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2021 Open Ended Toy Gift Guide for Kids

A round up of the best open ended toys for kids in a 2021 gift guide for kids from Momentum Family
notice of affiliate links Momentum Family by Erin Christopoulos

An open ended toy gift guide for kids in 2021

In a day + age when our kids have so much stuff, I really try to be intentional about the quality of play that my kids’ toys help to inspire. And as I’ve gotten to know this community better, I know this is something you really value as well! That’s why you’ll find gift ideas that will inspire imagination, creativity + problem solving in your child’s play this year. There are many different product links within each category, so read carefully!

CreateOn Magna-Tiles: The Upgrades

The CreateOn Magna-Tiles Royal Castle set is a great upgrade to your playroom collection according to Momentum Family
Photo Credit Create On

By now, a classic set of Magna-Tiles is a mainstay in most homes (if they’re not in your playroom yet, get these for sure). But recently, the brand has really expanded its offerings that are completely worth investing in.

The first is this amazing builder set with magnetic roads + crane pieces.  Even 7-year-old Theo was wanting to see more of this set!! 

If your younger child loves animals, they would totally enjoy the barn, arctic + safari worlds.  There’s even the royal castle set that looks so awesome, I know my kids would play with this one for H O U R S. 

And don’t even get me started on these doodle tiles!  Not only would they be incredible for learning at home, your child can customize them to create any play scene they can imagine!  Once they’re ready for a new design, your child just needs to wash the tiles with a little soap + water! 

Lastly, I cannot help but also share this incredible rocket set!  If your child is space-obsessed, you must check it out.

Sarah’s Silks

Sarah's Silks are a great play option for dress up according to Momentum Family
Photo Credit Sarah’s Silks

We have an ever-growing collection of these silks in our home.  They’re just so beautiful + well made.  You don’t have to worry about snagging + they wash beautifully (in fact, they are really fun to use in love in the water table or bathtub). 

The possibilities with these silks are endless.  They’re perfect for playing dress up, using for an indoor picnic, creating a fort or creating a backdrop for your child’s next performance.  If I had to pick one to start with, I’d recommend the GIANT silk or the animal silks (worth mentioning because they’ll be restocked soon).  We also have the original + even the silk crowns.  If you really want to splurge, grab the rainbow fort building kit–it’s awesome.

If you’re ready to bring whimsy + color into your child’s playroom, this is the perfect way to do just that.

Blockitecture Big City Blocks

The Blockitecture Big City set by Areaware is the perfect building set for kids who love city scenes according to Momentum Family
Photo Credit Areaware

We have had this Big City set from Areawear for a few years now + it’s such a fun add-on to your kids’ building sets.  I think it’s especially great if you feel like regular wooden blocks are just too abstract.  These also pair super well with the Way to Play roads from last year’s guide if you really want to make an awesome city scene.

STEM with Snap Circuits

Elenco makes the Snap Circuits sets that are perfect for incorporating STEM into your playroom at home according to Momentum Family
Photo Credit Elenco

If you have a child who loves science or tinkering, this is the set for them!  Snap Circuits are such a great way to start learning about circuitry while also developing skills in following directions, problem solving + planning. 

The pieces in the Beginner Jr kit snap together + include fun features like a fan + light that actually work.  For kids a little older (maybe age 6 or so), you could even look at the Pro kit that has over 500 projects. 

Or, you can look into the more deluxe sets like the My Home Science Kit where your child builds + wires the home with functioning electrical features (this is definitely going under the tree for Theo this year).  I’m also thinking this Light Electronics Exploration Kit that connects to a phone or tablet to sync to music would be seriously cool.  And lastly, if your child is into robotics, there’s build your own RC rover set too!

Maileg Mice

Maileg Mice are the perfect open ended toy for small hands according to Momentum Family

These are Stella’s absolute favorite.  I am always impressed with the durability of these mice because they feel so delicate + refined in your hands.  This beach mice family set is absolutely adorable.  The details on the royal family set are absolutely divine.  (And I may have snagged the tooth fairy mouse for Stella this year…)

Unit Blocks

Photo Credit Haba

Whether you have a builder or someone who would enjoy making marble runs, unit blocks are so important to have in your home.  This rainbow colored set is fun!  If it’s volume you’re looking for, then definitely snag this extra large set from Haba.  It’s what we have + they’re really great quality for the the price!  If you want additional pieces, I recommend extra counting blocks, semi-circle platforms + building boards to really expand your collection.


Building is big in our house + when Clixo joined the party, we couldn’t get enough of this flexible, magnetic building toy.  They’re super durable, lightweight+ easy to clean off, so feel free to let your child take them on the go.  I always bring something simple for Stella to play with when we go to Theo’s soccer games + the Clixo’s had all the kids in the crowd coming over to play.  Definitely check these out!  You can grab the Tiny + Mighty pack as a stocking stuffer or a 42- or 72-pack set to start. 

Rainbow Stacker

Rainbow stackers are perfect for open ended play at any age according to Momentum Family

These rainbow stackers so perfect for creating bridges, tunnels + ramps.  If you look at these stackers + wonder why they’re so awesome, just let your child play around with it for an hour + you’ll begin to see the possibilities.  Honestly, kids are made to play + they get these!  We ultimately had to get two because my kids had too many ideas at once to make sharing realistic!!  You can snag it in this natural color or true to its rainbow form.

Tegu Magnetic Blocks

If you have a builder in your home, these Tegu blocks are really fun to add to the mix.  They are building blocks, but magnetic (can you tell we go real hard for magnetic toys in our house??). 

We have had these since Stella was about 2 + both kids still play with them, so they’re one of those investment pieces that really stand the test of time. 

There are 24- or 42-piece sets that make for great starters to your collection!

Hexbug Nano

Hexbug Nano are the perfect stocking stuffer that inspires hours of open ended play according to Momentum Family
Photo Credit Hexbug

These are SO fun.  I’ll be real honest with you, I did not get what the value of these little bugs would be, but once we had one I knew we had to get more. 

When turned on, you activate a vibrate feature that sends these bugs scrambling all over.  You can just enjoy chasing them + watching where they go, but the real fun is to create bug obstacle courses with recycled goods, open ended toys (such as Magna-Tiles or Blocks)  or even a playground set (either an obstacle course or one with ramps). 

And if you’re looking for something a little extra, be sure to grab a bug that goes super fast or that glows in the dark–they’re so fun!

Lettering for Littles

Photo Credit: Rad + Happy

This may not be ‘play’ in the sense of toys, but it is definitely open-ended + encourages so much creativity! 

We have been Color Happy subscribers for over a year now + Tara just introduced this course for kids that I know Theo is going to love.  If you have a kiddo who is into art or design, this would be a great, interactive gift to give! 

More Inspiration

In case you are looking for open ended toy gift guides, be sure to check out the 2020 Kids Gift Guide + this post that shares a round up of our favorite open ended toys! And don’t forget to tell me which toys you’ll be buying in the comments below!

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Mom life is complex,
but it doesn't have to be complicated.