Now that the kiddos have gotten their tech gadgets for Christmas, it is hard to entice them off of them with the just the run-of-the-mill coloring books and crayons. Since I do limit tech time (though it can be educational!) I figured I better have some other options for the little ones to combat boredom. The fact is that we do live in a world where our children are accustomed to being interactive with and entertained by technology, but we can foster more creativity and motor skills by exposing our children to a variety of activities.
The following products are researched by me and tested by my own children, so I am personally recommending them:
1. Melissa and Doug’s Suspend game (4.5 stars on Amazon)
This game has kept my six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter busy for quite a long time! I know the recommended age is for ages 8 and up, but, with some supervision, this game can definitely be played by younger kids. My son loves trying to pile the pieces onto the suspend bar to see how far he can get without it falling. My daughter got the hang of it fairly quickly after watching her big brother, but she just needs reminders every now and then to be careful when placing the pieces on the game. This game teaches precision, patience, and engineering! It receives 4.5 stars on the Amazon website, and that is what I would give it myself!
2. Perplexus Twist (4.5 stars on Amazon)
This game was given to my son as a gift for Christmas after seeing how much he liked it when we were at a Barnes and Noble store this summer. The object of the game is to get the little metal ball into the point zones inside of the maze in the ball. Though not a novel idea, the way this game is set up presents unexpected twists and turns so that one really has to think about how the ball will fall. Also, the ability to actually twist the bottom half (or upper half, depending upon which way you look at it) makes for a fun brain-teaser which stimulates abstract thinking and planning in your little one. My son literally chose to play with this game over the iPad, so I would say it does it’s job at keeping little ones engaged!
3. K’NEX 521 Piece Building Set
(4-4.5 stars on Amazon)
I have actually enjoyed the creativity that this little tub of wonders has inspired in both my children and myself! Currently, this is on sale for $19.50 on Amazon, which is a lower price than the 375-piece set, so I would say this is a bargain! My son has been a Lego addict lately, so I decided to spice things up a bit and give him this block set for Christmas. Though the pieces are small (which is the one drawback to this toy), my son has been able to construct some very creative inventions with the variety of pieces included. My daughter does not play with this as much, but she enjoys watching her big brother make the creations she demands, such as flowers and butterflies, with his new blocks! The variety of shapes and colors of pieces helps keep interest and new ideas sparking time after time of playing with the set.
There are a lot of other educational toys out there that deserve the same attention the above ones have gotten, but the few that I chose to review and recommend here in this post are ones that we have recently experienced. Be on the lookout for more personal recommendations soon!
*In the spirit of full disclosure, these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself!”