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The 10 Best Creativity Toys for Kids

2021-02-11 by Melissa & Doug
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The Power of Creative Play

A survey of 1,500 chief executives found that creativity—more than rigor, management discipline, integrity, or even vision—will be required to successfully navigate an increasingly complex world. So, parents, what can you do to foster creativity? Give your children the tools and the space to be creative. And maybe even the freedom to get a little bit messy! Designate a specific area in your home for all those art projects, crafts, and coloring books, and then watch their confidence and creativity grow!

“Play with caregivers is most likely necessary to support skill development. However, solitary play can also have a role (especially for older children, for whom exploration and play with toys on their own time and pace can foster their independent creativity, investigation, and assimilation skills”
—The American Academy of Pediatrics

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts on the skill-building power of different types of play.

The 10 Best Creativity Toys for Kids

These toys are great for open-ended play and fostering your child’s creativity. We’ve included extra play ideas for each to keep the creative play going!

Creativity Lifestyle Image - Melissa & Doug

  1. Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel
    Melissa & Doug Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel

    Age: 3+
    Why it’s great: This double-sided tabletop easel inspires endless creativity! One side features a magnetic dry-erase board, while the other features a chalkboard. Plus, the built-in wooden bar holds 12″ paper rolls, adding even more ways to create masterpieces.
    Sweet detail: Includes great accessories like a dry-erase marker and felt eraser, five colored chalk sticks, and 36 letter and number magnets!
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Making pictures for loved ones is relationship-building, especially while we’re socially distanced. Have your child make a piece of art for someone they miss, like grandma or grandpa!
  2. Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel
    Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel

    Age: 3+
    Why it’s great: This multi-use easel transforms any room into an art studio—inspiring painting, drawing, and countless ways to play creatively. To complete your young artist’s set-up, be sure to get the full accessory pack, a spare paper roll, and our artist’s smock!
    Sweet detail: The easel is adjustable for your child’s height and folds flat for easy storage!
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Take the easel outside and have your child paint what they see around them. Work together on creating the scene, taking turns adding elements.
  3. Deluxe Wooden Stamp Set – Animals
    Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stamp Set - Animals

    Age: 4+
    Why it’s great: This colorful set includes 30 wooden stamps featuring farm animals, ocean creatures, safari animals, and pets. Children will have a blast creating adorable and exciting adventures with the abundance of animals to choose from!
    Sweet detail: Comes with a four-color washable ink pad (red/blue and green/brown) to stamp animals, then color in and add details with six vibrant markers.
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, storytelling, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Stamps are great for decorating things like folders or notebooks. Have your child express their personality by decorating their notebooks and folders for school!
  4. Created by Me! Bead Bouquet Wooden Bead Kit
    Melissa & Doug Created by Me! Bead Bouquet Wooden Bead Kit

    Age: 4+
    Why it’s great: This deluxe beading set will make your child feel like a real jewelry designer! Each set comes with 8 multicolored cords and 220 handcrafted heart flower, and butterfly beads for a variety of design choices.
    Sweet detail: Packed in a handy wooden tray for easy clean up!
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Have your child display all their beautiful creations (necklaces, bracelets, or anklets) like it’s a jewelry shop. Then try each item on and pick out your favorite!
  5. Created by Me! Pet Figurines Craft Kit
    Melissa & Doug Created by Me! Pet Figurines Craft Kit

    Age: 8+
    Why it’s great: This cute kit comes with a pair of ready-to-decorate pet figurines! Children can reference the picture on the front or paint them however they want. The only difficulty will be deciding which one they want to decorate first!
    Sweet detail: Comes with 6 pots of colorful paint and easy-clean paintbrushes!
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Got a cat or dog at home? Have your child paint the figurine just like your pet.
  6. Stained Glass Made Easy – Unicorn
    Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Made Easy - Unicorn

