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Best Overall: Spelly Straws at Amazon "kids can spell words and anything else they can think of, then just snap on the straw ends and sip away."
Best Pretend Play: Princess Castle Tent at Amazon "it takes just seconds to set up—just pop it up and insert support rods to stabilize."
Best Dollhouse: Melissa & Doug Dollhouse at Amazon "comes with six rooms, each stylishly decked out with modern wallpapers and gender-neutral paint."
Best Active: Foam Pogo Jumper at Amazon "it’s safe and easy for little legs to get the hang of it."
Best Tech: VTech Kids Smartwatch at Amazon "features include three fun activities, five games, three action challenges, and a motion sensor."
Best Creative: Fisher-Price Slim Doodle at Amazon "none of the mess that paint and markers can make."
Best Gross Motor: Teeter Popper at Amazon "they can sit in it, stand on it, wiggle it, wobble it, rock and roll on it."
Best Storage: Stuffed Animal Storage Chair at Amazon "their stuffed animal collection makes up the stuffing on this bean bag chair."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Spelly Straws Reusable Drinking Straws for Kids
Everyone always says not to play with your food, but no one ever said anything about your drinks! These Spelly Straws are a smart, fun way to do just that. In a word these things are brilliant. Seriously, you’ll wonder why no one thought of them sooner.
The pack comes with 44 colorful letters and four straw connectors that all easily snap to one another to make the funnest reusable straws you’ve ever seen. Kids can spell words, their names and anything else they can think of, then just snap on the straw ends and sip away. The beverage of their choice will flow through the letters and make their drink taste even better (or so we will assume).
While adults love them (W-I-N-E), they’re an especially cute and creative gift for preschoolers learning to spell. The price is right (inexpensive that is), and they’ll be a hit with boys and girls alike.
02 of 08
Best Pretend Play: FoxPrint Princess Castle Play Tent with Glow in the Dark Stars
Every little princess needs a castle, and this one is a royally great gift. After they slay dragons, rule their kingdom or whatever else they dream up, they can climb in their perfect little place to rest, recharge and dream about their next adventure. In their kingdom anything goes, and imagination is king.
It’s decorated with hearts and glow-in-the-dark stars for extra magic, and there are fold-down flaps on both the door and windows for when the princess needs her privacy. It’s big enough for a couple little rulers too. Royal tea party, anyone?
It takes just seconds to set up—just pop it up and insert support rods to stabilize it. When it’s time to pack up, it easily folds down flat. It can be used indoors or outdoors and comes in a lightweight zippered case that makes it easy to take wherever her royal highness requests.
Read more reviews of the best children's playhouses and tents to purchase online.
03 of 08
Best Dollhouse: Melissa & Doug Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse
Little girls (boys too!) will go gaga over this amazing wooden dollhouse. It comes with six rooms, each stylishly decked out with modern wallpapers and gender-neutral paint (no pink overload here), plus a garage with a lift-up door so cars can drive right in. Going up? There’s an actual elevator located right in the middle of the house to deliver dolls between the three floors with ease and elegance. So posh!
Three flexible wooden play figures (a mom, dad and little girl) plus 11 pieces of furniture are included to fill the house. There’s everything from a refrigerator and a couch to a toilet and flat-screen television, so little decorators can get down to business. It’s open on the front and on the sides for maximum mobility throughout the rooms, and it’s big enough (about 30” high and 23.75” wide) for several little ones to play together. Let the creative fun begin!
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best dollhouses to buy for kids article.
04 of 08
Best Active: My First Flybar Foam Pogo Jumper For Kids
This pogo stick for little jumpers is a great, active gift. Made of foam, it’s safe and easy for little legs to get the hang of it. Even better, it comes equipped with a built-in squeaker that makes a noise with each bounce—perfect for counting each jump.
The foam base is connected to handles by a stretchy “spring.” All you have to do is put you feet on top and start to hop. This one comes in pink, but if that’s not her thing, it comes in other colors too like orange, red and blue.
While it’s designed for little ones (ages 3 and up), it does support up to 250 pounds, so the whole family can take turns. Strong and durable, it can be used indoors (the foam won’t scuff floors!) and is a great way to encourage physical fitness through fun.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Tech: VTech Kidizoom Kids Smartwatch DX2
She’ll be stylin’ just like the big kids with this awesome smartwatch designed just for kids. Beyond just a pretty accessory to wear, it’s packed with all sorts of fun features for on-the-go activities.
Not only can you take pictures with it, but it also has video recording and voice recording capabilities as well as special effect tools. Other features include three fun activities, five games, three action challenges and a motion sensor. There’s also an alarm, a timer, a stopwatch and a calendar. All that right there on her wrist! Oh, it tells time too.
06 of 08
Best Creative: Fisher-Price Slim Doodle Pro Clip
This well-priced magnetic doodle board makes a great gift for any occasion. With the attached pen, little artists can create works of art to their hearts' delight. Once a masterpiece is complete, they can easily slide the eraser bar at the bottom, and voila!, a fresh new canvas for the next one. It also includes four shape stampers (a square, triangle, circle and star) for extra special touches.
Beyond art, the Doodle is also a great way for them to learn letters, how to write their name, math facts, and how to spell. It can also be used for family games like tic tac toe and Hangman. Most anything you can do with pencil and paper, you can do on the Doodle.
It offers all of the creativity, but none of the mess that paints and markers can make. It’s also lightweight and a great entertainment option when traveling—no more lost pen caps under the airplane seat!
07 of 08
Best Gross Motor: Fat BrainToys Teeter Popper
So, no one may know exactly what it is when they open it, but once they figure that out, the Teeter Popper is sure to be a hit. Like nothing else they’ve ever seen, this is one versatile, active toy that’s loads of fun.
So what does it do? It’s all about what kids do with it. They can sit in it, stand on it, wiggle it, wobble it, rock and roll on it or do with it whatever they want, while the suction cups on the bottom provide a persistent set of popping noises. It’s up to them how they use the toy. The only rules are there are no rules! It’s all about fun, and the fact that it encourages balance, coordination and physical fitness is just a bonus
It’s recommended for ages 3-10 and holds up to 110 pounds, so little ones will get years of fun from this gift.
08 of 08
Best Storage: WEKAPO Kids Stuffed Animal Storage Bean Bag Chair
If you know anything about 4-year-old girls, you know they often can’t be spotted in their bedrooms and playrooms because they’ve been overrun by stuffed animals. This amazing bean bag chair can store them all, and give them the perfect rebuttal when mom says there’s no room for one more.
The animals make up the chair’s “stuffing,” so they also get a fun seat to read on, watch television on or roll around on. It also comes equipped with a pocket perfect for holding a book, remote control or other treasure. The best part is that when they want to play with their furry friends, they can just unzip the chair, take them out and put them back when they’re finished.
The cotton fabric can be machine or hand washed, and it comes in eight different colors and patterns that will match any decor. It’s a great gift for girls, but mom’s going to love you for this one too.