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Homeschool.com's 2013 Gift Guide: Top Educational Gifts

 
The following have been selected as Homeschool.com's Top Educational Gifts for 2013. They have been chosen by Homeschool.com staff, and by our many Homeschool.com Product Testers. Thank you everyone for all of your input! When recommendations came with an explanation, we included the explanation as well—as we realize the more information you have, the better!
 
We've organized the toys by age group. But as you can imagine, sometimes gifts don't fall neatly into one category. A toy for 6-9 year olds, might be in the 3-8 year old category—but not in the 8-12 category—as we didn't want to duplicate our listings. So, depending on the ages of your children, you might want to look at the toys below and above your kids' age ranges, as well as the ones that are a perfect fit. But what fun that will be!
 
Many of the toys this year are green and come from companies that boast eco-friendly practices. We appreciate that.  Many of the toys are multiple toys in one, or are self-contained. We appreciate that too!  That's probably a theme this year—multi-use and self-contained.  And note—there is one sock monkey toy. We're going to include a different sock monkey toy each year—just for fun.  Last year, it was a Jack-in-the-Box—this  year?
 
Educational...age appropriate...and fun—our Gift Guide for 2013!

Ages 0-3   Ages 3-8   Ages 8-12   Teens   Moms & Dads   All Ages 

Ages 0-3

journeyBee
Ages 0-18 Months
Approx. $199
From ParentLab
Sold at ParentLab.com
 
The new journeyBee portable crib fills a need for parents (and grandparents) looking for a bit of flexibility in their life. Weighing just over 10 lbs., the journeyBee comes complete with a durable outer case, handles and comfy shoulder straps, for easy carrying. Plus, the washable and waterproof fabrics are easy to clean—a great plus. Accessories are available, as are several color options. Great for roadschooling, or keeping baby happy while helping his/her siblings with math. You can see a video of the product
here. ParentLab is offering a $30 off coupon to all Homeschool.com readers—coupon code homeschool. The coupon is available through Jan 1, 2014. 
 
Chill Bear
Ages 0-18 Months
Approx. $17
From Rich Frog
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
 
This 6" natural rubber teething toy is Phthalate & BPA-free, and is hand painted with natural dyes making each polar bear unique. The natural dye is non-toxic and baby friendly. This teether was designed to engage a baby's sense of sight, touch, hearing and taste. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 

Babyplay Tummy Time Activity Play Mat
Ages 0 and Up
Approx. $ 39
From Mamas & Papas
Sold at US.MamasandPapas.com
 
Tummy time helps to encourage babies to lift their heads, strengthening their neck, upper arm and chest muscles. Also, the play mat has many hidden features for your little ones to discover! Comes in a plastic carrying case. This is a very cute product! Actually, just about everything from this company is cute!
 


Skwinkle
Ages 3 Months and Up
Approx. $15
From Manhattan Toy
Sold at ManhattanToy.com
 
The soft plastic loop is easy to grasp and makes a soothing teether. The wooden beads travel along the loop for a fun and natural rattle. This toy engages baby's sense of sight, touch, hearing and taste.
 
Wimmer Ferguson Mind-Shapes
Ages 3 Months and Up
Approx. $24
From Manhattan Toy
Sold at ManhattanToy.com
 
Stimulate baby's senses! Vibrant colors, easy-to-grasp shapes, varied textures and fun sounds encourage baby to look, touch and listen. The blocks nurture early visual and multi-sensory learning.
 
Baby Snug
Ages 3 Months and Up
Approx. $ 79
From Mamas & Papas
Sold at US.MamasandPapas.com
 
This floor support seat adjusts as your baby grows. It offers stability with an extra wide base and it is ergonomically designed to provide back support and comfort. It's easy to wipe clean and lightweight making the baby chair perfect for when you're on the move inside or outside. The play tray includes 8 interactive features. This product comes in multiple color options. You can see a video of the product here.
 
Vermont Maple Wooden Baby Rattle
Ages 5 Months and Up
Approx. $25
Sold at BellaLunaToys.com
 
This rattle is constructed from a single piece of Vermont Rock Maple. The rings are carved from the same piece of wood as the rattle — not added separately! The super smooth finish is guaranteed not to break and to be splinter-free. With no lacquer or oil, the Vermont Maple Baby Rattle is an all-natural baby toy, perfectly safe for chewing and teething. Available with your choice of ribbon color: eco-friendly green grosgrain or organic unbleached cotton. NOTE:  Remove ribbon before giving rattle to infant.
 
K'NIT Squeak Easy
Ages 6-12 Months
Approx. $8 each
From Rich Frog
Sold at PlanetHappyToys.com
 
K'NIT Squeak Easies are perfectly safe for kids of all ages but are designed for children ages 6-12 months. At this age, sound is important to a child's growth and by this age children are able to grasp objects and put things into their mouths as a means to explore. Squeak Easies can be squeaked with little effort and stimulate young minds to learn the concept of cause-and-effect. K'NIT Squeak Easies are made of colorful 100% cotton yarns, and are machine-washable and dryer safe. You can choose from a wide selection of adorable animal designs.
 
Hide & Seek Beehive
Ages 6 Months-36 Months
Approx. $30
From Lakeshore Learning
Sold at LakeshoreLearning.com
 
Little ones enjoy a delightful game of hide-and-seek...with a soft, plush beehive that's buzzing with sensory fun! Designed to help children understand object permanence, this 8" hive includes 5 cute bees that jingle, rattle, crinkle & squeak. Children just flip open the hive to hide the bees inside, then pull them through the peekaboo door one by one. Machine-washable.
 
Ride-on Jumbo Activity Zebra
Ages 6 Months and Up
Approx. $100
From K's Kids
Sold at YoungExplorers.com
 
'Z' Is for a Zillion Activities! Ride-on Jumbo Activity Zebra engages tots with a world of discovery in a huggably huge, super soft, plush animal pal. With 28 different multisensory play activities—teethers, shapes, colors, textures, puzzle, mirror, beads, squeakers, rattles and more—this toy keeps baby busy investigating and exploring, while developing dexterity and motor skills.
 
Cornstarch Dumbell Rattle
Ages 6 Months and Up
Approx. $10
From Green Sprouts
Sold at EcoChoices.com
 
This rattle is made out of a cornstarch-based eco-friendly plastic. No synthetic or toxic materials. No PVC's (polyvinyl chloride). No Lead. No Phthalates. No BPA (bisphenol-A). It's biodegradable and compostable. The classic dumbbell shape is easy for gripping. But it is not dishwasher safe. Still....it's very appealing! Homeschool.com readers can save $5 off an order of $65 or more (before shipping) at EcoChoices.com. The code is: SAVE5.
 
Elephant Musical Stack & Play
Ages 6 Months and Up
Approx. $37
From Tiny Love
Sold at YoungExplorers.com
 
This is a cute playful pachyderm! The 2-in-1 Elephant Musical Stack & Play keeps the littlest explorers totally engaged. The ball tower has lots of soft-textured, brightly-colored pieces that babies can take apart...and put back together. The elephant giggles and speaks, lights go on and music plays. Comes with soft stacking rings, 4 balls, and lots of action. Encourages development of motor skills and teaches cause and effect. Includes 3 AA batteries.
 
Pure Nature's Pudgie Puppy
Ages 6 Months and Up
Approx. $20
Sold at HabaUSA.com
 
His name may be Pudgie but he's 100% ahhhh-dorable! Best of all Pudgie is washable since he's made of high quality cotton from controlled organic farming. Pudgie stands 7.5" tall (small, but perfect size for baby) and if you give him a squeeze, he squeaks with joy! And there's a musical Pudgie too! Use coupon code HOMESCHOOL10 for 10% off any purchase (before shipping) from HabaUSA. The coupon expires April 30, 2014.
 
Baby and Toddler Knee Pads
Ages 6 Months and Up
From lil' melon
Sold at lilmelon.com
 
These baby knee pads allow your baby to explore the world freely without being stopped by bumps and aches. They are soft, versatile and easy to wear, just like socks. The light but strong padding on the front gives your baby and toddler the protection they need while the soft, stretchable cotton fabric allows active movements without any discomfort. They perform excellent on hardwood floors, tiles, carpet and playgrounds.
 


Put & Peek Birdhouse
Ages 9 Months and Up
Approx. $33
From Manhattan Toy
Sold at ManhattanToy.com
 
Four colorful birds all have different textures, and the easy-open roof and door are perfect for tiny hands. Classic "fill-and-pour" play encourages development of motor skills and cause-effect understanding.
 
Surprise Inside Elephant
Ages 9 Months and Up
Approx. $25
From earlyears
Sold at International-Playthings.shptron.com
 
Many toys in one! The brightly colored elephant comes with two peanut pals in a cup for peek-a-boo play, a squeaking mouse, a ball, a baby elephant, and a flower mirror. All pieces are made of soft-sculpted fabric. Plus, there is a built-in handle for easy carrying. What a darling toy!
 
Stretch Puppy
Ages 10 Months and Up
Approx. $28
From ALEX
Sold at ALEXToys.com
 
Stretch the puppy and see his colorful body crinkle and grow. Squeak his soft nose and rattle his tail. Crinkle, rattle and squeak offer an opportunity for multiple sensory exploration.
 
