The kids will be spending more time than usual inside during the winter months, but rather than succumb to mind-numbing boredom, why not grab a few activity kits? We’ve curated a list for every age and stave with activities that will not only keep brains sharp, but come with the added bonus of being complete entertainment in one little (or medium-sized) box, so set up is a breeze.
KiwiCo Summer Camp Crate
You know and love KiwiCo for their high-quality kits that everyone from your toddler to your teen can enjoy. They’ve just launched their summer camp line, which will send you five to eight weeks worth of supplies for activities and experiments that range from electronics to art. If your kid finishes early? There’s also a magazine and extra activities to deepen the learning experience. Bundles start at $99.95 with free shipping.
Large Aqua Doodle Mat
Because laying out butcher block paper for your sweet tot isn’t always on your to-do list, there’s Miserwe’s Doodle Mat. Spread it out, fill the included six pens with water, and let your tot have at it—drawing with stamps, stencils and rollers to create a memorable masterpiece. The best part? It dries to a clean slate in just 10 minutes making creating and clean up easy as pie.
Available at amazon.com, $16.99.
My First Safari Animals
Sheer animal magnetism. That’s what makes this toy so engaging for kiddos. The magnetic heads and tails of six of their safari faves (think hippo, lion, elephant and more) click together to make magical new creatures or recognizable everyday animals. The magnets make it easy for tiny hands to create and re-create hilarious animal combos to their heart’s content.
Available at hearthsong.com, $24.98.
Garden Friends Dough Activity Set
Green Toys and Sesame Street are helping little green thumbs bring a whole garden to life any day of the year with butterflies, critters and flowers galore. As for the flour in this dough, parents will love knowing it’s organic. No toxins in this garden!
Available at greentoys.com, $24.99.
Kid Made Modern My First Arts and Crafts Library
Packed with over 200 items, from beads and yarn to stickers and googly eyes, the possibilities for creativity are limitless for your mini artists with this expansive art kit from Kid Made Modern.
Available from Kid Made Modern, $29.99.
Geosafari Junior Ladybug Garden
Getting kids to engage with the world is important, and teaching small lessons about nature and our environment is a great way to divert attention towards something meaningful. The GeoSafari Jr. Ladybug Garden is the perfect way to bring nature to your young explorers, letting them be up close and personal with the life cycle of a ladybug. The garden comes with a mail-in certificate for ladybugs, and it lets kids watch the creatures grow from larvae to adults, all the while inspiring an appreciation for nature.
Available on educationalinsights.com, $21.99.
Fox Tea Party Set
You’ll want to join the tea party yourself with this adorable Fox Tea Party set from Djeco. It’s just right for pretend play, with two spoons, two cups, two small plates, one larger plate, one cake sliced into four pieces (with four removable candles), one sugar bowl, one teapot, two tea bags and one tray. Plus, we love the vibrant teal and pink design that's a modern update on the tea sets of the past.
Available at treehousekidandcraft.com, $41.
Toy Story 4 Creativity Set
Just in time for the final installment of the classic Pixar series to hit the screen comes this fun art and craft kit. Young kids can make their own version of Forky, dress up as Woody or Buzz, or create their very version of the story with stickers, foam, pom poms and more. For ages 3 and up, $11.24.
Hatch Modern Eco Art Kits
Ideal for kids ages 3 and up, these kits are not only aesthetically pleasing to kids and adults alike, but they are also super fun, too. Their line of Free Range Art for Kids kits includes a Collage Box with all kinds of cool pieces like colorful muslin, seashells and buttons; a Print Box with paint, sponges, cork and more; and our favorite, the Build Box which contains a variety of interesting wooden shapes and spools, non-toxic watercolor paint and glue, and more. All paints and glues are vegan, and everything is free from toxins and single-use plastics. Each kit is $24.99.
Learn more at hatchkids
Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer
Little chefs can get creative in the kitchen with this new set that lets you stamp out colorful cookies and frosting topped cupcakes using Play-Doh. The mixer comes with different stamp attachments and tools to create designs and pretend candies for toppings.
Available on amazon.com, $13.49.
Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper
Let your little artists get creative with colorful stamps without worrying about the mess. Crayola's Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper set comes with several animal stamps and Color Wonder inks. The inks are not only scented, they magically won't work on skin, furniture, walls or any surface other than the special Color Wonder paper. The inks appear invisible until they touch the special paper, but the stamper handle will light up with the color in use.
