It's almost Christmas time! In my opinon, here are the top five educational gifts to get for your kiddos! If you think of others, please comment!
1. Story Cubes : I saw these at a toy store and thought, "Great idea! I'll go home and make my own so I can save $10." Yeah, I never got around to making my own. And they're worth the cost. You can use all the dice to create a long story, take turns rolling and adding onto a story or dividing them equally amongst players and voting on the best story. Really, there's tons of uses for them. Fun and education!
2. Electronics Kit : These range in complexity and cost, but they're simple for kids as young as four years old. Unlike the ones I had when I was a child, they're no wires. The pieces are plastic with metal connections that snap into place. It's legos mixed with physics. You'll need to help your younger kids to build the circuits, but once they get the hang of it they can do play independently. Fun and education!
3. Qwirkle : If you don't want to buy the larger game version, you can buy a travel size and save some money. This game is similar to Sudoko but with shapes and colors. Again, kids as young as five can learn to play and it's fun for the whole family! Also, it was a Mensa Select game. Fun and...you guess it...educational!
4. Melissa and Doug Suspend : It's a bit like Jenga but you're balancing sticks. You want to build the tallest, craziest "tower" without being the one to send it crashing to the ground. Kiddos will have to be calm and steady placing the sticks. There's a regular version with metal sticks and a junior version with plastic ones.
5. Quiddler Junior : This card game helps kids develop their vocab and spelling. You need to be the first player to build words. Each round the number of letters in your word increases. You start with three letter words and end with eight letter words. It's tough, and you'll need to help the little kiddos, but it's a good way to start introducing word families.
HONORABLE MENTION :
Chess and checkers : Classic games. Need I say more?
Ken Jennings Junior Genius Guides : Educational books in a variety of subjects. Fun reads with tons of interesting facts.
Words on the Street : A board game where you are given a topic and must answer based on the letters available on the board. You battle for letters and once a letter is claimed by a team, it's out of play.
Catan : Warning, this game gets competitive. You may want to get the Junior version to avoid family disputes.
Art sets : Stickers, markers, clay and paint are classics to help your child develop their art skills
King of Tokyo : You can watch Will Wheaton play this with his friends. And then you should buy the game.