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The Plinkit Holiday Gift Guide

Thoughtfully curated toys + books that are educational + fun. Expertly analyzed against our rigorous criteria. Approved by teachers, parents and children. Get ready to play smarter in 2020.

P.S. For nostalgia’s sake, last year’s gift guide.

Critical Thinking Social + Emotional Language + Literacy Creativity + Imagination Fine Motor + Gross Motor WOW Factor Little Somethings Puzzles + Games Books We Love to Give
Critical Thinking
Café Plus LEGO Set

Proof that math is creative! A unique way to learn math in context. Sorting, matching, organizing – all early math concepts for opening your own café. Also inspires dramatic play, language-building and social skills.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Critical Thinking
Ze Géoanimo Blocks

Up the ante on traditional pattern blocks. Beautifully designed by award-winning French author-illustrator Édouard Manceau. Curved shapes with unique pattern cards.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Critical Thinking
Scoop-A-Bug

Bugs, scoopers, magnifiers – kid favorites jam-packed into one toy. Plus a pinch of counting, hand-eye coordination and muscle control. Creepy fun!

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Aircraft Engineer Kit

It’s rare that we find an ‘engineering’ toy for small hands. This nifty set has large and colorful pieces specially designed for just that reason. Makes 10 vehicles using foundational S.T.E.A.M skills.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Creativity + Imagination
Critical Thinking
Science Experiment Toolbox

“If you love building, this is the perfect toy. It has really fun things that move your brain. Like gears.” (Said a 5-year old tester.) Learn about simple machines in 6 experiments. Compact design for easy clean-up.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Woodworker’s Project Kit

Celebrate problem-solving through woodworking. Made by (their own) hands, made with love, built for purpose. For something more open-ended, try this toolbox set.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Box and Balls

Deceptively simple. Rolling, bouncing, banking, stacking, nesting – your choice! An excellent game for developing concentration (key for executive functioning), hand-eye coordination and motor planning.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Waterlily Challenge Game

Strategy + fun. Add dexterity…now you’re firing all sorts of brain connections. A game of skill that everyone can play.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Social + Emotional
Dentist Play Set

Dramatic + dentist go hand-in-hand for the imagination. (Think: pliers + teeth!) Well-sized to build hand strength, essential for learning to write. Rolls up in an easy travel case.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Portable Animal Clinic

“Look for the helpers.” -Mister Rogers. Teach empathy and build storytelling skills with this sweet vet clinic. Watch your little one creatively work through big feelings.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Adventure Playground Kit

*Bendable* building blocks do exist! Use it to role play tricky playground social situations. Made in Germany and beloved among children and educators for over 30 years.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Modular Building Play Set

Go beyond the traditional dollhouse. This flexible set has endless design options and brilliantly packs up. Plus, the beanbag characters are irresistibly squeezy (super for strengthening hand muscles).

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Aki and Maki Sushi Game

A hard-to-find toy, but well worth it. From the felt ‘seaweed’ to the wooden ‘rice’ (can you spot 2 different shapes?), it’s excellent for sensory play and honing fine motor skills.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Personalized Apron + Mitts

Warning: We’ve seen kids love these so much that they never take them off. Pairs nicely with this best-selling kids cookbook.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
The Fair Doll

Multiple award winner. This huggable lovey comes with a kindness kit – 10 tokens to give as a random acts of kindness. Join the mission to spread friendship, gratitude and fairness. Much love to the the Hope doll also.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Pindaloo

Move your brain and hands in a unique way (check out the video). You won’t even realize that they’re actively developing bilateral coordination and visual-spatial planning. Very cool.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Language + Literacy
Multi-Language Alphabet Tray

So clever. Learn letters in 4 languages (English French, German, Italian). Innovative wooden sheets feature illustrations that correspond to each language’s alphabet.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Critical Thinking
Language + Literacy
Float and Find Alphabet Bubbles

Use bath time as a giggly play space for learning letters. (Ditto for learning numbers and quantities.)

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Critical Thinking
Language + Literacy
Eat-It-Up Puppet

Feed the b-e-l-l-y! A glove puppet with an actual belly bag. Great for back-and-forth conversations. P.S. Puppets are a great tool for helping children navigate their social world from a different perspective.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Toy Cash Register

Just about everything kids love in a register: credit card reader, till, item scanner, number counter, push buttons. Check, check, check! Learning to count through role-play is effective + fun.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Alphabet Acorns

Because kids love little things hidden inside little things – do it with letters. Guess what’s hidden in each acorn? Clue: it’s a fun way to make connections between letter names and letter sounds.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Critical Thinking
Language + Literacy
HedBanz Jr.

Imagine how much little brains grow when they have to guess, “What am I?” All that question-asking is aces for building literacy and critical thinking skills.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Treasure Hunt Game

Scavenger hunts made easy. Use these clever cards to lead your kids to an unexpected surprise. Encourage sight word recognition, multi-step directions and persistence (all important parts of Kindergarten Readiness).

