WCCU Family & Friends Blog
Top Educational Toys for Children’s Christmas Gifts
As a mom of three young boys, the last thing that they need is more toys! Our house is a virtual obstacle course…I’m tripping over cars, dinosaurs and Legos on a daily basis. My husband and I have decided from now on, when we purchase toys, we’ll concentrate on educational or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys.
STEM toys focus on development of motor and social skills and encourage active team play exploring children’s creative and imaginative side. These educational toys also enhance language, reading, writing, math, logic, computer and programming skills. Some also allow them to discover science, nature and exploration.
I personally love STEM toys, they’re a win-win in my book. Not only do our kids enjoy playing with learning toys, but they also provide me a little “Mom time” keeping the kids occupied. When cooped up indoors, every mom can agree, moms need time to ourselves every once in a while, to keep our sanity!
So if you are looking for toys to keep your kids’ neurons firing, here are a few of the top educational/STEM toys I have found this year:
Ozobot – This is actually the WCCU Holiday Contest Prize – three lucky winners will each receive one and a $50 VISA gift card. Visit us on Facebook for details. The Ozobot is a small electronic robot that is controlled using codes either on your tablet or by using color-coded markers. It teaches kids the basics of computer programming, creativity and organization. If you want your little bot to do something you have to write code and Ozobot will follow your instruction.
Magnetic building tiles. These tiles come in a ton of different brands, shapes and sizes. Our boys received some last year and they love them. They can build buildings, cars, dinosaurs and much more depending on the set. So, again activity is encouraging creativity by hand eye coordination, putting the tiles together and pulling them apart.
LittleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit This is one of toys that caught my eye (husband being a huge Star Wars fan). An activity he can share with the boys. This toy is geared towards more advanced electronics and coding, so great for older kids. You get to code and design your own droid and program it to do different things.
LEGO – These sets can get expensive, however they are great at encouraging creativity, following directions, building and design skills. My oldest loves LEGOs and will play with them for hours, creating all sorts of things. One of the newer sets, Lego Boost Creative Toolbox Building and Coding Kit; allows you to not only build things, but also code them to do stuff with the app.
Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar This is for preschool age kids. It comes with a motorized head that lights up and makes sound and eight other segments that when put together in certain ways perform a variety of motions. You try to put the caterpillar together to reach an ending point. This is all about trial and error and problem solving.
Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit This is for older kids (8+), but it doesn’t mean a 5 year old can’t play, they just might need some help to get started. This is a game where you build circuits using a single switch to illuminate a light or play a tune. You don’t need an app or computer for it to work.
LeapFrog Pretty much anything from the LeapFrog Company our kids have loved. There is something for every child’s interest. One of our favorites is the LeapReader. This is a pen with different books and as you drag the electronic pen over the words and it reads the book for them. You can buy different books and load them into the pens internal storage. This is great as your child learns to read at their pace, plus it helps with the hand eye coordination. Another one from LeapFrog my boys love is the LeapPad, you can load different learning games them to play.
Puzzles My kids love puzzles and they are great for kids’ minds. It teaches them to look for patterns, shapes and colors and to recognize how pieces fit together. I’ve been very impressed with how quickly kids learn and use advanced strategy to solve puzzles.
There are so many great options out there and I hope my recommendation get you started in finding STEM toys for you loved ones. It is rewarding to find a toy or game that my kids enjoy and helps their brain develop. Have a great holiday season!