Gift Guide 2020: Top 10 Educational Gifts Both You & Your Kids Will Love
It’s that time of year, and this year is a little… different. This gift guide is conscious of the fact that the ways you would usually celebrate the holidays may just be out of bounds.
This year, we might need to really prioritize putting our budget towards homeschool and educational stuff.
We might need to downsize and minimize our belongings, to make room for more activities and more time to be spent at home.
We might need to be very intentional about what we bring into our homes and our lives.
Holiday Gift Ideas May Be The Last Thing On Your Mind
However this holiday season is coming upon you – whatever you’re experiencing… I’m holding space for you! I know it might be a really painful, difficult, or challenging time of year and maybe holiday gift ideas are the last thing on your mind.
But if, however, you have a little bit of headspace and budget for it, I’ve put together a list of my absolute favorite items that have truly “earned” their place in our lives and that I feel are worth the investment.
A Holiday Gift Guide Like No Other
This holiday gift guide has a wide range of $ – $$$.
Some are big-ticket items.
None of these are “musts” – remember, kids grow up best with access to nature, and they will always make their own games and fun!
Personally, when we’re investing in something big we sometimes make it count for a few birthdays, or birthday + holiday gifts combined. We have also asked grandparents and friends to contribute towards that one item instead of a few smaller toys. Or we save up for a while. (I’ve also hustled to get us Junkies *discount codes* wherever possible, so hopefully, that helps too.)
At the end, I’ve included some “almost-made-its” – some runners up, so that you can explore some additional ideas. I really hope this is helpful and hope to hear your favorite gift ideas in the comments below.
Affiliate Info & Amazon Gift Guide Links
I do not affiliate for most of these companies, I’ve noted so when I do. The Amazon gift guide links I’ve included allow me to earn a tiny commission if you use my link to buy. It won’t influence your price at all – but if for some reason you don’t want to support my work (sniff sniff 😢 ) you can just go directly to Amazon and find the product.
Without further ado, I bring you the…
2020 Gift Guide: Top 10 Educational Gifts Both You & Your Kids Will Love
Here we go, the ultimate gift guide listing the Top 10 Educational Gifts that have earned a place in our home, that I feel are worth the investment, and that both you and your kids will absolutely adore!
If you’re homeschooling this season (and beyond) and looking for the ultimate flexible, beautiful, and tireless resource for home education – check out Spielgaben.
There are so many homeschooling resources and curriculums out there but they are often limited to one subject area, age, or learning style. Rather than piecing together manipulatives and curriculum by age and subject – Spielgaben creates an all-in-one homeschool.
It’s basically an heirloom quality kit that’s ridiculously versatile – it consists of gorgeous manipulatives for endless open-ended play, numeracy, art, literacy, imaginative play, fine motor skills for all of my kids!
The set has really impressed me with its drool-worthy design.
I love that all the pieces (there are loads of tiny pieces, beware!) have a home in a high quality, wooden drawer system.
Even though this is officially an “educational tool” I believe most young kids – preschool age – would find this to be a really exciting gift too!
It’s definitely an investment, so consider if you’re planning to homeschool long term and if you’ll really have enough time at home for it to get played with. When we homeschool full time – we use the Spielgaben daily. When my kids are out in programs, it hardly gets touched.
HOW TO GET IT:
If this seems like the perfect holiday gift in your home, email email@example.com and mention The Parenting Junkie for the best price they currently offer! I’m not an affiliate and receive no money from your purchase at Spielgaben.
Friends, we’ve just received our Infento kit and have already spent hours working on it! In fact, I put all our toys into storage and turned our little playroom into a “garage” where my little mechanical engineers are at work.
They can’t quite build yet without full-on adult help because these kits and instructions are really high level and serve kids all the way from 6 to 14… but they’re learning a ton and I’m not sure who’s having more fun – my husband and me, or them.
Infento is a modular kit, like a life-size LEGO kit for mechanical engineers. Depending on the kit you purchase you can create everything from scooters, skateboards, trikes, balance bikes… and all the way to motorized GoKarts and Minibikes!
