It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is just around the corner, but if we’re being honest, we’ve never been more excited for all things merry and bright. After the roller coaster year that 2020 has turned out to be, it’s safe to say that we could all use a little extra holiday spirit right about now. To help you get a jump start on your holiday shopping, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest toys and gifts for school-aged kids that 2020 has to offer. From no-fail faves like Lego and board games to the trendiest toys of the year, there’s a little something for everyone on our list. We’ve taken extra care to include items that are available both in-store and online, so whether you’re braving the mall or shopping from the comfort of your couch, we’ve got you covered.
Indigenous Face Masks
For a stocking stuffer that is both beautiful and meaningful, you can’t go wrong with this pick from Indigenous Face Masks, an Indigenous-owned business based in Ottawa. Featuring designs by Indigenous artists, these triple-layer reusable face masks include adjustable earloops and a 100% cotton lining. For each mask purchased, Indigenous Face Masks will send a mask of the same style to Indigenous children and youth living in First Nations communities.
$15 | Available at IndigenousFaceMasks.ca | Recommended for ages 3-12
Operation Pet Scan
Hasbro’s classic game gets a fun new twist in this version featuring Cavity Sam’s dog, Rex-Ray. The playful pup has eaten a variety of objects that he shouldn’t have, including socks, slippers, and—of course—homework. Kids will have to carefully navigate the items out of Rex-Ray’s belly using the magnetic “dog-o-scope” and collect the most pieces in order to win.
$25 | Available at toysrus.ca | Recommended for ages 6-10
Lego Dots Creative Picture Frame
Kids can display their favourite photos in style with these cool custom frames made from Lego. This set from the Lego Dot collection lets kids customize three picture frames using colourful tiles that can be easily swapped out and re-configured as desired. Bonus: the handy storage tray will help keep the pieces neatly organized and out from under your feet.
$25 | Available at mastermindtoys.com | Recommended for ages 6+
Grouch Couch Game
This quirky game from Spin Master tackles the age-old question: what happens to all the things that get lost in the couch cushions? To play, kids take turns feeding a grumpy-looking sofa some “lost goodies” and then tap the remote control to see which treasures the couch spits back. The player with the most goodies at the end of the game is the winner. With its funny sound effects and straightforward gameplay, Grouch Couch is a great option for kids of all ages.
$25 | Available at walmart.ca | Recommended for ages 5+
Kid Made Modern Comic Book Kit
Calling all comic book fans! Let your kids flex their super storytelling skills with this DIY comic book kit from Kid Made Modern. The kit contains everything they’ll need to design their own awesome tale of adventure, including blank comic books, stencils, stamps, ink pads, and markers.
$25 | Available at chapters.indigo.ca | Recommended for ages 6-12
DIY Glycerin Soap Kit
In a year that’s focused heavily on hand hygiene, we couldn’t imagine a more appropriate gift than this DIY glycerin soap kit from Montreal-based company Kiss Naturals. Part chemistry experiment and part sensory experience, this soap-making kit features enough all-natural ingredients to make 16 soaps in a variety of fun shapes and colours.
$28 | Available at amazon.ca | Recommended for ages 6+
Fashion Plates Deluxe Kit
That’s right—one of your favourite toys from the early ‘90s is making a comeback! Future fashion designers will love the Fashion Plates Deluxe Kit that lets them mix and match 15 different plates to create an endless stream of unique looks. The kit comes with a stylish carrying case, pencil crayons, idea guide, and more.
$30 | Available at chapters.indigo.ca | Recommended for ages 6-12
Crayola Colour Chemistry Lab Set
Turn your kitchen into the ultimate science lab with this fun STEM-focused kit from Crayola. Budding scientists will create their own erupting volcanoes, bouncing bubbles, colourful quicksand, sticky slime, and more! The set comes with everything kids need to complete 16 experiments right out of the box, as well as ideas and instructions for 34 more. A perfect boredom buster for those cold winter days ahead.
$30 | Available at amazon.ca | Recommended for ages 8+
Throw Throw Burrito
Part card game, part dodgeball, all fun! This hectic and hilarious game (from the same team that brought you Exploding Kittens), is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Collect cards to earn points, but watch out or you just might get hit with a squishy burrito. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, try the Extreme Outdoor Edition for even more burrito-throwing action.
$35 | Available at chapters.indigo.ca | Recommended for ages 7+
Tech Will Save Us Electro Guitar Kit
If your musician-in-training has their eye on an electric guitar this year, why not test the waters with this cool DIY version that explores the science behind the sound? The kit comes with everything kids need to build their very own guitar and amp, along with access to the Tech Will Save Us online learning platform. They’ll even be able to rock out and record original tracks in the free online recording studio.
$50 | Available at chapters.indigo.ca | Recommended for ages 8-11
LEGO Super Mario Adventure
In one of the coolest toys of the year, Lego takes all the on-screen fun of Super Mario and creates a new hands-on, build-and-play experience for young gamers to explore. Battery-operated game pieces come to life with LCD screens and sound effects, along with seven interactive builds that work together to create an action-packed course. And once your kiddo has mastered the basics in this starter kit, expansion packs are available to create new levels and adventures.
$70 | Available at toysrus.ca | Recommended for ages 6+
With the huge popularity of unboxing videos over the past few years, it’s no surprise that one of the most coveted gifts of 2020 is a toy that unboxes itself. Available in two themes—”glitter” or “fancy”—these interactive plush pets feature more than 100 sounds and actions, giving kids all the joy of a new puppy, without the added responsibility. But which pup will it be? It’s a surprise! With just a few easy moves, your little one will get to watch in delight as their new pet breaks its way out of the box all on its own, ready to cuddle and play.
$70 | Available at canadiantire.ca | Recommended for ages 5+
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The latest Animal Crossing release from Nintendo has gotten a lot of buzz this year—and for good reason! With gorgeous graphics and plenty of fun characters to discover, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ultimate gaming escape for kids and adults alike. Young gamers can customize their space, interact with friendly animal residents, set goals, complete tasks, and explore the island in their own time. As an added bonus, parents can set controls to limit playtime and restrict unauthorized purchases (no credit card surprises, please!).
$80 | Available at amazon.ca | Recommended for ages 6+
GraviTrax Pro Vertical Starter Set
Get ready to roll! Kids can take their marble runs to new heights with this 153-piece building set from GraviTrax. The set includes everything they’ll need to create dynamic 3D marble run courses, including multiple bases, pillars, balconies, and rails. While building epic tracks, kids will also learn about gravity, kinetic energy, magnetism, and more! Kids can build their own designs, and even include pieces from other GraviTrax sets for hours of open-ended play.
$100 | Available at mastermindtoys.com | Recommended for ages 8+