Holiday Gift Guide: Educational Gifts For Kids

Let’s face it, this year has been anything but normal and kids have not escaped the stress we’ve all been feeling. Today, I’m sharing some non-toy gift ideas for the young people in your life. These are the educational gifts for kids that will nurture their learning, creativity, and inspire them to think outside the box. Outside the toy box.

Books and Reading

If you can instill a love of reading in a child, you open the whole world up for them! My dad instilled a love of books in me which I passed on to my children. It’s a magical way to visit other places and go on adventures, from the comfort of their little chair.

You could either give them a gift certificate to a book store or get them a book subscription which sends 2 hardcover books every month. They feature new releases, classics, and hidden gems tailored to your reader’s age.

I am excited about this adventure book that my brother just published! It’s a good old fashion adventure tale geared for kids between 9-12. I’m about halfway through and it has sure grabbed my attention.

Pirates gold book by Peter Dunfield


Did you read series books when you were younger? I was hooked on the Bobbsey Twins, The Borrowers, and Trixie Beldon.

Not surprisingly, these are still around! Start them on a series and once hooked, you can let nature takes its course.

Hi-Lights is a classic! They started with award-winning magazine subscriptions and have branched out to offer clubs, apps, puzzles, experiments, crafts, games & even podcasts.

Ranger Rick is the oldest children’s nature magazine in print with over 500,000 copies in circulation. This gift of wildlife adventure is published by the National Wildlife Foundation. Intended to instill a passion for nature and promote outdoor activities for kids ages seven and up.

Ranger Rick Jr is uniquely designed for kids four to seven. Your Big Backyard magazine includes activities and simple stories that both entertain and educate. It provides developing readers the opportunity to read stories on their own or follow along with a more advanced reader. Eye-catching photos bring animals to life, while fun wildlife trivia lets children learn all about animal traits, habitats, and survival.

Ask Magazine investigates the world with past and present inventors, artists, thinkers, and scientists. It has cartoons, contests, projects, Web experiments, games, and puzzles for kids ages 7 to 10 (grades 2 – 4).


Crystal growing kit 

My grandson and I just finished using the last of our crystal solutions from last Christmas. We had so much fun creating new colors and he loves to “make magic”. We did stain our fingers blue a time or two but it was worth it to watch the crystals grow. Great fun!crystal growing gift for kids

Butterfly garden kit

A simple project that’s self-contained and fun for them to watch.

Metal Detector for the treasure hunter on your gift list. Even if they’re only finding dimes buried in their backyard, a metal detector makes the hunting fun.

Arts and Craft Supplies


We never tire of drawing, coloring, painting, and molding with clay. This Modeling Clay kit is still going strong for my grandson…even Grandpa likes to create with it.

Wood Burning Kit

For the young artisan on your list. Get them some leather gloves to protect their hands as they trace, burn, and paint to their heart’s content.

Build A Robotrobot kit

This fun kit builds a Solar Powered Robot. The directions say it’s for boys which is nuts! Have we learned anything?? Girls enjoy building too and make wonderful engineers.

Subscription Kit

These kits from Creation Crate are amazing. Each month, they get a tech subscription box that combines hands-on learning with online courses. This is for 12 and up.

Do you have little people on your list this year?

What can you add to this list?


This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Elaine @ Following Augustine
    November 19, 2020 / 6:10 pm

    We usually buy non toy gifts for our grandchildren. Books, art supplies, and science kits have all been very popular, but this year we’re actually buying toys for some of them. Perhaps it’s a desire for all things fun and lighthearted in the midst of this troubled year that has taken us in that direction.

  2. Linda D.
    November 19, 2020 / 3:29 pm

    KiwiCo is a great science box by the month subscription. Each box contains all that is necessary for a science experience. They have sets for all ages from age three to 14plus. You can get it for a few months or for a year. My grandchildren have loved them.
    Before Covid we would take my grand daughter (9) to a young peoples theater production and then out for dinner. Her birthday is a week before Christmas so it is present overload time, this was always a great experience for her as well as us. She is doing ‘in school learning’ so we can only distance outside so I am thinking the metal detector could be an experience we could share. Do you think it work in the snow?

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2020 / 9:01 am

      They should work and be a hoot in the snow. I use to love using mine at the beach.

  3. Penelope
    November 19, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    I have a four month old grand daughter and have ordered her some baby books( Peter Rabbit, the board version, The Hungry Caterpillar, etc. ) and a little bookshelf inscribed with her name from Etsy to put them in. Start a love for books early!

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 2:50 pm

      I love, love the bookshelf idea!!

  4. Heather Wynne
    November 19, 2020 / 11:24 am

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time as my daughter has kept her 4yo @ home since the virus started and the boy has everything a youngster could want you open the door to a wide range of ideas better than here’s some money get him something from Amazon thanks for your wonderful site and stay safe

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 2:49 pm

      I’m glad you saw some fun ideas here:)

  5. Gerri
    November 19, 2020 / 10:06 am

    My 7 yo granddaughter loves her Ranger Rick and Highlights magazines. I am a big fan of nature so I do whatever I can to encourage interest and enjoyment in it. I even created a book detailing the metamorphosis of a butterfly. I used photos I have taken of our milkweed plant which creates dozens of Monarchs every year! This year I was introduced to a subscription program called Little Passports. It is wonderful. I chose the travel version that teaches about a different country every month. Greatest reaction:
    “I want to travel with you, grandma!”

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 2:46 pm

      That sounds amazing! I want to get that for my grandson.

