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Are you looking for a gift for a boy? Every year as holidays and birthdays approach, I have to remind myself not to fall for the enticing displays and advertising, and spend my hard-earned cash on cheap toys that end up either in the rubbish bin or at Goodwill! What a waste!
Instead, I’d rather spend my money on educational toys and experiences. Gifts that do double duty like this are both wise and practical. Plus, for homeschoolers like me, they make my life SO easy because when my kids beg for learning I don’t have to nag!
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you buy your son textbooks. There are some really fun educational gifts that you can buy for your son. Here is a list of the very best educational toys you can imagine:
Robots are the perfect educational toy for boys
What boy wouldn’t want to play with his very own robot? Especially when it’s a robot he built himself!
Meet Cozmo, a smart, mischievous, real-life robot with a mind of his own and a few tricks up his sleeve. He’s ready to be your trusty sidekick.
With a beginner-friendly interface, Cozmo is the perfect educational robot for kids to learn creative coding. Program Cozmo to do anything from performing a victory dance, sneezing, or playing hot potato with his Cubes. Simply use the drag and drop coding blocks on the Cozmo app to build a new combination of blocks, and you’ll see Cozmo act out your creation. There are no limits to what you can create. All it takes is imagination.
Simple and easy, yet tough — this toy robot has been tested for durability and security.
We have the older version of this robot, and my kids love it! My 5-yr old needed lots of help building and programming, but my 10-yr old could build and program everything by himself, following the instructions. There is a ton more my boys can learn with this set as they grow older.
You can create 5 (or more!) different robots from one set, and program them to do different things, so your kids will never grow tired of it. Just think, they’re learning real life skills while they’re playing!
An infrared remote is included with each set, and your son can download a free EV3 Programmer app on his tablet (ios or Android). He can then use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to program his favorite robots to walk, talk, think and do pretty much anything he can imagine.
You can build 5 different, intricate projects right out of the box. You can also incorporate other sets and pieces.
LEGO boost includes a huge assortment of great parts so that you can build a working, mobile, programmable robot named Vernie, a musical guitar, a ‘factory’ that will actually build simple lego contraptions, a cat, and a horizontal rover bot. The free, downloadable app guides you through building and programming each robot in a series of challenges that are unlocked as you go.
The bluetooth setup is incredibly easy — much easier than any of our other robots have been. And the software is even easier, with it’s intuitive, icon-based, drag-and-drop coding interface. Your son will be able to build several cool things all by himself!
Gifts for boys who love computers and tech: Build your own computer
Have you seen these amazing resources that will help your kids to learn about computers? Your son will learn the different hardware components (and how to troubleshoot each one) as he builds his computer, and then he’ll learn about operating systems, software and programming as he gets it up and running. If you have a son who loves computers and tech, one of the following would be a phenomenal gift for him.
Build your own laptop and learn to code.
All inside a single box, you’ll find simple instructions, a 10.1″ HD screen, sound sensor, speaker, battery, wireless keyboard, membory 3 USB ports, HDMI and power cables, Kano’s operating system, Raspberry Pi3 and fun coding challenges to help you bring it all to life.
Through simple programming and fun projects you’ll learn to code art, music, apps, games and more. Don’t just play Minecraft — hack it.
For ages 6+. No technical knowledge required.
Piper is the perfect computer kit for kids who love Minecraft and love to tinker. It was awarded 2018 Tech Toy of the Year. It is a self-contained computer running on a Raspberry Pi 3 project board — 1 GB RAM; 1.2Ghz Quad Core CPU + Wifi Capabilities.
Your budding inventor can assemble the 50+ puzzle-like pieces to make a beautiful wood case and power-up boxes. The kit comes with full-scale blueprint instructions.
Each kit comes with the Piper learning system that teaches kids engineering and programming through a combination of engaging storyline, building, and Minecraft challenges. The increasingly challenging levels help teach new electronics and programming concepts step by step.
Through Piper you can assemble complex electronic circuits and make programmable modules that interact with your Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft world. You can build real, physical electronics such as buttons, switches, LED lights, sensors, buzzers and more to design your own Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft dashboard which allows you to better control your character in the game.
Once powered-up, the real fun begins with on-screen tasks revealing limitations in the initial configuration but then provides solutions to these limitations as part of the game, teaching the basics of electronics and circuitry along the way.
