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Searching high and low for the perfect present for a special child? You can close all of those browser tabs because we’ve compiled a list of sure hits for a variety of ages. These in-demand toys all provide hours of fun, but also feature some sort of learning component you’ll love. (Shhh—we won’t tell if you don’t!)
Here, the must-have toys of 2021.
This cool robot-building toy gives kids ages 5 and up a much-needed screen break, while still teaching the foundations of coding and STEM skills. The set comes with a remote programmer, detachable robot arms, 40 coding cards, six double-sided tiles, and 27 obstacle building pieces.
Perfect for toddlers and preschool-aged children, this two-sided playset features both a home garden and kitchen. There are plenty of pretend fruits and vegetables that kiddos can "harvest," along with plates, cups, and other utensils that can be used for pretend meals.
This build-it-yourself STEM kit teaches kids how to construct something out of model clay that can wiggle and move, just like other toys. It's a great introduction to the skeletal system for young children, with all of the fun of making the colorful creatures of their imagination come to life.
Make teetering pillow structures a thing of the past with this fort builder. In the set, you'll get 45 poles and 25 connectors, along with a step-by-step guide for all types of forts. While it's recommended for kiddos 4-11 years old, who's to say you can't pop in?
Mix and match the colored sand to create a beautiful and unique creation! This kit comes with red, yellow, and blue sand plus ten different tools—including a cloud-shaped extruder tube—to mold the squishy sand again and again. Kinetic sand never dries out, so this kit will provide endless hours of fun.
A larger-than-life gift that’s sure to provide hours of entertainment outside or in a large indoor space, like the basement. The fire truck-style ride-on toy, suitable for ages one and up, comes with everything your child will need to play firefighter: a ringing bell, functioning steering wheel and decorative wooden ladder. It's a truly special gift that they'll cherish for years to come—and its classic vintage look won't look too shabby in your home, either.
This single boat promises hours of fun, as it comes with 25 levels of adventure—complete a series of challenges to figure out how to save the captain of the ship and destroy the evil sea monster. As they play, they’ll discover hidden secrets within the ship, like weapons, cannons, anchors, steering wheels, and even gold. The ship comes with figurines, so once all of the challenges are complete, your child can still act out pirating adventures.
This colorful cube plays a wide range of stories, songs, and more based on the character you've chosen, providing plenty of screen-free fun for ages 3 and up. You can also choose a "creative" tonie, which can have personalized messages or bedtime stories uploaded to them via an app, so grandma can record a story for bedtime or your child can record themselves singing their favorite nursery rhyme.
Consider this the most unique—and interesting!—piece of clothing your child has ever owned. Thanks to a cool patent-pending chalkboard technology, you can use the included water-based, non-toxic chalk marker to design a “new” T-shirt whenever the mood strikes—simply wipe it clean with a wet washcloth.
A three-in-one set the kids won’t soon tire of, thanks to multiple levels of play. First, they’ll have to rise to the challenge of constructing their monster truck, then they can pretend to serve up burgers before rebuilding the whole thing into an off-roader or a tractor-pulling vehicle.
Introduce your kiddo to a bit of your own childhood with the iconic time-traveling DeLorean. The vehicle is complete with working lights and the must-have flux capacitor, plus comes with Marty McFly, Dr. Emmett Brown, Einstein the dog, a skateboard, plutonium cores in an accompanying case, and more.
This toy, inspired by the fan-favorite character from The Mandalorian, really is out of this world. Simply touch the top of its head to activate familiar sound effects from the movie, including a full range of emotions—happy and excited, giggles and babbles, tired and sleeping, and Force effects.
Add something new to family game night with this fun, cooperative card game based on the hit Halloween movie Hocus Pocus. To win, players ages 8 and up must work together to stop the infamous Sanderson sisters from brewing their magical potion before the sun rises.
Expand your child’s growing set of imaginative play toys with this outdoor camping set. It includes everything their little figurine needs for a night under the stars: reversible sleeping bags, a tent, and a campfire.
Children age 6 and up will delight in creating their very own wearable jewelry out of colorful LEGO DOTS. There’s no shortage of options—the set features five adjustable bands and 295 tiles in an assortment of vivid colors.
By using a real, working, kid-safe toy drill to build this cool truck, kids will have fun learning about the basics of construction and engineering, while also improving fine motor skills. Once the truck is constructed, it’s a great vehicle for pretend play—or can be disassembled and reassembled time and time again.
Jinkies—this is one toy you’ll definitely want to tuck under the tree this year. The infamous Mystery Machine has rear doors that fully open to reveal an illuminated monitor, where you can insert ghost cards to learn more about the Scooby-Doo team’s latest mystery. The set also includes beloved characters—Fred, Daphne, Velma—plus a map, flashlight, spyglass, and other mystery-solving accessories.