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    31 Toys And Gifts We Swear By As Parents *And* Shopping Editors

    And by swear we mean "Heck yeah," these prezzies are all so "flippin'" awesome. Gosh, dang it all.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    What a year! The holidays are finally here! And while we’re doing our best to make sure the products we feature will arrive in time, shipping times are especially tricky this year, so we suggest shopping as early as you can.

    Stock and shipping times can vary depending on where you live, which product you purchase, and more. So order earlier than you think you need to and be sure to double-check the retailers’ websites for shipping information to ensure that your gift will arrive in time for when you need it.

    Between the two of us BuzzFeed editors, we've got four children under the age of 5! You could easily confuse our homes for toy stores. And that's why we'd like to share some of our favorites with you...

    1. A Magna-Tiles set because studies have shown it'll hold any kid's attention wayyyy longer than most toys. JK, but seriously, this cool building set deserves a gold medal for being the most played-with toy in our house.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    For ages 3+

    If I could only bring one toy to a deserted island, this would be it. My kids have played with these DAILY for three years and are yet to lose interest — literally not a day goes by that I don't find them in our living room intently building epic 3D creations. Is it an investment? Yes. But any toy with such staying power can take all my money. TY. —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "Seriously the best gift we have ever gotten our son. He has these at his preschool and, since Christmas, at home too and he never tires of them. In fact he plays with these almost every day and his creativity astounds me. He learns so much about how to put things together and his imagination runs wild. He would play with these for hours if he could!!" —Amazon Customer

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99 for a 32-piece set or $119.99 for a 100-piece set.

    2. 3-in-1 LED globe, constellation map, and night-light to illuminate kids about not only the world they live in but the stars in the heavens above. And if that gets way too scary (or deep) that night-light will sure come in handy too.

    For ages 3+

    I love turning this globe on when we're getting the kids ready for bed signaling that storytime is fast approaching. It's the last light we turn off before tuck-in time too! This is one of those items that will grow with your children and should stick around their rooms for years to come. —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "This is a wonderful globe. I bought this for my nephew and this is a fun way to give him the basics. He enjoys learning countries and he loves the night-light. The constellations are pretty cool in the dark. The size is perfect and the quality is amazing. The countries and regions are clear and they are easy to read. The base is strong and stable. It doesn't tip when spinning. The guidebook has more detailed information about the constellations and it's location. This globe definitely captured my nephew's attention and he is learning with interest. Overall, this is a perfect globe and can't go wrong with it." —Lucky10z

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $49.95.

    3. A Little Tikes Playhouse with two working doors, windows, and shutters that'll basically pay for itself (and then some) after your kids discover the magical powers of this hideaway.

    The pink playhouse
    Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 2+

    Real talk: I was hesitant to spend over $100 on a house that actually doesn't have any furniture inside. But, we've had this for two years now, and I can safely say it's worth 👏🏼 every 👏🏼 penny 👏🏼. This is the first thing my 4-year-old and 15-month-old make a beeline for every morning. They can spend HOURS playing hide and seek, cozying up inside with their toys, blankets, pillows, and games, or just peeking from behind the doors and windows. Recently, they had the brilliant idea to give it a spooky "makeover" for Halloween. The best part? It can be used indoors or outdoors. —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "So cute! I put this in my daughter's playroom and it's a big hit with them! It's made very well and and also comes apart for easy moving, which is a plus. My little girls spend hours playing house in this cottage. Their ages range from 2, 4, and 7 years and they all love it. A definite hit in our house!!" —cathymdl

    Get it from Walmart for $138.96.

    4. A Red & Olive Mr. Beary + Beanie Set handcrafted to be a "soft, durable, and timeless" best stuffed buddy for years to come. The best part? The matching hat that will fit kids ages 1 through 10!

    Stuffed brown bear wearing yellow beanie next to child's yellow beanie
    Red & Olive

    For all ages! 

    Red & Olive is a Peruvian and American blended family and a woman-owned business that supports woman artisans through flexible schedules and fair wages for their ethically handmade dolls and hats. 10% of sales go to Starlight Children's Foundation benefitting seriously ill kids all across the United States.

    The quality of this stuffie simply can't be denied! It doesn't feel mass-produced (because it's not) and has some weight to it. We named ours Teddé (pronounced Teh-day) and we're looking forward to her being dragged everywhere by our daughter and being a part of our family. Plus, we can't wait to see them both in their matching beanies! —John Mihaly

    Shipping: Free shipping in the US over $100. All orders ship within one to two business days. Standard continental US orders will deliver within four to seven days.

