEAM early development. ($30)
We're swooning over this customized tea set with a completed wooden set, including cake stand, cupcakes, and cake slices to share with friends, family, and dolls! ADORABLE.
Kids can perform their favorite plays with 32 unique fairy-tale shadow puppets and props from classic fairy tales and AESOP fables, like Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and The Hare, and The Lion and The Mouse, or they can make up their own! ($45)
Order up your flavor flavors from your kiddo's ice cream shop, courtesy of Melissa and Doug. ($35)
Expose the kid in your life to new languages like Chinese and Spanish with these fun kits. The magnetic wand reads the words as kids read along with visual cues. ($80)
For the kid who loves anything on wheels *and* pretend play, this adorable wooden van is a gift to parents who are over cheap plastic toys. At just 3 inches long it makes a great stocker stuffer and is perfect for on-the-go adventures. ($14)
We love a good old-timey gift with a modern edge. These simple wooden slingshots are perfect for any kid who loves to get outside and play, no matter what the weather. Each slingshot comes with 20 colorful felt balls for gentle play. ($15)
These at-home projects focused on volunteerism include empathy-building craft activities around saving our oceans, clean water, shelter pets, and more. ($29)
Create a mini nail salon at home. Mani/pedis are one of our favorite things to do with our kids on a snowy day. Pick up these darling 7-free polishes for your next salon-at-home day. The bow is actually a ring they can wear post pampering! Vegan and cruelty-free too. ($55)
Help little bakers create delicious dishes without any clothing disasters. This rainbow unicorn apron is made in a sturdy and sustainably sourced cotton twill with cute embroidered details. Adjustable Velcro at the neck makes it easy for little hands to get just the right fit too. Available in T-Rextoo for dino lovers. ($20)
Combine your apron gift with these edible stickers for holiday baking. Kids can decorate easily and then treat themselves to the vanilla-flavored melt-in-your-mouth sugar "papers" as reward for a baking job well done. Bonus: They're food allergy-friendly and kosher certified. Pop them in a stocking, a holiday card, or as part of a baking kit as a bonus gift! ($15)
For the budding artist, this beautiful case of 36 already-sharpened colored pencils is a great gift for kids who love to color and create. The mix of classic colors and fresh hues makes all the kid drawings frame-worthy. Adults will love them too! ($20)
This cart can be anything your kid's imagination desires: a lemonade stand, a birthday cart, an advice stand a la Charlie Brown? It comes with open drawers in the back and a black board to name their business. ($100)
This interactive book written by our pal Jess Ekstrom is perfect for creative tweens and teens who want to be inspired to make a difference in the world. ($17)
Get the whole family a gift with this cooperative whodunit game for ages 5 and up. A wily fox has stolen Mrs. Plumpert's pot pie and is high-tailing it to the foxhole! You'll work together to gather clues and eliminate possible suspects. Figure out who is the guilty fox before they escape! ($20)
Aviation fans can make a model airplane while learning about Amelia Earhart with this fun kit. The 40-page book features a short story, facts and jokes about Earhart and aviation, along with a biplane wood model kit, art supplies, and a disposable apron. ($25)
Littles can play chef or mimic mom and dad with this adorable (and affordable) wooden stand mixer. Rotatable beaters, a swiveling mixer head, and on-and-off button create an experience like a real mixer. This one's a fun add to any play kitchen! ($21)
Bath toys are the best toys for bath, beach, muddy puddles, even snow! This floaty toy is made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers and safe for your little captain. No BPA, phthalates, or PVC. Mother Earth will thank you! ($14)
We are obsessed with these Paint by Sticker books as much as the kiddos in our life. From Outer Space to Mermaids & Magic, there's a theme for every kid passion. Get in a meditative zone with your little bud and choose from 10 sticker paintings, like a Mars rover, a space shuttle, and celestial bodies like Saturn, Jupiter, and the Sun. Plus, the back of each image includes a fascinating scientific fact *and* kids score glow-in-the-dark stickers! ($9)
Budding scientists will have fun while learning to hypothesize, measure, mix and observe through these 15+ creative science experiments. Best for ages 8 and up. ($50)
This toy digital camera offers features like filters and frames, face recognition, a selfie timer and burst mode, plus an HD video option. ($70)
You know a good gift when the parents want to play too. These beautifully designed puzzles are perfect for building problem solving skills and creating artful displays. Kids follow one of the 40 pattern cards to design the brightly-colored blocks into varying motifs. The blocks can also be used to create endless freeform designs - so fun! ($28)
Kids love to play animal doctor and this set with a plush dog and cat, pretend play vet medical equipment, and a tote bag is perfect for all their veterinarian dreams. ($23)
Check out our Gingerbread Decorating Class to share with kids and subscribe to our email newsletter for more holiday gifting ideas. Follow us on Pinterest too for tons of holiday decor and recipe inspiration!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.