By Lani Aquino
When parents and teachers are looking to find toys and games that will interest kids, they often add an educational element to the list of must haves. A lot of manufacturers are adding a marketing element to their products that tout them as educational, STEM related, and even Common Core aligned. Finding that combination of educational, engaging, and even a little trending can place some peace of mind on the expenditure of adding toys and games to a child’s at-home collection and/or a classroom resource collection. These 10 picks are selections that will easily become go-to favorites at home or at school, and they check off that educational element box alongside the high-interest one.
Snap Circuits® Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit- This base model kit is hands-on learning at its best. Students are able to easily design working electrical circuits that simply snap together, no additional tools required. Over 100 models can be constructed, and there are sound and light elements to boot. A perfect starter kit that can be expanded with a variety of accompaniments.
Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor- With escape rooms being all the craze, the ability to bring all those engaging elements of problem-solving and logic home makes Escape the Room games a big hit. This version is suited for players ages 10 and up, and kids could work at solving the mystery with a group of friends, and/or the mystery could be unraveled as a family. While this item doesn’t have the longevity component with replaying ability, it does offer the escape room experience at a fraction of the cost.
Tumble Trax™ Magnetic Marble Run- This award winner lets kids explore logic and STEM skills with the addition of entertainment value. A perfect way to utilize any magnetic board surface in the classroom or at home. The set comes with activity cards for creating 10 runs, and kids could creatively construct innumerable other combinations with the magnetized foam pieces to challenge a diverse number of skill levels.
LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 Building and Coding Kit- Just the mention of LEGO, and many kids are hooked. With LEGO Boost, the creativity and building gets amped up a few extra notches as builders create 5 different robots that can all be controlled via coding blocks on a compatible device. A robot, a cat, a guitar, and two additional options can be created and come to life via the LEGO Boost app. This one comes with a higher price tag, but it’s longevity in usage and adaptable options make it a well worth it.
Mine for Fossils Science Kit Dig Up 10 Prehistoric Fossils!- This is a perfect kit for a budding paleontologist and/or kids that love hands-on activities. Kids get to discover 10 different fossils with the provided excavation tools, and then they identify the discoveries via the included field guide that was written by educators. The brick is large enough for multiple explorers, or fossils could be uncovered by a single user.
Shapemags 124 Piece Set- Coming in at a lesser price than Magna-Tiles, this building set offers hours of construction entertainment as kids build figures alongside their spatial-reasoning, problem-solving, and geometry skills. The magnetic element offers a unique spin on the traditional click and build sets.
//CODE Programming Game Series- Kids can sharpen their coding skills in an unplugged world with the new //CODE series of games available exclusively at Target. The 3 games in the series are a perfect addition to a coding hour at school or at home, and no device is required. Games only require a single player and progressively move through 40 levels of difficulty in coding.
Scientific Explorer Disgusting Science Kit- Take an interest in science to a high-interest level or build an interest in science by adding an ick factor with this experiment and discovery kit. Kids learn about the body and its byproducts with the 6 activities included. Petri dishes, a magnifier, cotton swabs, and more become the tools of the budding scientist. Results and findings may be best discussed after dinner…
ThinkFun Robot Turtles Board Game- Coding isn’t just for older kids or meant to be an individual activity. Robot Turtles allows young learners to acquire some programming fundamentals amidst engaging game play. With levels ranging from beginner to advanced, this game can be continually used as young programmers build their skill and understanding of coding.
ROCK ON! Geology Game with Rock & Mineral Collection- This STEM-based kit in its durable carrying case is a great addition to a geology unit or for a budding geologist. Kids from pre-reading levels and beyond are able to explore this rock and mineral collection within its 5 levels of play. For those kids that love to collect anything and everything, this game offers an educational twist with some geological treasures.
Nothing can be more frustrating than making a toy or game investment and not seeing a return on it in the form of kids continually engaging in its usage. These 10 educational picks make perfect gifts for kids and/ or perfect gift options for a teacher’s educational resource collection. Sound purchasing choices with the selection of toys and games that are both engaging and educational takes child’s play to new levels.
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