Choosing the right toys for your kids is harder than it sounds— especially when they ask for every single thing they see during commercial break. You want something trendy so they’ll want to play with it, but engaging enough that they won’t be bored in five minutes. Bonus points if the toys are educational, and extra bonus points if they also allow your kids to entertain themselves (preferably quietly) without you having to worry about them getting into trouble.
Their attention spans can be short (god knows), but when you find just the right toy— magically they get taken away into the toy-land we all dream of. The one that keeps them busy, independently using their imaginations, and keeps them going back day after day after day.
Whether your kids love dolls, get energized by STEM toys, or get entranced by some random thing they watched being unboxed on YouTube, we’ve got the inspiration you need. Ahead are 10 cool toys for boys and girls that’ll keep them entertained long enough to give you a break.
Cool STEM Toys
This combination logic game, marble run, and STEM toy helps your kiddo develop spatial reasoning and planning skills. There are different cards, from beginner to expert level, that challenge you to strategically place towers on a grid to create a path for your marble to travel to your target. The game comes with 60 different challenges, a game grid, nine towers, one target piece, and three marbles. Gravity Maze is designed for kids eight years old and up, but even adults will enjoy the problem solving component of the game.
One reviewer said, “My 10 year old son is obsessed with this game. He loves figuring out each maze. It makes him use problem solving skills and logic. This is a great toy for an only child whose parents can’t entertain the child every minute. He choses this over video games! Now that is saying something.”
Instead of your kid digging up the backyard, give them this National Geographic dig kit to uncover some gems (it will still likely be a messy activity, but a contained type of messy). The kit includes 15 real gemstones, including amethyst, Tiger’s Eye, rose quartz, aventurine, quartz crystal, and more. There are also excavation (and examination!) tools, and of course, a National Geographic Mega Gemstone Learning Guide for some educational fun.
One reviewer said, “My four-year-old absolutely loved digging for gems and minerals in this National Geographic gemstone mine kit. With the oversight of his big and little brothers, who were just as enthralled (ages 2 and 6), he filled buckets with clean water and went to town on our outside deck using water, the digging tools, and anything else he could find to dissolve and break apart the rocks. It comes as one solid mass about the diameter of a salad plate, and it was surprising to see the quantity and quality of rocks that it contained. Most of the minerals were polished, except a couple that were fascinating in their natural state, and the kit contains a color guidebook so that we could all sit down together after the mess had subsided and match the gems to their names and descriptions. Perfect gift for birthdays or science/nature days. Your budding geologist will love it!”
Cool Dolls & Plush Toy
Your kid is about to have the best unboxing experience of their young lifetime. The L.O.L. Surprise Dolls Sparkle Series has seven surprises inside, including a sparkle series doll, secret message, stickers, a bottle, shoes, outfit, and an accessory. Your tot can feed or bathe the doll to uncover more water surprises, and the ball can be used as a display case or hung as decoration. There are 12 different sparkly characters (and there are many other L.O.L sizes and series such as fluffy pets), so be prepared for your kid asking for another one… and another one.
One reviewer said, “My daughter loves all things L.O.L. and all things unicorn and was lucky enough to get the one she wanted. All items that were supposed to be included were there and we’re very happy with the purchase.”
Got a mini goth singer in the family? Your child will love belting out tunes from Disney’s Vampirina. This portable boombox set has a real working microphone and connects to most MP3 players.
Cool Building Toys
Even for an energetic kid who can’t sit through a board game or an entire movie to save their life, this 100-piece magnetic tiles kit will keep them entertained. The sturdy, colorful, transparent tiles — which come in five different shapes and sizes — can be built into all sorts of 2D and 3D structures within imagination. With endless opportunities to put together and take apart creations, you might get 10 minutes of peace if this toy set is in your house.
One reviewer said they were great for all ages: “I bought this as a birthday present for my 4 year old twins. I wasn’t sure how they would like it since it’s not a Barbie or anything like what they’ve been into lately. They opened the package & were immediately intrigued. Within minutes my girls & most of the adults in the room were quietly building with these awesome tiles. That was a week ago & my kids have played & built with these every day since then. I love that they are learning quiet play that stimulates their imaginations, no batteries or charging required! Plus they even love to clean them up because it’s fun to get them to stick together with the magnets & make big stacks. Awesome toy that is fun for the whole family!”