    Get it from Red & Olive for $88 (available with and without beanie).  

    5. A classic Melissa & Doug ice cream station, to *serve* up many delicious opportunities for pretend play. My daughter loves (...loves) the scooper to lift, stack, and release the scoops and the menu so she can take orders. *Oprah voice* You get a cone, you get a cone, you get a cone!

    Amazon, amazon.com

    For ages 3+

    This set was an instant hit with our then-2-year-old. She took the whole business of setting up shop, asking "what kind of ice cream do you want?" and creating a variety of cones and sundaes so adorably seriously. Plus, the wooden pieces are so high-quality that even though my daughter has made approx. 1 million pretend ice cream creations so far, they're still going strong. —Chandni Reddy

    The wooden ice cream counter comes with eight ice cream scoops, six toppings, two cones, a cup, a scooper, tongs, a wooden spoon, a reusable menu card, and six pretend dollar bills.

    Promising review: "Adorable, durable, fantastic play set. This has got to be one of my favorite Melissa & Doug toys. We own many of them, and big sister picked this for a little sister this Christmas. There may have been some ulterior motives there. However, I’m very satisfied with this toy. We absolutely love it! In fact, I have to put it away every day. It has a wooden case so pick-up is quick and easy. My girls love playing with each other, and there are enough pieces that there aren’t any battles. All of the pieces link together. No magnets, It’s simply a peg system that allows the scoop to pick up the ice cream and then a hole in the top to hold the toppings. I can’t say enough good things about this adorable product. I love that it comes with cones, a cup, different varieties of ice cream, and lots of toppings. The little menu also helps us with our math lessons on occasion. A+ toy! Definitely worth the money!" —One Happy Mommy

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $32.71.

    6. A "Silly Poopy's Hide & Seek" game (from the makers of What Do You Meme?) that actually involves hiding a fake plastic poo that talks and gives clues to its whereabouts.

    John Mihaly / BuzzFeed / Via giphy.com

    For ages 3+

    You know when your brain tells you, "This might be a bad idea!" but your gut tells you, "Nah, this is going to be hilarious! Maybe." Luckily, my gut was right this time. Silly Poopy is beyond silly and not poopy at all. It is indeed a poop-ton of fun for the whole family thanks to its infectious song that sounds like it was taken straight from a 1970s game show. Best of all, my kid loves it and hopefully, this is the only poop he tries to hide around the house. —John Mihaly

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $12.98

    7. A sturdy fort-building kit to *seriously upgrade* the forts the kiddos are currently fashioning out of living room throws, pillows and furniture. It will allow future architect's to use their imagination to construct forts, castles, tunnels, and even igloos — creativity is their ~forte~.

    Amazon, Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 5+

    IDK who has more fun with this. The kids or us? We have spent sooo many fun afternoons building complex structures together, draping them with blankets, and then giggling and scooting in our "secret hiding place." It has led to some fabulous family bonding time. (Sadly, our set is sold out on Amazon but check out the almost identical set below). —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "My 4-year-old old loves them! I'm running out of room in her play area! I ordered two of the 82-piece sets because she's constantly trying to rearrange our basement furniture so she could build forts. Took her a bit to figure out how to get the perfect angles out of the connecting balls but she is now a pro. Our basement currently has a large spaceship and an igloo-shaped fort that she wants to sleep in. We still have pieces left and she insists that I buy more to build bigger 🤣" —Michael B Wright

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $44.99.

    8. An Educational Insights "Design & Drill Bolt Buddies" rocket, because there's no better way to get kids into STEM than by building a spaceship for an astronaut and his puppy pal and using the eco-friendly packaging as a play set.

    Amazon

    For ages 3+

    This Bolt Buddies set is already wrapped and ready to be placed under the tree come the evening of Dec. 24. I've been waiting for my little guy to be interested enough and dexterous enough to play with something like this. I got a chance to play with this at Toy Fair a few years back and I marveled at the colorful and thoughtful design (reusable packaging!) as well as the ease of use for the toy drill. Looking forward to getting more sets if the lad is into it! —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "My 3-year-old son had an old toy drill that recently stopped working and he asked me for a new one. This little set caught my eye, so I bought it and he loves it! I love that they put a little window on the side of the drill to show the gears inside spinning. Nice touch to show curious minds how these things work internally. Fits little hands perfectly and he’s been assembling and disassembling this rocket at least a couple of times a day since we got it! The little astronaut characters are cute and can lock into spots inside the rocket (like Lego pieces). Another nice touch is that the box that the set comes in doubles as a space backdrop to play with or display on a bookshelf or table." —CK

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $19.10

    Looking for more gifts for that three-nager in your life? Check out our guide to toys and gifts for 3-year-olds.