Gifts to teach boys about electronics and circuits
If your son reminds you of Thomas Edison, always experimenting and exploring, never taking no for an answer, you just might have a budding genius on your hands. Get that boy some educational toys!
My kiddos have enjoyed building with snap circuits for many years. Snap circuits contain individual you can combine in different ways to create all kinds of electronic gadgets such as sound-activated switches, musical doorbells, a voice-controlled lamp, and police lights and sirens.
Because the projects are arranged in order of complexity, kids can build on their skills as they progress through the manual.
There are several different snap circuit kits to choose from:
Gifts for boys who love to build and create
Do your boys love to build and create? Mine do! Legos are always awesome! But we’ve discovered other equally high-quality and fun building sets that your son will love as well!
Let your imagination run wild with the award-winning Magformers sets. Design 3D towers, rockets, castles, amusement parks and multi-sided ‘balls’.
The open nature of Magformers shapes are great for small fingers to handle and the fun last for hours! Budding architects will be kept busy building, creating and discovering all day long. The building possibilities are endless.
We have multiple magformer sets and all of my kiddos, from my toddler to my 18-yr old still enjoy playing with them.
Building with K’NEX puts boys (and girls!) on a path towards a fundamental understanding of STEAM/STEM subjects. K’NEX supports key areas of a child’s developmental growth. As your son clicks the different parts together and discovers how the building system works, he’s strengthening hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and exercising his imagination!
Each K’nex building set comes with instructions and all of the unique connectors to build that specific creation. We have several amusement park sets and a large engineering set, but my kids have dumped all the K’nex pieces into one bin, and they primarily use them to build creatively.
Brain Blox (Wooden building blocks)
Don’t you love old-fashioned toys without batteries or buttons, bells and whistles? Things that encourage your son to put down the electronics? These wooden blocks help kids learn math, physics and engineering concepts through hands-on building. Brain Blox inspire kids to think creatively, embrace challenges and be persistent.
Your son will develop reasoning and problem-solving abilities, dexterity and spatial awareness. There is no limit to what your son can build with these blocks!
ZOOB is an award-winning building set with a difference—the pieces move after you put them together, so you can play with your creations, instead of just looking at them. There are 5 different styles of pieces that snap together in 20 ways to make connections that rotate, limbs that extend, axels that spin and much more.
The best part about playing with ZOOB is exploring, discovering and using imagination to create any design that comes to mind. This gives ZOOB built-in educational value because children must use the most important tool of all for creation: their imaginations. The included instruction guides also teach children how to build different creations. Although instructions are provided, the best part of playing with ZOOB is exploring, inventing, and discovering how you can build and deciding what you want to create.
I had one of these growing up, and I loved it. Now I like to play with my kids’ marble run whenever I get the chance. This thing is a classic! It’s educational, too. Building toys like this will stimulate your kids’ creative problem-solving skills as they figure how to assemble the pieces to form their own marble run. The process of assembling the run will exercise imagination, motor skills, and increase spatial awareness and interest in scientific principles.
Tinker Crate inspires kids to explore and learn about science, engineering, and technology—and have fun doing it. Every month, a new crate to help kids develop a tinkering mindset and creative problem-solving skills. Suitable for children ages 9 and up.
Educational subscription boxes for kids are such an easy way to increase your child’s interest in a particular subject or expose them to new subjects. These subscriptions make the best gifts because they keep on giving all year! Seriously, subscription boxes are like the gateway drug to becoming a passionate lifelong learner!
My boys also love to play with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. And they devour architectural design books and books of floor plans. It’s not weird to me, because I also devour them. Your kiddos might like them, too!
Gifts for boys who love science and tinkering
Science was always my favorite subject as a kid. I just loved knowing how things worked, from digestive systems to motors! Math was my second favorite subject. Naturally, I’ve passed my love for all things scientific on to my kids. Our favorite day each week in our homeschool is ‘science day’! My kids get so excited about experiments on science day that I don’t have to nag or coax anyone through their other subjects. Check out some of our favorite items below.
We made model rockets when we studied Chinese history, and my kids loved them so much I created an entire Unit Study around rockets.
These are best used with adult supervision unless your son is older and very responsible.