Woodours Baby Activity and Teether Bear
Ages 1-3
Approx. $44
From Woodours
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Baby Bear has four corduroy pockets, each stuffed with a toy surprise inside: a squeaky fish, chirping bird, rattling squirrel and a teething cracker. Squeak and rattle away, then pair each toy with its color-coded pocket for a bonus matching game. The vintage style mix and match of colors, stitching, patterns and textures give Baby Bear a contemporary edge. A video of the product can be seen here

 
Wooden Stacking Toys
Ages 1-3
Approx. $43
From Tag Toys
Sold at Amazon
 
These toys teach size and color discrimination. They develop fine motor coordination, as children exercise their grasping, fitting and stacking skills. A favorite of Homeschool.com reader Christine. She writes, "These toys are beautiful—they're a work of art!"
 


First Friends Train Set
Ages 1-5
Approx. $80
From Tolo and Reeves International
Sold at ReevesIntl.com
 
This toy includes 10 pieces of train track which forms an oval shape. The train flashes its headlight, toots its horn and chugs around the track! Comes with First Friends Train Driver. This toy is great for hand-eye coordination, and imaginative play. Requires 3 AAA batteries, and the batteries are included. Homeschool.com reader Liz writes, "This is a darling product. Both my son and my daughter love it!" You can see a video of Tolo toys here, including the train set. Isn't the purple car darling?
 
Tickle Monster Laughter Kit
Written by Josie Bissett, Published by Compendium, Inc.
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $35
Sold at Live-Inspired.com
 
What do little ones love more than just about anything? Being Tickled! And that's what the Tickle Monster Laughter Kit is all about. The Tickle Monster book is about a loveable monster with big puffy mitts that has just flown in from Planet Tickle. His mission is to bring joy and laughter to Planet Earth. How? By tickling any child who happens to follow along with this book. Parents read aloud and do the tickling. Finger holes in the mitts make it easy to turn the pages and to tickle. A video of the product can be seen here. Note the packaging—it's beautiful. If you find this set interesting (and why wouldn't you)—the author also has a Boogie Monster Dance Kit (later in the guide). Homeschool.com reader Chanel writes, "This is by far one of the cutest toys I have EVER seen!" We like it so much at Homeschool.com that it's a repeat from last year's list!
 
30 Piece Chubbies Bucket Set
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $45
From Viking Toys
Sold at International-Playthings.shptron.com
 
This reusable bucket with handle and lid includes an assortment of 2¾" vehicles. Vehicles include planes, cars, trucks and boats in assorted colors. Chubbies are made from soft, pliable plastic, and are durable enough for indoor or outdoor use—a perfect toy to spark open-ended play. A bucket of 4" vehicles is also available.
 

Organic Slumber Sling
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $22
From AshandAlysBabes.com
Sold at Ash
 
The Slumber Sling relieves neck strain for sleepy toddlers riding along for nap-time car rides and lengthy road trips. Designed to provide comfort and support without restricting movement, the Slumber Sling can be used with any convertible or toddler car seat. Not a great gift per se—but a great idea!
 

Xylophone Box
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $32
From P'kolino
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
A fantastically fun intro to music! This playful melody maker develops an early interest in music while teaching shape & color recognition. As individual pieces, these colorful blocks allow children to arrange and rearrange to create their very own melodies. When the music is done, your kids can nest the blocks together for a quick and easy clean up. or stack them for an attractive display. Made from sustainable rubber wood and metal with a non-toxic water based finish. A video of the product can be seen here.

Color Wheels
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $20
From Discovery Toys
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
This is a unique "fold and stack" wooden pull-along toy. It includes 12 wheels which reinforce the "color wheel" and teach primary, secondary and complementary colors. The foldable design can easily lift and transform into a variety of fun configurations. A video of the toy can be seen here.

 


 
 
Max Ville Activity Cube
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $100
From ALEX Toys
Sold at AlexToys.com
 
Take your little one's learning and early development to the MAX with the Max Ville Activity Cube. This 5-sided wooden activity block features many interactive elements, including curvy wire mazes to explore, gears to twist and turn, a mirror to stare into, and mix and match features and sliders to grasp. The activity cube sits on a swivel base—how nice!
 

Soft Dolls
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $25
From North American Bear
Sold at HunkyDoryOnline.com
 
These are such cute babies! They are the perfect size (15 ") for little ones to hug. They come in baby dolls, little boy and little girl dolls, and in different ethnicities. These dolls encourage creative and loving play!
 


Pets Black & White Puzzle
Ages 18 Months-5 Years
Approx. $9
From BigJigs Toys Ltd.
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
  
When playing with this puzzle, children concentrate on the images and shapes rather than the distraction of many colors. Once they have confidently mastered the Black & White Puzzle, moving onto more complicated puzzles with more colors and patterns is easier. Playing with puzzles gives manual hand dexterity practice and teaches matching, and shape skills. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 
To the Rescue Meal Time Fun
Ages 18 Months and Up
Approx. $22 per set
From Young Explorers
Sold at YoungExplorers.com
 
Dinnertime Emergency! To the Rescue Meal Time Fun Sets make eating fun. Each set includes a compartmented tray and easy-to-grip fork and spoon. The durable, BPA-free melamine is dishwasher-safe. Great for your little ones!
 
Rolling Snail Sorter and Rolling Turtle Spinner
Ages 18 Months and Up
Approx. $30
From BeginAgain
Sold at EcoChoices.com
 
These toddler activity toys challenge young minds while entertaining and delighting. As the snail is pulled, the drum spins, tumbling the colorful blocks inside. As the child's curiosity grows the child discovers that the blocks fit inside the holes. As the Turtle is pulled, the colorful stacking discs on top of the toy, spin. The discs can be removed and reassembled in a myriad of ways - but only one will create the turtle's domed shell. Homeschool.com readers can save $5 off an order of $65 or more (before shipping) at EcoChoices.com. The code is: SAVE5
 


Parents Little Fix It It
Ages 18 Months and Up
Approx. $30
From Manhattan Toy
Sold at ManhattanToy.com
 
Ready to help fix, this sturdy nylon tool bag with Velcro-like closure opens to reveal the tools of the trade — a wood saw, a hammer, level and a soft ruler. These classic wooden tools store neatly inside the bag. This is a charming role-play toy, great for any little fixer in your family.
 
Recycling Truck
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $18
From Green Toys
Sold at GreenToys.com
 
Sort bottles, cans, and paper or just have a blast! Your eco- conscious little one will learn recycling basics while playing with this truck. Tough and durable, this recycling truck is made from 100% recycled milk jugs. A video of the product can be seen here. Homeschool.com reader Lynette writes, "I know this toy has made your list before, but please consider including it again."
 
All About Me! Personalized Photo Book
Ages 1 and Up
Approx. $20
Sold at LakeshoreLearning.com
 
With familiar images of all their favorite people, tots will love to explore this cute photo book...again and again! The soft-sewn book holds up to nine 4" x 6" photos...and comes complete with labels to identify Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and more. Personalized 8" album has your child's name on the cover...plus the soft, extra-thick pages are super-easy for tots to turn! What a sweet present!
 
BIT Toddler Bike
Ages 18 Months and Up
Approx. $150
From Glodos
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
BIT features wide wheels that help keep balance and stability, while the ergonomic handlebars are integrated into the chassis to ensure a good driving position. The handlebars become a convenient carrying grip as well as a hanger in small spaces. When not in use, you can store the BIT in its practical carrying bag to take on the go! Comes in green (pictured) or in orange. A video of the product can be seen here

 
Mini Suzette Fox Doll and Knitted Sox Doll
Ages 18 Months and Up
Approx. $44 each
From Blabla
Sold at GeniusJones.com
 
Too cute for words! Charming and whimsical, and made from 100% hand knit cotton. Other animal and size options are available. Great for open-ended play.
 
Patchwork Family Nest & Stack Tower
18 Months and Up
Approx. $20
Sold at Montessori-n-Such.com
 
This patchwork family features whimsical, colorful illustrated lightweight but sturdy blocks that can be stacked to combine fun family motifs on each of the four sides including mom, dad, girl and boy. The tower helps children with size discrimination, small motor control and is great for developing observational skills.
 

My First Play World - Fire Brigade Large Play Set
18 Months and Up
Approx. $50
From Haba
Sold at HabaUSA.com
 
Such a cute toy! The fire brigade leaves endless room for the imagination and fosters a child's language skills through play. The wooden play set includes 2 firefighters, 1 fire engine, 1 cord as water hose, 1 cat, 1 tree, 1 ladder, 1 fire hydrant, and more. When play is done, this convenient set folds up into a carrying case for easy storage! Use coupon code HOMESCHOOL10 for 10% off any purchase (before shipping), expires April 30, 2014.

ABC Tricycle with Tipper Bin
18-36 Months
Approx. $104
From Italtrike
Sold at KidsWheels.com
 
The ABC Tricycle uses primary colors and streamline design to appeal to smaller children (and their parents). Molded, tubular construction. Cute, cute cute!
 

My First Washable 3-in-1 Art Desk
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $29
From Crayola
Sold at CrayolaStore.com
 
Supply your little artists with three great ways to create using color. This toddler-friendly art station secures paper for drawing – or kids can doodle right on the wipe-clean surface with the included easy-grip triangular crayons. Flip the surface over and use the water wand. Hours of fun for kids – and mess-free peace of mind for grownups. You can see a video of the product
here.
 
Night Owl Puzzle
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $13
From Discovery Toys, LLC
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
Is this owl asleep or awake? This unique wooden puzzle with two-sided symmetrical pieces offers numerous color combinations—and the different possibilities spark the imagination. This puzzle strengthens fine motor skills, helps develop hand-eye coordination, and encourages the development of early critical thinking and problem solving skills.
 