The genius is that rather than buying many ride-on toys separately and accumulating them over the years – you invest once in a kit and build, change and adjust as your child grows. It saves money and time because you don’t keep buying more and you don’t store a bunch of older ride-ons.
Plus, your child learns so much and feels the satisfaction of creating their own rides.
It also teaches delayed gratification and an appreciation of what truly goes into the manufacturing process. We have been working on my son’s Minibike for the past 5 days and we’re only halfway done! Waiting is hard – but such a valuable lesson and I believe he’ll enjoy the end result even more because of his personal investment in its creation.
Infento is a big investment and it does take up space and involve a lot of little pieces – so consider if this is something you have space and time for. If you do – you can start with a small kit for young ages, and buy add-ons (like an electric motor) as your child’s needs and abilities grow.
My husband and I have been truly blown away by the quality of the pieces – they’re beautifully made. We can tell that if we care for them well they will last forever.
If you’re part of a homeschool pod or even a school – this might be an incredible group-gift that you get together with others. Infento also offers educational kits that are designed for school settings!
HOW TO GET IT:
Receive 10% OFF any Kit by entering JunkieLove in the gift card field at checkout! (I’m not an affiliate and receive no money from your purchase at Infento.)
3. SENSORY SWINGS
You guys. Sensory Swings have changed our lives.
We were lucky enough to receive some hand-me-down sensory swings from a family member. They’re from FUN & FUNCTION, an occupational therapy products company for toys and tools for kids with special needs. The quality is unbeatable and it’s a great company.
I rushed to have a hook installed.
The beauty is that you can switch the swings out, or take them off altogether when you have guests or they’re in the way. We have about 4 swings and currently, that is way more than enough.
My favorite swing is the Raindrop Swing by Fun & Function* (Comes with a 360° Swivel – check out the discount code below.)
If you want to get a similar effect with less investment check out this cocoon swing, I honestly feel the quality of Fun And Function’s raindrop swing is worth the investment if you can swing it (sorry!) – we’ve had it for over 5 years of rough use and it looks brand new.
Here are some other swings that get a lot of use in our home:
And this is why we love our indoor swings. Whenever my kids are moody, they jump right on the swing and get some of their energy moving. We have a hook up in their bedroom too, so if they both want to swing they can each grab one.
HOW TO GET IT:
Download the FREE TPJ’s Guide to Indoor Swings for choosing and installing your very own sensory swing!
*Use code JunkieLove for 15% OFF any swing at Fun And Function! I am an affiliate and receive a small commission if you purchase at Fun & Function using these links and my code – thank you!
What I love about Osmo is that I truly feel that – contrary to what many apps and games claim – these are educational, fun, learning tools that my kids actually enjoy and that I feel totally guilt-free about them using.
Maybe it’s because it’s physical, in-real-life pieces that the kids are engaging with… maybe it’s just the smart, friendly design of the games themselves… something about it feels great to me.
HOW TO GET IT:
Start with the Genius kit (be sure to get it for the right type of device – iPad or Android.) This is totally enough and you don’t need to add anymore at this point, but you can slowly build your collection to add the Pizza, Detective, Drawing, Coding, Costumes and ABC…
5. BLIX BIKE
This is more of a gift for the whole family – and it’s not “strictly” educational although being out in nature is obviously amazing for us all… and you and your kids will absolutely love this. I have to be honest, I would never have been a candidate for a high-end electric bike in the past. I wouldn’t have thought of it as something that fits in with my lifestyle or needs. However when Blix reached out to me and asked to collab – I was so curious about this gorgeous bike and what it might do for my family.
Blix gifted me this bike – and I’ve been riding it with three kids in tow for the past four months – and it’s amazing. It’s not only beautiful, it’s comfortable, easy to use and takes us on loads of adventures. I try to use the lowest pedal assist so that I’m still getting some movement – however it has been a godsend to have the motorized feature when I need to push myself and three kids up a steep hill!
This is another big-ticket item that could be an incredible gift for the entire family… it will last for many years and take you on many adventures!
HOW TO GET IT:
Use code Junkie100 for the best discount and click here to get it! I am not an affiliate and receive no money if you purchase from Blix.
