Every year, as we start to make our holiday shopping lists, there are certain toy and gift ideas for kids that come up over and over again. And that's exactly what some kids want. But some of us don't want to give our kids the same thing as everyone else. We're looking to find something special for the children in our lives that they definitely won't get from anywhere else. One great place to search for such clever gifts for kids this year: Nordstrom's Toy Shop.
Nordstrom has a lot of popular toy brands, including Barbie dolls, Melissa & Doug toys, and various versions of Star Wars' Baby Yoda/the Child/Grogu. But poke around the Toy Shop, and you'll find some delightful things you have never seen anywhere else: a plush corgi in an elephant costume, a Skip Hop unicorn scooter, a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball, and a DIY advent calendar.
There are more than 1,200 toys and gifts for kids in the shop, so we narrowed it down to 25 of our favorites below. There are so many more to covet (and it's perfectly normal for an adult to own that corgi toy, right?), so be sure to visit Nordstrom for the rest.
Play Tents and Other Playroom Furniture
Buy It! Soft Landing Flamingo JoyRides Rocker, $74.99; nordstrom.com
Though kids can turn almost anywhere into a magical space, they deserve to get a little help once in a while. Play tents — such as this Mini Camper Playhouse — have become so creative, as have rocking horses, which now include so many other species we never dreamed of riding. Comfy child-size chairs (in the shape of dinosaurs or unicorns) and play tables encourage little ones to play quietly in their own spaces rather than climbing all over parents and grown-up furniture.
Tender Leaf Toys Forest Table, $134.99
STEM Toys Galore
Buy It! Melissa & Doug Super Smile Dentist Kit Play Set, $32.99; nordstrom.com
Buying kids toys that inspire them to love science, math, engineering, and technology gets more fun every year. You can encourage their biology skills with a mini garden kit and let them experiment with color science. Or you can combine role-playing and STEM with this Melissa & Doug dentist set. This wooden snake is both a fidget toy and a way to explore geometry. And never forget that counting money in an adorable piggy bank is a very motivating way to learn about numbers!
Games, Play Sets, and Wheels to Get Kids Moving
Buy It! Haba Horse Baby Swing, $150; nordstrom.com
From before they can roll over until they drive away, kids rely on adults to give them the tools to move. And by tools, we often mean toys, like this gorgeous horse swing for babies from the age of 10 months up until they're 66 pounds. A rainbow push toy from Skip Hop is ideal for those first steps, and once they get those motor skills mastered, it's on to the balance bike. An inflatable soccer goal or a mini golf set work for both indoor and outdoor competition. And for older kids and adults who really want to test their aim, Tic Tac Go is going to be an entertaining and silly challenge.
Dolls and Plush Toys for Cuddles and Companionship
Buy It! Ruby Red Fashion Friends I Believe I Can Fly Lila Doll, $129.99; nordstrom.com
As much as we love a great Barbie or a teddy bear, our kids' toy collections should expand to look more like the world around them. That could mean plush toys from Jellycat that look like all kinds of foods and everyday objects. It's also about giving them boy dolls that encourage kindness or splurging on a Ruby Red Fashion Friends 14-inch doll like Lila, a ballerina who believes she can do anything. A Cubcoat fleece jacket that converts into a stuffed animal is also a very practical way for kids to feel like they always have a cuddly friend nearby, even when they're not supposed to bring their toys to school.
Reading, Writing, Art, and Music Toys
Buy It! Kids Mood Karaoke System, $39.99; nordstrom.com
You may have a future artist, performer, or writer on your hands, or you could just have an admirer of the arts. Either way, now is the time to indulge in their creative and linguistic interests. That starts with picture books with nursery rhymes and with personalized messages (who doesn't love to see their name in print?). They may be a budding hobbyist who will relish in opening a new crafting activity every day throughout the month of December, or one dramatic 3D paper bird kit. They could be the type who needs to gather friends and family around to listen to their karaoke performances, or they may want to sit quietly by themselves, enjoying someone else's music on a pair of soft plush headphones. And if wordplay is their thing, Boggle is a classic way to compete with family members while stretching their spelling skills and vocabulary.