If you want to give your kids something other than candy on Christmas morning, give them something to capture their imaginations and inspire learning through games and activities! Read on for the best educational stocking stuffer ideas for kids.
This gift is a crazy science lesson in the making – you’ll love watching them try to catch the helicopter as it whizzes away from their hands via infrared induction. They’ll be endlessly entertained, and you can play too by using the remote to activate and deactivate the sensors.
If your little smartie likes solving puzzles, this puzzle ball will be a real hit! Your child can explore options and try new arrangements until finding the right spatial configuration to solve the puzzle. Once they’ve cracked the puzzle, they’ll have a new challenge in putting it back together again.
Iota is great for you to play as a family or for the kids to entertain themselves. The matching skills, pattern recognition, and high speed game pace will develop their intellects while they enjoy game after game with anyone ready to play.
These pencils are sure to elicit a giggle on Christmas morning, and are a great gift for them to return to school with after the holidays are over. They can show off their pencils and bend them therapeutically while solving difficult problems.
Encourage the inner artist in your kids with kinetic sand – a great small stocking stuffer, it allows them to create three dimensional objects without leaving a big mess when they’re finished. They’ll love being able to create and re-create sculptures without the hassle of sand getting everywhere or clay turning hard.
This gift is ideal for some old-school adventuring! You can teach your kids about geography and finding your way in the wilderness. For an extra challenge, take them geocaching without the GPS – once you’ve established your location, they can use their compass to navigate.
If your child loves music, they’ll be delighted with this musical doo-dad and history lesson rolled up into one. Once they get the jist of how it works, they’ll be able to punch out their own tunes and have them played by the music box. It’s perfect for any would-be youthful composer.
Kids can be under a lot of pressure in school, so give them something their teacher can’t complain about: a stress ball decorated with an image of the globe! They can squeeze it to their heart’s content and memorize geography at the same time. They can even toss it around and play a game of geography-themed hot potato.
To the budding Shakespeares in your life, give a new source of entertainment with Mensa’s kid-friendly crossword puzzles! They can furrow their brows through a whole book’s worth of crosswords while encountering age appropriate subjects to flex their problem solving skills and their vocabulary.
The game of SET is a great family game that is intellectually stimulating and encourages pattern recognition. It’s a classic sure to entertain all ages. They may not know what it is when they first open the box, but once you start playing, they’re sure to enjoy the challenge!
This fantastic kit will make your little artist-in-training go gaga over their newfound ability to create three-dimensional art on any surface. What kid wouldn’t want to free reign to draw safely on siblings and self alike? A 3D printer in miniature, this pen can capture their imaginations for years to come.
Have your kids ever asked what it’s like to be up in space? Give them a window into an astronaut’s died with a pack of freeze-dried ice cream. It’s a culinary adventure and a lesson in space travel all rolled up into one. Plus, you can look forward to their reaction when they finally try some!
Geometry tools aren’t just for class – if you have an aspiring artist at home, give them the tools to explore new dimensions in their drawings and paintings. Kids can experiment with circles, angles, and plenty of measured shapes using this kit.
This fun little trinket from the Smithsonian incorporates a love of dinosaurs with a love of puzzles: kids can experiment with the levers and general orientation of components while enjoying the fact that it can walk around with the best of them.
They’ll love turning to this classic game for entertainment with friends and during travel. They can learn timeless configurations from the book, then add more to their repertoire from online tutorials and experimentation. If you played when you were a kid, even better – re-learn the tricks with them!
For younger math students, these learning dice are a great way to investigate probability and other related concepts, such as place value. Kids will appreciate the chance to investigate in a pressure free environment, and you’ll always have some dice on hand when it’s time to divvy up the chores.
If your child loves the ‘I Spy’ book series, then you can’t go wrong with this individually made bag full of trinkets inspired by the books. You can take it with you on trips or just play at home on a rainy day. The variety of new items to name & find in a 3D format make it a great learning tool for children.
The Mobi Math game is a great way to motivate young students to learn math quickly and use it to strategically win family game night! Kids will enjoy flexing their math muscles and racing to the finish in this game inspired by the Scrabble generation.
Whether your little one is taking up bird watching, investigating the stars, or just playing pretend in the backyard, these shockproof (read: gets dropped a million times and still works) binoculars are sure to please while exposing your kids to science in action.
There’s no question that chess stimulates intellectual development, and if you want a great strategy game that can travel with the family, this is it. Your kids will love dueling each other and developing winning plays, which makes it an ideal stocking stuffer for smart kids.
Do you have an Indiana-Jones wanna-be tearing up your backyard and longing for ancient ruins? While a trip to visit Mayan temples may be out of the question, it’s not impossible to provide a fun excavation experience they’re sure to enjoy! Make sure to ask them what treasures they find.
This tinker toy kit, based on real tinker toy kits of days gone by, is great for young children looking for new ways to build and tear down their imaginary cities. If they love Lincoln Logs or Legos, they’re likely to enjoy this blast from the past.
This stocking stuffer for a younger crowd lets them try to fit all the animals into the arc, but the catch is that they have to balance them on top of each other! It’s a fun way for tots to explore weights, support, balance, and more.