Play-Doh Ultimate Rainbow Pack
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $ 10
From Hasbro
Sold at Amazon.com
 
This box of Play-Doh compound comes in a rainbow of colors—including five shades of purple! Homeschool.com reader Angela writes, "My kids and I both love Play-Doh. It's a wonderful toy for sparking creativity."
 
Kids Raptor Hoodie
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $22
From ComputerGear
Sold at YoungExplorers.com
 
This hoodie has a ferocious secret! At first glance, a simple raptor adorns the front, but when kids fold their arms, giant jaws of a predator take over! Plus, there's a raptor face on the back. Made of 100% polyester, and comes in sizes: 2T, 4T, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14. Machine washable. Homeschool.com reader Melissa writes, "This is my son's favorite hoodie. Not a toy per se, but it's an everyday dress-up garment. This article of clothing lets him be ferocious!"
 
Place & Trace
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $18
From Discovery Toys, LLC
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
This toy is SO versatile—and it grows with your child. It's multifunction for endless creative fun! You can see a video of the toy
here.
 
Green Toys Rocket
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $25
From Green Toys™
Sold at GreenToys.com
 
Made in the U.S.A. from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this spacecraft takes off in search of other planets while still taking care of this one. The fully equipped, 2-in-1 set includes a detachable top capsule and two astronauts that sport molded spacesuits, helmets, and dual-tank backpacks. Powered by a main booster and three auxiliary boosters, the rocket has a large door that flips down to double as a set of steps up into the main cavity, while the detachable nose cone capsule has its own door that opens to reveal buttons, dials, and more. No BPA, phthalates, PVC or external coatings, and also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Packaged with recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. Homeschool.com reader Claire writes, "I really appreciate this line of toys, and this particular toy is one of their cutest. I also really like their
seaplane (approx. $20), ferry boat (approx. $25), submarine (approx. $15), and tractor (approx. $20)."
 
Jane Goodall Gorilla
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $25
Sold at EcoChoices.com
 
This cuddly gorilla is made from natural cotton that has been untreated, unprocessed, and unbleached and colored with a PureWaterWashTM process using only plants and minerals, making this toy a safe alternative to toys made with environmentally damaging processes.  A part of the proceeds from each toy go to the Jane Goodall Institute, founded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.  An elephant and a lion are also available. Homeschool.com readers can save $5 off an order of $65 or more (before shipping) at EcoChoices.com. The code is: SAVE5.
 
Caterpillar Shape Sorter
Ages 2 and Up
Approx. $17
From Discovery Toys, LLC
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
A versatile open-ended wooden puzzle with countless opportunities for pre-math exploration. Strengthens small motor dexterity, builds hand-eye coordination, and develops early critical thinking and problem solving skills.
 

Ages 3-8

3-D Science Viewer
Ages 3-7
Approx. $15
From Lakeshore Learning
Sold at LakeshoreLearning.com
 
An update of a toy you might have played with when you were young, kids can now see animals up close and in 3-D! The kid-sized viewer comes packed with amazingly lifelike photos and is super-easy for little ones to use: children just slide a disc in...then pull the lever to switch from one photo to the next! Rugged 4 1/2" plastic viewer comes with 35 photos on 5 discs. Choose Animals, Sea Life, Bird, Insects and Spiders, or Life Cycles, or purchase the entire set for $69.99. This toy encourages a love of nature and a love of science.
 
Playskool Showcam 2-in-1
Digital Camera and Projector
Ages 3-7
Approx. $ 60
From Playskool/Hasbro
Sold at HasbroToyShop.com
 
This toy gives your kids a way to add fun animations, stories and sounds to the pictures they take with the Showcam Digital Camera and Projector. There are more than 50 silly effects to choose from. With the flip of a switch they can project their pictures too. The buttons, controls and grips are all kid-sized for easy use, and the editing functions are built in so they don't need software. It's easy to save, print and email pictures provided you have a USB cable. This toy encourages creativity. This toy requires 4 AA batteries that are not included. A video of the toy can be seen
here.
 

Boogie Monster Dancing Kit
Written by Josie Bissett, Published by Compendium, Inc.
Ages 3 - 8
Approx. $40
Sold at Live-Inspired.com
 
This complete dance kit includes one Boogie Monster book, one pair of Boogie Leggings, and one full-length Boogie Monster Boogie music CD by Recess Monkey. Everything is packaged in a colorful reusable box with a magnetic closure. It's VERY cute. and it makes a great gift.
Preview the CD. This product is very similar to The Tickle Monster kit (same author, same company) mentioned previously in this guide.
 
I Love Monkey Discovery Kit
Written by Suzanne Kaufman, Published by Compendium, Inc.
Ages 3 - 8
Approx. $35
Sold at Live-Inspired.com
 
The I Love Monkey Discovery Kit contains everything you need to share Monkey's message of love and encouragement with a child. Kids like to hold Monkey in their arms and read along with parents. Parents appreciate the encouraging message they get to share with their kids: "Every child is unique, and the most wonderful thing of all is just being yourself." And it's all in a self-contained box. It's very present(y). You can watch a video of the product
here.
 
Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set
Ages 3-10
Approx. $50
From Learning Resources
Sold at LearningResources.com
 
A giant tub of colorful, spinning gears sets young imaginations in motion. Encourages kids to imagine and build creatures, towers and more; open-ended components mean there's no wrong way to build. Comes in a sturdy storage tub, making clean-up easy
 
Clifford Bubble Science
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $20
Sold at TheYoungScientistsClub.com
 
This fun kit guides young scientists through experiments such as oil and water, water bubbles, jumping pepper, gliding boat, bubble sculptures, big bubbles, mini bubbles, funnel bubbles, colored bubbles, bubble prints, bubble blow art, pipe cleaner bubbles, and carbon dioxide bubbles. There are rainbow and kitchen science kits too. You can see videos of all the Clifford science kits
here. Homeschool.com reader Merri writes, "Everyone likes bubbles, and this is a fun way to get your little ones excited about science."
 
Long Sleeve Artist Apron
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $19
From ALEX Toys
Sold at ALEXToys.com
 
When big coverage is needed to prevent little (and big) messes, the Long Artist Apron is the perfect fit. This is a long-sleeved, clear vinyl apron with Velcro closure, 3 front pockets and Velcro cuffs. Combine this with eco-friendly art supplies for a wonderful gift.
 
Hop & Squeak Pogo Jumper
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $15
From Kidoozie
Sold at International-Playthings.shptron.com
 
This toy is made from soft, durable foam with a stretchy bungee to accommodates any height. A built-in squeaker squeaks with every hop! This toys is great for indoor and outdoor play. You can see a video of the product
here.
 


Prehistoric Anamalz
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $13 Each Figure
From Anamalz
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
Anamalz are made from wood that comes from plantation forests with child-friendly paint, azo-free dye and formaldehyde-free glue and minimal packaging. Even the waste wood is used on a farm to grow mushrooms! Anamalz horns and antlers use arboform, an eco-friendly alternative to plastic made from injection molded wood. You can see a video of the product
here. PLAY ON LINE: All anamalz come with a unique code to enter the "anamalz world". Proud anamalz owners can become part of the anamalz community where they can animate their anamalz, e-mail their own animation to friends, download desktop wallpaper, avatars, birth certificates, share on social networks, play games, and more. Homeschool.com reader Elise writes, "A wooden, eco-friendly toy that combines online fun—GENIUS!"
 
Auto Play Center and Auto Play Vehicle Set
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $100 for the Play Center and approx. $38 for the vehicles
Sold at EarthFriendlyTots.com
 
Four stories of imaginary fun including a full-service garage with a mini market, car wash, gas pumps and elevator service to each floor. Large, open areas provide easy play access for several children at once. You can use your cars or the set pictured. Solid hardwood construction—this toy comes completely assembled.
Homeschool.com staffer Ann loves this set!
 


Box Creations
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $30
From Box Creations
Sold at BoxCreations.com
 
SO many cardboard playhouses to choose from—including this pirate ship. Large enough to accommodate 2-3 children, this ship includes printed line work – your kids can make it their very own customized ship. This toy encourages artistic and creative play, and provides HOURS of fun!
 
Zoobie Very Hungry Caterpillar
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $35
From
Zoobies® and the World of Eric Carle™
Sold at HonkyDoryOnline.com
 

This limited edition plush character folds into a pillow with a butterfly print blanket zipped inside. Pair it with the book—for a wonderfully fun combo! Encourages creative play, reading.....and maybe even napping!
 



Wooden Magnetic Fishing Pole
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $25
Sold at BellaLunaToys.com
 
This wooden toy fishing pole is not only lots of fun, but also helps kids develop eye-hand coordination and helps with color recognition. The red wooden bobber houses a magnet which allows it to "catch" the magnets in the six included fish. The fishing pole measures approximately 2 feet long. This is a charming toy!
 
Coloringwalls
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $15 & $20 (this INCLUDES the shipping & handling)
From Coloringwalls
Sold at Coloringwalls.com
 
Coloringwalls are large coloring "pages" that are printed on white paper.  They can be taped on your wall or used on a large table or even on the floor.  Coloringwalls provide hours of coloring fun for one or for a group.   Blank spaces left on the posters encourage children to add their own artwork.
 
