Play is an important part of growing up, and great toys can ignite children’s imaginations and help them explore the world around them. While play for the sake of play should never be diminished, educational toymakers have created some amazing new toys that could help kids learn more about science, coding, engineering, arts and more. In fact, many of today’s hottest toys allow kids to learn about science and engineering while also encouraging them to be as creative as possible, as they develop cognitive, motor and social skills. The toys children will end up cherishing as they grow up will be as personal as they are, and their favourite toys may well be that special one that helps them discover their passion. Here’s a small selection of the season’s coolest toys geared toward many age ranges. Basic versions of most of the kits mentioned can be purchased for under C$30.
Toys for kids to grow with
Kids love to build stuff and some of the hottest new toys have been developed to encourage that creativity. Magnatiles, for instance, come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and feature magnetized edges that click together to offer endless possibilities for kids to explore shapes and build their own structures. Basic sets start at just under $30 so they can be added to with other sets over time if children love playing with them. They’re fun and colourful and the sky’s the limit for kids to design and build whatever their imaginations can come up with. These toys are great for children 3+.
Another cool toy that was identified this year by Business Insider as a top educational toy, is Elenco’s Snap Circuits that gives kids hands-on experience on how electric circuits work. The company started as an education program for television technicians, so their product is created to share their passion for electronic engineering. All of the elements snap together without the need for tools or specialist knowledge and can help kids learn how electric circuitry works and allows them to create circuit boards or explore how systems work. The starter kit can be added onto as children grow if they continue to be fascinated by the technology. For kids 7+.
Making a little chemistry
The Mind Blowing Science Kit won’t blow up your kitchen but does provide kids with an opportunity to explore how chemicals work. All of the ingredients in the kits are kid-friendly and allow kids to explore simple chemical reactions. This kit can also be upgraded for more science-learning fun. For kids 3+ with parent supervision.
Parents might love the Crystal Growing Experimental Kit as much as their kids do. You can make crystals grow before your eyes and budding geologists may discover an interest in the natural world. The kits are meant for children 10+, but kids as young as 18 months could love watching the crystals grow with their parents’ supervision.
Robots and coding
Robots are no longer a figment of our imaginations. Today’s generation of kids will grow up assuming robots are a part of everyday life. Regardless of what kids choose to do when they grow up, they will need to know how to do some coding and manage machines in the same way they will need to know how to read and write. There’s a multitude of fun toys that can teach kids how to use robots and coding to solve problems and to engage with algorithm design like the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox. Wonder Workshop’s Dash Robot is brought to life with free Android and iOS apps that allow kids to program the robot to dance, light up, make sounds and respond to their voice, and can help kids learn how to problem solve and introduces them to basic programming. Dash is for children ages 6+ and both products are valued at around $200.
Books are always cool
Robots and chemical reactions will likely never stop fascinating us, but books offer us something unique in a face-paced world. Whether we read aloud or to ourselves, books allow us to develop our inner worlds and expand our imaginations. Scholastic books are featuring 30 books for this year’s holiday season. The books featured are mostly for Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa celebrations, but their larger catalogue offers stories for all interests and ages.