    9. A "Speak & Spell" electronic game that can only be described as a "retro-tablet from the '80s" for teaching kids how to spell. The best part is the old-school speech synthesizer that's been used in quite a few song samples (looking at you, Beck!).

    Red Speak & Spell toy with black screen
    Amazon

    For ages 7+, includes three AA batteries

    I absolutely loved the Speak & Spell I had as a kid. I could totally pretend to be Matthew Broderick in WarGames whenever the S&S would talk in that monotone, robot voice. No, this can't compete with a smartphone or tablet or anything else your kid has access to today. But it can take a beating and the lessons it teaches are just as helpful today (I mean, words are still spelled the same, right?).  —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "I bought this item for my daughter who has played with my 1980s Speak & Spell so much that it has begun to malfunction. My Speak & Spell is still one of the most memorable toys from my childhood. I played and played with that thing. It is what ultimately taught me how to spell the word 'language' 'lang-u-age' and taught me to challenge my mind with brain games. Now I pick up my daughter's for a round or two just to reminisce. We love it." —Holly McKellop

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99.

    10. A necklace activity set (under $15) so mini style mavens can mix and match colorful beads, necklaces and character charms to create their own chic bling. It'll make any child feel like true royalty.

    Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed, Amazon

    For ages 3+

    Crafty toy + inexpensive + characters = win! My preschooler is not only obsessed with making these necklaces, it keeps her busy for a while (which is nothing short of a miracle, TBH). The strings for the necklaces are rubbery and durable, ensuring she can do it by herself and the beads don't fall off, unlike other cheap kits. And, it's so stinkin' adorable watching her proudly tote her creations around in the carry case and accessorize her outfits for preschool. —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "My 3-year-old twins loved it, entertained for hours which is rare and so worth the money. Perfect for teaching coordination, color patterns, encourages creativity. The necklaces are a soft, stretchy material with a safe breakaway clasp but that also stays on well. I wore a necklace for hours around the house & didn't fall off. The beads are cute and a good variety of colors. Overall great project, loads of fun for toddlers." —Lyss

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in 16 styles).

    11. A Popdarts suction cup throwing game to encourage players young and old to put down the screens and engage with some good old-fashioned family fun (and competition). There's no more satisfying sound than hearing on of these darts stick to a surface!

    Reviewer's image of green, blue, and orange Popdarts stuck to countertop
    amazon.com

    Ages 8+

    Popdarts is a small business owned and operated by two brothers who created this game to "bring friends and family of all ages together, fuel creativity, and challenge their abilities."

    Quite simply, this game is a lot of rainy day fun and allows the kids to actually throw things around in the house! Comes with a convenient storage bag for when you're not playing, and you best believe I stuck one of the suction cups on my forehead to get a giggle out of my son (worked too). —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "I recently came across a video of Popdarts on social media and immediately had to get myself a set. I noticed there’s multiple game sets like this on Amazon, but it’s VERY clear these are the REAL Popdarts and any other ones are fake copycats. Throwing them takes some getting used to, just like any throwing game would, so don’t get discouraged if they don’t stick the first several times! I even found that they have tutorial videos on how to throw. The quality is amazing, and they stick VERY well. I was even able to pick up a barstool with one stuck to it! 10/10 I will be buying more as they come out with expansion packs and other colors, and I will be telling all my friends about this game!" —Hannah Marie

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $31.99.

    12. Disney Frozen Elsa's Ice Palace by Little People because it sparkles, lights up and sings "Let It Go" to cast an enchanting spell on Frozen-obsessed kids. They'll literally never want to *let it go*. (I'm sorry, I had to.)

    amazon.com, Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 1.5+ years

    This wintry castle is not only affordable but also came fully assembled (yay!). Even though it isn't jam-packed with features, IMO it offers the perfect magical combo of lights, music, and sounds to transport any toddler to the kingdom of Arendelle. My then-toddler was especially fascinated with turning the knob to reveal the lit-up stairs and dramatically singing along to the verse from "Let It Go." —Chandni Reddy

    The castle comes assembled and includes Elsa and Olaf figures, plus bed and chair accessory pieces. Recommended for ages 1+.

