Choosing gifts for kids (whether they are your own or not) can be overwhelming. Not only is the sheer number of options daunting, it’s hard to get past all the bells and whistles to find toys your kiddos will actually play with for more than five minutes.

These present picks cover a wide range of ages and will get kids crafting, creating, and discovering new skills and interests. While we don’t expect your tots to pack away their LEGO sets and dolls right away, these toys encourage kids to think and play in new and improved ways. So much so, you might start thinking of “borrowing” their present for your own amusement. We like to call it the “parent tax,” and you are totally entitled.

3D Printing Pen
We are definitely going to want to take a turn playing with the 3Doodler Start. Creative kids will adore using this cool 3D printing pen to create shapes, buildings, and creatures using this portable printing device. Watch their illustrations come to life as they use a specially formulated and eco-friendly plastic that hardens quickly but won’t burn little fingers.

3Doodler Start, $49, the3doodler.com 

Piggy Bank
It’s never too early for little ones to learn the value of saving. Along with appealing to most kids’ innate love of animals, this sophisticated swine will encourage kids to squirrel away their money in style. Crafted from resin and marble, this particular pig functions as kid-friendly art and will last them throughout childhood—it can hold up to 10,000 one dollar bills! If you are looking for a more affordable version to encourage savings, consider this glass piggy, which will allow kids to watch as their savings grow.

Piggy Bank, $199.99, domino.com

Shape Sorter
Forget plastic. Smiling Tree’s wooden shape sorter is an instant heirloom. This educational toy is a lovely gift for a little one’s first holiday and is crafted from three beautiful American hardwoods. When you buy the shape sorter (or any other of Smiling Tree’s handmade wooden toys), you are paying it forward: The husband-wife duo donates to Peace Corps youth development programs with every purchase. You can also add a child’s name to personalize this present.

Shape Sorter, $45, smilingtreetoys.com 

Balance Bike
Making the transition from to a two-wheeler will be a much smoother ride if your kiddo has the core strength and balance to keep himself upright. This cheery, cherry-covered balance bike will get the job done with a simple and effective design. With a three-position adjustable seat height, it adapts as your little rider grows and becomes ready to tackle pedals.

Balance Bike, $99.99, domino.com 

Wooden Workbench
If we could pick one word to describe toddlers and preschoolers, it would be “busy.” This wooden project workbench should buy you at least a little time to work on your own pursuits. Kids will love the realistic design elements, which include a functioning vise, a tool rack, and wooden tools and hardware. The set includes several ideas for construction projects, but we’re sure your tot will have no trouble coming up with her own Tool Time adventures.

Workbench, $99.99, domino.com



Blockitecture Garden City
Blocks have come a long way stylistically since our childhoods-now you can find them in an astonishing array of sizes, designs, and materials. We like how Blockitecture maintains the basics of what kids love about blocks (read: their simplicity and their endless building potential) and adds a direct architectural element with the design of windows and doors and the addition of hexagonal and cantilever blocks. Trees give the creations a rooted sense of space and contrast and encourage little ones to dream up the future with a balance of green space and living space.

Blockitecture Garden City, $74.99, domino.com

Hardcover Book Set
Indulge your grade schooler’s burgeoning love in both art and books with this book collection, a collaboration with Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.. The hardcover collection of classics, including Heidi, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and A Little Princess, feature beautifully and whimsically illustrated covers and matching bookmarks. The covers will entice your young reader to dig in, and the beloved stories will keep her engrossed long after winter break is over.

Books, $64, riflepaperco.com

Comic Book Kit
Calling all doodlers. Kid Made Modern’s comic book kit contains a set of markers, three exclamatory stamps (POW, WOW, and BOOM), two stamp pads, an alphabet template, and two blank cell comic books just begging to be filled with a child’s musings and observations. The next Stan Lee has to hone his craft somewhere, and this comic book kit is a perfect place to start. Like all Kid Made Modern products, it’s designed to be approachable and kid-friendly for budding artists in a wide range of ages.

Comic Book Kit, $19.99, kidmademodern.com 

Edible Chemistry Set
For once, you don’t have to preface this activity with “Don’t eat that!” The 16 experiments in the Edible Chemistry Kit are all safe for consumption and include foaming jelly that changes color, polymer pudding, and fizzy drinks made from cabbage. And everything you need for the experiments is included in this set for ages eight and up.

Edible Chemistry Set, $18, fatbraintoys.com 

Cardboard Food Truck
You don’t have to wait until next summer to hear the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck. Famous OTO’s cardboard ice cream trucks are Brooklyn-made and easy to put together and put away.  The vivid and realistic illustrative details will win over even the most discerning pint-sized playmate and encourage hours of play.

Cardboard Food Truck, $69, famousoto.com

Teepee
Teepees are a staple in kid-friendly spaces like playrooms, living rooms, and nurseries, and with good reason: everyone needs a little private retreat for relaxing, reading, and snuggling with their favorite stuffies. This chic, metallic gold-striped teepee is far more fashionable than those who take on the outdoor trail circuit, but it’s still sturdy with solid bamboo poles and a durable canvas fabric.

Land of Nod Teepee, $159, domino.com

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