With Christmas just days away, if you’re not done shopping, it’s time to get busy! I have a few friends who shop throughout the year, deciding on Christmas presents for others, in August. Wow! If you’ve already made your list and checked it twice and now find yourself kicking back while the rest of us scramble, then bravo to you!
There’s something in me, though, that likes to wait and shop with Christmas music playing and all the hustle and bustle ensuing. It’s the one time of the year that I don’t mind the traffic and longer lines. That being said, online shopping never fails to help my sanity! But, no matter how you check off your lists, you still need to make some!
You’ve probably had the experience of watching a child open a present only to find the wrapping paper or box be more exciting than the actual present inside. It’s cute and endearing to watch, especially when the child is little. And, as adults, we all tend to laugh about how we didn’t need to spend any money on a gift, when the child is more mesmerized by the box than the present they received. However, I’d venture to guess that most of us really enjoy gift-giving and truly hope that the present we are giving is appreciated, enjoyed and used!
If you are shopping for children this season as a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, family friend, etc., then take a look at the ideas below to score some of the best interactive learning toys for kids! This is not an extensive list, but one that highlights some of our tried, true and favorite toys!
Holiday Toy Must-Haves
- Magna Tiles—If you are looking for a toy that entertains your children of all ages, while teaching them, you cannot go wrong with Magna Tiles. Children are drawn to the open-ended, imaginative play that Magna Tiles provide. Magna Tiles are ideal for getting creative juices flowing in children of all ages. As children play with Magna Tiles, they learn to problem solve, construct, develop fine-motor skills and so much more without even realizing they are learning! Each tile has a magnetic edge, allowing children to construct designs that maintain their shape. The tiles are brightly colored and can also be used for sorting colors and shapes. Highly durable, this toy is the one my children return to over and over again and entertains them for hours! Our house votes Magna Tiles as one of the best toys on the market. This product recommends use for ages 3 and up.
- VTech Rhyme and Discover Book—There is so much to love about this book! The VTech Rhyme and Discover Book is ideal for baby’s development. The bright colors and light up buttons initially grab your child’s attention. Sing-along songs and nursery rhymes encourage interaction between you and your child as well as encouraging verbal skills in your growing baby. Moving parts promote fine-motor skills, and gross-motor skills are developed as your child turns the pages of the book. A couple of points to note. . .there is an automatic switch-off to save the battery life and the book is durable for those times your little one throws the book across the room! We think the VTech Rhyme and Discover Book is on the of the best interactive learning toys for kids! Recommended use for ages 6 months – 3 years.
- Osmo Genius Kit—This toy (game system) has won many awards, including Innovative Toy of the Year! Designed to develop creative minds, the Osmo system uses technology to encourage hands on learning. An educational game that involves interactive learning, the Genius kit comes with 5 games (Masterpiece, Numbers, Words, Tangram and Newton) that incorporate fun into math, spelling, drawing skills, visual/spatial thinking and problem solving. Osmo requires an iPad to use, but is compatible with all versions iPad 2 and up. Recommended use for ages 5 – 12.
- Micro Kickboard—Finally, an outdoor toy! This scooter is the best-rated scooter around. Designed with 2 front wheels for premium balance and an adjustable handle-bar, the Micro Kickboard is built for long-lasting fun! The scooter has a unique lean-to-steer function making learning to ride easy, as well as confidence boosting. Knowing the Micro Kickboard is designed with safety in mind and is award winning, makes this toy ideal, but seeing the fun and exercise it gives your children makes this toy a must get! The Micro Kickboard comes in a variety of colors, certain to please! My children have loved their scooters! The Mini Deluxe is recommended for ages 2-5 (75lbs and under), while The Deluxe Maxi is recommended for ages 5 – 12 and up to 150 lbs.
- Hatchimals—This toy was all the rage last year and is back this year hotter than ever! With several different varieties of Hatchimals, such as Hatchimals Glittering Garden or Hatchimals Colleggtibles, you have many from which to choose. If you are unfamiliar with Hatchimals, they are interactive toy animals inside an egg. With the love and nurture of your child, they hatch from the egg, ready to interact! Your child raises the Hatchimal as it grows through 3 stages (baby, toddler, kid). With light up eyes and cute sounds, the Hatchimal sings, dances, walks and plays games with its’ owner. Quite the entertaining and interactive toy, it’s bringing smiles to children world-wide! Recommended use for ages 5 and up.
- Lucy Hammett’s WildLife Bingo—A twist on the beloved, classic Bingo game, this game comes with 6 picture boards, each featuring beautiful color photos of wildlife along with calling cards chock full of informative facts of the wildlife featured on the boards. We’ve had a blast playing this game with our children, both younger and older. WildLife Bingo is educational, teaching its’ players about a variety of wildlife, while providing fun for the whole family. Also to be noted, Lucy Hammett Bingo games come in many genres, Ocean Bingo, Dog Bingo, Farm Bingo, Dinosaur Bingo etc. Recommended use for ages 3 and up.
- Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It game—This game has it all! One of our favorite to play as a family, we love this game for the teamwork it builds alone. But there’s so much more to enjoy! As a team, you race together to prevent the Pigs from eating all of the food on Picnic Island. But along the way, you stop to discover areas of bustling Busytown and help solve Goldbug mysteries! This was the first board game that introduced us to a collaborative game, building teamwork with encouragement and healthy competition. This is a wonderful game that promotes both social-emotional learning and lots of fun! Recommended use for ages 3 and up.
- Bounce-Off—For families who love board games, this is a fun game to add to your collection! It’s a game of competition, with a side of strategy and perhaps skill, though luck and some interactive learning via some friendly trash-talk is included! Perfect for teams and individuals and one that can be played over and over again. One of my favorite things about this game is its’ humble roots. The packaging of the game comes with a label that states, “Winner of Absolutely No Awards. But Who Cares?” The game is not trying to be anything but what it is…fun, competitive, yet friendly and addictive! Recommended by the manufacturer, Mattel, for ages 6 and up, though any child capable of bouncing a ball onto a board can join in the fun.
Other games we think everyone should have include, Spot It, Blink, Tenzi, Sequence, Zingo and so many others!
Hopefully, you were able to find a few items for the younger crowd on your Christmas list! Remember to look for a variety of toys…ones for indoor/outdoor, some that are educational + interactive and others that are just plain fun and you can’t go wrong this holiday season!