    Promising review: "A gift for my nieces (4 years old and 1 year old) along with the Frozen sled and Princess Elena figure set. The castle came assembled from the box which was awesome. The Elsa figure is highly sought after and many fights have broken out because of it. By far was the favorite gift of the holidays." —Buyer

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $31.98.

    13. A 3-in-1 rocket ship tunnel, and ball pit for transforming any room into an out-of-galaxy play zone, where little whirlwinds can have a blast crawling, exploring, and of course flinging balls all over the place *sigh*.

    amazon.com, Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 1+

    Stuck indoors and on the verge of losing it after listening to a gazillion cries of "I'm bored"? This play set is basically a godsend for those kind of days. It never fails to burn off my kids' seemingly endless supply of energy, while we kick back with a glass of wine. It even comes up with a built-in basketball hoop for some dunking practice, *and* we've also added a Little Tikes slide to max out the fun. The only downfall is it takes up a ton of space. (Our set is sold out on Amazon but check out the almost identical set below). —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "We LOVE this ball pit. I’ve been looking around for a while for one for my son and found this one, absolutely fell in love. I love how you can have it all put together or have the items set up separately! Especially since my son’s room isn’t that big. We just have the tent part and ball pit part set up and next to each other. We just got the balls for it today and he’s already been playing in it for almost two hours! Definitely a hit." —Tiffany Burrows

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $47.99.

    14. A Plus Plus Big construction building set packed with 15 "shapes" to construct the featured animal or anything minds can imagine and little hands can, well, handle. A big bonus to this gift? All the sets work together! 

    A triptych image of PlusPlus penguin, flamingo, and giraffe sets
    Amazon

    For 18+ months

    First things first, there are two different sizes of Plus Plus out there and if you've got the toddler type of kid you're going to want to make sure you go with Plus Plus Big. We have one small 15-piece set of these and they are always in the rotation of toys. Plus, they're so satisfying to put together. They don't click, they just smoothly push together. Maybe it's time to buy some more!  —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "I got these for my 3-year-old for a seven-hour flight and two weeks of road tripping and she absolutely loved them! She played with them all the time and never got bored with them!" —Meetmow

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99 (available in multiple styles from animals to figures to a Christmas tree). 

    15. A wooden Montessori carrot harvest toy that's super simple but actually pure genius because it puts my toddler's fine motor skills to the test while he figures out how to match the the carrots to the correct-sized holes.

    Photo of the wooden block with holes surrounded by toy carrots
    Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 1+

    I bought this set on a whim because it's the cutest make-believe veggie patch I've ever laid my eyes on. But it's not only eye candy, it's actually challenging for my toddler. I also like that it'll grow with him and can be used as pretend food in his play kitchen...after he masters the art of harvesting. Just FYI, parents: The felt leaves can come off and become a choking hazard so please supervise the little ones. —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "My nephew was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a language impairment. At nearly 2 years old, his perception equaled that of a 1-month-old. For his 2nd birthday, I sent the carrot block to him and he absolutely loves it! His motor skills and perception are improving tremendously. His older sister (3 years old) got so excited about the carrot block, she had to be put in a time-out for not sharing. I highly recommend this product." —r. kramer

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    16. A Playmobil Dino Rise T. rex: Battle of The Giants play set, because, honestly, what kid's brain won't explode like a comet hitting the Earth during the Cretaceous period as soon as they see the box!

    Amazon

    For ages 3+

    Set includes two figures, T. rex, robot machine, armor, functioning cannons, catapult, barrel, and other removable accessories.

    When I first saw these Dino Rise toys I was immediately taken back to the short-lived Dino-Riders line/cartoon from my own childhood. Dinosaurs battling robots is a timeless concept and a classic combination that I can't wait to share with my kids. The figure that comes with this T. rex set also looks straight-up like Paul Atreides from Dune (Timothée Chalamet version for the kids, Kyle MacLachlan version for the adults). And since it's Playmobil, you know it's a finely German-engineered toy! So many parts, so much action, so many pending trips to the Museum of Natural History to explain that, "No people at any point in time have ever ridden atop dinosaurs, let alone to battle robots." Well, at least not yet. —John Mihaly

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $39.97+ (other sets of various price points are also available).