 
The artist offers a great variety with different themes, including animals, locations, seek & find, and more. Coloringwalls are available in two sizes—1' x 4' & 2' x 8'. This is a repeat item from last year—as we like the idea so much!
Hobby Horse
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $35
From Mamas & Papas
Sold at US.MamasandPapas.com
 
This toy helps to enhance your child's development through sound, exercise, balance, fine motor skills and imagination. It's a very charming old fashioned toy—with a new-fangled twist—your child can press the horse's ear to hear it neigh!
 

Sushi Slicing Box
Ages 3 and Up 
Approx. $20
From Melissa & Doug
Sold at FineWoodenToys.com
 
This new slicing sushi set made us smile—what will they think of next! This wooden play food set includes over 20 wooden pieces for lots of sushi-slicing fun and pretend play! The toy includes sushi rolls that are held together with hook-and-loop closures and can be sliced with the included wooden knife. Also includes chopsticks, a dish of soy sauce, shrimp, tuna, salmon, egg, ginger slices and wasabi. The compartmentalized wooden tray is perfect for organizing and storing the set. Colored with non-toxic, child-safe paints. Great for imaginative play, and it teaches healthy eating!
 
Car Transporter and Helicopter
Ages 3 and Up
$15 and $18
From Plan Toys
Sold at PlanetHappyToys.com
 
An 8-wheeler hauling two cars— great for individual, or group play, OR a classic helicopter with pilot. 100% wood and very cute!
 


Royal Court Castle Finger Puppet Theater
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $20
From Manhattan Toy
Sold at ManhattanToy.com
 
What a darling toy for just $20! This multi-scene finger puppet theater includes four framing scenes and three double-sided finger puppet characters. The theater and finger puppets are made from sturdy board stock. The finger puppets feature elastic bands for easy attachment to fingers. The castle shaped theater features a spiral connector at the top for easy scene changing. It's VERY cute! Great for imaginative play. Homeschool.com staffer Ann loves it!
 
Eco-Dolls
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $33 each
From Green Pals
Sold at EcoChoices.com
 
These are 12-inch dolls made of Oeko-Tex 100 certified organic cotton, and they meet ATSM, CPSIA and EN71 standards. They have detailed, embroidered faces and removable clothing, and other doll options are available. All provide high play value. Plus, Homeschool.com readers can save $5 off an order of $65 or more (before shipping) from EcoChoices.com. The code is: SAVE5.
 

Dollhouse Motor Home
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $100
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Boys and girls will be ready to hit the road with this fully equipped hardwood mobile home. The playhouse on wheels comes with homey moveable amenities including a bunk bed, dressing stand with mirror, shower, ladder, stove, washer— even a garden setting! Great fun—and hours of imaginative play.
 
Honeybake Baking Set
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $90
From Le Toy Van
Sold at WoodenHorseToys.com
 
Made entirely from wood and painted with toxin free paint and varnish, this retro set includes a food mixer with rotating whisk, mixing bowl, a rolling pin, knife, apron, teacakes with interchangeable toppings, a slice-able Velcro Swiss roll cake, baking tray and cake stand. How cute! If you'd like a pink, and less expensive version of this toy, try Lakeshore Learning's Classic Wooden Tea Set for just $29.99. It includes 25 wooden pieces.
 

Jr. Size Ramp Racer
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $23
From Maxim
Sold at EarthFriendlyTots.com
 
It's a little version of a big favorite! In this classic rolling ramp toy, cars race down the four slightly curved ramps, dropping down and over in a continuous motion until they reach the bottom and roll out. Includes four colored racing cars. This toy is made of sustainable rubberwood from renewable forests, and colored with water-based stains that won't chip. The All EverEarth packaging is printed on recycled corrugate using soy ink. This toy teaches cause and effect—and physics!!
 
Beach Gear and Pretend & Play Fishing
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $12 for the beach gear & $26 for the fishing kit
From Toysmith Group and Learning Resources
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun
 
Why summer items in the Holiday Gift Guide? Because roadschoolers, and homeschoolers in general, have the flexibility to travel in the off season! The beach gear set includes: a 5" watering can, a 9.5" shovel/sieve, a 9.5" spade, a 9.5" rake, (2) 5.5" sand molds, a 5" tall bucket with a handle, and a 6.5" diameter sieve. There is a see-thru zippered case for storage. The fishing toy contains: (3) fish, (3) worms, (1) fishing pole with working reel, (1) fish net, (1) write-on/wipe-off activity guide, and a tackle box. The fish have magnets that allow them to connect to the hooks. Both provide hours of fun—as well as opportunities for teaching moments and learning experiences. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupons.


Look and See Scopes
Age 3 and Up
Approx. $20
From Lakeshore Learning
Sold at LakeshoreLearning.com
 
Kids discover the wonders of color, light and magnification with these viewers. The set includes 5 sturdy wooden viewers that children can look through—again & again! Includes 1 magnifier, 1 prism and 3 color viewers. Viewers are 1 3/4" tall.
 
Dado Planks
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $45
From Fat Brain Toy Co.
Sold at FatBrainToy.com
 
High quality plastic building planks feature precise notches so your kids' fine motor and logic skills get to run wild. Fit them into one another or slide a solid plank in the mix. Connect and interlock on a whim or carefully plan ahead. Either way, your kids can build configurations that are surprising and well beyond ordinary. The set includes 106 pieces—55 notched and 51 standard planks..

Doodle Magic Lap Desk
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $25
From Crayola
Sold at CrayolaStore.com
 
Your kids can enjoy hours of coloring, drawing and writing fun, wherever their laps happen to take them! This toy comes with 4 doodle markers: purple, yellow, green and orange, an eraser, and a wipe cloth. It's ideal for developing fine motor skills and encouraging kids' creativity. You can see a video of the product here.
 
Wildlife Rescue Sorting Truck
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $20
From Melissa & Doug
Sold at WoodenHorseToys.com
 
Animal rescue rangers to the rescue! With this rugged safari truck, two cheerful people are ready to zoom across the savannah to help their animal friends. The alligator, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and lion fit into the truck's sides through die-cut slots. Teaches sorting.....and stewardship.
 
Soy Crayons
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $6
From Prang
Sold at LiveGreene.com
 
This box contains 64 assorted color crayons—all made from renewable soybeans. This formulation makes crayons brighter and smoother than ordinary wax crayons. The crisp, true colors offer excellent blendability and color purity. Homeschool.com reader Karen writes, "Toys that further creativity are the best kind - art supplies are a necessity."
 
Gourmet Grill
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $120
From Hape
Sold at WoodenHorseToys.com
 
Realistic-looking BBQ grill has an opening hood. Slide out the grill surface to reveal "hot", glowing coals below. Flip it back in and start using the "electric" burner and grill. Quality crafted from Baltic Birch plywood - some easy assembly is required. Durable child safe paint finish and solid wood construction. Encourages role-play and imaginative play. You can see a video of the toy here
.
 
Car BoxSet
Ages 3 and Up
Approx. $50
From Diggin
Sold at PlanetHappyToys.com
 
This unique, quality wooden playset is beautifully designed, portable and easy to store. Just open, build and play! When it's time to clean up, everything fits neatly into the portable wooden storage case. It comes with 3 vehicles, vehicle tracks and a wooden storage box. Other BoxSets are available—including a dollhouse, airport and a castle. A video of the dollhouse can be seen here. Homeschool.com reader Lori writes, "My kids love these toys, and I love that there is no clean-up—everything fits into the storage case."
 
Multi-Sport Floor Puzzle
Ages 4-7
Approx. $14
From Juratoys
Sold at Amazon.com
 
A giant 39 piece puzzle depicting sports and fun of all kinds. Comes with a handled storage box. Assembled size is approx. 21" x 45.5". The picture doesn't do this puzzle justice. It's a great puzzle for girls and boys—with a little something for any sports enthusiast!


Fizzy Foamy Science
Ages 4-9
Approx. $14
From Scientific Explorer
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Fizzy Foamy Science uses safe, common ingredients - like citric acid, baking powder, yeast, and tub tints - to create and investigate surprising chemical reactions. Designed in collaboration with UC Berkeley, this kit teaches about acids, liquids, and basic chemistry.
 
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet
Ages 4-9
Approx. $150
From LeapFrog
Sold at Amazon.com
 
7-Inch hi-res screen and Wi-Fi with kid-safe Web. LeapPad Ultra offers extra parental settings to easily control exactly what experiences a child can access. Includes 11 apps (onboard and downloadable): Photo Fun Ultra, Art Studio Ultra, Pet Pad Party, Utility Suite, Pet Chat and more. Features 8 GB of on-board memory which holds up to 40,000 photos or 140 Game Apps, built-in rechargeable battery, front-and-back cameras and more. Homeschool.com reader Dawn writes, "My five year old received this for her birthday a few days ago and absolutely loves it and so do I... my 11yo and 8yo like it too." You can see a video of the product here.
 
The Pirate & His Treasure
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $16
From Djeco
Sold at WoodenHorseToys.com
 
This 36 piece puzzle features a lively pirate scene and comes in a unique shaped character box. The finished puzzle measures approximately 16" x 12". Not sure what we like more—the puzzle or the box! Combined, they make a darling toy!

Classics Country Stable with Wash Stall
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $40 for the Stable, Approx. $20 for the Classics Horse
From Breyer
Sold at BreyerHorses.com
 
1:12 scale. This toy includes two roomy stalls with doors that open and close, four fencing sections that create an attached paddock behind the barn, a roof that swings open on either side for additional access to the stalls, and more. All Classics items are coordinated in blue—and are very attractive. You can see a video of the stable
here. The Classics Horse Cruiser can be seen here. To learn about Classics horses, click here. This toy provides hours of imaginative play.
 

