1. A 116-piece Lego Duplo "Wild Animals of Asia" set with a foldable, 3-dimensional playmat to colorfully "contain" all that hands-on play, piece by piece. Also, OMG cuteness alert: it's got two red pandas!
This set includes adult and baby elephants, pandas, and tigers, a monkey, two birds, two red pandas, bamboo, and a cherry blossom tree! But wait, there's more: a special "sound brick" that plays realistic noises. Sounds grrrrrrrreat!
Get it from Lego for $99.99
And to avoid some Lego-meets-bare-foot catastrophes, here are some of our picks for the best storage bins!
2. A hedgehog named Spike that helps build motor, counting, and sorting skills by fitting peg-shaped pieces into its back. Just don't ask him if he knows Sonic.
3. A set of Magna-Tiles for recreating the works of children's author Eric Carle while building 3D versions of beloved characters like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
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 one through ten!
5. A classic Lego set so your little one can build all kinds of things and let their imagination run wild.
6. A set of handcrafted, nontoxic constellation blocks to learn the symbols, names, hemispheres, and scale of magnitude for 16 constellations in the night sky.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. A "Learn-A-Lot Avocados" game, because one's love of guacamole's main ingredient should start at an early age. Plus this toy really helps with the old color identification and matching skills.
10. A two-sided, A-frame art easel with chalk board, 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!
11. A Fisher-Price "Laugh & Learn Crawl-After Cat On a Vac" that plays songs while encouraging toddlers to crawl, toddle, and walk (and maybe even clean).
12. A talking and singing LeapFrog Yum-2-3 Toaster for learning all about numbers, colors, and the most important meal of the day!
13. 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!
14. A not-as-noisy-as-it-looks VTech electronic drum set, which your kid can freestyle to (like Animal from the Muppets) or they can follow the lights as they learn about letters and numbers (and maybe even want to become a real drummer).
15. A durable, indoor/outdoor ride-on "Up & Down" Roller Coaster to make every day of play (no matter the time of year) a "great adventure" thanks to nine feet of track (as well as an expansion pack for even more room to roll.
For ages 2–5 years
Promising review: "The item is light enough to take apart and move or store. My 2-year-old grandson loves this not just for riding down in the car itself, but he also uses the ramp portion for his own entertainment (i.e., racing his toy cars down it, or trying to use it like a balance beam). It's very sturdy and I feel it is worth every penny spent." —PL
Shipping info: Available on Amazon Prime with four-day shipping, non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).
Get it from Amazon for $139.99
16. An Animal Island Learning Adventure "Sit & Play" intelligent monitor and "edutainment" system for early learning with high-quality, ad-free, subscription-free educational content that automatically updates.
17. An inflatable (but sturdy), easy-to-clean "Bouncy Pals" unicorn hopping toy to help kids learn to balance and develop some core and leg strength in the most magical way imaginable.
For ages 18 months to 4 years
As one reviewer notes, it's technically an alicorn (due to the wings) and not just your run-of-the-mill unicorn.
Promising review: "It was super easy to inflate, came with an extra 'plug,' and is cute enough to give a T-rex a cavity. The material is VERY sturdy…reminds me of what you would make an inflatable raft with…really tough! My granddaughter loves it, even just to sit on and watch tv. The cover is easy to clean (by hand, allow to air dry) and not difficult to put back on and zip. I’m pretty sure it will be around for a long time!!!" —Athena L.Stallman
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 $33.99.
18. A Playmobil Noah's Ark, because toddlers tend to lose a thing or two and this play set comes with pairs of figures (doubles!) that can be played with on land and sea (but preferably not thrown into the air).
19. A three-wheeled micro scooter with an adjustable handlebar to grow with your toddler as they improve their balance and motor skills while whizzing by at seemingly breakneck speeds. Also includes a two-year manufacturer's warranty.
20. A solar-powered Pretend and Play calculator cash register that makes a "cha-ching" noise every time it opens and will introduce concepts of math and finance to your kids as well as soon-to-be-outdated-in-their-lifetime concepts of cash and coins.
21. A 22-piece shaking, tapping, beating, and blowing wooden instrument set to serve as your toddler's very own beat-lab, just as long as they don't actually beat anyone with their new musical toys.
