With five kids to shop for, we’ve found some favorites over the years! These are not only toys that occupy most of the children, but they also stand up to ‘lots of love’. My favorite type of activity is one that requires minimal parent involvement and allows the kids to use their imagination. Many of these fit the bill, and a few require a little grown-up help but were too popular not to include. All links are affiliate, and if you click the image below, it will take you to each individual product.
1. Magic Science Eleanor got this for her 7th birthday and EVERYONE loved it. It takes some adult help to mix and follow directions, but the results are really fun and easy.
2. Sticker Puzzle Book Okay. Guys… here me now. GO BUY THIS BOOK. We had TEN children here for Thanksgiving and every child over the age of 4 spent hours doing these. Basically everyone who knew their numbers enjoyed filling in each of the lovely sticker pictures!
3. Liquid Motion Bubbler I have a small container of this sort of ‘fiddle’ toy in our playroom. They’re great for those moments when someone just needs to calm down a bit.
4. Butterflies If you live in a cold climate, you won’t receive your butterflies until spring, but when it warms up, you will get caterpillars in the mail and can watch them grown into butterflies! Oliver got some a couple years ago and we loved watching the butterflies grow.
5. Invisible Ink Pen Santa Clause gave our kids these pens last year, and they’re really simple and fun. The black light in the cap helps illuminate whatever has been written or drawn with the ‘invisible’ ink.
6. Make Your Own Marker Kit This was another birthday gift for Oliver and it totally works and is really cool! It definitely takes a steady hand and some adult supervision to keep it clean, but this kit lets you MAKE your own water soluble markers.
7. Busytown Board Game With smaller kids, it’s hard to find a good board game and this is one that works for everyone. Also… is there anything better than Richard Scary? I think not.
8. Magnetic Tiles I’ve included these in gift guides before, but they continue to entertain ALL five of the kids. Get more than you think you need and get ready for the kids to create and built. (Expert tip: these float so kids can build with them in the bathtub or a water table.)
9. How to Draw People For any budding artists, this sort of book is so fun. Your child will be thrilled to draw people in all sorts of fun settings from the step by step instructions in this book.
10. Gorilla Gym Truth tree: I don’t have this, but love the idea of it. For all I know it might destroy the door frame, but… the principal and idea of this is amazing. Also? I feel like it wouldn’t be in business if it destroyed your doors, but what do I know!
11. Pushpin Donut So this isn’t *really* for small kids, but it was WAY too cute not to include. For an older child with a desk… isn’t this an adorable way to store their thumbtacks?
12. Puzzle Ball Oliver has a smaller version of this and cannot put it down. Sometimes it’s super frustrating for him, but he has to learn to stay calm and slowly but surely work a small silver ball through the twists and turns of the track inside the clear ball.
13. Mosaic Stickers For a younger child, this is a fun way to make colorful mosaic pictures. Simple patterned stickers are easy to transfer and will definitely hold their attention for a while.
14. Fujifilm Camera For a generation of kids who have never seen pictures actually printed out, this is a kitschy way for them to shake their polaroid pictures. The film can add up so don’t let your kids run amok, but be prepared to enjoy the sweet snapshots your children take if they get this camera.
15. Handwriting Practice These were in storage and just recently unpacked, and Martha and Louisa have been carrying them around. With the enclosed magnetic pen, they can practice ‘writing’ by tracing each letter.
16. Giant Coloring Page A friend had these in her downstairs hallway and I ordered a couple to help keep the ten kids at bay over the holiday… everyone from the 3 year olds to the 7 year olds spent LOTS of great quiet time just sitting on the floor and slowly coloring in these giant coloring pages.
17. Kinetic Sand If you don’t know kinetic sand, you should! It’s fun. It’s sensory. Heck, this one has glitter! Imagine sand that sticks together but isn’t sticky or messy so it just magically sifts through your fingers but at the same time holds its shape.
18. Operation Throwing this one back, but this classic game is a favorite. Not appropriate for the young kids because of the smalle pieces obviously, but it’s great for the older kids to practice their fine motor skills and patience and perseverance! Operation is tricky!
19. Fort Magic I think I’ve mentioned this product before too. It’s pricey, but really good old fashioned creative fun. Long plastic rods or different shapes and lengths fit together to make shapes like child-sized rocket ships or cars. Our kids are adept enough to make things without the diagrams… we use thrift store scarves to enclose the fort and let imaginations run wild.
20. Air hockey Finally… who wouldn’t want a mini air hockey table? This was a birthday present for Oliver and everyone (parents included) has fun smacking around the floating puck!
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