Our mailbox has been bursting at the seams with toy catalogs from every corner of the country, and I am sure your’s has too. It gets harder and harder every year to discern which toys are HOT because they are awesome, and which ones haven’t earned their spot on the HOT TOY LIST – but somehow have become the MUST HAVE toy among kids.
I must admit, our kids don’t “need” another toy, they really do not… but, I still like to buy them something fun and educational for Christmas, birthday, Easter – whatever the occasion. Therefore, I spent a good amount of time this past year testing and reviewing STEM toys – because maybe, just maybe you are in the same situation. Let’s face it – without a recommendation from someone “real”, it is hard to know exactly what you are buying.
So here’s my year-round list of toys for kids who don’t “need” more toys. These carefully selected STEM toys don’t go out of style, they are not the latest fads, they are simply good quality open-ended toys. Most even teach your kids a thing or two WHILE they are playing, just don’t tell your kids! Shhhhhh, it is our secret!
(We were sent a number of these products to test and review, in return for our honest opinion. Every opinion stated here is 100% mine – or my kids’!)
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We were sent a box of Paper Trax race tracks… and I don’t think these pictures do them justice! These cardboard tracks are installed in a matter of seconds, and thank goodness for that – because the kids were too excited to contain themselves.
You have to fold/ unfold the tracks, stick them on the wall with the adhesive tape included in the box. Angle them, stagger them, layer them – place them all over your child’s wall and let them go to town with a few matchbox-sized cars. The adhesive doesn’t damage the walls (but be sure to check first) and they are easily removed, if necessary.
These tracks are perfect for STEM lessons for kids of all ages. Our kids LOVED staggering the tracks and sending their cars flying throughout the room. I recommend Paper Trax as a go-to gift idea for all the birthday parties you get invited to throughout the year! Buy a couple of sets and just keep them on hand, they will be loved by any child who loves to play with things that move – fast!
These balls from Tucker Toys were a LIFE SAVER this past soccer season. The company sent us several of the EZ Grip Balls to try and they were a huge success. I brought all of them with us to the soccer field when one of the older kids had soccer practice… and our younger kids made instant friends on the side lines.
The EZ Grip Balls are perfect for the little ones learning to throw and catch balls. They certainly help keeping a good game of “catch” going for quite a while.
This innovative board from Tucker Toys is great for your tween/ teen who is learning/ has learned a few tricks on the skateboard. We watched a few YouTube videos with tutorials of how to do tricks on the ZB Free Style Board and shortly thereafter, our two oldest were off to the races. They had such a blast – even learning how to balance and jump up and down on this board is a challenge.
The best part – the kids get exercise and work their gross motor skills – all without realizing it!
We have received Brick Swag boxes every month for over a year now, and it is hands-down the coolest subscription box for LEGO-loving kids. Jacob and Jordan are hooked on reviewing these on their YouTube channel. Check out one (or two) of their unboxing videos to see for yourself.
Every month the child receives a t-shirt (you can change the size of the shirt very easily through their website), a small bag of random LEGO bricks, challenging you to a monthly build, collectors cards, a collectors brick, a booklet with instructions and other LEGO-fun. Most months there is some other goodie in the box, one that goes along with that month’s theme.
I highly recommend giving your little LEGO-fan a subscription to these boxes. The building challenge alone is a great opportunity for them to broaden their imagination and LEGO MasterBuilder skills.
We were sent this set by LEGO, in exchange for our review and opinion of the set. Our kids were SO excited when this set arrived. Yes… you may already have “too many” LEGO in the house, by your standards, but I promise you… your kids don’t see it the same way. There simply isn’t a thing as “too much LEGO”…
This set is a perfect gift-giving size. The Volcano Exploration Truck will challenge young master builders. With two mini-figures, there is enough fun for hours of imaginative play.
We are a LEGO family through and through, and therefore it becomes our go-to-present for birthday parties. I have yet to meet a child who didn’t love to receive a new LEGO set.
These electronic building blocks give kids a hand-on learning approach to coding. Computer science is the future and kids want to learn as much as they can. These color-coded, magnetic and reusable bricks help growing inquiring minds grasp an otherwise abstract concept.
Both of our kids have played with these blocks at their local LEGO camps with Bricks 4 Kidz. LittleBits have gift sets in all sizes and price ranges. Rest assured that this gift will be appreciated by the parents and loved by the recipient.
Give an educational toy that no child will ever complain about. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is a costumizable robot that comes with a powerful processor, interactive motors and an interactive infrared sensor. The child quickly learns how to program the robot from a desktop computer, so much fun – and so much to learn about coding. You get instant gratification when the coding works as planned and the robot moves!
If your gift recipient is a hands-on-learner, someone who loves to tinker, explore and learn-while-doing – then this is the perfect gift. You can sign up for one box or gift a subscription for several months. These projects are geared towards 9-16 year old STEM-loving kids (and kids at heart).
In each box there is an innovative project, blue print with step-by-step instructions and a booklet with additional experiements and activities. This gift will never go untouched, be regifted or simply collect dust. The kids will tear into it, learn, have fun and will remember your thoughtfulness.
Our 8-year old got this game for his birthday. He loves Pokemon and is always begging for us to have a board-game night.
This gift was his favorite out of several really nice LEGO sets and video games that he had also wanted. I wasn’t quite expecting the rave reviews from all of our kids. We played 5 rounds within two short days – and they still begged for more.
It’s a great way for Pokemon-loving kids to play the wonderful game Monopoly. They learn strategy, money management and strengthen their math skills – what’s there not to love?!
This is the coolest gift for families tired of stepping on stray LEGO. Give the gift of a LEGO-wall and you will instantly be a big hit with the children and especially the parents.
This adhesive LEGO wall is a great way for LEGO-loving kids to add a new dimension to their creativity. Our kids LOVE pixel art and have created a number of awesome pictures, I wish they had these Brik Tile Wall Tiles when we did these projects!
There you have it! Giving gifts doesn’t have to add to the dust-collecting toy pile. There are so many awesome toy-options out there for kids who already have “enough” toys. Remember: playtime isn’t a way for kids to waste time. It is the way they learn!