Written by Elizabeth Thrives

Feb 7, 2021
11 best and most played with gifts for boys


If you need a gift that will a boy will love,

and if you want a gift that will actually last,

AND if you need a gift that a boy will play with over and over for years,

Basically if you need the best and most played-with gifts for boys, then you can come to right place!

(  HERE.)

As a mom of FIVE boys, I feel very confident that I’m bringing some valuable information here.

I’m writing exactly what I wish I could have heard years ago!!

Trial and Error? I’ve done it. Do I need to recount all the junky gifts I’ve spent good money on over the years? I may have accidentally become an expert on things that tear up easily and on things that have temporary appeal for the first day and then disappear into some toy box never to be thought of again.

I don’t want that for you.

And geeeez- I don’t want you to waste precious dollars cluttering up a boy’s toy box with junk that will not be played-with over the long haul!

*I purposely am not including any technology gifts for boys because I believe the last thing a boy needs is to be sitting in front of a screen either watching OTHER people live their lives or playing video games.* (Sure we have some of the gaming things in our house, but we greatly limit that screen time…and gifts like these certainly help!!)

So having these best and most played-with toys around helps maximize their time!

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These are gifts that will get boys doing something that stimulates their brains and that they can HAVE FUN with for years to come!

These are the all-stars right here.

The All-Time BEST and MOST PLAYED WITH gifts for boys!!

#1- LEGOS!!!

best most played with gifts for boys

Legos are such a great invention.  They are so well made and they stand the test of time! Boys of all personalities enjoy them over and over for the long haul.

Are they cheap? Not really. I’m all about saving money everywhere I can.  Legos may cost more than dollar store toys but the value is worth mentioning. The amount of play time you get from one Lego set far outweighs the dollars they cost.

There are many different lego sets out there. Of all the genres of legos, LEGO CITY legos have been the long standing favorites for my boys and most of the boys we know. Here are 3 LEGO CITY favories- this LEGO CITY DONUT SHOP, this LEGO CITY FIRE STATION, and this LEGO CITY MOBILE POLICE UNIT

Those are all endless fun- building them, and then re-building in their own design, etc.

Lego also has a great STARS WARS line like this new MANDALORIAN SET that my boys are wanting for Christmas!

You must hear me on this though!!

*LEGO brand only!*

Off-brand lego-type toys are awful. Only try off-brand lego-type toys if you like to be really frustrated AND only try off-brand if you like taking money and throwing it in the trash can.

Legos are not as cheap as the off-brand, but like I said earlier, for what you pay, you get years and years of great educational play. The only bad thing I can say about Legos is that when you step on one with bare feet, it does not feel good at all:-)

Otherwise, terrific boy gift!!!

best gifts for boys


How can I say enough about a trampoline for boys? Our trampoline has been consistently played on for 15 years strong. Did you hear that? FIF-TEEN YEARS!

The variety of games they play on it from just free jumping to a million hilarious made-up games is endless!

You can wet it in the summer for a totally different experience!

You can add balls for crazy fun. And wow! The exercise a boy gets jumping on it is maybe the best part! Jumping on a trampoline is powerful cardio and they don’t even realize it!!

I think the secret to getting the best and saftest trampoline is to get the largest one you can –LIKE THIS AWESOME 15FT ONE. Bigger trampolines are harder to fall off of and they allow for many activites while a smaller trampoline can limit that somewhat.

I’m telling you. Trampolines and boys = The most fun for the longest time.

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#3- A NERF GUN!!!

best most played with gifts for boys

Okay if you are around any boys, you know nerf guns are a huge hit! These range from smaller ones for little hands to hold and use…all the way to some BIG ones that older kids and teens have a blast playing with.

When our boys were young, they wanted a nerf gun that they could cock and shoot without needing help. THIS NERF PISTOL is PERFECT for a little hand and it also packs a good punch! The older boys even always want ONE OF THESE NERF PISTOLS on hand in a nerf battle in the yard.

The nerf pistols have been played with consistently over more than a decade and still work great! They simply do not break easily!!

Then there comes a time when a boy wants a BIG nerf gun and we’ve circulated through quite a few over the years. My first thought on the big nerf guns is to caution you against buying a battery powered one. As fun as they can be at first, they do not have the lasting power of the NON-battery powered nerf guns. The battery-powered ones tend to break and malfunction easily no matter the price point.

