April and I (Co-Directors of Power of Moms) have nine children between us, ages 7 through 14. Over the years, we’ve been able to figure out a lot about what toys and games are timeless, fun, and meaningful.
To help you think of great Christmas gifts for those on your list, we’ve worked together to create the following list of our very favorite toys, books, and games. We certainly don’t mean this to be the end-all, be-all list. It’s just a starter list of what we’ve really seen our children and families enjoy.
We’d love for you to add your own favorite items in the comments (if you have a link to the product on Amazon, please include that so everyone can find exactly what you’re talking about easily!). I know that most people don’t like to get clothes as a gift but these great socks find would be a great stocking stuffer you can buy bamboo socks online.
These no-battery-required, durable toys work for many ages and keep kids’ interest for years.
Wooden Blocks (Ages 2-15) I (April) grew up with a set like this, and my own children LOVE them. We’ve been using just one set for years, and now we’re ready to buy another. This becomes the landscape for Lego guys, Hot Wheels, and pretty much every kind of doll or toy!
Magformers (Ages 3-10) Saren discovered these at a children’s museum years ago and got them for her kids for Christmas one year – 10 years later, they’re still a favorite toy in her home! They are sturdy, have strong magnets, and fun for a variety of ages.
Lincoln Logs (Ages 3-10);Saren’s grandma had a set of these and she grew up playing with them. Her kids love building whole villages and hey’ll be something she’ll keep for the grandkids one day.
Legos (Ages 5-12) Kids will spend hours and hours enjoying making lego creations. The sets that build something specific are great but having a lot of general bricks is extra nice as kids can get more creative.
Snap Circuits (Ages 5-12) Kids learn all about how electricity works with scores of fun things they can build using this kit and the super-simple directions included. Saren’s older kids loved these when they were little and now love using the set to teach their younger siblings and do fun projects with them.
K’Nex (Ages 8-12) Saren’s kids have spent days working together to build serious roller coasters but have also enjoyed creating their own space ships and airplanes and buildings with this bucket of pieces they got many years ago. If you’ve got kids who enjoy engineering-type stuff, a big K’nex set can be super fun – and moms and dads and older siblings can have fun working with younger kids.
Quercetti Skyrail Mini Rail Rollercoaster (Ages 6+) These are AMAZING. April’s boys (and girls!) will build for hours with this set. Again, if you buy two, you can make a roller coaster that can span the entire living room. They are perfect for days when mom has lots of work to get done, and you’re looking for a creative way to keep the children occupied.
American Girl Dolls (Ages 3-12) These are expensive, but beloved by so many girls and are very, very well made. These dolls can be passed along to your grandchildren one day.
Madame Alexander Dolls (Ages 4-12) These dolls are a lot like like American Girl dolls but way less expensive. Saren’s daughter has several of these and has loved them. Their hair isn’t nearly as nice as the American Girl doll’s hair but other than that, they’re quite similar and can wear all the same clothes as American Girl dolls (as well as any 18-inch doll fashions).
Melissa and Doug Stuffed Animals (Saren’s twin boys love dogs and have enjoyed playing with stuffed-animal-versions of their favorite breeds for years. These are well-made, life-like stuffed animals.)
Imaginext: April’s boys, particularly have loved every Imaginext toy they’ve received. They are durable, brightly-colored, and they are the perfect sets to keep up in the closet and bring down just for “quiet time.”
Doll Stroller: In April’s family, doll strollers were some of the most beloved toys for years. Little blankets, bottles, and baby dolls, combined with a cute stroller led to HOURS of fun.
Fisher Price Little People: April’s children have built many huge Fisher Price communities over the years. They stow everything in the closet in a big container with a lid and every time they bring out the container, they’re a huge hit…especially with friends. (April even enjoys playing with them!)
Active Outdoor Play
Classic Tricyle (Ages 2-6) All Saren’s kids started off on tricycles like this – the very same type of tricycle she rode when she was their age.
Scuut Bike or Balance Bike (Ages 2-6) These weren’t on the market when Saren and April’s oldest were little so learning to ride a bike was quite a challenge for some of their older kids. Saren’s twins started off at 3 on one of these bikes and were riding a bike with pedals by the time they were four years old. These bikes are great!
Razor Scooters (Ages 5-16) Saren’s kids have been riding their razor scooters almost every day for years now, they learned to ride them even better with the best powered longboard guide. They make family walks more fun!
Roller Blades (Ages 8-grown up) Mastering the art of roller blading is so fun for kids. And parents can join in too! April LOVES roller blading. If you get the adjustable ones, they can last your children for years.
Skateboards and Rip Sticks (Ages 7-adult) Great for older kids; so fun for them to have something to work on and building skills brings so much self-confidence and fun.
Sports Balls (all ages) Playing catch or handball with a simple playground ball, dribbling a basketball, tossing a football, or playing some baseball makes for a great backyard or park activity any time. Having the right balls on hand helps keep kids active. April’s family has basketball or handball going on in their backyard pretty much every day.
Pogo Stick (ages 5-15) It’s fun to set a record and see how many jumps you can get in a row. The sound is a bit grating, but the process is SO fun!
National Geographic Kids Saren’s kids have loved getting National Geographic Kids in the mail every month for years. They’ve learned a lot about animals and different parts of the world.
Highlights Magazine This magazine offers great stories, crafts, activities and puzzles for kids ages 6-12.
These games are thoroughly enjoyed by parents and kids alike.
Jenga This gameworks great for a wide variety of ages and is super simple but always very fun!
Pass the Pigs (so simple, so fun for many ages)
Uno Somehow kids never tire of this game and it’s fun for all ages.
Monopoly This game can be so much fun and it doesn’t have to take forever…we just say, “Let’s divide up the properties and play for 20 minutes!”
Rummikub This one involves quite a bit of math and strategic thinking skills. Great for ages 8 and up.
Carrcassone This game involves building roads, towns, etc. Turns go quickly, involves skill and luck.
Life Saren’s kids have played this game SO many times. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Ticket to Ride This game involves building train tracks to assigned destinations – strategy, skill, and luck.
Table-top Ping Pong Set We don’t have a huge house, but we add this net to our dining room table, and voila! It’s a ping pong table!
Reverse Charades: Saren’s whole extended family loves playing this game together. They laugh so hard they’re in tears. And this is also a hit with Saren’s teenagers when they have a group of friends over. We’ve even had a great time playing this game at Power of Moms Retreats! It’s also available in app form.
For lots more ideas, check out the full list of what we recommend in our Amazon Store.
Power of Moms is an Amazon Affiliate, so if you click any of the links above and make a purchase, a portion of your sale will help support the work we do here at Power of Moms. Thanks SO much!
Jen G. says
Magformers (and Magnatiles) are our family’s favorite toy! You can’t break them, you can’t swallow them, they aren’t messy, they are creative, and kids can’t grow out of them. At least one of our kids (ages 4-12) has played with these every single day for the past two years!