Tub of Fun
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $12
From Crayola
Sold at CrayolaStore.com
 
Crayola Tub of Fun includes an array of art and craft items for endless creations and hours of fun! This all-in-one container provides over 50 different items (contents may vary) in a clear durable container that provides storage and makes clean up easy.
 

Fairy Birds Book, Wings, and Accessories
Ages 4 and Up
Book-Approx. $17, Wings-Approx. $28, Accessories-$10 and Up
From Fairy Birds
Sold at FairyBirds.com
 
In the book Fairy Birds: Fairy Godmothers in Training, the Fairy Birds go on a soaring adventure to grow their first colorful feather, the pink "Givie" feather, which they grow as they give to others. This book encourages your children to give of themselves, so they can earn/wear their wings. Wings and hair accessories are available too. You can see a video of the product here.
 


Crazy Horse Truck and Trailer
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $30
From Breyer
Sold at BreyerHorses.com
 
1:32 scale (much smaller than the Classics items above). Three horses can ride in style in the gooseneck trailer, with plenty of room for their food and gear. The hinged roof panel allows easy access to the inside. The matching pick-up truck features doors that open and close, a drop-down tailgate, and rolling wheels. The coordinating and cute Pink Pocket Barn , and Mystery Foal Surprise—are just the right size! Everything Crazy Horse is the same scale, and is coordinated in pink.
 
Viking Twin Trike Taxi
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $369
From Winther
Sold at KidsWheels.com
 
This is a very functional twin seat ride-on toy. Homeschool.com staffer Ann LOVES a taxi tricycle. "My son had one and it gave him such confidence! He could ride his friends around and everyone wanted a ride."
 
First Friends Polar Range - Polar Iceberg Set
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $80
From Tolo and Reeves International
Sold at ReevesIntl.com
 
Four slippery icebergs combine for a fantastic first construction experience. Put ice pieces together to create an icy tunnel or use the extra rocky cap to join two pieces into a taller ice mountain. Use the icy slide and the two caves for limitless hiding and sliding, climbing and rescuing. Fun is everywhere you look! The First Friends Polar Iceberg Set is terrific for encouraging imaginative play—and for teaching about the world too. Enjoy alone or with other accessories from the First Friends Polar Range Toy Collection. A video of the toy can be seen here. Homeschool.com reader Alicia writes, "I LOVE this toy!"
 
Art Box
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $73
From ALEX Toys
Sold at ALEXToys.com
 
The classic wooden case has a fold up easel on top, two drawers, and two fold out trays packed full of color! The box also contains: 32 fine tip markers, 28 colored pencils, 4 oil pastels, 12 water colors, a water bottle, 2 drawing pencils, a ruler, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, a fold-out drawing board, and 2 easel clips. This item is self-contained and easy to put away! And of course, it encourages artistic fun!
Baseball Guys
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $25
From Kaskey Kids
Sold at KaskeyKids.com
 
This set includes 26 Baseball Guys, an umpire, a 28 inch by 28 inch felt field, a working scoreboard and a carry case for easy travel. There are football, soccer, and hockey sets too. You can use the sets to teach the different games, teach sportsmanship, and of course, they provide hours of imaginative play. A video of the baseball toy can be seen here. Homeschool.com readers can save 20% at KaskeyKids.com with the promo code "Sports".
 


Crafty Kit
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $25
From ALEX Toys
Sold at ALEXToys.com
 
This kit contains cardboard shapes, crack & peel tissue art shapes, lots of tissue paper squares, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, giant wiggly eyes, giant pom-poms, 8 crayons, safety scissors, white glue, feathers, alphabet stickers, construction paper, ric-rac, foam heart stickers, crinkle paper, puffy flowers, paper doilies, crepe paper, fringed paper, and craft ideas. What will your child make? There are so many options! And the case can be used over and over again!
 
Candy Kaleidoscope
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $12
From Gemini
Sold at KaleidoscopestoYou.com
 
The object case of this kaleidoscope opens easily with a plastic cap that allows children of any age to drop in a few pieces of candy to create sugary images. An explanation of how kaleidoscopes work, is included (thus, it's educational!). Separate sealed packages of candy are included too – for plenty for nibbling as well as viewing. This toy is a real hit with the kids! And with the adults! How often have you heard, "Please pass the kaleidoscope" during a movie? That actually happened at one of our staffers' homes (keeping the candy IN the kaleidoscope might be a difficulty)! The Candy kaleidoscope measures 9" in length with a diameter of 1 1/4". What a fun stocking gift!
 
Salad Set
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $18
From Green Toys
Sold at GreenToys.com
 
Watch healthy eating habits sprout with this fresh and fun salad set. In this 20-piece stackable set, each realistic part is made from food-safe, 100% recycled plastic milk containers. A video of this product can be seen here.
 
Sock Monkey Nesting Monkey
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $14
From Schylling
Sold at Amazon.com
 
The popular Sock Monkey has some new friends! This toy includes 6 playful monkeys, that all nest into one. Each is made of plastic with cute red yarn hair. The tallest is 5.5". Why is this toy included? Just for fun, we're going to include one Sock Monkey toy in each annual Gift Guide. Last year, it was a Jack-in-the-Box. What will it be next year? Something fun and unexpected!
 
CUBICITI
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $79
From Cubiciti
Sold at Cubiciti.com
 
Cubiciti is a wooden toy manufacturer that creates modular, educational toys for young children. The building blocks offer a variety of shapes, colors and patterns that inspire children to create streets, parks, houses, and other buildings and bring their cities to life. Once built, the city becomes a functional play area for the cars provided with the blocks. Cubiciti can grow with children by connecting more bases together to make larger and larger cities. A video of the product can be seen here. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Amy, "My kids are 8 and 4 and they absolutely love these blocks.  There isn't a day that goes by that they don't play with these.  By far worth the money and one of the best toys we have ever purchased."
 
Sticky Mosaic Tiles
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $5
From The Orb Factory
Sold at RainbowResource.com
 
Sticky Mosaic Singles feature lots of sparkling mosaic tiles and jewels for super-sparkly projects. All kits also include wall hangers to display the finished artwork. Encourages the following of directions, and fine motor skills. Results in increased self-confidence when your child sees his/her finished product. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Erin.
 

See & Spell
Ages 4 and Up
Approx. $18
From Melissa & Doug
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
Puzzle picture & letter manipulatives assist children in pre-reading concepts, phonics, & literacy development! Using 20 puzzle pictures and more than 50 vibrant letters kids make huge gains in confidence and master new academic skills. Fine motor skills are improved as children manipulate the letter pieces in the correct position on the board. Plus, this is just really a cute toy!
 
Floppy Jalopy
Ages 5-9
Approx. $46
From Learning Resources
Sold at Amazon.com
 
The Floppy Jalopy set lets little ones assemble a remote control car, then watch it wiggle, spin, and spring to life as it rolls along on four sturdy wheels. The 133-piece set features special gears designed to make this custom ride the talk of the block, including flashing headlights, silly springs, glow-in-the-dark eyes, and a floppy hood "mouth" that opens and closes. Color-coded instructions provide easy-to-follow assembly instructions for four different models, or you can build your own wacky creation. Floppy Jalopy offers expandable creative building play. To really get the gears spinning, this jalopy's motor requires 3 AA batteries (not included); and the controller requires 4 AA batteries (not included). Homeschool.com reader Sarah writes, "Floppy Jalopy is a pretty cool toy. Children can make their own remote controlled car, and learn how gears work."
 
Child Chef Textile Set
Ages 5-12
Approx. $20
From Curious Chef
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun
 
Now your little one can cook in style! Made from 100% cotton, this highly durable chef outfit offers convenient tool pockets, adjustable straps and thick mitts for real oven use. The set includes one apron, two oven mitts and one chef's hat. One size fits most children 5 - 12 years of age. Pair this apron with a fun, healthy kid's cookbook and the promise to make one meal a month with your child—and it will be a fun and educational gift—for everyone! Also, learning to cook is a great chance to create great bonding opportunities, reinforce math and reading skills, and build self-confidence and pride in accomplishments. If your child has a pretend kitchen, this set makes a great pretend chef dress-up costume as well. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 

Mental Blox Game
Ages 5-13
Approx. $30
From Learning Resources
Sold at LearningResources.com
 
Stack, pattern, and match the multicolor shapes, but don't be fooled by appearances: these endlessly enjoyable blocks mean brain-boosting business. Twenty activity cards keep strategic thinking skills in tip-top shape. The set of 20 plastic, chunky pieces feature 4 different shapes and 3 different attributes for a real challenge!
 

Peace Out Lounge Pal Set
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $47
Sold at YoungExplorers.com
 
Everyone likes jammies for the holidays, so why not pair them with a matching teddy bear! Ultra comfy Peace Out lounge pants and huggable matching pal are perfect for kicking back at home or sleeping over at Grandma's! Pants have elasticized waist with sewn-in drawstring and back pocket, and are made from poly-fleece. Machine washable. Sizes: S (7-8), M (10-12). Pal: 18" tall. Great for Valentine's Day too!
 

mic-o-mic Small Jet Plane
and Small Tow Truck

Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $24 each
From Schäfer Toy Company GmbH
Sold at International-Playthings.shptron.com
 
Your kids can build, and then play with these toys!  Mic-o-mic toys combine attractive designs with tactile elements to encourage three-dimensional imagination. Both of these are beginner kits. 
Intermediate and advanced kits are also available. 
 


