Melissa & Doug is rightly well-known for its quality, long-lasting developmental toys for babies and preschool children. But if you’re a parent or caregiver with school-aged kids at home, we offer a variety of toys that will engage, entertain, and promote learning fun for older children, too.
If you’ve got a school-aged child on your holiday shopping list this year, Melissa & Doug has carefully curated a list of our top 10 best holiday toys for older kids for your consideration. You can also visit the Melissa & Doug 2023 Holiday Gift Finder and let it do all the work for you.
Scroll on for a closer look at 10 can’t-miss Melissa & Doug toys that are perfect for school-aged kids this holiday season!
10 Top Holiday Toys for School-Aged Kids
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: Take an imaginative journey across the U.S.A. and learn about 63 national parks through puzzle play! Piece together the 45-piece jumbo cardboard jigsaw puzzle, featuring special animal-shaped pieces, search-and-find activities, and animal track identification along the border.
Fun feature: Designed to make learning fun, states and points of interest are labeled, and a key inside includes an animal ID guide, park identification, and the search-and-find answers in English and Spanish! Completed puzzle is approximately 3 feet by 2 feet (91.4 cm x 61 cm).
Skills: Encourages fine motor and problem-solving skills and promotes concentration, memory, and independent learning.
How to wow: If your little one is a fan of outdoor adventures, check out the other toys in our National Park Foundation collection!
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: The iconic Melissa & Doug giraffe gets a festive makeover to celebrate our 35 years of sparking colorful imaginations! The exclusive Rainbow Lifelike Plush Giraffe is available only at MelissaAndDoug.com; don’t worry, the original is still available, too! The 4-foot-tall rainbow-patterned standing stuffed giraffe is a whimsical and delightful sight to behold, evoking wonder, joy, and excitement.
Fun feature: Its vibrant fur features ombre red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple giraffe spots. A long, curving neck and sweet expression guarantee the charming Rainbow Giraffe will be a beloved member of any child’s menagerie. While soft and squeezable to the touch (and surface washable!), its sturdy construction and a strong interior structure means the giraffe will hold up to years of hugs and snuggling. This gentle giant is perfect for posing during playtime or as a statement piece in a child's nursery, bedroom, playroom, or any room in the house!
Skills: Encourages fine motor and gross skills, and promotes social-emotional development and imaginative play.
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Art Easel makes any room into an art studio! Our double-sided, kid-sized art easel includes a dry-erase board, chalkboard, locking paper-roll holder (fits either an 18" or 12" wide paper roll), child-safe paper cutter, four easy-grip clips, and a plastic tray to attach to each side of the easel. It's easy to assemble, so there's little time waiting for the next masterpiece!
Fun feature: The easel features a sturdy wooden frame, folds flat for storage, and the height is adjustable so kids can create in comfort.
Skills: Promotes fine motor skills and proper pencil grip -- it's great for beginning writers! Use the chalkboard and white board as the ideal practice surfaces for a child's first letters and words.
How to wow: Paint, paint cups, and paint brushes sold separately, so be sure to pick up the Melissa & Doug Easel Companion Accessory Set so your artist has everything they need to express their creative side.
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: A family game of tricky hangs and steady hands! Try this hanging balance game and you'll be hooked! Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sounds easy? Try adding another piece!
Fun feature: Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.
Skills: Game night brings families together for quality time; game play promotes fine motor skills, problem solving, and imagination.
How to wow: Keep Family Game Time going with our classic Flip-to-Win Memory Game to sharpen pattern-recognition, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: Add your unique personal touches to Chase, Marshall, and Skye from PAW Patrol™ with paint and shiny foil stickers! This all-inclusive craft kit includes 12 pots of colorful paint, three easy-clean paint brushes, and three foil sticker sheets to add fun details to the three resin pups.
Fun feature: An engaging activity for kids to do on their own or with friends, these crafts make special keepsakes or gifts. PAW Patrol™ is always ready to help, inspiring preschoolers with a blend of teamwork, adventure, and humor as they develop social, emotional, and developmental skills through play.
Skills: Fine motor skills, creative expression, imagination.
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: It's fun to learn geography with this 45-piece wooden puzzle. With colorful images associated with each state in the United States, plus the capital name and state outline under each piece, this puzzle is a bonanza of learning!
Fun feature: The back of the puzzle lists additional state facts, including state flag, bird, motto, population and more.
Skills: Fine motor skills, problem solving ability, pattern recognition, imagination
How to wow: If puzzle play unlocks learning fun for your kiddo, learn more about our innovative new puzzles, now available!
Fun feature: The extra-thick pieces feature an Easy-Clean surface to keep them looking like new.
Skills: Fine motor skills, problem solving ability, pattern recognition, imagination
How to wow: Once your little puzzle master has solved the U.S.A., they can move on to our World Map Floor Puzzle to expand their horizons.
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: We've made it fun and easy to make an extra-large, colorful fleece blanket. Want to make a super-cozy quilt in no time? Just knot it! Tuck the extra-wide, extra-long fringe into slits and tie single knots to piece together a uniquely you quilt! The fabric pieces are super thick, soft, and fuzzy on both sides for extra snuggling. The 48 12-inch by 12-inch pieces includes fringe that's nearly two inches long, making knotting fast and simple. The finished quilt is approximately 4 feet by 5 feet. Illustrated instructions and design ideas are included.
Fun feature: Piece together fewer pieces to make scarves or smaller projects!
Skills: Gross and fine motor skills, manual dexterity, creative expression
How to wow: If your child enjoys DIY quilting, introduce them to the Melissa & Doug Multi-Craft Weaving Loom to take their life skills education to the next level!
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: And for my next trick"...This fantastic set includes 10 professional caliber, yet easy-to-master, tricks for beginners! Young magicians will improve their confidence and fine motor skills as they amaze family and friends with exciting tricks and illusions!
Fun feature: "Secret Silks," "Magic Number Prediction," Egyptian Prediction are among the 10 classic tricks included. Say the magic word and this fabulous set can be yours!
Skills: Fine motor skills, creative expression, public speaking, practice and persistence
How to wow: Improve your burgeoning illusionist’s stage presence by adding our Magician Role Play Costume Set!
Why it’s a great gift for older school kids: Kids will love playing this classic word game with a twist! They'll have a great time thinking up words that stump their opponent, or taking their best guess to win it all! This Flip-to-Win Hangman travel game includes 37 plastic letter tiles attached to the Hangman game board with an erasable whiteboard, and a self-storing dry-erase marker and eraser. The durable wooden frame features a bungee-hinge design so kids can easily flip the plastic tiles throughout the game.
Fun feature: Since there are no loose tile pieces and everything stores on the board, it's an ideal travel game. Toss it in your knapsack or bag, and bring it along for car rides, airplane trips, doctor's visits, and anytime you want to keep your kids entertained on the go.
Skills: Spelling, vocabulary, cooperative play
How to wow: As a caregiver or parent, you can never have enough quality on-the-go fun to keep your older kids occupied while in transit. Let us also recommend our On-the-Go Crafts - Origami Animals, with projects that range from beginner to intermediate to advanced, and help kids to develop and advance fine motor skills, hand-eye-coordination, and dexterity.
Click the links below for more holiday shopping ideas from Melissa & Doug!