20 educational gifts for all ages: Khan Academy team’s favorite toys, books, and games for learning

2019-12-11 16:27:55 GMT

It’s the season of giving! We asked the Khan Academy content team to share the gifts they love to give the children in their lives. Find a special and educational book, game, subscription, or toy to add to your shopping list.

Subscriptions kids will love

What’s better than one great gift? A gift that you receive monthly! Our content team loves these subscription-based gifts for children.

Magazine subscriptions

“I highly recommend Ranger Rick (and Ranger Rick Jr) and National Geographic Kids magazine subscriptions.”
Anna Berns,
Program manager, international content / localization community liaison

Kiwi Crates

“I like giving Kiwi Crates, which are great for the five- to eight-year-olds in my life, but Kiwi Co. also has crates for different age groups. I like giving these crates because each one includes super fun, hands-on STEAM projects with associated science and math instruction. I like to give a monthly subscription so they are a gift that keeps on giving.”
Megan Cohn,
Biology content creator

three magazine covers and an example of a kiwi crate


The Khan Academy content team loves to give books as gifts to encourage relationship building and independent learning.

A board book for babies

“I always give board books as part of my baby shower gifts because the first thing a child should learn about a book is that it helps to build relationships.”
Charlotte Auen,
Content creator, math

Pre-K through elementary

The book Lottie and Walter is good for pre-K to third grade—a story about overcoming fear and believing in yourself.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a great book to read aloud to young elementary kids or to give as an independent read for older kids. It’s a beautiful story about how we change for the better if we open our hearts up.”
Allison Leedie,
Content creator, English language arts

“My six-year-old daughter loves Bedtime Math so much she wakes me up in the morning to do more of it. The problems are engaging. Each one has three levels of difficulty, so kids of different ages and math readiness can all engage.”
Vicki Lang,
Senior content manager, math

Middle school recommendations

“I would gift puzzle mystery books! They’re a fun way to stretch your brain and fuel your curiosity. Plus, there’s nothing more fun than solving a mystery before the main character does. My favorites: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, and Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.”
Kim Elliott,
Senior content creator, humanities

Graceling is for middle school and up. It’s just a great epic fantasy novel with amazing characters to root for.”
Allison Leedie,
Content creator, English language arts

HIgh school and beyond

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth is a graphic novel about Bertrand Russell’s quest for fortifying the logical foundations of mathematics. This amazing book brings out the humanity in the most abstract science of them all.
Proofs and Refutations by Imre Lakatos is a harder read and more appropriate for people who have grappled with proving theorems before. Nevertheless, it read like a thriller to me. The book is a Socratic dialogue between a teacher and some students about a proof of a famous theorem and its related definitions, which touches upon the nature of mathematical discovery.”
Tomer Gal,
Content creator, math

the covers of the books recommended

Games and toys

A lot of learning can happen when playing the games and toys picked by our content team. Adults will enjoy these picks, too!

Guess Who? game

Guess Who? is a great educational game for elementary ages and up for practicing categorizing, questioning, and noticing. You can swap out the characters and create new game sheets with historical figures, quadratic graphs, or elements from the periodic table — really anything that has similarities and unique features that you want children to discover. The game, as is or with modified characters, works in any language.”
Charlotte Auen,
Content creator, math

QWIXX and Rat-a-tat Cat

“Both QWIXX (dice) are and Rat-a-tat Cat (cards) are quick to play and a lot of fun. Also, they are great strategic games for elementary-age kids but are fun for everyone!”
Lindsay Spears,
Senior content creator, math

U.S. Presidents Playing Cards and Women Cards

“Most kids can’t name all of the presidents, so the U.S. Presidents Playing Cards are a good way to remember faces and names. They are also organized in order of succession, so kids could memorize the order just by playing with them if they were playing solitaire or something similar. I also really like the Women Cards Tech Deck.”
Leah Marquez,
Content creator, social studies

Perplexus Original

“I love the Perplexus. It is a 3-D puzzle that my kids have spent countless hours on.”
Lindsay Spears,
Senior content creator, math

the games and toys recommended above