    17. A Buddha Board for painting rich, inky, water-based images onto a "canvas" that will slowly fade as the water evaporates. We don't know art but we know it's not that messy.

    Amazon

    For ages 5+

    So there's a lot going on with the Buddha Board, some of it really deep in fact (just read that "Promising review" below). But all you need is a little water to get the kids painting on a canvas that will always turn back to being blank. Art can be therapeutic but this takes stress relief to the next level. Your kids will love the simplicity, you'll love not having to scrub paint stains out of their clothes. Everybody's happy! —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "Amazing item! All children should learn the skill of letting go from an early age. The lesson is valuable and extremely profound! The earlier one learns the better! Thank you for creating such a deep tool to continuously practice the art... So grateful!" —Answers

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $37.95.

    18. A Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes toy with over 30,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, highlighting how well it stimulates your baby with lights, sounds, and much needed distractions.

    Child models holding colorful music toy
    Amazon

    For ages 3+ months

    So, I waited until the second child before finally caving and buying this, what I guess is meant to be an iPod (which is just one of a million things my kid will never experience firsthand). Easy-to-clean and even easier to take on the go, this little box booms with classical tunes and a volume switch to keep things a little quieter when needed which is, much like Salt-N-Pepa's finest album, very necessary. —John Mihaly

    Promising Review: "This toy is amazing. 1) It occupies my daughter for long enough that mom can run to the bathroom or make dinner (that ALONE should be enough — but there is more). 2) It introduces her to classical music. 3) Probably most important — it can take a beating. I am constantly surprised after picking this up off the floor for the one zillionth time that it never stops playing or breaks after being thrown overhand at our tile floor." —Amelia C.

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $8.88

    19. A Hape Quadrilla Super Spirals building blocks set for all the marble madness and Rube Goldberg goodness a kid could possibly enjoy.

    Adult and child models playing with block set and marbles
    Amazon

    For ages 4+

    My 2.5-year-old son suddenly got into marbles. How? Not quite sure, probably something he shouldn't have seen on YouTube. So we watched some more of those videos together and they're actually pretty relaxing watching them roll down ramps and whatnot. This Quadrilla has been a great investment! Since he's not quite the recommended age yet, this set offers us a chance to play and build together. Also, as a warning, it's rather fragile, making it very easy to knock over. The upside of that is that it's taught my soon to be more gentle and careful (if only it could also teach him to be like that with the dog). Bonus: includes a xylophone rail that plays a tune as marbles run over it! It's never not enjoyable! —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "This is the third set of these we have bought. Our family has so much fun building and exploring together with these. Our 5-year-old has started to engineer her own 'mazes.' Wonderful for coordination, logic, imagination, and teaching kids to keep trying until you get the desired outcome." —Julie L.

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $135.87.

    20. A 100 Words Book to interact with budding scholars and help build their vocabulary in English and Spanish.

    Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 18+ months

    It's really hard for me to overstate just how much I love little learning toy, it actually does what it says. My daughter LITERALLY learned her first words after repeating the words over and over. Each page has a different category (like animals, fruits, clothes, vehicles, etc.) featuring different objects for toddlers to touch. When you touch a picture, the book tells you what it is in English or Spanish. It has since been passed down to my second kid and has quickly become a fave. He doesn't quite understand the words yet but still plays with it nonstop — turning the pages, pressing down on the pictures, and listening to the sounds. —Chandni Reddy

    Promising review: "My 2-year-old loves this interactive book. I really enjoy the dual-language feature and the way the book works by simply touching the pictures. My son loves sitting on the floor playing with this book for hours listening and learning. It's one of his favorite toys at the moment." —Crystal Grasso

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    21. A set of handcrafted, nontoxic constellation blocks to learn the symbols, names, hemispheres, and scale of magnitude for 16 constellations in the night sky.

    Side-by-side views of a set of wooden blocks that show different versions of constellations and their locations in the sky
    Amazon

    For ages 2+

    These are perhaps the most beautifully designed and interesting set of wooden blocks that's I've ever encountered. I liked them so much I bought them way before my son would even be to use them. Having nearly failed my astronomy course in college, I figured this would be a great way for us to learn all about the constellations together as I pretend to know what I'm talking about. So when my kid asks, "Dad, where is Orion's belt?" I won't have to answer, "Around his waist." —John Mihaly

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $26

    22. A five-stage folding tricycle Doona Liki Trike S3 that's small enough to fit in a trunk or airplane overhead bin, but a total lifesaver for entertaining a toddler around the home during inclement weather.