Available from crayola.com, $19.99.
Tiger Tribe Top Secret Mission Detective Set
Tiger Tribe offers an array of small, travel-sized activity kits perfect for kids of varying ages. This one was among our faves; recommended for ages 5 and up, the kit includes everything your junior crime fighter needs to learn some forensic science and mystery-solving skills.
Get it here. $12.94
Remote Controlled Gear Bot
This ingenious STEM toy will provide years of creative and educational play. Young engineers can connect any combination of gears, claws, heads and more to the motorized base to build a robot that can then be controlled by a wireless remote from up to 50 feet away. With 149 pieces to build with, the possibilities are endless.
Available at Lakeshore, $49.99.
Yuckology! Slime Lab
Your little scientists can create their own slime concoctions with this easy to use kit that gives preschoolers their first lesson in early chemistry and making observations. The kit comes packed with all the tools you need to make slime from common household ingredients. The plastic tools can easily be washed to use again and again.
Available on Amazon, $19.99.
OSMO Little Genius Kit
OSMO has a new kit designed just for preschoolers. The new OSMO Little Genius Kit lets kids get creative with physical objects that will then appear on a connected tablet, with which they can engage in a whole new way. The kit comes packed with four games that help teach letters, pre-reading skills, critical thinking, problem solving and so much more.
Available from OSMO, $79.
Scratch-Off Map from Elsewhere Adventures
Kickstart your Pre-K kid's love of travel with a scratch-off map from Elsewhere Adventures. Not only is it a cheerful map of the United States, but it also comes with 140 special spots to discover, dry erase markers to make notes and travel stickers. If you don't have anywhere to keep it on display, simply roll it up and store it in the provided tube.
Available at Amazon, $19.99.
Klutz LEGO Make Your Own Movie Activity Kit
Combine two kid faves—LEGO bricks and stop motion—to make a movie featuring your LEGO Minifigs. The included props and scenery along with the instructional booklet will get you started.
Buy it on Amazon, $15.19.
Create a 3D design using yarn with this kit that makes the most adorable narwhal to hang in your grade-school kids' room. Thread the Y'Art pen and color the numbered spaces; yarn magically clings to the Grip-N-Stick Y'Artboard for an easy art project.
Find it on Amazon for $14.99.
E-Blox Circuit Blox Lights N’ Motion
Kids can discover how lights, alarms, motors and switches work while building fun projects with this kit. Using 25 transparent plastic spacers, children can build a dazzling display of colorful lights that light up in different colors and dance when you play music or speak to it (among other projects).
Buy it here, $29.99.
Klutz Maker Lab Candy Science
Press your own jelly beans and learn the science behind candy making with this sweet STEM-focused set.
Buy it on Amazon for $21.34.
DIY Tank Kit from The Grid Kit
Assemble this realistic-looking tank out of only cardboard with The Grid Kit. Pop the pieces out on the dotted lines, assemble and glue. Perfect for builders, and easy to transport in your suitcase, The Grid Kit sets come in all sorts of designs like dinosaur, giraffe, butterfly, elephant and dragon. Once you've assembled them, they are fun to paint and display!
Buy one here, $15.
Herbie by AeroGarden
Got a budding botanist in your midst? This delightful garden kit from AeroGarden is their first that's designed specifically for kids (6 & up) and takes them on an indoor gardening adventure in 12 weeks: from seed to pizza party! Herbie comes with a 32-page activity book that explains the magic of hydroponic gardening and includes 18 different fun and educational activities. The kit contains everything you need to get started: there's no soil involved, so there's little mess, and the LED lights are safe for children. Kids can even grow in their room!
Get it at aerogarden.com, $39.96.
Music Kit: Record & Remix Kit
After assembling the cardboard housing, kids learn what happens when making changes to a sound wave. They record sounds using the keyboard and are taught what happens when stretching and squashing the sound waves. Record music tracks in the online recording studio and share them with friends and family. Get hands-on with how microphones and speakers work, how music is produced and even learn some music theory along the way.
Buy one here, $34.99.
SmartLab Toys Spy School Sneaky Surveillance
At spy school, kids learn how to use an array of sneaky spy equipment to complete secret missions and tackle surveillance changes while deepening their science knowledge and sharpening their observational skills. The kit includes 11 sneaky pieces, including decoy spy storage case with hidden compartment, decoy pencil box periscope, two-in-one spy scope and decoy yo-yo.
Purchase on Amazon for $19.99.