Bee Alert
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $30
From SimplyFun
Sold at SimplyFun.com
 
On each turn players must "BE ALERT" to remember under which hive the colored bee was last seen. The game encourages memory and observation, fine motor skills, and taking turns. You can see a video of the game here.
 
Crayola Colored Oil Pastel Sticks 28 Count
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $5
From Crayola
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Brilliant true colors! Jumbo size for strength and durability. The tapered point is ideal for detail drawing and the unique hexagonal shape is anti-roll. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Cierré.
 
Kurio Kids Tablet with Android 4.0 - 7-Inch 4 GB
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $129
From Techno Source
Sold at ToysRUs
 
High-resolution, ultra-responsive 7" touch screen with high-definition gaming and movie-watching capabilities. Built-in mic, Wi-Fi and Flash 11 support, HD video player, a music player and an e-reader. Front- and rear-facing cameras, 4 GB of internal memory is expandable up to 36 GB, and it's packed with preloaded kids' content. A video of the product can be seen here. Homeschool.com reader Dawn writes, " My 11yo and 8yo will be getting these, as they are so interested in their little sister's tablet and my phone."
 
Bug Bands Collection
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $10
Sold at LakeshoreLearning.com
 
Real bugs that kids will love to wear! Each of the super-cool wristbands features a different bug permanently encased in lightweight acrylic—from a spiny spider to a giant hornet. Plus, the nylon bands easily adjust to give every kid the perfect fit! The set includes 3 wristbands. Study each bug and turn the jewelry into a fun educational experience!
 
Old Fashioned Wooden Top
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $5
Sold at BellaLunaToys.com
 
Top off your child's stocking with one of these old time wooden tops, and give your holidays a twist! These classic toys are handmade, and they spin amazingly well. Truly! They are sold individually and measure approx. 1¾" diameter - 1½" tall.

 
YoGaMe ABC
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $17
From Jura Toys US Corp
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
 
Contains (1) photo album showing 26 yoga postures, (1) erasable whiteboard, (1) dry-erase marker with attached brush, and the instruction booklet. YoGaMe ABC is designed to allow children to learn the alphabet by using their bodies to duplicate the yoga postures that resemble the letters they need to imitate so that a mystery word can be identified. Just as with most games, children have different skill levels and to be successful—both little yogis (beginners) and larger yogis (experienced) have options for play. Comes in a zoo version too! Yoga assists with flexibility, concentration and balance. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun site for possible coupon codes.
 
Block Builders
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $32
From Fat Brain Toy Co.
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
Solve the 50 challenge puzzles and test your ability to think in multiple dimensions! Visualize, conceptualize, and realize new building innovations. Block Builders is an adventure in analytical thought!
 
BeadTastic Butterfly Bead Kit
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $23
From Bead Bazaar
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Create 20+ accessories with colorful wooden beads, charms, cotton string & instructions. Great portable carry case with handle and five compartments for easy organization of the beads and charms. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Cierré.
 
Zip Track Deluxe
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $92
From Discovery Toys, LLC
Sold at DiscoveryToys. com
 
Shift playtime into high gear with this unique raceway set. Kids can snap and click pieces to design their own interactive flexible roadway, with hundreds of combinations. They can experiment with building principles and simple physics to keep the battery-powered vehicles on course. The set includes Zip Track, a Zip Track Add-On Set, and a Zip Track Racer. Requires 4 AA batteries, which are not included. Colors may vary. You can see a video of the product here.
 
Fubulous Wubulous
Ages 5 and Up
Approx. $15
From Fabulous Wubulous
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Create your own color pattern or use the easy match guide. This toy develops fine motor skills. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Erin. Erin writes, "I love this for both older and younger children. The sparkly ones are so eye catching and vivid. Very easy to do yet not done in 3 minutes like other projects. The horse one I bought my daughter lasted her several days."
 
GoldiBlox
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $30
From GoldiBlox
Sold at ToysRUs
 
GoldieBlox is a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers! There are many product videos on the Internet, but our favorite is their Kickstarter video which can be seen here. She made her goal—the toy is in stores!
 
Reptangles
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $28
From Fat Brain Toy Co.
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
These building turtles are a SNAP! 2 Reptangles can connect in 100+ combinations, making this a highly evolved construction toy. Reptangles are a perfect fit for building intelligent imaginations. Because of their reptilian resemblance, children are immediately drawn to this building toy system. The snapping begins and soon leads to new levels of imagination, creativity and educational play. You can see a video of the product here.
 
Crayola See-Thru Light Designer
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $23
From Crayola
Sold at CrayolaStore.com
 
The Crayola Light Designer lets your young artist design and create moving masterpieces using a range of special effects. Plus, the See-Through Light Designer features a sleek design with convenient marker storage. It uses 3 AA batteries, which are not included. A video of the product can be seen
here.
 
Sport - Mini 4 Wheel Carving Scooter
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $39
From Fuzion Scooter
Sold at Walmart.com
 
Classic and compact 4-wheel scooter features Fuzion Steering Technology for ultimate carving ability. Rear foot brake for active speed control and stopping. Polyurethane wheels for smooth rolling and traction. Adjustable handlebar height with comfortable grips to maximize handling. Color options are available. Combine with a little
skateboard science and you have great educational experiences for the entire year! You can see a video of the scooter in action here
 

Bouncing Balls Kit
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $17
From Small World Toys
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun
 
Make 8 bouncing balls, and design your own patterns for each. The kit contains 5 bags of colored ball beads, 1 ball mold, 1 water container and detailed illustrated instructions. Chemistry skills are used when mixing the colorful beads which transform into (8) bouncing balls
. Creativity is involved when deciding which colors and patterns to include in each bouncing ball mold. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 
Read It. See It. Be It.
Books and Puzzles and More

Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $19 for books and approx. $15 for puzzles
From Digital Tech Frontier
Sold at PopARToys.com
 
Tackle space exploration in real time and interact with planets, shuttles, rovers, space probes, and moons that jump off the page! The Augmented Reality (AR) uses a webcam and special patterned markers to make astronomical 3D objects and animations pop off the pages. The Augmented Reality is also triggered to narrate the pages and bring sounds effects to life. Different themes include sports, marine life, construction, princess, and more.
 

Hoopersize Fit-Kit
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $40
From KidTribe
Sold at KidTribe.com
 
Fun easy fitness. One indestructible KidTribe ProHoop is Included. The larger size makes it easier to hoop and master the tricks, and the thicker diameter accelerates calorie burning (up to 100 calories/10 minutes). Ten fitness music videos; 12 Hoopmania games; and 7 Hooptastic tunes are also included. Everything you need to have fun, be healthy, and get hoopy! See videos of the product
here.
 
Furby Boom
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $65
From Hasbro
Sold at HasbroToyShop.com
 
A whole new generation of Furby critters is about to hatch! It speaks more English the more you play with it. Tickle the Furby, talk to it and feed it with your finger. You can also download a free app to have a Furby Boom adventure and translate Furbish. The Furby app  is optional and works with iPad, iPod touch and iPhone with iOS 5.0 or later. The app is not compatible with prior Furby generations. You can see a video of the product
here. This toy requires 4 AA batteries that are not included.
 

Pyramid Set
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $45
From HABA
Sold at HabaUSA.com
 
Dance like an Egyptian! Or at least build a pyramid like one! 18 different solid wood shapes, 67 pieces total. Teach about Egypt, and use this toy in the process!
 

Knot-A-Quilt
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $21
From ALEX
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Who needs needles, stitching or stuffing? Get Knotty! Make a giant 36" x 48" quilt in just a few hours! Knot the fringed squares together into a colorful pattern. It's so easy. Then cuddle up! Kit comes with 48 9" squares of fleece in 6 bold colors. Requires kids to follow directions. Results in increased self-esteem, when kids see their finished product. You can see a video of the product here.

 


Eco YoYos
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $3
From Begin Again Toys
Sold at BeginAgainToys.com
 
This is a brightly stained, safe, durable, and an eco-friendly (made from plantation grown rubber wood) version of a timeless toy. Download information about YoYo physics , as well as YoYo tricks — for some good old- fashioned (and educational) fun. What a fun stocking toy!
 
Mold It
Ages 6 and Up
Approx. $15
Sold at DiscoverToys.com
 
An educational, and creative introduction to the mold-making process. Your kids can create a seamless 2-D mold of their hand or another favorite item. Thy can then make a permanent cast from the reusable mold. They can also learn about the different kinds of molds and molding materials, and how paleontologists & archaeologists benefit from them. The kit includes Mold-It molding material, PerfectCast™ casting material, and an illustrated booklet. This product requires a shallow container (not included) to hold the Mold-It material.
 
Spinnershark
Ages 7 and Up
Approx. $ 60
From Fuzion Scooter
Sold at Amazon.com
 
This product comes equipped with comfort foam hand grips, a quick-response front handbrake lever, a dual wheel braking system, and a safety flag. It provides HOURS of outside fun! You can see a video of the product here.
Kanoodle
Ages 7 and Up
Approx. $10
From Educational Insights
Sold at EducationalInsights.com
 
Kanoodle is a collection of fun, logical thinking puzzles, in one portable pocket-sized box. From basic to deviously difficult, there are hundreds of possible combinations, but only one completes the puzzle. It's great for promoting children's spatial reasoning skills and developing their self-confidence in problem solving. A video of the product can be seen here. Homeschool.com reader Jen writes, "One of our favorite toys is a Kanoodle. All of our friends, young and old LOVE to play.  We take this on all trips, it packs easy and provides long lasting entertainment."
 

