Creative Toys for Kids that’ll Keep Them Busy and Engaged
It’s becoming more apparent every year that my kids don’t need a large QUANTITY of gifts- they need gifts of good QUALITY.
To me, quality means toys that encourage imagination, engage them and also last longer than a few play times.
Open-ended toys are toys that don’t have a definite ending point. Examples would be doll houses, play food, blocks, play-doh, etc.
Close-ended toys have a clear ending point. This would include toys like shape sorters, a puzzle or a book. They can be played with again once finished but usually the child will move on after completion.
There isn’t necesarrily anything wrong with close-ended toys- they just serve a different purpose. They’re actually really good for teaching children how to hold their attention on a specific task.
- Encourages STEM education
- Have your child learn colors, shapes and how to build from 2D to 3D
- Lasts a life time and ensures connectivity every time with Rare Earth Magnets
- Grows with your child- good for ages 3 and up!
This list is for toys that encourage imagination and creativity:
Building and Blocks
I think it’s safe to say that most kids love to play with blocks and that in itself is why they make a great gift.
But what about the actual skills playing and building blocks?
According to Parenting Science, there are a ton of skills to be learned and benefits to be had when a child plays with blocks:
- motor skills and hand-eye coordination
- spatial reasoning
- cognitive flexibility
- language skills
- a capacity for creative, divergent thinking
- social competence
- engineering skills
- Stimulate your child's creativity with open ended building play while encouraging early math skills
- Educational fun- solid wood but lightweight blocks in different shapes and sizes for building and knocking over
- Learn shapes, colors and physics
More Building and Construction Gift Ideas:
- Melissa and Doug Wooden Blocks
- Grimms Pyramid Blocks
- Brain Blox
- Magnetic Building Blocks
- Lincoln Logs
- Building Bricks
- Lego Set
Exposing children to artistic endeavors might be more important than we realize. This article dives in to what art actually teaches kids and it’s fascinating!
Some of the skills kids learn through art are:
- Problem solving
- Non-verbal communication
- Bulk arts and crafts supplies in a handy storage box
- Encourage creativity and crafting with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, sequins, popsicle sticks, buttons, string and more!
- Perfect for both toddlers and older kids
More Arts and Crafts Gift Ideas:
- Jumbo Arts and Crafts Kit
- Paint and Drawing Kit
- Air Dry Modeling Clay
- Water Paint Set
- Art Paper Wall Dispenser
- Rock Painting Kit
Science and STEM
All kids are naturally curious and like to test things out (consciously or unconsciously), so giving them extra opportunities for doing just that is always a good idea.
Invent.org mentions are few key skills that kids can hone while practicing science and STEM activities:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
- Acceptance of failure
More Science and STEM Gift Ideas:
- Engineering Blocks
- Brain Flakes
- Magnetic Building Sticks
- Kiwico Science Kits and STEM activities subscription box– give a gift that comes every month!
- Connecting Straws Building Kit
Pretend play actually plays a big role in child development. This can be a safe way for kids to explore normally scary topics or situations (like getting a shot or going to the dentist.)
Bright Horizons mentions more than a few things kids will learn when playing pretend:
- How to negotiate
- Consider others’ perspectives
- Transfer knowledge from one situation to another
- Delay gratification
- Balance their own ideas with others
- Develop a plan and act on it
- Explore symbolism
- Express and listen to thoughts and ideas
- Assign tasks and roles
- Have your child pretend to be a chef, mom or dad or a server in a busy cafe
- Removable sink
- Oven knobs click and turn
- Custom artwork
More Pretend Play Gift Ideas:
- Camping Set (with tent, play food, camping gear)
- Wooden Play Kitchen
- Play Food
- Play House
- Superhero Capes
- Cash Register
- Pretend Medical Kit
- Play Silks
According to Kittie Butcher from Michigan State University, “Early childhood educators cannot overstate the importance of sensory play in the educational process. It is the foundation of all the skills children will use in school learning to read, write and solve math and science problems.“
So even though it seems like sensory play is just another trend, it’s really not. Luckily for us gift givers, sensory play gifts are usually a smash hit!
- This sand will never dry out and doesn't stick to hands
- Comes with molds so kids can build sand castles of all sizes
- Non toxic and mess free