So the 2 best big nerf guns that last (we’ve had ours for YEARS) are the awesome MEGA CENTURION and the so fun NERF n STRIKE RETALIATOR.

Not only nerf gun wars but also target practice is super fun with nerf guns! A truly played-with gift!!


best most played with gifts for boys

Anybody a fan of Black Friday deals? I think they can be alot of fun! But I did learn the hard way that many Black Friday “deals” sound so cheap for a reason!

I learned this lesson when I purchased 2 different boy bikes on 2 different Black Fridays.  One bike was the size bike that would be a first bike for a boy with training wheels. The other bike was the size maybe an 8 year old boy would use.

OH MY. Let’s just sum this up with: they were terrible. They broke in multiple ways and certainly didn’t last long at all.

But a good bike for boy? Such an amazing gift! One that he can ride fast, hit some bumps, and holds up beautifully is the way to go!!

Plus if you have other kids like we do, it sure is nice for a bike to be able to be passed down to the next kid. If not, it’s also nice to be able to sell it once your boy grows out of it! This can only happen if you get a good bike to begin with!

We love this 4-in-1 STROLL N TRIKE for a toddler! It is great quality and can really grow with a boy from baby to 5 years.

Now just 2 examples of high quality bikes that a boy can enjoy for the longhaul.  This awesome SCHWINN KOEN BIKE that comes in different sizes AND this durable MONGOOSE MOUNTAIN BIKE! 

I think EVERY boy needs a good bike! You just can’t go wrong gifting a boy with a bike!


An important part of a boy’s development is learning to

throw and catch

And to kick and bat!

Even if he doesn’t actually play football for example, having a good football in his stash of things to play around with makes him that much more well rounded. That’s true of the other sports balls as well! My boys have played all kinds of different sports and having this good equipment has made all the difference in their enjoyment and mastery of these things.

When a boy says he’s bored and asks for an idea of what to do- a great answer is to go get your soccer ball and kick it around some obstacles! Or play a 2 man game of baseball or flag football! You get the point.

I’ve had lots of trial and error here, too, that I can help you avoid! I’m going to share what ALL my boys agree is the BEST performing option for each of these sports balls (and bat!).

  • First a football:  HANDS DOWN!!!- this NIKE VAPOR STRIKE FOOTBALL is the best of the best. If your boy brings it to practice, it’s always chosen as the game ball by kids and adults alike! You’ll thank me later:-)
  • Next a soccer ball:  This NIKE FLIGHT STRIKE SOCCER BALL is a favorite because the texture and weight of the ball perform great while the cheapest balls are that shiny material that shreds and tears easily.
  • Third a basketball:  This SPALDING NBA ZI/O is composite leather and holds up to the test of time! Great for outdoor concrete and indoor gym play.
  • Fourth a baseball bat and glove:  This RAWLINGS RAPTOR YOUTH BASEBALL BAT is solid and has a smooth swing! A really good baseball glove- another must for a boy- is this LEATHER RAWLINGS SURE CATCH glove!


best gifts for boys

You just have to give a boy a good solid truck to enjoy. We have a few Tonka trucks made of steel that I think my brother had forty years ago. The dump truck we bought for our first son 15 years ago is still in perfect playing shape. And I guess it will be for our grandkids too!

It’s that solid and well-made.

This TONKA TOUGHTEST DUMP TRUCK is also the best size!

A boy can load it up with sand or dirt or all kinds of objects. My favorite is when they put a baby brother in the back and take him for a ride! I have sweet memories of each one of my boys pushing this dump truck from behind running and laughing.

Tonka makes many steel working trucks and then they also have a great line of plastic trucks that are a great size for a baby to push around and for a bigger boy to set up and play with for loads of time.

We have several of them and I also have great memories of walking down the hall with 10+ RESCUE FORCE TONKA TRUCKS (like this FIRETRUCK) with sirens going off and all kinds of laughter and play!

#7- A BB GUN!

I’m not talking about your toddler here ofcourse! Every family can decide when they think a boy is old enough to handle a BB gun. For us, it’s around 8 to 10 years old after extensive gun safety training from Dad!

