written by:
November 16, 2015
Learning about design begins with a basic understanding of the natural environment, the creative process, and (of course) having fun! From innovative learning apps to tools that literally dig into nature, these ten gifts are ideal for stimulating play and exploration. Find more gift ideas, from textiles to furniture, in our Editor's Best 2015 special issue, on newsstands now.
Tegu Magnetic Block Toys

Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks by Tegu, from $25 at tegu.com

Made from sustainably-harvested Central American wood, Tegu's wooden blocks magnetically connect for fun, simple, and versatile play. Just today they've made their latest round of of colored blocks—titled "Sunset", available in sets of 6 to 42—available to ship. 

1 / 10
Novella Crib from Nursery Works

Novella Crib by Nursery Works, $1000 available via retailers

This unique design can transform from crib to toddler bed to daybed or reading nook, ensuring its continued use as your child grows. It's made in America with a solid ash frame and steel legs.

2 / 10
Curious World kid's app

Curious World, app subscriptions from $9.99 per month via iTunes

Designed for children aged 3 to 7, Curious World is a collection of games, videos, and books (accessible via iPad and iPhone) that build foundations in early learning areas like creative expression, mathematics, and health & well being. Parents can see what content their children explore to learn their interests and track their progress.

3 / 10
Cubulets Robot Kit

Cubelets Robot Kit, from $160 at momastore.org

Featured in the 2011 MoMA exhibition Talk to Me, each Cubulet cube has its own function, such as generating movement or detecting changes in the environment. They click together to form a robot with its own unique behavior.

4 / 10
LATTJO IKEA Playing Cards

LATTJO Card Game by IKEA, $10 at ikea stores 

These beautiful playing cards are ideal for memory games that increase visual recognition, concentration, and even social skills. Thick paper and laminated surfaces make for durablity as well. See IKEA's entire new LATTJO play collection here.

5 / 10
Riga Roo Rocker

Riga Roo Rocker by Aldis Circenis for Offi, $249 at allmodern.com 

Made of a single piece of molded plywood, this minimalist toy is elegant and durable. It weighs only 6.6 pounds but can support up to 50 pounds.

6 / 10
Naef Bauhaus Optischer Farbmischer

Bauhaus Optischer Farbmischer from Naef, $53 at fawnandforest.com

This top comes with seven different interchangeable designs, each which produces its own visual effects when spun.

7 / 10
LEGO Architecture Imperial Hotel Frank Lloyd Wright

Imperial Hotel from LEGO Architecture, $130 at shop.lego.com

Frank Lloyd Wright's beautiful, but sadly lost, Imperial Hotel is just one of many iconic desgins your children can recreate with LEGO Architecture. See the full selection of buildings, including a 1200 brick Studio set, here.

8 / 10
Eco-Dough

Eco-Dough, $20 at oompa.com

Unlike other comparable products, Eco-Dough is colored with natural extacts from fruits, vegetables, and plants instead of dyes. Rosemary and Vitamin E oils keep the dough soft and workable, even producing a pleasant aroma in the process. Eco-Dough even comes in a gluten-free variety for $25. 

9 / 10
Scoppi Toy Shovel and Sifter

Scoppi Toy Shovel and Sifter from Kid O, $24 at store.dwell.com

Ideal for the beach, this toy encourages children to explore their natural environment. The shovel can also do double-duty for snowmen and snow forts in colder climates.

10 / 10
Tegu Magnetic Block Toys

Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks by Tegu, from $25 at tegu.com

Made from sustainably-harvested Central American wood, Tegu's wooden blocks magnetically connect for fun, simple, and versatile play. Just today they've made their latest round of of colored blocks—titled "Sunset", available in sets of 6 to 42—available to ship. 

Check back from now until December as Dwell editors clue you to their favorite year end gift and product picks. 

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