The Tandem-X Launch Set offers Xtra value with two rockets. The Crossfire ISX is a Skill Level 1 rocket that streaks over 1,200 feet into the sky. The E2X Amazon is just short of 3 foot long and flies over 600 feet.The Tandem-X Launch Set includes a launch pad and launch controller. You’ll need to purchase a 9V battery for the launcher and a couple of engines in addition to this set.
If your son decides to explore further, this is a great book to increase his rocket-building knowledge and abilities. Make High Power Rockets: Construction and Certification for Thousands of Feet and Beyond
Assorted Science Kits
This is a terrific beginner microscope for kids. With 3 objective lenses, and 2 eyepieces, you can use 5 magnification levels from 40X to 1000X. The magnification range is ideal for viewing microscopic organisms, like what you might find in water samples from a lake or ocean. It’s also great for looking at crystal structures and metallurgical samples.
The top and bottom LED illumination provide light for both translucent and opaque objects. This means you can look at ultra-thin tissue samples, or plant leaves and insects. And since the microscope is battery-powered, you can take it anywhere.
This kit includes 5 prepared slides, as well as a collection of tools for making your own slides. There’s a Petri dish for holding liquid samples, and 5 blank slides and cover slips for mounting thin-section specimens, like tissues. There’s an easy-to-use microtome for slicing specimens, and red and blue stains to improve contrast in highly-translucent specimens. A vial, stirring rod, and pipette will help prepare wet-mount slides. And, of course, there are tweezers to help with the more-delicate subjects.
Each month your son will receive boxes full of everything he needs to learn about and do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments for ages 8+. Each box comes with a 20+ page lab notebook and all of the materials for their project.
Sign up for their newsletter and receive a 10% discount! Monthly, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month packages starting at $29.95. Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving!
What boy isn’t crazy about explosives? Your little guy will be thrilled to make rockets from a chemical reaction or a balloon, make fizzy bombs, make a fun explosive bag, and create a color explosion.
The booklet is very informative and explains the reasoning behind all of the experiments. All the tools are provided, but you’ll need to provide a few household items including paper towels, ice tray, oil, vinegar, corn flour, sand, empty plastic bottles, etc. My kids literally and figuratively had a blast!
Learn fun facts about body parts, byproducts and become completely grossed out as you take science to a whole new level. Create a stinky intestine, slimy snot, fake blood and learn how to grow friendly molds and bacteria. We haven’t tried this one, but it’s on my list because my boys are all over anything stinky, slimy or disgusting!
Gifts for boys who love construction
Two of my sons love construction. They might not admit to it while in the middle of taping and mudding drywall, but in general they do love to build and improve, and will choose construction before most activities I offer them. My dad is a woodworking artist, and has a wonderful woodshop. He takes my kids into his shop occasionally and teaches them new skills and helps them to build beautiful projects. That might be why they love construction.
When my grandpa died, my dad saved one of his toolboxes for one of my sons. He gave it to my son, full of all the essential tools, one year for Christmas. My dad also gave that son his old toolbelt (a very nice, well-used, leather toolbelt). Those are probably his all-time favorite and most treasured gifts.
Since then, my younger son has collected (or stolen from our garage) a toolbox of his own, along with assorted tools. I love that my boys want tools! I love even more that they want to learn skills! My boys will be able to service and repair their vehicles when they grow up. They’ll be able to maintain and care for and improve their homes. What valuable and rare skills!
This simple kit is a great way to introduce your son to woodworking. It includes over 80 smooth, pine pieces and a lightweight hammer and nails. It also includes a project manual, but your son can also build creatively if he desires. For ages 4-11 years. If you have any experience building, you could just purchase a quality hammer and fasteners, plus a pine board at Home Depot, for less than half the price of this kit, and you could find plans for beginner projects at ana-white.com or on Pinterest. Either way, your son will absolutely love spending time with you and creating a project of his own.
Elenco’ s popular Practical Soldering Project Kit SP-1A combined with a complete soldering station with tools will help your son understand the basics of soldering with printed circuit boards. Clearly written instructions help develop good soldering skills. This kit comes with everything you need to complete the included projects, and will help your son pursue his interest in electronics.
My kids took a MakerSpace class last year at a local museum, and absolutely loved it! I love that this subscription box will continue the amazing things they were learning, from the convenience of our own kitchen table!
