Kids' Gifts: Educational Gift Ideas For Kids

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 11/23/11 05:31 PM ET   Updated: 12/20/11 01:33 PM ET

When it comes to the holidays, kids have a fantastic tendency to let you know their favourite gifts in advance, but those much-desired items may not always be the best options for them. If you're trying to stay away from video games or DVDs that will keep them staring at a screen for hours, there are toys out there that will let them have fun while also teaching them basic skills.

The Huffington Post Canada Living team has gathered some of this season's hottest toys that will also help kids build developmental skills.

And if you're shopping for several kids with different personalities, check out our toy guide for kids.

Let us know what you think. Which ones are your favourites? Tell us on Twitter @huffpostcaliv or our Facebook page. The Huffington Post Canada has also put together lists of top toys for kids this year, generic gifts that work for everyone, and many more.

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  • Rubik's Race

    Talk about being in the 21st century. Say goodbye to your childhood Rubik's Cube from the 70s and say hello to the future. This face-to-face game will challenge kids to get their brain and fingers racing by matching the pattern of nine coloured squares. <br> <em>RUBIK's Race, $20, available at Toys "R" Us across Canada. </em>

  • Electronic Piggy Bank

    This is high-tech money management in the making. Forget ceramic piggy banks, this electronic machine will help kids learn how to count their coins and even better, save them too. <br> Electronic Piggy Bank, $13, available at Sears Canada.

  • A Maze (That Doesn't Suck)

    Don't let the design scare you. This maze will give your kid the ultimate brain puzzle and challenge them to keep going.<br> <em>Perplexus Rookie 3D Puzzle Maze, $20, available at Toy "R" Us. </em>

  • Leappad Explorer

    The LeapFrog family of toys is known to keep kids learning and entertained. This tablet allows kids to watch videos, read books and expand knowledge on their favourite school subjects -- and will finally get their hands off your BlackBerry. <br> <em>LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet, $130, available at retailers across Canada. </em>

  • Smurfs Matching Board Game

    Finally, adults, a chance to be a bit selfish -- or Smurfish. This Smurfs board game, for ages 5 and up, will bring back memories for the parents and open up a whole new world for children. Test your child's memory with this automatic and spinning card dispenser, that let's your kid match up cards. The first player to cover up all their Smurfy pictures wins. <br><em>Smurfs Whirl And Twirl Clumsy Game, $22, available at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Smurfs-Whirl-Twirl-Clumsy-Game/dp/B004Y46R6O/ref=sr_1_4?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1324405607&sr=1-4" target="_hplink">Amazon.ca</a></em>

  • Matching Games

    This version of Match It! allows kids who love puzzles and matching games to also learn a few new words. <br> <em>Match It! Spelling, $13, available at retailers across Canada. </em>

  • Sneaky Snacky Squrrel Game

    The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game is a fun way to match and sort acorns into tree stumps. Even if doesn't sound that challenging, it allows kids to develop strategic thinking and hand-eye coordination. <br> <em>Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game, $17, available at retailers across Canada. </em>

  • Mini Plants

    Before you buy them a pet, have them own a plant. But before you buy them a TickleMe Plant, you should watch this video. <br> <em>TickleMePlant, $6 to $20, available at <a href="http://www.ticklemeplant.com/" target="_hplink">TickeMeplant.com</a>.</em>

  • VTech's Catch-Me-Kitty

    This kitty knows everything about numbers and colours. Get your little ones moving with this cat that plays sounds and moves with your child with a sensor.<br> <em>Vtech - Catch-Me-Kitty, $20, available at retailers across Canada. </em>

  • Intelliglobe

    Your little world traveller can prep before his or her own big adventures with the globe that talks back to you. Learn about countries, play games and possibly learn another language. <br> <em>Intelliglobe, $150, available at retailers across Canada. </em>

  • PlasmaCar

    Kids can put their feet up and go. The PlasmaCar is probably the cheapest price you might have to pay for your child's ride, but this one allows them to learn basic motor skills.<br> <em>PlasmaCar, $65, available at Indigo. </em>

  • Night Light

    Is your kid still afraid of the dark? This night light will brighten their walls and ceilings and also includes a bedtime story. <br><em>Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, Lady Bug, $23, available at Amazon.ca</em>

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