A great way to combine fun and history, these foam gliders feature prints from real aircraft deployed during WWII. You can teach your kids about the pilots and planes that fought in the war, or sit back and watch as their foam gliders race around the backyard.
A direct evolution of Scrabble, Bananagrams forces your kids to get creative, learn more vocabulary, and ace their spelling in order to be victorious in the race to the finish. It’s a great way to motivate kids who are timid about English class or who already really love words.
What would a stocking stuffer list for smart kids be without a plug for the original slinky? It’s been entertaining children for decades and shows no signs of stopping. Plus, it’s a great chance to introduce them to physics concepts like springs and waves.
If your kids love using their smarts to play jokes and impress their friends, this magic deck is for them. They’ll learn a basic magic trick or two, and can always learn more if they enjoy it. Expect them to perfect their routine on you before trying it outside the home.
How can kids not be excited about magnets? They’ll be mesmerized by the magnet wands and the many different shapes and sizes of magnets included in the package. It’s a great way for them to marvel at the physics of the universe.
This crazy dice game teaches them about counting, multiplication, and probability. They need to know their odds – otherwise they could lose it all in an unlucky roll. They’ll enjoy the quick pace of the game and the way it forces them to take chances in the name of winning the game.
If you have a Jedi in training at home, take this chance for a fun, Star Wars related science experiment. Kids get to build their own miniature lightsaber using the perfectly safe chemicals in the kit. May the force – or the glowing growing sabers – be with you.
This timeless stocking stuffer is sure to please any budding artist. They’ll love the variety of brush selection and the ability to experiment with new sizes, textures, and shapes. This would be a great gift paired with new paints as well.
This game is ideal for children who love solving puzzles and have times when they need to play alone, such as if they’re an only child or their siblings are involved in lots of after school activities. They’ll enjoy solving the 100 different challenges, and you can always lend a helping hand if it gets too difficult.
Great for young and old children alike, Rori’s story cubes help them spin imaginative tales and delve into the creative writing process. They can use them to take turns spinning tales on the fly at night or practice writing stories for school and publication.
Do you love gazing up at the night sky? If you want to share your love of the stars or want to get your kids excited about finding constellations, the pocket starfinder is a great stocking stuffer. You can help them find more constellations as the seasons change!
All the ants, leaves, and cicada skeletons in your yard will be observed with extra scrutiny once you hand over this classic gift for budding scientists. If you want to fuel their curiosity and provide them with a way to play detective, a magnifying glass is the way to go.
Trivia games can be frustrating for children who didn’t grow up in the right era or haven’t learned this or that in school, so why not get them a trivia game they can actually enjoy? This one’s sure to please as it’s filled with age appropriate questions and content.
As far as an inexpensive gift to a budding magician goes, the harmonica is tough to beat. A motivated child will easily and quickly learn simple tunes and it’s easy to see how they’d be excited to find it on Christmas morning.
The name says it all. For a chemistry experiment that comes with a little extra fun, pop these instant snow tubes in their stockings. Even better if snow is rare where you live – it’s a great way to guarantee them a white Christmas!
This sweet little doll is a fantastic introduction to human biology – kids can open up the doll and learn to put all the organs back in order. It’s a perfect gift for children who want to grow up to be a doctor or who have to undergo an upcoming surgery.
Knots can challenge the imagination and force kids brains to forge new pathways. This kit allows them to explore some of the most famous knots and the most useful every day ones. From learning to tie their own shoes to knots that can moor a boat, they’ll love learning new techniques and their everyday applications.
If you’re looking for something helpful, fun, and a little off the beaten path as far as gifts go, this handmade, original math game is the perfect stocking stuffer for your little ones. They’ll love blending math with every day play, and it’s easy to take with you on the road.
7 DIY Fun Educational Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Smart Kids
This dandy necklace will give them a unique flair and help them develop their sense of direction! It’s easy to put together and you can choose materials that are less likely to break, even in the hands of a growing child. Give for a happy surprise on Christmas morning!
Perfect for younger children, you can make a bundle of these to stuff in your child’s stocking and play in the weeks to come! These cards will let you play classic, fun games like ‘Go Fish’ but with new vocabulary.
Rather than hand this one over fully formed, give your kids everything they need to make it themselves! A little sack with all the items will be one of their favorite gifts when they realize they can grow their own crystals into a necklace.
To give them an encouragement to keep up in their reading, you can give them this human bookmark! Take a picture of them or modify it to include a favorite pet, and soon they’ll be using their silly bookmark every time they pick up a new book.
Give them a coupon for a compass painting day, then get them set up for a fun exploration of circles and geometry and their effect on works of art. They’ll love the experience of making art with you, and it will open their eyes to a fun intersection of math and art.
It’s easy to make this candy ahead of Christmas morning, or to give them the ingredients so that they can make the candy themselves. It’s the perfect (and tasty!) opportunity to teach them about supersaturation and crystal formation while tempting them with edible goodies.
Are your kids the kind that think a dinosaur butt sticking out of the end of a book is hi-lar-i-ous? If yes, you can encourage a love of reading with this ridiculous bookmarks! They’ll giggle every time they pick up their books, and just might show it off to their friends, too.
(Read this next: 51 Ridiculously Cool Stocking Stuffers for Kids)