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Critical Thinking
Language + Literacy
Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Set

A fresh way of learning in context. Stencil cheeky messages on sidewalks, driveways, fences. The reusable stencil sheets means your gift of laughter keeps on giving.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Smoothie Maker

Highly sought after in every play kitchen. This set comes with everything your child needs to bring their smoothie dreams to life – including the hard work of cutting things up (super for fine motor practice).

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Play Dirt Pig Pen

Found! Special indoor dirt that molds, is reusable and is easy to clean-up. Enjoy hours of imaginative play that also builds on sensory learning.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Lincoln Logs

Kid: “I want this! I play with it all the time at school.” Grown-up: “Really? Isn’t it just a bunch of logs?” Kid: “No, it’s awesome. You can build anything!!” True conversation we overheard. Sometimes simple is best for toys that last.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Hank in a Bag

Hank’s pretty irresistible! It’s all in his special details – velvety soft, snazzy jumper, gallivanting in his little pouchette. He’s a consistent favorite.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
3D Blocks + Marble Run

Ingenious. 3D blocks that double as a marble run. See why it’s a multiple award-winner. Passionately created by illustrator and engineer Mario Dubé.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Critical Thinking
Creativity + Imagination
The Luggy

We looked high and low for the perfect wheelie for growing hands. This is it! The medium Luggy has just been added to this signature rattan company. (Beware, kids love it and put all sorts of things in it!)

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Castle *Bed* Tent

“At first I thought, ‘It’s just a tent.’ Then I realized, ‘WOW, it’s a *bed* tent! That’s cool.'” Couldn’t say it better ourselves. (So thankful for our little testers.) National Parenting Product Award winner.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Mars Space Station

The sky is the limit when it comes to space adventures. Outstanding Playmobil details with plenty of widgets. It’ll wow your child’s imagination (and practice their pincer grasp).

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
3D Magnetic Maze Dome

A novel way of developing motor planning and hand-eye coordination. Bonus points for creativity and language when your little one tells stories about the cute characters inside.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Dough Craft Kit

We love an all-in-one self-guided activity. This set has everything you need – extruder, tubs of dough and sweet picture boards. Great for travel, planes, post-nap quiet time. Excellent for building fine motor skills and for following directions.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Giant Ocean Sound Drum

The king of drums. A whopping 16 inches wide with a double-sided head. Play with it hands or mallets, or recreate the sounds of rolling and crashing waves. Just hear why it’s magical to kids of all ages.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Peekaboo Lock Boxes

Small boxes with big learning targets. Little fingers love finagling the locks to discover color and shape attributes. There’s more – hone visual perceptual skills by manipulating shapes into coordinating tops.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Make Your Own Monster Kit

Sad, scary, kind, creepy, cute – your monster, you choose. This kit comes with all the bits and bobs your child needs to flex their creative muscles (and fine motor skills) to create their very own stuffy.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Coloring Globe

A lovely example of learning-by-doing. Color, construct, then explore the Earth’s geography. Your child’s sense for scale and perspective will come alive. No need for glue or scissors; assembly is easy with the built-in stand.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Language + Literacy
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Gemstone Excavation Kit

Curious minds love to dig + discover. Throw in some real gemstones and you’ll have some happy explorers. This excavation kit will keep kids exploring (and strengthening their pencil grip) for hours.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Ball Toss Throwing Game

Specially made by a toy manufacturer from the Netherlands. It’s the favorite at BBQs and birthday parties. Fun for all ages, fun to play in a group. (Also fun to show off your hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.)

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
WOW Factor
Pikler Triangle

This is the stuff indoor dreams are made of. More than a gross motor tool, it’s a symbol of reasonable risk and self-confidence for kids. Add the rock wall / slide for extra glee.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Garden Wheelbarrow Set

Beautifully designed. Just look at those trinkets. Imagine the stories your little one would tell?

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Modular Castle Set

Castle under attack? Mansion for lost puppies? Build your own whatever. Endless configurations, endless storylines. Packs up into a single box. Keep the adventure going with the catapult.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Get Well Doctor Center

No one will get “sick” of this award-winning toy. (Pun intended!) Filled with thoughtful gadgets, there is plenty to keep your child’s imagination and empathy growing.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
HugglePod

Perfect for daydreaming. Perfect for reading. Perfect as a Cozy Corner. Heads-up: this snuggly sanctuary was so popular in a classroom that we had to create sign-up sheets. Kids love it.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Jungle Research Station

Whoa – Can you see all the details in this play set? From moveable hooks, to research gear, to campsite accessories, imaginations will go wild. Made by Germany’s leading producer of hand-painted toy figurines.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Flying Turtle Sit Skate