At that point, a BB gun is a terrific gift for a boy! It’s a fantastic way to practice aiming at a target, which is so fun and great for a boy’s development.

A BB gun like this DAISY STARTER GUN is something a boy can easily shoot at targets in his backyard in the suburbs. It’s not so powerful that you need to be out in the woods somewhere!

A higher powered air-rifle gun like this RUGER PELLET GUN is useful for older boys who have MASTERED the BB gun and shown impeccable handling of the less powerful BB gun. This would be used for more precise target practice.


best most played with gifts for boys

I find that if a boy has an assortment of different art supplies, he can always find something cool to do with them! I think having a set like this CRAYOLA ART KIT with a few different mediums is the perfect starting place!

By the way, you can’t go wrong with Crayola art supplies. They are always quality. You CAN go wrong with random brands you’ve never heard of- just a tip!

A GOOD EASEL like this KID KRAFT EASEL is something a boy can enjoy for years. We’ve used ours for endless art projects and games. Keep it set up and you will find that a boy often gravitates to it and starts creating!

Finally- having CRAYOLA PAINTS and then art and craft books like these make perfect gifts a boy can enjoy over and over!

My boys have had a great time with these! HOW TO DRAW 101 ANIMALS, HOW TO DRAW PETS, AND HOW TO DRAW EVERYTHING!

Art supplies are the perfect gifts for boys of all ages!


Just trust me on this one. A good flashlight is top notch for a boy! You will be amazed at how much he will use it and how much he will love it! Look for flashlights that have a high number of lumens like this ENERGIZER LED TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT!

I have to mention this DORCY LED LANTERN that one of my sons considers one of his most prized possessions because he has had it for so long and used it so consistently!

Small flashlights, big spot-light flashlights, and everything in between are a splendid gifts for boys of all ages!!


best most played gifts for boys

Again, this is for a boy who is an appropriate age and has shown impeccable responsiblity and maturity. Our boys have worked for this to be on their 10th birthday! They know if we don’t feel they are ready, then they won’t get one.

AND they know if they show any carelessness with it, that it will be taken away.

We are a hunting and fishing family, therefore a pocket knife is a useful tool very often! THIS BUCK KNIFE is a fabulous starter knife.

A boy often takes great pride in his pocket knives.

A  very special gift in this category is a survival knife like THIS GERBER BEAR GRYLLS ULTIMATE KNIFE. It has a super strong nylon sheath and its equipped with fire starter as well. My boys’ favorite!!


What is a better gift for a boy than a box of HOTWHEELS cars?!

These cars are similar to legos in that they offer endless play options!

Boys enjoy setting them all up like a freeway or making a city. And they can be played with inside or outside!

This ULTIMATE HOT WHEELS BEGINNINER SET is a wonderful gift for any boy!!

And this HOT WHEELS 10 PACK  is a perfect gift to add to any boy’s die cast car collection!

Do I have to say it again? Maybe.

Like I said I had to learn the hard way. Don’t go off-brand here.

Get the traditional HOTWHEEL brand die cast cars and you won’t regret it!

#12- Thomas the Train!

best most played with gifts for boys

Oh boy- the intense love a boy can have for his wooden trains is something to behold! Thomas the Train sets are top notch in quality and educational play!

Your boy can set up all kinds of variations of track set-ups and truly have hours of fun! All of our train sets (and legos:-) will be kept for the grandkids! They are timeless toys!!

As far as brand name quality, Thomas the Train is certainly fantastic. Other off brands seem to hold up as well. We have a blend of both and we are so glad we did!

You definitely want to get a train table if you have a boy with an eye for trains! Our KIDCRAFT WATERFALL SET and TABLE has lasted 12 years and going through lots of rough play!

And then actual wooden Thomas trains are so fun because they are the characters from the movies and shows rather than just colorful trains in the off-brands. Our favorites are ofcourse THOMAS, JAMES, SPENCER, and oh no! I could actually go on and on!

Thomas the train is definitely in the BEST of the BEST hall of fame for boys!!!!


BOY GIFTS are fun to think through and in my EXTENSIVE BOY experience, these are the BEST MOST PLAYED-WITH GIFTS for the BOY in your life!!


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