Gifts for boys who love music and the arts
Soprano Ukelele Starter Kit – Includes online lessons, tuner and app
The Kala Ukulele Starter Kit comes with everything you need to start playing today. It includes a high-quality mahogany soprano ukulele with Aquila strings, quality open gear tuners, and GraphTech Nubone nut and saddle. The kit also includes a Kala logo tote-bag, a 16-page Quick Start Guide with information about your new ukulele, and all the tips you need to get started! Learn to play songs in minutes with Kala’s FREE, easy to follow online lessons through the Kala Brand Music website.
The DAG-1C offers warm, vibrant, sound in your hands with a choice of convenient and practical features that will have the beginning guitarist in your house strumming away in no time.
The slim neck provides a comfortable feel and excellent playability, and the smooth satin finish maximizes resonance for optimal sound quality. This outfit includes the bag, a pick, a capo, and a tuner, in addition to the guitar. Your son will have everything he needs to get started right away.
Harmonica – Key of C
This is an elegant harmonica designed for both professional players and beginners. If you are looking for a high-quality small instrument for your son, this harmonica is the perfect choice!
All of your art supplies come in a high quality, convenient wooden carrying case. Use it to store and keep all of your artistic tools organized, making them easy to use anywhere you feel creative!
Include a sketchbook, and your young artist will be busily happy for the rest of the year!
Doodle Crate delivers handmade fun and creativity every month. Brought to you by Kiwi Crate, Doodle Crate is designed to inspire kids ages 9 to 16+ to learn new crafting skills and express themselves creatively.
Educational games for boys who love to play
Games are great ways for kids to learn! And they make excellent gifts! Learning games come in all types, and can help kids practice all kinds of academic skills:
- Literacy games such as boggle, hedbanz, scrabble, Apples to Apples, and Tall Tales help kids to become more proficient at phonics, expand their vocabularies, and learn spelling rules.
- Financial literacy games, like Monopoly or Carcassonne, ask kids to think about how much money or resources (such as property) they have and how they can use them to get to a goal.
- Mystery games ask kids to organize and synthesize information to use as a strategy for narrowing down to the correct answer. Consider games like 20 Questions, Clue, or Guess Who? for these skills.
- Math games like Mille Borne, Quirkle, Pentago, Prime Club, SET, Sequence, War and Countdown help kids to relate numbers and patterns and to be able to understand advanced numerical concepts by learning them in simple and fun ways.
- Strategy games like chess, checkers, Connect Four, and Battleship require kids to think up ways to move pieces to block or capture other pieces.
- Logic games such as IQ Twist, Gravity Maze, Rush Hour and Mastermind teach analytical thinking and reasoning skills.
I don’t let my kids play video games very often, because it seems to affect their behavior badly. We don’t even have a gaming system. When my kids do play video games, it’s on a laptop or tablet. Regardless of my opinion or practices, I know there are a whole lot of educational video games. I’m just not familiar with any of them.
Experiences often make the best gifts of all for active, adventurous boys
Last year for Christmas I gave all of my kiddos ski lessons and equipment. My older son wanted a snowboard and snowboarding lessons, so I bought all of the lessons at a resort that accommodates both skiers and boarders. We had such a fun winter, skiing together every Friday, building memories and relationships that will never end up in the rubbish bin!
Two years ago, I gave my kids tickets to Disneyland and surfing lessons.
This year we’re giving them a trip to China! They already know we’re going to China, because we had to renew passports, but they don’t know all of the things we’re going to do in China, so all the tickets will be a fun surprise. I have no doubt that our experiences in China will be far more valuable than any toy would be.
Groupon and other coupon sites are a fantastic place to find new, local places to try out, and usually for a pretty hefty discount. Here are some ideas of experiences your son might like to try:
- Ropes course
- Sports team
- Skiing or snowboarding
- Hiking to an exotic location
- Music lessons
- Acting or musical theater classes
- A trip
- Season symphony or theater tickets
- Racecar driving
- River run (through rapids)
- Kayak or paddleboard adventure
- Bike or Segway tour
You can pretty much turn any of your son’s interests or talents into a unique ‘experience gift’ that he will treasure.
Pin these great ideas for later!
I hope this list helped you to think up the perfect gift for your son! One that will help him learn valuable skills and stretch his imagination!
What are your favorite educational toys? Do you have any other suggestions you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.