    • Deanna
      November 19, 2020 / 3:11 pm

      I too use Little Passports subscriptions for my 5 year old granddaughter. She adores them . recently she asked her mother “if this month is almost over” because she can’t wait to receive next month’s package of activities and information…. I totally recommend Little Passports materials!
      Thank-you Jennifer for featuring this important topic!!

  6. cindy
    November 19, 2020 / 9:58 am

    I love this post. I love that art easel from PB. If I get permission, I am ordering for Summer!!

  7. MRSBEN2
    November 19, 2020 / 8:27 am

    Excellent suggestions, Jennifer. Unfortunately I don’t have any ‘little ones’ to purchase for any longer (exception do donate to Toy Mountain) however books were always something my children looked forward to receiving and each had their own favourite series which in turn eventually were either passed on to another child or sold in a garage sale but always as an entire series. Whereas fort the eldest great niece or nephew started each on the collection of the Berenstain Bears at which time I handmade the characters to go with it, as they weren’t available on the market. (Now grown up; two of them for sure still have the bears I made them as saved them for their own children.)

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:59 am

      You are so clever!! I love this.

  8. Linda
    November 19, 2020 / 7:44 am

    I might want some of this stuff for me! Growing crystals is fascinating!

    How about some science and art gifts to give ourselves?

    • Jessie Reid
      November 19, 2020 / 7:58 am

      I’m fascinated by it too Linda.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:58 am

      What a fabulous idea!! You have inspired me:)

  9. Diana
    November 19, 2020 / 7:34 am

    Great ideas!! Love your sweater!! Is it from Talbots?

  10. Carol
    November 19, 2020 / 6:35 am

    I cannot endorse the publications of Cricket too much!!! They are high quality magazines that engage children over and over. (We finally gave away a box of Cricket magazines that our daughter read well over 40 years ago. She kept a flashlight near her bed so she could “sneak” a read before sleep.

    Also the books by Alan Bradley in the Flavia deLuce series. So much fun and engaging even for adults. Good for 4th grade on up, I’d say. Flavia is a very strong character that a lot of girls can relate to. She’s not into fussy girlie stuff, but is interested in chemistry—and boy does she use it! A fun mystery with science, family and some history thrown in.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:57 am

      Flavia sounds like a great role model for girls!! There are far too many pink and purple plastic little pony toys for girls. A healthy balance is smart. Thanks for sharing

  11. Linda Simpson
    November 19, 2020 / 6:31 am

    Like your other subscribers, I always buy a book or two for my grandchildren ages 5 to 18. The 5-year-old gets a toy, and the teens get cash. Since they all have so much, I make Christmas simple.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:55 am

      I like keeping things simple too!

  12. Lin
    November 19, 2020 / 6:22 am

    I love to give my Grandchildren books. I started giving them books when they were born. One of my Grandaughters love the “Ranger Ricks” series and my Grandson loves “Harry Potter”. After they read the books, I read them also and that opens up a whole world of conversation.

  13. Susan
    November 19, 2020 / 6:04 am

    I don’t have children, but my nieces and nephews have children all aged under 5. The boys receive educational gifts (at the request of mum and dad), coding kits, maps, educational books. The two little girls, both aged 5 like pretty clothes, so I tend to splurge in in that area. Plus I like to buy gifts for the local charity, but not so much in the education department, but items such as skateboards, cricket sets, or whatever the latest ‘must have’ toy is.

  14. Deb
    November 19, 2020 / 5:21 am

    Great ideas! Love giving books as gifts! Congratulations to your brother on his new book. Can you tell us about that gorgeous sweater you are wearing?

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:54 am

      Here’s the link. I love it ❤️https://rstyle.me/cz-n/equ7di39zw

  15. Anne shannon
    November 19, 2020 / 5:20 am

    I was disturbed by my daughter buying all sorts of poorly designed plastic toys for her toddler. I tripped over lovevery.com which ships Montessori toys. They ship age appropriate toys every quarter. I am most impressed by their quality and they are picked up daily by my grandchild. Great play value. I have purchased a year’s subscription plan. Christmas all looked after,

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:53 am

      Thanks for sharing that, Anne. It sounds a like a great subscription.

  16. Jan
    November 19, 2020 / 5:14 am

    Kiwi crates! A monthly subscription box filled with educational fun crafts and games and a booklet that has stories and more suggested activities for that month’s theme. My 4 yr old granddaughter LOVES it. Subscriptions are available for ages from babies to teens and beyond. https://www.kiwico.com/

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2020 / 10:31 am

      They sound wonderful, thanks

  17. Bea
    November 19, 2020 / 4:59 am

    I love giving books! All of my grandchildren have enjoyed the Ed Emberly drawing books. These books inspire, entertain, and educate. I usually give these books with an assortment of markers and drawing paper.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:49 am

      I’d even love to get drawing books and pretty colors pencils. Great idea.

  18. Shari
    November 19, 2020 / 4:52 am

    Nice ideas! Wish my kiddos were still little!
    I buy BabyBug subscriptions for every new baby in our family. Soo cute with an on line area too with songs etc.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:49 am

      Thanks for sharing. I hadn’t heard of Baby Bug.

  19. Paulette Levy
    November 19, 2020 / 4:35 am

    Great ideas ! Something to read is always my first gift selection for my four grandchildren. Two are teens and the twins are toddlers. My belief is that reading opens up whole new worlds….and for some children can help remove them briefly from the stresses felt of covid19.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2020 / 8:48 am

      I totally agreed with you. Nothing makes me happier than to hear my grandson read.

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