Get crafty

Marbleocity Mini Skate Park

Marbleocity Mini Skate Park

$29.95 | 9 and up

Why we love it: It’s not every day you find a model-building toy that includes laser-cut birch wood parts, metal marbles and axles AND a graphic novel to guide you through assembly. Our 9-year-old tester was excited and engaged for the entire two-hour assembly, which included lessons in projectile motion and centripetal force. 

Of note: Key components of the structure require gluing, so a bit of a crafting mindset is required. 

Where to buyABC & Toy Zone (In-store only. Get it online at Fat Brain Toys.)


Light-Up Journal

Light-Up Journal 

$19.99 | 8 and up

Why we love it: Does your child need a new notebook or diary? Let him or her customize a brand new one with this kit, which also teaches kids how to create a simple electrical circuit that turns on a light. 

Of note: Our home tester, who didn’t read the directions closely at first, learned lessons in troubleshooting — and also had a ball decorating with the stickers, decorative pieces and markers. 

Where to buy: educationalinsights.com


Fashion Press

Fashion Press 

$34.99 | 3 and up

Why we love it: Our testers found this Fashion Plates set to be surprisingly fun, easy to use and full of options, including eight punch plates, 50 sheet pattern papers, five model sheets and a design guide (all with no tracing or cutting required). One mom said: “We loved this! She designed two different girls.”

Of note: Younger kids might need help punching out the shapes. 

Where to buy: ABC & Toy Zone


Dig It Up! Discoveries Fairies

$24.95 | 4 and up

Why we love it: Makers of this kit describe it as a “spellbinding” excavation activity — and that was absolutely true for five testers, age 2 to 7, who spent over an hour of our toy test engaged in unearthing magic fairies hidden in the eggs of this kit. Simply soak the eggs in water for three minutes, chisel away the clay and, viola, you have a variety of characters, all described in whimsical detail in the included booklet. We love the idea of using this set of 12 fairies for
a birthday-party activity. 

Of note: It’s messy, but definitely worth it. 

Where to buy: MindWare.com


Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

$22 | 6 and up

Why we love it: You can find DIY bath bomb tutorials online, but this gift set from Klutz offers all the things kids need to create fun shapes and colors, including five cute soap molds, glycerin, citric acid, strawberry-kiwi-scented oil, blue, red and yellow baking soda and a gorgeous 36-page instruction/inspiration book.

Where to buy: Kiddywampus


Spirograph Junior

Spirograph Junior

$24.95 | 3 and up

Why we love it: Testers age 2 and older enjoyed this preschooler spin on a classic toy, redesigned with jumbo-sized gears to make spiraling easier for smaller hands. 

Where to buy: ABC & Toy Zone


Find more gift ideas in our lists of toys, games and stocking stuffers!