Local toy store owners share their favorite holiday gift picks for kids.
Babies & toddlers
Stacking Rainbow by Grimm’s
A beautiful heirloom toy that will last an entire childhood. Toddlers will stack, sort and build. And as they get older, their imaginations take over as they integrate the pieces into play: a cradle for dolls, fence for animals or a tunnel for trains. 0+. $44. Made You Look.
Zippee by Möbi
Little fingers can’t resist the soft silicone and brightly colored, textured cords. This fun activity toy is designed for little brains to develop midline play, and to support hand-eye coordination and balance. 6 months to 3 years. $19.99. MudPuddles Toys & Books.
Leggings by Blade & Rose
These bright and fun baby leggings are designed with active children in mind. Flexible and comfortable, with an adorable picture on the bum. 0+ months. $20, assorted styles. Kids at Heart Toys.
Babu Rollers by MindWare
A modular car set with three bases and six tops so little ones can turn a car into a camper or a pickup into a tow truck. Sleek, simple and stackable, Babu Rollers are a modern twist on toy cars for toddlers. 18+ months. $26. Kids at Heart Toys.
Pat Bells by Playme
These eight colorful bells are made of beechwood and iron, and represent a full octave. The ideal first instrument for toddlers, this musical gift will grow with children for years. 3+ years. $160. Hammer and Jacks.
Preschool Watch by Preschool Collection
Help preschoolers develop a sense of time long before being able to read a clock. Minutes are replaced by animals, and hours are replaced by colors. You’ll find yourself saying things like: “We’re going to leave when the big hand gets to the cat.” 3+ years. $28. Hammer and Jacks.
Discover Kit by Makedo
A kid-friendly toolbox to make almost anything from upcycled cardboard. Kits include a safe steel cardboard saw and perforator: It doesn’t cut kids, but it cuts cardboard. Perfect for the budding creator, engineer, builder or environmentalist in your life. 4+ years. $25-$42. Hammer and Jacks.
Knock Knock Box Subscription
Made You Look is excited to introduce its very own subscription box. Every six to eight weeks (or whenever exactly you choose), a fun box will arrive at your door: As much of the magic of the shop that can possibly fit in one care package. 0-8 years. Pricing tiers vary, average $40. Made You Look.
These “pillows” come in just about any style you can imagine — corgi, banana, UFO and grilled cheese, to name a few. Kids of all ages, or just kids at heart, love to hug a Squishable. And in this pandemic, we can all use as many extra hugs as we can get. All ages. $20-$55. Kazoodles Toys, Thinker Toys and Presents of Mind.
Elementary School-aged Kids
This kid-friendly audio system brings stories, songs and messages from far-away family and friends to life! The Tonie characters play preloaded stories and songs, or you can record your own. 3-10 years. $100. MudPuddles Toys & Books.
Human Body Puzzles by Janod
These educational puzzles are 3 feet tall and help children better understand how bodies work. Includes four different puzzles, detailed education cards and glow-in-the-dark features. 5+ years. $33. Black Wagon.
Geckobot by Thames & Kosmos
A favorite STEM kit, the pieces can be assembled to climb walls. A motorized air-suction system even lets your child’s creations walk vertically on smooth surfaces like glass or plastic. 8+ years. $48. Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts.
My First Chess Game by Vilac
Lions and tigers and birds (and more!) adorn chess pieces in this gorgeous wooden set with illustrations by Ingela P. Arrhenius. A lovely, fresh take on a classic game. 6+ years. $35. Grasshopper.
Crazy Forts by Everest Toys
25 balls and 44 sticks make for endless fort design. Save your cushions and blankets; instead, just add a bedsheet to this kit and you’ll have creative hideouts with extra-easy cleanup. 5+ years. $44. Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts.
Brew It Yourself Root Beer Kit by Copernicus Toys
Explore the science of CO2 produced by yeast metabolism and enjoy delicious, homemade root beer. Includes everything you need to make 2 gallons. 8+ years. $17. Kids at Heart Toys.
Otamatone Deluxe Musical Toy
Encourage kids to make noise (in a fun and productive manner!) with this portable synthesizer toy. Create different sounds and pitches — you can plug this into an amp and simulate vocal range. 10+ years. $65. Hammer and Jacks.
Grow N’ Glow Terrarium by Creativity for Kids
This DIY ecosystem is awesome for school-aged kids and teens alike, particularly for crafty kids who love to make, or those who are getting interested in room decor. 7+ years. $15. Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts.
Rad Women Worldwide Book
Fresh, engaging and amazing tales of perseverance and the radical success of diverse women spanning from 430 BC to 2016, from 31 countries around the world. 10+ years. $16. Black Wagon.
Exit: The Game by Thames & Kosmos
Bring the challenge of an escape room to your home! Your kids will have to decipher hidden clues, logic puzzles and mysteries to make an “escape.” Each box is a one-time-use puzzle. But Thames & Kosmos offers several themed challenges such as “The Catacombs of Horror” and “The Enchanted Forest,” so you can order more games if your kids get hooked. 12+ years. $15. MudPuddles Toys & Books.
The Original Buddha Board
Help your tweens calm their minds while creating with this Zen twist on an Etch-a-Sketch. The design stays … until it dries, and then the slate is clean to start again. 5-105 years. $35. Thinker Toys.
GeoSafari Vega 600 Telescope by Educational Insights
Budding astronomists will love exploring the stars with this real science tool. The telescope boasts magnification from 30x to 150x, perfect for scoping out not only the skies, but birds and animals, too. 8+ years. $99. Hammer and Jacks.