Affordable Yet Educational Gifts Your Kids Will Love

Are you looking for unique gift ideas for your children while trying to stay within your budget? Educational toys, games, and other gifts can boost knowledge, teach problem solving, and inspire creativity. Plus, for those working from home with kids, some of these suggestions may have the added benefit of keeping your children occupied while you stay productive. 

Experiential gifts

Some of the best gifts for kids aren’t tangible items but rather experiences. Take a look around your area for historical attractions, museums, cultural centers, art festivals, and other events and activities your kids may enjoy. To save money, seek out free museum days, family specials, and other discounts. If you want to take a trip out of town to explore new places and experiences, use a website like Priceline to get awesome deals on vacation packages, hotels, flights, and rental cars.

Another type of experiential gift that you can give your kids are new interests and practical skills. You can share your interests with your child, and maybe get them interested in learning something practical. Show them that plants need water, and how using a hose gets them the water that they need. Does a doll or a shirt need mending? Show them how a needle and thread makes things right. 

Or show them how your car’s tires work. Tell them that if the tires seem to be not as round, you may need to put some air in them. If they’re a bit older, maybe you can work on the car or build a bike together. Not only will you be able to teach them something practical, but you’ll also get to spend some quality time together. (And maybe show them that there are other interesting things around the house, not just their screens.)

Educational gift ideas for young kids

Building toys – Blocks inspire creativity, improve motor skills, increase spatial reasoning, and help develop other cognitive skills. From wooden and foam blocks for babies and toddlers to LEGOs, Magna-Tiles, and K’NEX for older children, building and construction toys are affordable gifts that kids can play with for hours on end.

Puzzles – For little ones, basic puzzles with knobs can help teach dexterity. And kids of all ages can practice patience and problem-solving skills with jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, and all kinds of other puzzles. For a kid who loves puzzles and wants a challenge, consider 3D jigsaw puzzles or mechanical puzzles such as a Rubik’s Cube.

Books – The most obvious educational gift? Books! According to, various studies have shown that reading aloud to kids strengthens their brains, builds vocabulary and comprehension skills, boosts social and emotional development, and decreases aggression and hyperactivity. Start reading to your children as babies and don’t stop, even when they are old enough to read themselves. You can check out your local secondhand bookstore or borrow books from the local library to save money.

Educational gift ideas for older children

Science kits – Most kids like science because it can be messy. But science kits make a great gift idea because children can learn the basics of chemistry, physics, and a whole lot more. Companies like KiwiCo offer science kits, as well as art and craft projects, that you can order via a monthly subscription. 

Educational apps – There’s a plethora of apps that make learning fun and convenient, apps that can be downloaded to smart devices like iPads and smartphones. A great gift idea is the GizmoWatch Disney Edition kids smartwatch, which has plenty of memory to store a few extra goodies and a screen large enough to easily navigate whatever learning app they are using. This watch is a parent favorite as well, with built-in easy-to-use parental controls like filters to block inappropriate content.

Musical instruments – Musical instruments teach kids about sounds, rhythms, and the joy of music. Additionally, as Pacific Standard points out, research has shown that playing a musical instrument can boost your child’s concentration, memory, and other cognitive skills. Plus, playing an instrument can improve their problem-solving ability and reading comprehension, and it also fosters patience, discipline, and confidence in children of all ages. You can often find affordable used instruments for sale online, rent instruments from your local music store, or even borrow them from your school.

Board games – Board games make great gifts for kids of all ages. You can choose from classics like Monopoly or Scrabble to more modern games like Villainous and Ticket to Ride. Many games these days have a collaborative aspect, where you team up with other players to develop strategies, solve challenges, and accomplish goals as a team.

When looking for affordable gifts for your own children or other kids in your life, don’t jump to the latest video games right away. Instead, look for experiential gifts or educational toys like mind-bending puzzles and strategy games. Your kids will not only enjoy these types of gifts, but they’ll boost their knowledge, cognitive skills, and emotional development, too.

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