I’m a practical mom, at least I would like to think so. When I shop for gifts, I’m always looking for ones that are useful in addition to something the kid will like. I once bought my nephew a set of wooden building blocks that have all the elements of the periodic table on them. Yes, I’m that mom.
If you’re super interested in this one, there’s one like it here on Amazon.
In return, my sister-in-law bought my daughter an ABC of science board book. I love it, though it is a bit advanced for a toddler. My six-year-old enjoys it and he’s starting to get the concepts, so I guess it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
So if you’re the kind of mom or dad that my sister-in-law and I are, here are 11 more fun and educational toys for kids.
This is the top of Business Insider‘s list of best educational toys and it’s the top of mine too. My son first received Magformers for Christmas about three years ago. He loved them so much I decided to expand his set last Christmas. On Christmas Day, all the kids ended up playing with the Magformers (and of course fighting over them). If you buy, make sure that you get the Magformers. I know there are other brands, but this is the only one that I have personally tried.
The Magformers basic set comes with triangles and squares. You have to buy expanded sets to get things like pentagons, hexagons and curved pieces. My son really liked the Magformer set that turned into a police car.
2. Magazine Subscriptions
This one is a great suggestion from Mother.ly, a subscription to a service. Personally, I remember having Highlights and Zoobooks subscriptions when I was a kid. I loved getting something in the mail just for me and they were fun reads. The really cool thing is that both of them have branched out with specific subscriptions depending on your child’s age, which means you’re getting him or her something age appropriate. There’s also Ranger Rick and National Geographic Kids.
3. Gears! Gears! Gears!
Born Cute considers this one of the top education toys and I have to agree. My son has the basic version, but I love this flowered version more because the flowers and bugs spin. My son likes pulling the whole set out and clipping everything together. It teaches him about gears and how they work together and how you can make things rotate. I will say he had to wait until he was about five to really understand what was going on with the gears. But you can spin them at any age!
4. Snap Circuits
I personally have not tried this one, but it’s getting great reviews on Amazon. Mommyhood 101 says the Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Exploration kit offers is a great way to introduce your kid world of electronics. The best part is it’s less than $25.
5. Fat Brain Toys Squigz
This one comes from Mom Junction, the Squigz from Fat Brain Toys. Personally, I suggest this one for anyone who still has young children because I don’t worry too much about my toddler swallowing them. My son likes them well enough, but I think in the next year (by the time he’s seven) he will have outgrown them. It’s a window that you need to be aware of when you consider purchasing.
6. Lego Chain Reactions
Legos are always a great choice because they teach your kid about building and visualization, but if you want to take things to another level, think about the Chain Reactions book. Teach Thought says the book will teach you how to build 10 different moving things with Lego.
7. Zoob Builderz
The Zoob Builderz is a little different, but it’s way cool. Raise Smart Kid likes the fact that creations can move, my son does too. I’ll admit, he often uses these to create action figures and monsters, but he’s creating and I love seeing what he comes up with. The Zoobz also have great online creations that I’ve Googled over the years depending on what my son is looking to create. Some of it takes interpretation, so be aware that you may have to do a little guessing along the way.
8. Stikbot Zanimation Studio
I’m a huge fan of the idea that learning can be fun and to me, this looks like a ton of fun. Star Walk Kids says the Stikbot Zanimation Studio teaches kids about stop-motion animation a la Wallace & Grommit. The blog calls it a perfect gift for teens, but I imagine an enterprising eight-year-old would have fun too.
9. Toy Cash Register
This is a classic toy that I can really get behind. The We Are Teachers blog suggests you buy one with an actual calculator built into it. I found the Learning Resources Pretend Play Calculator Cash Register on Amazon. I choose it because it’s solar powered, which means you don’t have to deal with batteries.
10. Moodsters Feelings Flashlight
I’ve seen this one on a number of blogs including Pop Sugar. Explaining feelings to a kid is tough and it can be frustrating for that kid to express his feelings. Reviews for the Moodsters Feelings Flashlight on Amazon say learning your emotions becomes a fun adventure.