Here at San Francisco’s Children’s Creativity Museum, we are always on the lookout for children’s toys and educational materials that live up to our high standards to advance our mission to “nurture creativity and collaboration in all children and families.” Specifically, we look for things that are gender-neutral, promote self-discovery in children of all ages, nurture creative confidence, and can foster collaborative and multi-generational play.
For the first time ever, We wanted to share our top picks for the 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. (Note: there are embedded affiliate links to these products and the Children’s Creativity Museum may receive an affiliate commission.)
Picks inspired by our museum exhibits
Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop
For years, our Robot Coding Lab and coding field trips have used these toys to engage school-aged children with computational thinking. We have seen children return to this activity over and over again to solve new challenges. The ability to record your own celebration songs for the robot to play is an added bonus!
(Disclosure: we receive robot donations from Wonder Workshop as a partner)
Can’t go wrong with a box of LEGO’s that encourages open-ended play and creative expression! Our LEGO wall remains one of the most popular activities for people of all ages. Try this as a family design challenge: have everyone make a simple object and marvel at the diversity and creativity of approaches.
While these toys are featured in the play areas for our youngest visitors, we often see grandparents, caregivers, and older siblings enjoying themselves just as much as the toddlers! There is just something oddly satisfying about building with these colorful toys.
Symphony Croc by HABA
These whimsical toys remind us of activities in our new Making Music Studio that opened in August. Children of all ages need diverse ways to express themselves, and music is an important avenue for creativity.
Our museum specializes in activities that feature STEAM–science, technology, engineering, art and math–and this is a super example designed by one of our university partners. Learn about electricity and physics with play dough and creative projects.
Our SketchTown digital installation is a colorful cityscape that is made up of buildings designed and scanned by our visitors. This coloring poster reminds us of how we can envision and co-create our communities together.
Other staff favorites
Comic Book Artist Kit by Kid Made Modern
Our staff love drawing cartoons and we even developed a Girls Scouts activity based on comic books!
The journaling habit has been shown to foster reflection, gratitude, and creativity. Encouraging children to express themselves through writing and drawing can help them develop this mindset and habit at an early age.