Shopping local for educational holiday toys

Every year, parents bemoan the excess of Christmas and, in particular, the wrapped toys that children eagerly rip open and often abandon just as quickly. What makes a good toy? Frequently the best toys are the ones that challenge and engage a child beyond a trend or shiny plastic parts.

Below are a handful of gift ideas that have been recognized as some of the best educational toys for children ages 2 to 18, with the majority priced at or under $25.

A few of these toys are only available online but most can be found right here in Sonoma stores. I’ve seen many of them flying off the racks at The Toy Store and Cornerstone Kids. All prices and ages are approximate.


Building & Construction

I am always a fan of building kits. Squigz Suction Construction ($25) enables kids ages 6 to 8 to build flexible creations that tower, bounce and stick to almost any surface – even windows. For the 5 and under set, there is pipSquigz.

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