Ages 8-12

Build a R/C Sports Car
Ages 8-12
Approx. $ 22
From Small World Toys
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
 
Your kids can construct their own remote control car, detail it with decals, and then enjoy driving it! The kit contains: 1 wireless radio control unit, parts to assemble the sports car, 34 colorful decals to decorate the car, 1 screwdriver, and a step-by-step instruction booklet. Batteries are required to operate the R/C car and they are not included. Building this R/C Car allows children to practice hand-eye coordination, follow directions, and learn perseverance, and patience. Once the R/C car is complete, the child has the fun of driving the vehicle. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 
Educational Insights Micropro
48-Piece Microscope Set

Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $28
From Educational Insights
Sold at Amazon.com
 
With the MicroPro, young scientists can investigate everything from cells to crystals. Perfect for individual or classroom use, the glass eyepieces and power setting from 50x to 600x provides users with superior precision viewing. The built-in light and rack and pinion focusing help deliver bright, clear images. The kit has professionally prepared slides and everything users need to make their own specimen slides. 2AA batteries are required. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Cierré.
 
Pelican Cove
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $40
From SimplyFun
Sold at SimplyFun.com
 
Each of the brightly colored water birds has a unique request for how and where they want to roost. Your job each round is to make as many of them happy as possible. Red wants to sit next to yellow, and yellow wants to sit across from white. Think fast before the sand runs out on the timer! This game easily scales up or down in difficulty, making it a fun game for everyone.
 
Fun Scarf, Style Me Up
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $17
From Aquastone
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
 
This kit make 2 scarves—wear as a scarf, or tie as a belt. The kit contains: 1 knitting loom, 1 hook, 115 yards of rainbow color fashion yarn, 8.9 yards of ribbon, 128 rhinestone stickers, and color instructions. This kit helps to enhance hand-eye coordination, and develops self-confidence/a sense of accomplishment and pride once the scarves are completed. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 
Clean Water Science
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $12
From Green Science
Sold at EducationalToysPlanet.com
 
Kids learn the science of cleaning and re-using dirty water by conducting interesting water purification experiments with this small science kit. Environmental study, experimental skills and observation skills are emphasized.
 
Deluxe Wood Barn with Cupola
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $200
From Breyer
Sold at BreyerHorses.com
 
Scale 1:9. The deluxe barn fits up to two Traditional Series horses. It includes two stalls with mats and built-in feed bins, sliding doors, a hay loft, a saddle and bridle rack, and more. This toy is made of natural wood. The assembled barn measures 30.5"L x 21"H x 18.5"D. (Assembly required). Note: Horses and accessories are not included. Traditional horses can be found here.
 
Fourmation
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $38
From SimplyFun.com
Sold at SimplyFun.com
 
This game combines math with strategy.  The object is to connect four zones in a row: up, down or diagonally. But in order to place your colored marker, you have to make the number on the desired spot from the sum of one or more of the number cards in your hand. Outnumber all other players in a contested zone to put it back under your control and complete the winning "fourmation". The game board can be turned and re-arranged to create a different layout every time. This game is for 2-4 players—and it takes 20-30 minutes to play.
 
Simple Machines Deluxe Set
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $56
Sold at DiscoveryToys.com
 
Construct, examine, and demonstrate 5 machines simultaneously that make life easier—a lever, pulley, inclined plane, wheel and axle, and a wedge. Modify machines with 4 included weights and 8 included rubber bands to explore effort, force, load, motion and distance. The activity card set (included) extends the learning process and supports key science concepts. This is a very cool toy.
 
Hair Chalk Salon
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $13
From ALEX
Sold at ALEXToys.com
 
Add temporary streaks of color using the colorful chalk pens. Create a fashion statement using the special tools to add beads and finish the designer-do. Color is removed with shampoo. Includes 5 washable chalk pens, 24 beads, a beading tool, a comb, hair elastics and easy instructions. Encourages creativity and self-expression—and it's temporary!
 
Eco Monthly Packages
Ages 8 and Up
Approx. $18/Month
From MyGroovyPlanet.com
Sold at MyGroovyPlanet.com
 
Groovy Planet offers a monthly delivery of theme-based, fun, educational surprise packages for your child—packages that will encourage your child to recycle, conserve, volunteer—to take care of the planet and to become a groovy global citizen!
 
Goofy Glowing Gel Experiment Kit
Ages 9 and Up
Approx. $12
From Copernicus Toys
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun.com
 
Eco Foam Fizzle and Slimy Ooze! Oh my! This experiment kit is designed to teach about the states of matter, gels, phosphorescence, monomers, and polymers. Enough material is supplied to allow multiple experiments. This kit is easy to set up and is packaged in a plastic tub for storage. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 
Froggy Fun - Girl
Ages 10 Years and Up
Approx. $76
From Adora
Sold at Target.com
 
This 20-inch doll has green eyes and shiny red hair. She comes fully dressed in a striped green shirt, matching leggings, a green jumper and a frog appliqué purse. Why this doll? One of our staffers loves red-headed dolls! And she certainly is a cute! A video of the doll can be seen here.
 
CHEM C1000
Ages 10 and Up
Approx. $65
From Thames & Kosmos
Sold at ThamesandKosmos.com
 
The 80-page, full-color experiment manual guides aspiring young chemists through each of the 125 experiments. This kit provides clear instructions for preparing and performing the experiments, offers safety advice, offers explanations for the observed occurrences, and asks and answers questions about the results. Thorough safety precautions and instructions ensure safe experimentation.
 
Yottsugo
Ages 12 and Up
Approx. $27
Sold at FatBrainToys.com
 
A puzzle challenge for people who enjoy testing their limits. Using letter tiles, a clue book, and logic – players find the word solutions. This product encourages language skills, reasoning skills, and logic. You can see a video of the product here.
 

Teens

University Hoodies
Prices Vary
 
Where do your teens want to go for college? Encourage their dreams by purchasing a school hoodie! Hoodies can be purchased at college bookstores.
 
Chocolate Fix Brain Fitness
Sudoku-Style Logic Game

Approx. $15
From Thinkfun
Sold at Thinkfun.com
 
A fun game for single players. Good for deductive reasoning, and critical and strategic thinking. Plus, who doesn't want to play with candy!
 
Auto Upkeep
Approx. $57
By Homeschool.AutoUpkeep.com
 
This course is for everyone—not just teenagers—but what a great way to say, "Congratulations, you can get your learner's permit", or even, "Congratulations, here are the keys to your first car." Comes with a textbook, workbook and CD—VERY thorough. A must-have for almost everyone!
 
Beginners Pilates Kit
Approx. $20
From Gaiam
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Includes a Pilates sculpting ball, a Pilates body band, and a Pilates sculpting workout DVD. The power-sculpting ball helps engage muscles in the lower abdominals and inner and outer thighs, while the resistance band maximizes the Pilates workout to more effectively sculpt and tone the entire body in less time.
 
Laser Maze™ Beam-Bending Logic Game
Approx. $30
From Thinkfun
Sold at Thinfun.com
 
Lights and mirrors may make it feel like magic, but it's really science and a good dose of brain power that's needed to direct the laser beam through the series of mind challenging mazes. Great for sequential reasoning and planning skills
 
Z-300 Pro Scooter
Approx. $150
From Fuzion Scooter
Sold at Amazon.com
 
The Z300 is a great all around complete scooter for street and park riding, and is competition ready right out of the box. It weighs just less than 8 pounds and is designed for high speed and high impact riding, and can handle any skate park or street obstacle. Comes in blue or black. A video of the scooter can be seen here. Although the product states that it is for ages 8 and up, we talked to the company, and they say this is a GREAT scooter for older kids/teens. By the way, this is a really nice company!
 

Support an Animal Charity
Prices Vary—Approx. $20-$50
 
 
You don't want to commit to a dog or a cat? How about a gorilla, a wolf or a bear? Adopt one—or two! Learn about them as well—as each site contains educational materials. Your teens will appreciate the good they're doing.
 
Bedroom/Bedding Make-Over
Prices Vary
 
 
New bedding is always fun. A room make-over—even better!
 
Mini Indoor Basketball Hoop
Approx. $39
From Silverback
Sold at Amazon.com
 
The Silverback Mini Hoop has an 18-by-12-inch clear polycarbonate shatterproof backboard and a 9-inch breakaway steel rim. It mounts on the wall or over the door and includes foam padding for the door mounts to protect the door paint. It comes with a 5-inch diameter rubber basketball. This is a great last minute addition to the room make-over above! You can see a video of the product here.
 

Moms & Dads

Balance Ball Chair Kit
Approx. $134
From Gaiam.com
Sold at Gaiam.com
 
The chiropractor-developed Balance-Ball chair works your core and improves your posture while you study/work! Combines core exercise and stabilization with ergonomic back support—plus, it's comfortable! You can also use the ball as a total-body fitness tool with the included Covered Resistance Cord and Total Body Balance Ball DVD, with two full-length, head-to-toe workouts (105 minutes). Includes removable latex-free anti-burst 52cm Balance Ball, adjustable support bar, easy-glide casters, air pump and exercise guide. Some assembly is required—but it's easy (we did it very quickly)! If you'd like to pay a little bit less, you can buy the Balance Ball chair on its own, without the additional work-out items. To see even more Balance Ball items click here. You can see a video of the chair here.
 
