When it comes to imagination toys, the most important thing is matching toys to your kids interests.

For example, my little scientist is enthralled with toys that involve building, racing, space, and problem solving.

My dinosaur obsessed and creative toddler spends hours getting messy with art supplies and carrying toy dinosaurs around the house in little bags.

If you’re looking for toys that kids will play with over and over again, I think it’s best to consider your child’s personality and interests and then check out a few of our favorites!

A special note about this imagination toys list… My family actually owns and loves playing with each of these toys. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, we have built this wonderful collection over several years!

Please use your best judgement about what’s age appropriate for your child and supervise accordingly.

DIY Toys

Some of the most fun and imaginative toys are free, DIY, and recycled projects that are fun to make with kids.

Check out my post all about Cardboard Box Toys and Crafts to learn how to make an adorable Ice Cream Cart Toy, a Shape Sorter, cute Cartoon Figures, and a DIY board game!

STEM Imagination Toys

Electronic Snap Circuits – This STEM-focused set helps kids build real, working electronic circuits! Light bulbs, a fan, car alarm noises, and more.

LEGOS – Endless ideas and imagination. My son is a huge LEGO fan. We have several sets but if you’re new to LEGOS, I like the classic box with a variety of colors, shapes, and ideas.

Telescope – This was a big splurge for my son’s birthday, but has been a wonderful, educational, and awe-inspiring “toy” that our whole family enjoys. We can see Saturn’s rings on clear nights from our backyard. It doesn’t get much more imagination-inspiring than that!

Art Supplies and Projects

Art is one of the best ways to spark imagination and creativity in kids (and adults)! So I consider art supplies the ultimate imagination toys! I wrote a whole blog post on some of our favorite art supplies.

Open Ended Imagination Toys

Play Kitchen – I did a lot of research and found this darling little kitchen with a working ice dispenser and cute bohemian feel. The kids love it and are always cooking up tasty treats!

Cookie Set – We have a lot of fun play food, but this slice and bake cookie set is great for dexterity, matching, and since it’s cookies the kids are always playing with it!

Play Scarves – These beautiful play silks are great for dance, dress up, and play. They feel buttery soft too and are a great way to engage in sensory play without a mess.

Wooden Train Set – We have the Brio wooden train set my husband played with as a kid and this new cargo railway addition. Wooden train tracks are limitless and awesome for little builders.

Dinosaur Figures – My toddler carries these dinosaur figures around all day. One of her favorite games is to tuck them into little beds made of folded laundry towels (real life play right there)!

Cars – Both of my kids love the Cars movies and these little die cast cars get played with daily.

Board Games and Puzzles

Qwirkle – We discovered this awesome game and it is so much fun! Think Scrabble, but with colors and shapes. It teaches strategy and is great for the whole family!

Chess, Checkers, All-In-One Game Set – We have a similar version of this All-In-One game set that was my husband’s as a kid. Old fashioned fun (and strategy). We usually play Chess and Checkers, but the dominoes are fun for counting and we’ll work up to Cribbage and Backgammon.

Solar System Puzzle – We love this creative and educational puzzle! The labels helped my son learn to read the names of the planets too.

Dinosaur Puzzle – This huge puzzle is colorful, fun, and even my toddler can help match up dinosaur colors and puzzle pieces.

Nature Treasures

You don’t need to look any farther than your backyard for imagination toys. We enjoy playing in nature and using items like rocks, shells, flowers, and leaves to play with. And our beautiful Mayan Hands baskets are wonderful for containing special treasures!

Imagination Books

These are the books I’m giving my kids for Christmas this year. I know they will spark imagination!

Space Atlas – available through independent bookstores on Bookshop! Also available through Amazon.

The Girl and the Dinosaur – available from independent bookstores on Bookshop! Also available on Amazon.

If you want more ideas for imaginative books, check out this post I wrote about How to Inspire a Love of Reading and Books.

Final Note

Toys are fun and play is wonderful! But the biggest gift we can give our kids is our presence.

Whenever I intentionally put down my to do list, turn off my phone, and play and explore with my kids, real magic happens.

Wishing you fun and imaginative play!

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