My kids have always loved to play doctor....even back to when D-man and A-girl used to deliver baby stuffed animals for each other on our couch in Minnesota. We have had toy doctor kits (and the old Fisher Price one at my mom's house is still a big hit)
and an otoscope (the thing used to look in ears and noses)
Toss in some tongue depressors
Throw all of this stuff in an old duffle bag you have laying around, and you have a doctor's kit that you can actually hear a heartbeat with!
Another hit at our house, and we got this as a gift years ago, but is still used a lot is the Electronic Snap Circuits. There are other kits available, but this is the one we have.
You can build an alarm or a radio....and, well, over 300 exciting projects! LOL It is pretty cool and has kept the kids busy.
How about the tried and true walkie talkies?
I cannot even tell you how many pairs of walkie talkies we have owned. From top to bottom, they have been a hit with my kids for years. The problem is, you can't really use them if you only have one and inevitably someone always loses one, or leaves it out in the woods. So....voila....mom adds it to her gift list again.
My sister. Karen, had this when I was a kid and we both loved creating stuff with this...even into our teen years. It was sort of mesmerizing to see what you could create just by going round and round.
You also can never go wrong with Play Doh. We all get excited (even us grown ups) to crack open a new container. That smell. The smooth tube of doh. Mmmmmmmm.
Yes, you will probably end up with dried bits of Play Doh scattered around, but, Rainman and I have decided it is worth it.
You probably have cutters and stuff you can use around your house and don't necessarily need these next things, but they are still fun. Can't really go wrong with the old Fun Factory...extruder...thing.
I do recommend at least getting some rollers, because that is the most frequently fought over piece of Play Doh equipment at our house!
Our family likes to play games. Here are a few of our favorites that even the younger ones can play:
Apples to Apples:
So, there are a few of my ideas for younger kids. I will try to put together an ideas list for teenagers and older kids too.
If you have any great gift ideas, let me know. I am not quite done with my shopping yet either and my brain is running out of steam!
Full disclosure time: This post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click over and actually decide to get any of the stuff I showed you, I may get a commission. Your purchase price won't change though, so, don't worry.