PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you’re looking for gifts for little ones this Christmas, you may want to think smaller, going beyond the big names and big trends for gifts that inspire imagination.

Liz Gumbinner, the editor-in-chief of CoolMomPicks.com, says: “2013 is the year of the Rainbow Loom. There’s no doubt about it. Boys and girls are both obsessed with these kits. They’re great. Parents like them because they’re crafty.”

And toys that teach lessons.

Bettina Chen met Alice Brooks while they were among the few female engineering grad students at Stanford.

They drew upon their own experiences to create Roominate, a wired dollhouse with circuits and motors. It’s a science and engineering twist.

“With a dollhouse, it’s easy to see that connection of – I’m building this setting for a story, or I’m building this house for my doll,” said Chen. “Whereas a lot of building toys, they build it, but they don’t really see a reason to reach that end goal.”

Roominate is one of those items found in boutique toy stores.

A website like YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org can help parents find independent stores in your neighborhood with similar education-based items.

Because the hot toy of the season may not be what’s best, or even, what a child wants.

“It doesn’t matter what every other kid in the block is getting,” said Gumbinner. “Get your kid something that you know that they want, that they’ll enjoy and that’s all that matters.”

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