We all know that art and design museums are magical. Where else can kids feast¬†their eyes¬†on important paintings,¬†goof around with hands-on¬†exhibits, and giggle¬†at naked statues (come on, you know that’s true), all before dinnertime? And with a lot of us nervous¬†about major reported cuts to NEA funding, we love how shopping through museum stores are another way to help support the arts.

Museum shops are often where we¬†find some of the best toys — whimsical, unusual, and often educational.

So if you’re looking for a birthday gift¬†or just a¬†“this made me think of you!” kind of present,¬†check out these awesome toys¬†we found from some of our favorite art museum shops, all under $50.

They’re¬†all available online, too. So think of all you’re saving without plane tickets to NYC, DC or London.

Related: The coolest birthday gifts for 7 year olds

Cool museum store toys: Ball of Whacks Magnetic Blocks from Smithsonian Store

Ball of Whacks Magnetic Blocks | Smithsonian Store

Older kids will love¬†this creativity tool, which consists¬†of 30 magnetic blocks (each a “golden ratio” rhombic pyramid) that can be rearranged into a perfect rhombic triacontahedron (or other imaginative sculptures) and ohmygosh¬†just writing this sentence has already made me smarter. So just think what this thing will¬†do for¬†your puzzle-loving tweens and teens. ($40)


Cool museum store toys: Rainbow Playing Cards from MoMARainbow Playing Cards | NY MoMA

Made by two Brooklyn-based designers, these playing cards are just so pretty. But each set also comes in a foil-stamped keepsake box and with a booklet all about the history of cards and card games. ($13)


Cool museum store toys: Ryan McGinness Soccer Ball from Brooklyn Museum

Ryan McGinness Soccer Ball | Brooklyn Museum

Your kid doesn’t have to be a soccer stud¬†to love this FIFA-approved ball designed by New York graphic artist Ryan McGinness. McGinness uses things like¬†public signage¬†and¬†logos¬†in his art, which you can see in each section of the ball.¬†($45)



Cool museum store toys: Getty Marble Tricolor Pencils from the Getty Museum

Getty Marble Tricolor Pencils | J. Paul Getty Museum

The¬†Getty is all about art and art-making, which is just part of the reason¬†these made-for-the-museum pencils are a great gift. Each marbled pencil has three pigments in its nib, which lay down different colors depending on how your kid draws. Run a moistened sponge or brush over the results and — ta da! — the drawing becomes a gorgeous watercolor painting.¬†($2.95 each)

Related:¬†Creative toys for an 8 year old ‚ÄĒ no beeps, boops or batteries

Cool museum store toys: iWood My First Laptop from Design Museum

iWood My First Laptop | The Design Museum

This¬†“powerbook” is fully powered by imagination. It has a hidden compartment for chalk, which kids¬†can use to draw the screen and keyboard and anything else that they can dream up.¬†(about $49)


Cool museum store toys: MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play House | NY MoMA

This isn’t your grandma’s dollhouse. The Museum of Modern Art celebrates the evolution of the modern home (and its cool furnishings) in its exhibits, and this mid-century play house fits right in. The set includes six nested boxes, eight pieces of mix-and-match furniture, and vinyl clings¬†that let kids¬†rearrange and redecorate endlessly. ($9.99, on sale now!)


Cool museum store toys: FlipBooKit from Whitney Museum

FlipBooKit: Metropolis Redux Edition | Whitney Museum

For kids who know everything about YouTube and Netflix, this DIY hand-cranked movie loop machine is a true treasure. Easy to assemble for kids 8 and up, the kit lets you make your own video or animated art, and it comes with a pre-made loop from the movie Metropolis. ($48)