    Age: 4+
    Why it’s great: This crafting activity gives your child everything they need to create a shimmering “stained glass” work of art. Plus, it’s easy to create! Simply hold up the sheet of colored stickers to the clear frame, peel them off one at a time, and stick them on to watch your colorful unicorn come to life.
    Sweet detail: Grooves and outlines on the frame make it easy to fit each sticker into just the right spot.
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, concentration
    Countless Ways to Play: Have your child choose where they’d like to proudly display their finished artwork. Tip: sunny windows are the perfect spot to bring this pretty scene to life!
  7. Reusable Sticker Pad – Habitats
    Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad - Habitats

    Age: 3+
    Why it’s great: This interactive sticker book with more than 150 stickers lets your child visit a farm, a prehistoric landscape, a desert oasis, a jungle, or the deep blue sea! Even better, there’s no right way to play. Place animals in their own habitats or mix them up to create silly scenes!
    Sweet detail: The easy-to-peel stickers can be lifted off and repositioned over and over again, so kids can fearlessly follow their imaginations.
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, storytelling, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: As your child places stickers in the scene, have them tell stories about what’s going on! Take turns adding stickers and building on the story.
  8. Jumbo Coloring Pad – Animals
    Melissa & Doug Jumbo Coloring Pad - Animals

    Age: 3+
    Why it’s great: This oversized drawing pad comes with fifty pictures featuring all their favorite animals. With thick, premium paper, your child can use crayons, markers, pencils, or even paints! Mimic each animals’ natural coloring, or let their imagination run wild with any colors they want.
    Sweet detail: Pages neatly tear out, so more than one child can color at a time and you can proudly display the artwork after they’re done.
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, concentration, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Have your child make up songs or hum tunes as they color, and then match the tune to how fast they’re coloring!
  9. Water Wow! Animals Antics Deluxe Water Reveal Pad
    Melissa & Doug Water Wow Animal Antics Deluxe Water Reveal Pad

    Age: 5+
    Why it’s great: Your child is sure to say “Wow!” when they realize they can paint with water! Hidden pictures will appear with every stroke, then use the red lens to explore even more in the detailed scenes. Plus, pictures erase once the page dries so that you can color it in again and again.
    Sweet detail: Includes 8 spiral-bound animal-themed coloring boards (arctic maze, safari, ocean, jungle, farm, coral reef, pet shop maze, forest)
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: This Water Wow booklet is perfect for on-the-go creativity. Throw it in your bag or keep it in the car for no-mess painting wherever you go!
  10. Created by Me! Flower Fleece Quilt
    Melissa & Doug Created by Me! Flower Fleece Quilt

    Age: 6+
    Why it’s great: Your child can make their very own super-cozy quilt in no time! Plus, it’s easy to make. Just tuck the extra-wide and extra-long fringe into slits and tie single knots to piece together a beautiful flower quilt.
    Sweet detail: Both sides are soft and fuzzy, making it perfect for snuggling.
    Skills: Fine motor, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
    Countless Ways to Play: Who doesn’t love a blanket fort? Drape your new quilt over the back of two chairs to create a cozy fort for reading!

In its “Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era” study, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that “High-quality toys in each of these categories can facilitate caregiver-child interactions, peer play, and the growth of imagination”:

Pretend Play Activity centers, dolls, play food, cooking toys, role play sets, puppets, vehicles

Developmental Play Fine motor manipulatives, activity stations, sorters & stackers

Problem Solving Blocks, construction play, puzzles

Creativity Craft kits, coloring activities, painting & drawing

Language & Concepts Alphabet activities, number activities, games

Physical Activity Balls, tunnel, gardening & nature

Here are our product picks for the best toys in some of these pediatrician-recommended categories! More to come:

Read The Power of Pretend Play >
Read The Power of Developmental Play >
Read The Power of Problem Solving Play >
Read The Power of Letter & Number Play >
Read The Power of Puzzle Play >

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Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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