So fun. Really fun. Did we mention fun? Kids won’t even realize that it builds body awareness and core stability. Another good reason to play outside.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Hand Drill

Yes, it really works. Yes, it’s for kids. Little kids are eager for real-world tools, for big kid engagement. This is a great first start.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Little Somethings
Boom Shock-A-Locka

A creative take on a classic stacking toy. Great for developing visual perceptual skills. Plus, it looks so pretty on a toy shelf.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Lift and Look Game

A spin on a common toy – there’s something hidden underneath each piece. Even more motivation to keep working on those dexterity and concentration skills.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Water Warbler

Quite possibly the most unique stocking stuffer and party favor. Fill the whistle with water, then blow to sing like a bird. Handmade in Germany.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Beehives

Kids love cute + tiny. This toy is both…plus it has tweezers for pincer grasp practice. Match the bee to the hive to enforce matching, an early math skill.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Mini Camping Set

Just precious. Perfect for on-the-go. A PlanToys best-seller for good reason.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Differences Mini Games

A timeless game elevated with Djeco’s trademark artistic design. The engaging artwork is what makes this version especially challenging. Ideal for travelling. Designed in France.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Magnetic Zoo Rummy

Traditional Rummy, but kid-style – that means animals and funny rules. Thumbs-up for kids. Packed neatly in a small tin case. Thumbs-up for grown-ups.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Watercolor Pencils

A unique hybrid of watercolors and colored pencils. Dip them in water, sketch a design, then use a water brush to turn a drawing into a watercolor. Sure to wow every budding artist.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Creativity + Imagination
Puzzles + Games
Topper Takes a Trip

So many ways to play this one (because there are so many ways to learn). Pack to match the destination and hone critical thinking skills, follow simple instructions while building vocabulary, or simply fill the suitcase with your favorite items.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Language + Literacy
Critical Thinking
Creative Stones

Next-level blocks. Get creative with odd shapes. Comes with pattern cards of varying levels of difficulty. Made in Germany.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Critical Thinking
My Body Super Size Puzzle

Jumbo pieces, jumbo fun. Learn the ins and outs of the human body while developing visual perceptual skills and hand-eye coordination. Life-sized learning.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
4-5
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Harvest Day Memory Game

The most unique memory game we’ve seen. Kids adore the layout. Perfectly portable. Made by Vilac, the century-old French brand known for its timeless wooden toys.

Buy Now
Ages
3-4,
2-3
Clack!

Magnets + stacking + competition…all elements for fast-paced fun. Now add in visual discrimination skills. A great game for many ages and multiple players.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Go Cuckoo!

Finger dexterity is the focus of this nest-building game. Can you place all your eggs without cracking up? Beware, nest-building is complicated and strategic.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Critical Thinking
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Acrobat Skill Game

Apparently that tower can go up to 20 layers. Imagine?! Goal: create the tallest tower by exercising your strategic building muscles, motor planning and critical thinking skills. Pro tip: don’t knock down the tower!

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Fine Motor + Gross Motor
Critical Thinking
Battle Buckets

Never play the same game twice. Keeps things lively with a rotating bucket stand and multiple set-up options. Promotes hand-eye coordination and communication. Lots of family fun, supercharged if you play in teams.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Books We Love to Give
Let’s Find Momo!

Play hide-and-seek with Momo. Can you spot this darling (mischievous!) collie? Great for honing visual discrimination skills.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Tap the Magic Tree

An interactive book that explores a tree throughout the seasons. Tap it, wiggle it, jiggle it, kiss it – this magic tree needs your care for it to grow. “There is magic in every tree.”

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Fruit Bowl

Once and for all – is a tomato a fruit? Find out in this battle between the fruit bowl and the crisper drawer. Lively illustrations that will keep little ones entranced with fruits and veggies.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Life

See the world’s beauty through the eyes of animals. A moving experience with stunning illustrations. The modest text allows you to use the cueing system for emerging readers. Continue to inspire perspective with I Wonder.

Buy Now
Ages
2-3,
3-4
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Stormy

Breathtakingly beautiful. A wordless book where a picture tells a thousand words. Excellent for building storytelling skills, a key step in literacy development. In the same genre, try Tiger vs. Nightmare for something more animated with words.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Franklin’s Flying Bookshop

Magical + fantastical. Daydreams are made of stories like this. An excellent read aloud that easily allows you to increase critical thinking and curiosity.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
The Street Beneath My Feet

A fascinating explanation of what goes on underground from topsoil to the Earth’s mantle. Food for curious minds. The novel foldout format will take your little one on a journey for hours.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy
Moonshot

Otherworldly illustrations. “Reading Moonshot gave me the feeling I was back up in space.” -Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot, Apollo 11. Meanwhile back on earth, Mountains of the World is also captivating.

Buy Now
Ages
4-5,
5-6
Creativity + Imagination
Language + Literacy

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