The Boolean Box is the build-it-yourself computer and electronics kit that lets kids code, build, invent and animate. Designed to grow with them, this set is geared toward girls eight and up but can absolutely be enjoyed by boys as well. No coding experience is necessary, you hook it up to your HDMI-enabled TV or monitor, and you're are on your way!
Buy on Amazon for $159.99.
Art Out Of The Box
Artists of almost any age will love thinking outside the box with this box full of fun. Art Out Of The Box comes with 80 cards, each with either a subject or technique. Take one of each and let you imagination soar as you create new worlds and creatures beyond your wildest dreams.
Available on Amazon, $19.99
GIRLS CAN! CRATE
The GIRLS CAN! CRATE subscription is perfect for girls ages 5-10 years. The inspirational subscription shows girls they can "BE and DO anything by introducing them to fearless women who’ve made our world better." Every month your young lady will get a box of 2-3 STEAM activities, 20-page activity book, creative play prop, collectible button, and all the supplies needed to complete the activities.
Choose from several sizes and prices at GirlsCanCrate.com.
Alice in Wonderland Storybox
Do you have your own little storyteller? Laurence King's Alice in Wonderland's Storybox is a twist on the classic fairytale, but puts the storytelling in the hands of your little one. Use the oversized story cards to arrange the story however you want in a story that stretched eight feet long!
You can find on Amazon, $16.99.
Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst, Robotics Stem Kit for Kids
This cool kit allows kids to build doodling robots, power electric model cars, add motors to LEGO sets and more. For kids ages 8-12 (we think kids 6-8 could also enjoy it with some assistance) the set comes with everything you need to create including batteries, markers, challenge cards, real wood, motors, hardware and more.
Get it on here, $59
Kid Made Modern Making with MoMA - Shadow Box
You know and love the Target x Todd Oldham collab line Kid Made Modern, for its contemporary take on kids’ art supplies. This new line was designed by MoMA educators, and many of the kits, including this shadow box set, were inspired by the crafts and art projects for families at the Museum of Modern Art.
Buy a kit here, $22.50.
Harlow’s Harvest Cooking Kit
Set your budding chefs up with a few kits from new cooking subscription, Harlow’s Harvest. Invented by a mom-daughter duo, this STEM-influenced kit comes with recipe cards, a science project, history on the recipe and an online game that’s related to the theme of the month. Kids will learn how to budget for ingredients, they’ll be reading the recipes, and they’ll be doing fractions when measuring out ingredients. Plus, if you’ve got picky eaters at home, chances are, if they make it, they’ll eat it. You can buy one box for $23 or set up a monthly delivery (six or 12 months) for $21 and $19.99 respectively.
Sunglass Case and Keychain Kit
This adorable set comes with fringe, flowers, a plastic needle, string, craft paper and everything else your kid will need to make both a funky case for sunglasses and a butterfly keychain for a friend. An intro to embroidery, this will keep your kinder on up through grade school kiddo occupied for a few afternoons. $19.99.
Pineapple Dreamcatcher Kit
Pineapples are everywhere this summer, so this fun dreamcatcher kit from JOANN Stores is sure to be a hit. It comes with everything from string to sticky gems, sequins and feathers. Ages 8 and up. $12.99.
My Gnome on the Roam Adventure Kit
My Gnome on the Roam Adventure Kit is a suitcase of memories waiting to be unpacked. It comes with a copy of the My Gnome on the Roam Award-Winning Story Book, a family adventure journal filled with blank pages, a colorless ready-to-be-painted gnome and a magical pen, all beautifully packaged in an adorable suitcase that kids will be in awe about. The kit is designed to encourage families to Explore, Create and Connect and to add adventure to their everyday lives. You can see all details as well as worksheets, downloads, games, articles, the link to their 15-Minute Adventure for Busy Families app and more on their website at mygnomeontheroam.com.
Get it at mygnomeontheroam.com, $29.97.
Kidvelope Mission Adventure Game: Space Rescue
What if you could not only gift your kids with an awesome activity kit but also an interactive game designed to help them connect with friends and relatives far away? Thanks to Kidvelope, you can do just that. You order the kit for your child, and they work together with “players” of their choice to help solve challenges and complete the mission, all through hands-on creative activities (like secret messages written on space slime), online interactions, back-and-forth mail and phone calls. The best part? It’s easy to follow and exciting to play. It’s a perfect mix of offline, creative problem solving and using technology to connect. An excellent way to stay in touch with long-distant grandparents!