    Amazon

    For ages 10–36 months.

    After some considerable research, I set my sights on the "smallest folding trike on the market." This three-wheeler will grow with your toddler, from a parent-push-operated vehicle to an independent pedal tricycle. In that regard, it's a solid two-year investment. While the Liki is ideal for travel, thanks to the easy and compact way it folds up, it's also handy for apartment living where storage space is at a premium. The not-too-soft, not-too-hard wheels are perfectly fine on hardwood floors and carpeted hallways. Also, the cup holder and storage bag (that attaches to the adjustable parent handle) are so clutch. Super-thoughtful design all around and a super-happy little tike riding his trike all around the building. —John Mihaly

    Shipping: Current delivery time is 10–15 business days from the date of purchase. Free standard shipping within the continental US for orders over $75.

    Get it from Doona for $199 (originally $250 but on sale for Black Friday; available in four colors).

    23. A two-sided, A-frame art easel with chalkboard, magnetic dry-erase board, storage, and paper feeder for aspiring artists who are still experimenting with their preferred mediums. Plus it's a great way to teach kids about writing "thank you" notes!

    Split image of two children playing with turquoise dry erase and chalk board
    Amazon

    For ages 4+

    As any parent of young children knows, you have to encourage art but you also have to contain it too! Otherwise, all your nice furniture ends up with crayon, marker, and paint stains (although the artist might beg to differ about the POV) all over it. This art easel has great storage space for all the art supplies and is definitely going to be hanging around our home for a long time. Just stock up on rolls for the paper feeder, otherwise all of your printer paper is going to be turned into modern art. —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "Very nicely made product! Took 45 minutes to build but was well worth the minutes and looks awesome too. Excited about using it with my kid and being able to multitask all in one area with the chalkboard, whiteboard, and painting being optimal without the layout mess. Love that it has the built-in clips to dry the painting also the storage area and the shelf to place extra paints. Really recommend for a long durable product to use and/or gift." —beauty4life

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $159.99 (available in five colors). 

    24. A Squeakee the Balloon Dino because every kiddo deserves a dino BFF that'll roar, bust out cool breakdancing moves, and even fart if you pull his tail 🦖 😂.

    Amazon, Chandni Reddy / Buzzfeed

    For ages 5+

    Inexplicably my 15-month-old's fave toy in the whole wide world. He giggles nonstop while interacting with this goofy dino. If you put the headphones on, it dances, tickle and it laughs, or put your finger in the mouth and it'll try and chomp down. The dino has 70+ sounds and reactions, and he's still discovering them all, so he won't get bored with this toy anytime soon. —Chandni Reddy

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $69.

    25. A Hand2mind Numberblocks MathLink Cubes activity set based on the award-winning BBC series that actually makes learning numbers and math fun (and musical) in the best possible way (kids learn, parents enjoy it too).

    Child model playing with stacks of Numberblock toys
    Numberblocks activity set and packaging
    Amazon

    For ages 3+

    "1-2-3-4-5-Numberblocks!" is a theme song that I hear multiple times a day and have still somehow not tired of. Why? Because my kid loves it and so do I. Maybe it's the catchy tunes, maybe its the British accents, but this show gives every number a personality (some of my favorites include 8, 13, and 15 but you'll have to watch to find out why). So it's no surprise that the toys based on this show are just as fun and educational. I wish I learned about numbers and math this way instead of through flash cards and times tables. Lucky kids! —John Mihaly   

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99.

    26. A set of Blockaroo magnetic foam building blocks sure to "click" with the young builder in your life. Plus they'll take a beating but come back looking nice and clean after bathtime play or a run in the dishwasher.

    Purple, red, and yellow Blockaroo toys turned into different creatures and vehicles
    Amazon

    For 18+ months

    Blockaroo is almost as much fun to say as it is to play with! Wooden blocks can be a little dangerous (especially when thrown) but these foamy pieces couldn't possibly damage anything. For some reason, these got chewed on quite a bit and teeth marks were indeed left behind. This is definitely one of those toys that's meant to take a beating but keep coming back for more! —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "If you love unique toys that require no batteries, look adorable, make cool sounds, inspire the imagination, feel soft and fuzzy, and are super easy to clean...you will not be disappointed with these innovative new Blockaroos! I’ll definitely be picking up a few more sets!" —Lesley Sullivan

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99

    27. A "magical" CMY cube (cyan, magenta, yellow) that can be an easy anxiety reliever for kids (and adults) as they twist and turn the geometry to create new color combos.