Mini Bamboozler 4 Pack
Approx. $20
Sold at Brookstone.com
 
Eco-friendly puzzles - good for the planet and baffling for your brain. The Mini Bamboozlers 4 - piece bundle includes; a Star, Knot, Ball and Cross. All are made of bamboo—and each is a piece of art! They look nice on a bookshelf or coffee table.
 
Silverlit, Remote-Control Mercedes-Benz
From Silverlit
Sold at Silverlit.com
Approx. $130
 
Sure, the kids will love it—but so will Dad! Wouldn't you love to give him a Mercedes this year? He can use his iPod touch®, iPhone® or iPad® as his Bluetooth® remote control—he just has to download the free app. Sound effects include horn, brakes and more. Requires 4 AA alkaline batteries, which are included.
 

The Indoor Flameless Marshmallow Roaster
Sold at Hammacher Schlemmer
Approx. $70

This is the indoor roaster that produces campfire-worthy toasted marshmallows without an open flame. It's ideal for creating s'mores year 'round—the included divided tray holds a ready supply of chocolate, graham crackers, or candies for your marshmallow creations. The marshmallows are toasted over a stainless steel electric heater, which make it safe and easy to use with children.
 

Joy Journal
Written by Homeschool.com's very own Rebecca Kochenderfer
Approx. $3 (Kindle or eBook) or $9 (soft cover)
 
Joy Journal helps you notice the experiences and events in your life, large and small, that are filled with joy. It guides you to envision the wonderful day that lies ahead of you and it gently introduces you to new habits and new ways of thinking, so you can appreciate your life more, and make it even better!
 

ROKU
Approx. $50 and Up
 

Tons of entertainment in one little box. The #1 streaming player. Homeschool.com reader Renate writes, "One of the biggest tools we have used is our Roku box. It is a one- time fee for hundreds of channels. This will work in any home that has working high speed internet. Why is this such a great tool? Well, for a few reasons. Using the Roku, we have access to: 1) Khan Academy — free classes on a myriad of subjects—on the tv—not on the computer, 2) Netflix (7.99 additional per month) which allows us dozens of biographies, history lessons, nature lessons and lessons on nutrition, 3) the Indian Cooking Channel (as well as different countries too) — this is neat because it teaches about cooking and foods. Believe it or not, my 6 & 8 year old LOVE this, and 4) the NASA Channel is neat because there is education material that exposes you to things never shown on regular TV."
 

Paddywax Candle
From Paddywax
Sold on Amazon.com
Approx. $15
 
This is an eco-green soy wax candle, and if you love scent, and scented candles, this is a MUST HAVE! It burns up to 60 hours, filling your home with a wonderful, natural herbal fragrance. Paddywax boasts a variety of candle collections satisfying any candle need from décor to gifting to just indulgence. Homeschool.com staffer Ann raves, "This is the best smelling candle ever! I just purchased FOUR—and I'm not even much of a candle person!
 

Recycled Bike Chain Key Chain
Sold at LiveGreene.com
Approx. $4
 
For the cycling enthusiast in your life. This way-cool key chain is made in the U.S.A. from recycled bicycle parts.
 

All Ages

Movie Passes
Prices Vary
 
Buy a coupon book from your local theater. Going to the movies is always fun—and oftentimes, a family activity. Maybe even an educational activity!
 
Snowtime Anytime Snowballs
Ages 4 and Up
$20 and Up
From Snowtime Anytime
Sold at 4Knowledge-4Fun
 
Snowtime Anytime indoor snowballs are safe anywhere! Kids and adults love them. They look and feels like snow! These will keep kids and adults busy for hours, and get them exercising without even knowing it. The soft snowballs are machine washable and dryable on gentle cycle and are approximately 3" in diameter. A snow castle and snow fort are also available. Once inflated, the castle and the fort are large enough to hide 2 to 3 small children. A Patch Kit is included should a repair be needed. You can see a video of the product here. Check the 4Knowledge-4Fun website for possible coupon codes.
 


Picture Ornaments
Approx. $13
 
Start a fun family tradition - photo ornaments each year, starting with Baby's First ornament. Your children are older? Don't worry - it's never too late to begin a family tradition. Kids love hanging their own ornaments!
 

Keep Out!  Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse
Written by Lee Mothes, published by Storey Publishing
Approx. $19
Sold at Storey.com
 
   
 
With this guide in hand, it's easy for any family to build their own customized backyard playhouse. Charming designs and illustrations make the process fun, and step-by-step instructions ensure success. You'll love building a clubhouse with your kids, and your kids will love playing in it for years to come! What a great family project, and Christmas present to/for your kids! Homeschool.com staffer Ann LOVES almost anything and everything from Storey Publishing, including Candy Construction and Recycled Crafts Box. Such a variety!
 
iPad
Approx. $400
 
Homeschool.com reader Nicole writes, "I have to say that the best educational delivery platform for young kids is the iPad! My littlest has used the iPad from 1 year old and is now 2. He has learned pattern skills, puzzle completion, vocabulary, his alphabet sounds, and so much. My next youngest has enjoyed math games and vocabulary games as well as second language learning on the iPad. This is the gaming and electronic age. Anything highly interactive, bright, and game like- is the way to go!"
 
NEW Pure Color Advance Racket
Approx. $33.00
Sold at Amazon.com
 
For serious Ping Pong players! The Pure Color Advance is the perfect colorful and offensive paddle for those who want unrivaled levels of power and feeling in their game. Rackets are available in yellow, green, pink and blue.
 
National Park Pass
$80
 
Provides entrance or access to pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle at federally operated recreation sites across the country. The parks have educational materials and your kids can partake in the Junior Ranger program. Fun!
 
Theatre Experience
Prices Vary
 
Introduce your children to the theatre this holiday season! They will be mesmerized by the songs, dances, and energy of a live performance. If available, purchase an accompanying CD as well! Your kids will love listening to the music for months to come.
 
Gaiam Watercress Yoga Mat
Approx. $22
Sold at Amazon.com
 
This 68-Inch x 24-Inch x 3mm mat is lightweight and durable. The textured non-slip surface has excellent traction. The mat is free of the Phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP. Plus, it comes with a bonus free yoga workout download!
 
Kaleidoscope Necklace
Approx. $45
Sold at KaleidoscopestoYou.com
 
The pretty pendant is strung on a 28" long silver-tone chain, making it easy to peek inside your kaleidoscope necklace at your leisure, or share the secret inside with a friend. Accessorize your look with a necklace that's more than a necklace. Plus, there are other styles and prices to choose from. You can see a video of the necklace here.
 

Spy Net Spyclops Bionic Eye
By SpyNet
Approx. $25
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Plugs directly into your TV and magnifies specimens 200x. Recommended by Homeschool.com reader Jennifer—"Our family has had so much fun with this product. We are able to plug it straight into our TV and it magnifies objects 200x.  It has made learning fun!"
 
Grandma is a Superhero
Approx. $10
Sold at Live-Inspired.com
 
You might not know it, but Grandma is a superhero. And she's bound to get a kick out of your illustration of her, caped and costumed, saving the world one good deed at a time. The story line is designed to foster creative potential. Kids bring the text to life with their hands and their imagination because they get to be the illustrator. They create the cover, and they decide what the pages will look like. When they're finished, there won't be another book like it in the whole world!
 
Hypoallergenic Bed Lounge
Approx. $349
Sold at Gaiam
 
The Hypoallergenic Bed Lounge features a lightweight, hand-upholstered frame surrounded by foam and allergen-free synthetic-down cushioning, adjustable headrest, pivoting armrests and roomy pockets. This is a great product for the child (or adult) that studies/reads in bed.
 
Cotton Candy Maker
Approx. $50
Sold at Hammacher.com
 
This is the cotton candy machine that makes traditional or sugar-free cotton candy. Simply place sugar-free hard candy, granulated sugar, or regular hard candy into the heating chamber and in just minutes it produces wisps of feathery confection that can be collected on a chopstick, straw, or the two included reusable plastic cones. The translucent, plastic bowl lets users watch each batch of cotton candy being spun. Its one-button operation enables children to participate in the cotton candy production with the assistance of an adult. Turn it into a lesson with information you can find here. You can see a video of the product here.
 
Legos
Approx. $15
From Lego
Sold at Amazon.com
 
Homeschool.com reader Karen writes—"Both boys and girls love Legos.  I won't suggest any particular kit or set as all of them are great."
 


Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
From Nintendo
Approx. $60
Sold at Amazon.com
 
The activities in Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree are fun minigames with a ton of variety, and they're meant to be played rapid-fire for a short time as players push their brains to do more than they did the day before. Homeschool.com reader Melanie writes, "Big Brain Academy for Wii is one of our very best homeschool activities."
 
Fun and Quirky Necklaces
Approx. $48
Sold at TrueBirds.com
 
Need reading glasses to read the menu? How about a charming necklace instead? Or a harmonica for your teenage musician? There are other variations to choose from—many have a nautical theme.
 

Betty Crocker 101Plastic Cookie Cutters
Approx. $15
From Betty Crocker
Sold at Amazon.com
 
101 kid friendly shapes — great for cookies and crafts! Letters, numbers, shapes, animals, Christmas, Easter, Spring and more. Plus, they come in multiple colors – red, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, blue, and turquoise — all in their own big jug for easy storage. Homeschool.com staffer Ann saw these in a store, and they caught her eye—she thought they were great.
 

Musical Instruments and Sheet Music!
 
For the beginner or accomplished musician—give the joy of music this holiday season!

 

We sure hope you enjoyed our 2013 Gift Guide!


   
 

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