6. LCD WRITING TABLET
This $17 board is such a useful addition to our home! I always bring them in the car (one for each kid). They love drawing – and although we do plenty of messy art – I love this clean, easy option for times when mess isn’t appropriate – like car rides and bedtimes!
It’s also a fantastic tool for working on penmanship and lettering – because there’s no “pressure” to get it right – you’re obviously going to erase it anyway. I love that – you can draw, write, and draw again without the attachment or inhibition of making something “perfect” that lasts.
Before we resort to screens on long trips, these babies give us a long stretch of calm happy kiddos. They can play games like hangman and noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) without going through paper blocks like water…
HOW TO GET IT:
Grab the board from Amazon!
LEGO – a classic. Lego is amazing both as a STEM learning toy and as good old fun. My kids started really easing into it around 4 years old. Of course, Lego is a total choking hazard and really annoying to clear up which is why we love the Play-N-Go Play Storage Bag for LEGO!
HOW TO GET IT:
Choose from the never-ending list of LEGO kits from Amazon!
8. SUBSCRIPTION BOXES
I love the idea of subscription boxes especially if it rounds out your curriculum in a way that would be otherwise challenging. For example, I find it hard to teach science and expose my kids to science experiments in a meaningful way – so a subscription to Mel Science would “tick that box” for me, so to speak.
Kiwi Crate offers a wide range of engineering projects for little ones all the way through to elementary school ages.
Little Passports offers more of a robust geography curriculum…
I personally haven’t stuck consistently with any box – we try them out for a short time – because of the accumulating expense and “stuff”. However, if I were homeschooling full time without any additional programs, I probably would commit to one for a few months or a year.
My kids definitely love the fun of a new kit arriving and diving into it together. These kits are generally really well made, offer a wide variety of ways to engage with the materials – from stories to artistic projects, to experiments to accompanying videos to watch.
You could also offer them a digital subscription to courses like DIY which we have tested out for a month and enjoyed. In it, you’ll find courses on engineering with stuff you already have at home, LEGO courses, Minecraft courses, and many more.
HOW TO GET IT:
Subscription boxes are delivered to you monthly for as long as you subscribe. A few to check out are Mel Science , Kiwi Crate (clicking this link will give you 50% off your first order!) or Little Passports . I am not an affiliate and receive no commission if you subscribe.
9. BOARD GAMES
Board games seem to have fallen out of favor with the rise of digital games – but I’m still a huge fan. I wish we played them more often than we do, but whenever I do bust them out (primarily on our screen-free Sabbath days) – they’re always so much fun and an incredible learning experience.
Kids learn so many concepts like following a sequence of rules, basic maths, and also social skills through play – which is the best and most effective way to learn anything. Score.
Because I’m a bit uptight about order, I like to de-box the games and store them in these plastic containers. I keep all the boards in one separate pile. This is not for the faint of heart, lol!
Here are some of our favorite games:
HOW TO GET IT:
Pick out a few from the list of my faves in my Amazon Shop!
I think Audiobooks are amazing.
All children love stories and there is so much they can learn through narrative – escaping to far off places, learning from other people’s first-hand experiences, enriching their vocabulary, and so on. We listen to audiobooks on an old iPhone or on the Echo. And we get our books on Audible – for both children and adults.
This makes for an eco-friendly, budget-friendly gift that keeps on giving… kids will listen again and again to the stories – it helps on long drives, before bedtime (a nice screen-free option for entertainment), or even while they’re playing (my eldest – 9 – loves listening to audiobooks while playing LEGO… for hours).
My son is super-duper into “The Magic Treehouse” collection, which is wonderful.
HOW TO GET IT:
2020 GIFT GUIDE – RUNNERS UP!
Here are a few that almost made the gift guide top ten list.
- Wooden Marble Run
- Snap Circuits
- Steel Drum Instrument
- Real Tools
- Hammer & Nails Game
- Microscope Kit
- Geometric Shapes + Kinetic Sand
What’s on your child’s wish list this year? Is it also on your wish list for them, too?