Need alone time? Just tell your kid to buzz off to infinity and beyond with this Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Armor and Jetpack. There’s also an option to add Buzz’s wrist communicator and laser blaster.
Cool Tech Toys
Give your kid their own (affordable) camera to take digital photos. The VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix is a 2.0 mega pixel camera with 4x zoom and is in an easy-to-use, sturdy, kid-friendly case. There’s a selfie mode that automatically detects your face for photos, four built-in games, and a video and voice recorder. To add extra fun to their photography skills, there are also photo collage templates, and different photo effects, including animated ones. You can connect the camera to a computer via USB cable to download all their masterpieces. You can also choose “Frustration-Free Packaging” when buying the camera, because sometimes even adults need some help.
One reviewer said, “Overall, a very good gift for preschool aged children that will allow them to explore their world and isn’t just a “toy.” My kids do love these Kidizoom cameras so much that it was a constant fight once one got one and I couldn’t wait until the other’s birthday so they could each have their own!”
Meet your kid’s new favorite gadget. This super cool drone flies through the air at two different speeds and is hands-controlled via high-tech infrared motion sensors. Your tot will feel like they have special powers by directing the drone to hover, spin, or fly across the room with a simple wave of their hands. The drone is made from a lightweight, durable, and non-toxic material that will withstand numerous crashes, and the propellers are safely located inside. One charge via the included USB cable will provide 40 minutes of play.
One happy customer said, “This amazing toy is so cool I just ordered another one before I would write this review, I wanted to be sure we could get another one first!! It is with a dazzling metallic red finish, has the coolest drone sound and amazing lights that looks even more exciting in a semi dark room. There’s no need to chase it although the kids love to. Once you get used to it hovering you can relax. It will move around in interesting patterns with flashing lights and automatically avoids running or bumping into things!!! Yes, we highly recommend this wonderfully created toy.”
Cool Arts & Crafts
If your kid hasn’t already discovered slime, you’re in the minority. This kit has everything you need (including the stuff you didn’t know you needed) to have the slime of your life. With over 100 different slime variations possible, you and your little one can have hours of creative fun together. Included in the box is glue, unicorn beads, colored inks, scents, snow powder, stirring sticks, and more. There are also clear instructions and airtight containers to store the slime afterward.
One parent and reviewer said, “A complete kit for everything you need for DIY slime! We had a lot of fun with this. My daughter has been asking to make slime for a while and I had no idea how to do it. Look no further because this kit has everything you need and then some. Original Stationary has got you covered. This kit has the instruction manual, base mix, the containers and the cutest add ins to create custom unicorn slime. The directions were thorough and easy to follow. Everything is so cute! I think this would make a great gift for anyone wanting to make slime or someone who just loves crafting. I’m very happy with my purchase. We will definitely be purchasing more kits from them to try out.”
Take your kid’s refrigerator art to the next level. Spirograph Jr. (inspired by the original version you may remember from your childhood) lets them create colorful, spiraling artwork using large design wheels and pens. The carrying case doubles as a portable workstation, and it includes four design gears, a gear ring, five washable markers, a paper pad, and a guide book. Spirograph Jr. is designed for kids three years old and up, but for kids eight years old and older, there’s also the original Spirograph Design Set (with smaller design gears).
One reviewer said, “This is perfect for our 5yo. Our 7yo son had recently gotten the original Spirograph which wasn’t very hard for the rest of us to use but our 5yo had a difficult time keeping the gear teeth engaged (understandably frustrating him). This Junior version has the wider gear teeth making it easier for smaller hands that are still developing motor skills. It’s a nice size for everyday use but still compact enough to use on the go. The storage area keeps the gears and markers together with the base and the top snaps down on the paper to keep it in place. He has no trouble using this and is enjoying being able to use his Junior version while his older brother uses the original.”
For more great ways to entertain your kids, check out our other top toys for kids.