Play is vital for development in children, and great educational toys can help them learn and progress. Here are some awesome gift ideas children and parents will love! (Most of these options can be found at our awesome Boston toy stores — don’t forget to shop local when possible!)

For gross motor development 

Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug
Ages 1–3
Increases leg strength, coordination, and balance.

Fat Brain Toys Teeter Popper
Ages 3+
Helps build core strength, increases coordination and balance.

Riverstones Stepping Stones
Ages 3–7 :: ~$60
Promotes balance, coordination, and motor planning.

For fine motor development

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Lacing Beads
Ages 3–5
Helps with manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Playskool Play Favorites Busy Poppin’ Pals
Ages 9 months+ :: ~$20.99
Increases manual dexterity and introduces child to cause and effect.

Spirograph Deluxe Design Set
Ages 6+
Strengthens fine motor muscles.

For cognitive development

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit
Ages 5+
Promotes problem solving and critical thinking.

Ages 3+
Develops math, science, spatial, and tactile skills.

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube
Ages 2–4
Promotes color and shape recognition and problem solving.

For speech and language development

Soft Fabric Cloth Books
Ages newborn+
It’s never too early to start reading to your child, and reading to a newborn will help stimulate their interest in sounds and increase their vocabulary and understanding when older.

Basic Fun Fisher Price Classics Retro Chatter Phone
Ages 1+
Encourages your child to talk and experiment with different sounds.

Battat Big Red Barn Animal Farm Playset
Ages 18m+
Some of the first things children learn to say are animal sounds, and this toy encourages early speech.

For social and emotional development

JC Toys, La Baby 16-inch Washable Soft Body Blue Play Doll
Ages 1+
Helps children practice nurturing and caring for others while giving them a better understanding of the world.

KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
Ages 2+
Pretend play teaches responsibility, empathy, teamwork, and many other skills!