    CMY Cubes

    For ages 7+

    CMY Cubes is a woman-owned small business. 

    This is one of those toys that won't get a big reaction at first but will become a background favorite for years to come. The cube is only for the older kids (due to the pointy/sharp corners) and since I qualify as an older kid I've been keeping this on my desk, It's hard to resist picking it up and even harder to put it down sometimes. —John Mihaly

    How it works: "Rotating the angle from which the cube is viewed varies the degree to which the specific frequencies of cyan, magenta, and yellow are filtered creating a unique, cube-specific spectrum of colors." 

    Get it from CMY Cubes for $19.95+ (available in multiple sizes and shapes). 

    28. An Educational Insights Circuit Explorer Rover for exploring the world of simple circuitry through buildable space-based vehicles and play sets. if your kid shows any interest in engineering or NASA then this is a must-get toy for them.

    Model's hands building a wheeled space explorer toy
    Amazon

    For ages 6+ 

    I had a chance to see this play set in all of its glory earlier this year at Toy Fair and I've been anxiously awaiting its release. It reminds me so much of space-related toys I grew up with like Robotix or Starcom. But these sets are next level and teach the very basics of building a circuit and, well, making things go! Can't wait until my son is old enough to play with these! —John Mihaly

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $21.33.

    29. A 12-pack of durable and sustainable all-natural pure-beeswax crayons that are nearly unbreakable and even come with a money-back guarantee. You better bee-lieve it!

    An open box of large, multi-colored crayons with some spread in a circle on a table
    Amazon

    For ages 1+

    While they might not have much of a point left to them, these crayons are nearly indestructible. They don't snap if you look at them funny (like other brands).  They've lasted a long time with no end in sight (unless they get lost in a couch cushion). They started as a great way to learn colors and continued as the preferred medium for the young artist in our home. —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "So I bought these worried about my 2-year-old potentially eating a crayon and having that toxic kind of stuff in her system. But, I really should have been more worried about my dogs eating crayons which so far they've snagged one and a half of these babies with no health problems for them after, so I'd say that's a major win. What's also fantastic about these crayons is that they are the perfect size for little hands. My daughter just loves to color with them and they color as smooth as Crayola and they're not all plastic and waxy like the crayons you get at the dollar store. So I'd definitely recommend these to anyone with a toddler, just watch for sneaky dogs. They'll gobble them up." —Cassandra S.

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $22.95.

    30. An Uno "Nothin’ But Paper" card game made from fully recyclable materials (for the first time ever). Now kids can get as much enjoyment from helping Mother Earth as they do from dropping a Wild Draw Four card whenever they play.

    Models playing Uno card game
    Green packaging of Uno cards
    Amazon

    Ages 7+

    When you're given the option of buying anything that's made of recycled materials, go with that option! It's a good lesson for the kids. And now that you've helped the planet why don't you go Draw Two! —John Mihaly

    Promising review: "Soy-based inks, recycled content paper, no harmful chemicals and no plastic (well, except the Amazon envelope it came in — sadly). Exactly what we wanted for our family to play with!" —Borys & Lindsay

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $6.49.

    31. And finally, a Transformers Studio Series Grimlock that changes from a metallic T. rex to a robot (in 24 steps). Autbot + Dinosaur = Dinobot. That's an equation for fun no matter your age. Also comes with a removable backdrop for movie-accurate displays!

    Amazon

    For ages 8+ (but I say fine for a little younger)

    Since childhood, I can't pass by a Transformer toy without having the urge to see how quickly I can change it from one thing into another (possibly making those transforming noises from the cartoon while doing it). So, anytime I see one of my old favorites with a modern-day update, I'm compelled to check it out. In this case, we've got the leader of the Dinobots, himself, Grimlock, which puts the original version from my youth to shame. As the character itself would say, "Me Grimlock am awesome toy. Me Grimlock am king!" Plus it comes with Wheelie (arguably the most annoying Autobot of all time, but still movie accurate). —John Mihaly

    Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with two-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).

    Get it from Amazon for $52.99.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

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    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.