Try it today from kidvelope.com, $21.95.
Electronic Music Inventor Kit by Little Bits
Just when you thought a kid with an electronic guitar couldn’t get any cooler, they created this: a guitar set that kids build, program, and customize all on their own. With an accompanying app, this inventor kit suggests over 12 activities with step-by-step instructions—including how to re-build your guitar into a set of air drums using the same littleBits electronic blocks that make a synth guitar. It’s totally splurge-worthy.
Find it on Amazon, $65.86.
Flower Press Art DIY Kit
New form Hape, preserve the beauty of the outdoors year-round with this cute pressing kit. Paints and brush are included to then transform dried flowers or plants into artwork as original as Mother Nature’s.
Light Up Unicorn Pillow
Not only is this DIY unicorn pillow super cute, but it teaches all about circuits when you wire it up to glow in the dark.
Get it here, $22.50
DNA & Traits: From Codes to Creatures
Explore the exciting world of DNA, traits and genetics with this fun new biology kit.
Get it here, $49.99
The Force™ Coding Kit
Learn to code, create, and play endless Star Wars adventures.
Get it here, $79.99
Hey Clay Aliens
Build your own alien crew out of this modeling clay using the Hey Clay App to guide your designs.
Get it here, 15.95
Pica Toys Wooden Solar & Wireless Remote Control Robotics STEM Building Kit
Harness the power of the sun with this set that lets you build your own remote-controlled robot.
Get it here, $26.97
Powerup 3.0 App-Controlled Paper Airplane
Take your airplane skills to the next level with this kit allows you to control your design in flight via a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
Get it here, $49.99
Yarn Bird Mobile
The rich colors and ease of twisting the yarn around each bird frame make this fun mobile project rewarding for tweens. Each kit comes with the bird frames, a wooden ring, and even googly eyes. Ages 10 and up.
Buy one at Barnes and Noble, $21.99.
3Doodler Start Kit
Conceived as the world’s first consumer 3D printing pen, 3Doodler was a successful Kickstarter project before quickly growing into a $20 million business. Thanks to its ingenious design, hand-held portability and ease of use, 3Doodler has become popular among school STEM programs and at-home techie creators alike. This year’s new releases include the 3Doodler Create+ 3D printing pen ($79.99) and the 3Doodler Start Make Your Own HEXBUG Kit ($59.99). Combining drawing and sculpture with a dose of 3D magic, 3Doodler is a cool gift for gadget-loving creative types.
Available at the3doodler.com/shop, starting at $49.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
Faster than you can say, “Expelliarmus!” the Harry Potter Coding kit will have young wizards learning how to code in no time. Created by Kano, makers of kid-friendly, DIY computer kits and programs, the Harry Potter Coding Kit lets users build custom wands that can perform acts of magic when connected to tablet or computer screens. Following a few simple steps, apprentice wizards learn how to code by connecting code blocks that pair with actions tied to their wands. A wave of a wand can make fire flow, pumpkins grow, feathers fly, goblets multiply, and much more, via iOS and Android devices.
Available at amazon.com, $59.98.
Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit
Like colorful miniature pieces of stained glass, Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit lets young artists create unique window decals that will brighten any room. The kit includes five colors of cling art paint and 14 simple-to-follow designs. Trace the designs using the black outliner paint, add color, leave for 24 hours, then stick the finished cling art to any window. Additional free printable designs are available for download on the website.
Available at ooly.com, $15.99.
Karina Garcia DIY Squishy Art Bake Shop by Craft City
Move over homemade slime: DIY squishy arts are the latest trend to spark the imaginations of crafty kids across the country. This well-composed squishy art kit comes courtesy of Karina Garcia, a popular YouTuber who parlayed her online celebrity into a successful line of DIY crafts. Featuring an adorable bake shop theme, the kit includes decorative sprinkles, colored chalk and puffy paint. After making your slow-rise bake projects, simply color, add paint and sprinkles, and squish your original squishy art designs!
Available at target.com, $19.99.
Sew & Glow Kit
Seated neatly at the intersection of fashion and technology, the Sew & Glow Kit lets users design and build glowing badges that light up with electrical conductive thread. In addition to exploring crafting, the kit teaches kids about electrical circuits in a fun and simple way. Light up badges with LED lights and become an electronics master in minutes!
Available at techwillsaveus.com, $24.99.
––Amber Guetebier & Karly Wood