22. An indoor or outdoor Wiwiurka wooden trapeze bar that will give acrobatic kids the gift of strength and balance while they spin themselves round in circles (and hopefully don't puke).
23. An 18-piece Fisher-Price "S'more Fun" campfire play set that trades all the danger of wood-chopping, roaring-fires, and grizzly bear attacks for kid-friendly wood accents and soft fabric. Plus no marshmallow and chocolate stains!
24. A horn-honking, headlight flashing remote control race car with three removable driver figures for toddlers to get their first taste of simplified RC-fun with forward and reverse left functions.
25. A Manhattan Toy wooden pony activity center with flapping ears, gliders, spinning dials, bead runs, a shape sorter, and letter recognition which makes total horse sense for your toddler.
26. A thoughtful (but still fun) Educational Insights Playfoam "Shape & Learn" counting set so kids can squish, squash, and sculpt not only numbers (based on the included flash cards) but whatever their burgeoning imaginations come up with!
27. A sports center that should inspire you and your kid to get up off the couch, stop watching Sports Center, and learn about numbers and counting through the scoreboard and all the gears and buttons. Also, please resist the urge to dunk on your child.
28. A 600-piece set of Plus Plus interlocking puzzle blocks (made in Denmark so you know that it's quality) for building flat or 3D creations that's less likely to injure adults who step on any errant pieces in the middle of the night.
29. A Fisher-Price "Laugh & Learn Smart Stages" Puppy or Sis with 75+ songs, phrases, and sounds that teach the kiddos about shapes, numbers, the alphabet, and parts of the body (by squeezing its ears, feet, and hands).
30. A Learning Resources "Peekaboo Learning Farm" with five barnyard finger puppets (and their respective colorful barns) for little hands to develop motor skills and little minds to begin to master some math.
31. A Yookidoo Baby Bath Spin 'N' Sprinkle Water Lab for sneaking some "science" into bathtime by turning the tub into a water park complete with "Googly Eyes" and spinning wheels.
32. Or an interactive floating octopus bath toy so they can have a splash-time pal that isn't your run of the ~bill~ rubber ducky. This tentacled friend is wayyy cooler, since it's equipped for ring toss.
For ages 18+ months
Promising review: "Awesome toy for bath time. My baby loves it. It doesn't let any water get in it, so it doesn't get moldy inside. The material is similar to silicone, so it's easy on the baby's gums when he chews it and no risk of it hurting him when he kicks around in the tub! Totally recommend! —Aaron Ryan Welch
Get it from Amazon for $7.53
33. A Hape Quadrilla Super Spirals building blocks set for all the marble madness and Rube Goldberg goodness a kid could possibly enjoy.
34. A VTech "Touch and Learn" activity desk with five interactive pages and more than 200 "touch and learn spots" on each card, a music player, toy phone, and LED light-up display for nonstop learning and playtime. Also transforms from a desk into an easel and chalkboard for more lo-fi fun.
35. A Little Tikes rocking horse that'll keep the kiddos from falling forward or back whether they're galloping into the final furlong in the living room or just taking horsey for a quick ride in the backyard.
For ages 12 months to 3 years
Promising review: "If you want to win over your grandbaby, this is the gift! My grandchild was not quite a year old and she loved it. Immediately upon opening it, she wanted to get on it. She rocked and rocked on it. She would scoot the thing through the house and climb on it and set and play. Surprisingly, her older sister and brother also would sit on it and watch television. It has held up for almost two years while getting rained on, but they still sit on it and it still looks like new and has not faded or broke down." —becky harlow
Shipping info: Usually ships within 2–3 weeks. Non-Prime shipping options will still arrive by Christmas (see Amazon's full shipping information here).
Get it from Amazon for $51.95
36. An eight-pack of popping tube sensory toys they can use to build shapes, letters, numbers, and everything in between, all with a simple *pop* into place!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "These are fun for kids of all ages. My grandbabies love them because they can hold them in their baby hands. They are brightly colored and flexible. Unlikely to hurt anything. Older kids like them for the noise they make when they are stretched or closing. They create long chains (they attach to each other) and wild twisty things. All in all, a good toy for this grandma to have in her house." —Katy
Get it from Amazon for $7.62 (also available as a four-pack).