The Best Toys for Boys – 2014 (Updated for 2015)
Are you starting to think about Christmas shopping? Or do you already have presents purchased and tucked away?
If you’re in the “haven’t shopped yet” camp, here are some ideas to get you started!
But first, a disclaimer…
Often when I post things that are “for boys,” I receive comments ranging from polite questions to rude accusations asking why an item or activity is labeled “for boys” because “girls can do these things too.” Of course girls will like many of the items on this list! However, moms and dads and grandparents who are searching for ideas for boys want to find a collection of ideas that reflect what boys might want. That’s all it is – a resource for those who are searching for gift ideas for boys.
So there you have it. 🙂
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through my links I will earn a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.
Ideas for Kids who Like to Build
The Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 is a fun twist on a classic marble run! This building set comes with different types of stackable pieces that either let the marble straight through, give the marble two possible exits, or one side exit. By stacking the pieces, you can build some pretty neat marble runs that allow the marble to take a different path each time. Pretty cool! It’s also inexpensive as far as quality marble runs go, and it doesn’t take much space to store. Win-win!
I think that most of the negative reviewers on Amazon either bought this set for a child who was too young or a child who does not really enjoy engineering projects. For the child who loves to build, this is a great set. I would recommend it for ages 8+, possibly age 7 depending on the child. My 11 year old loves it. My 8 year old has less interest, but he is more of an imaginative kind of guy rather than an engineer.
We recently bought a set of Magna Tiles, and we love them! They are a little pricey, but so worth it. I saw it as a homeschooling investment because they are a quiet toy and perfect for keeping the younger boys busy during school. My 2 year old (almost 3), 5 year old, and 8 year old all love them.
MagFormers are also highly rated – you can’t go wrong with either one.
Snap Circuits are another great gift for kids who love to build and engineer. Aidan owns the Snap Circuits 300 set, which is great for ages 8+. He loves building the projects in the book, and he even designed a working doorbell for his room! For kids younger than 8, check out Snap Circuits Junior.
Every house needs some classic wooden blocks, and we love the Melissa and Doug Standard Unit Blocks. The quality is fantastic. One set is plenty for 2 kids, but if you have a larger family, it might not be a bad idea to buy two sets. (Melissa and Doug usually has a huge one day sale on Amazon at some point during the Christmas season, so watch for that. We got the blocks for $34.99 on that sale!)
Younger kids (ages 4-7) may enjoy Lego Juniors – a new line of Lego sets that have simpler instructions and fewer pieces to put together. They are the same scale as “big kid” Legos, but simpler. This Fire Emergency set is a lot of fun!
LEGO Classic Tubs are perfect for kids age 4 and up. I love the new range of colors in these tubs! And it’s good old basic bricks, just like we used to have when we were kids!
Ideas for Kids Who Love Animals
For kids who love dinosaurs, I have a separate post: Favorite Books and Toys for Dinosaur Fans
Folkmanis has some pretty awesome puppets for kids who like animals! This chameleon puppet is so cool. The eyes can rotate and it can stick out its tongue. Other adorable options: baby sloth, praying mantis, mini chipmunk.
Gresham received The DK Smithsonian Animal Book for his 7th birthday, and he absolutely adores it. A year later, he still looks at it ALL the time. This book does not have a lot of text or information (although it does have interesting facts), so if you want to go in depth, this is not the right book for that. What it does have is page after page of beautiful animal photos with a fun scale feature that shows how big they are compared to humans. Gresham knows so many different varieties of reptiles, birds, and mammals now!
Safari Toob Animals make a great gift. They are perfect for collecting and taking places. The Toob picture above is the Rainforest Toob, but there are many, many more varieties available! (We like to buy ours at Hobby Lobby with a coupon.)
The Playmobil Wild Life Jungle Animals with Off-Road Vehicle set is a favorite around here! Two of the boys own this set. They love the fact that you can load the guy into the jeep, and the articulated animals are pretty cool as well. We love Playmobil for the quality and the detail.
The Guide to Animals by Frank Sherwin is a brand new book perfect for animal fans! This book is written from a Biblical creation perspective. Gresham received this book for his 8th birthday, and I am impressed. He loves the beautiful pictures and animal facts, and I love that it has in-depth information about how science truly does support Biblical creation.
ICR has recently released The Guide to Dinosaurs, but I don’t see it on Amazon yet. You can order it from ICR. This one will be under our tree on Christmas morning!
Ideas for Preschoolers
Lego Duplo is a staple toy for the preschool years at our house! If you’re getting started, you can’t go wrong with the Duplo My First Deluxe Box of Fun.
We have thrown away soooo many broken vehicles over the years, but this Green Toys Dump Truck is classic and sturdy!
Our preschoolers have enjoyed Fisher-Price Imaginext toys over the years. We own many dinosaurs and the ninja castle. They are definitely more sturdy than most of the toys out there. The Imaginext Lion’s Den Castle is new this year and looks super fun!
It’s fun to have some play tools when you’re a preschool boy! You never know when you might need to help fix something. Jonathan “helped” fix the washing machine on Saturday. Many of the tool sets out there are total junk, but this Fisher-Price Drill has held up well for us!
If you’re preschooler wants a bike, a balance bike is definitely the way to go! We bought a Specialized brand balance bike for Gresham, and it’s still going strong two boys later! Jonathan is 2, turning 3 in January. He has been able to coast on his balance bike with his feet up since age 2.5. The awesome thing about a balance bike is that they are faster and more nimble than a training wheel bike, and kids can transition straight to a bike with pedals with no training wheel phase! Totally worth it. The bikes are lightweight and move easily, so it does not tire them out to push with their feet. There are several brands out there – the Strider balance bike has good reviews.
Coming soon – A gift guide for boys ages 10+. That age group can be hard to shop for…
Also, our philosophy on Christmas gifts is that we don’t want to add to the toy clutter problem at our house, plus we usually don’t have much money to spend! We like to buy a few high quality toys that will last and actually get played with (like the toys above). For more ideas for consumable gifts (craft supplies, etc.), experience gifts, and other gifts that won’t add more clutter to your home, check out this post —> Christmas Gift Ideas that Won’t Create More Toy Clutter!