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Best Developmental Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Best Developmental Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Stimulating your child’s mind early is important. Toys are a safe way for babies and toddlers to explore their world. Learn about the best developmental toys for babies and toddlers.

As parents, it’s difficult raising children with the internet. Age-appropriate development toys are more important than ever before. They will help make connections as well as foster curiosity, imagination, and more.

Through play, young children learn how to think critically and use reason to solve problems from an early age. Encouraging your child to play with age-appropriate developmental toys has lots of benefits. No matter when you start, there are toys and manipulatives to engage your child.

Developmental toys for babies and toddlers

One of the most important things for a child to develop at an early age is the imagination. Toys that are open-ended — not just one way to use them and learn from them — are one the best. Choose from among these developmental toys to help babies and toddlers learn essential skills.

Best Developmental Toys

Best developmental toys

Shape Sorter

This is a terrific toy for many reasons. If you are buying just one toy, buy a Shape Sorter or a Shape Sorting Cube. This dimensional toy is also a classic and is the epitome of the best development toy. Children from 6 months – 3+ years will enjoy this toy.

Children match the shapes to the shape cut out. The pieces fall into the cube. These are colorful and help build analytical skills. They also help children develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Shape Sorter

Shape Sorter

Toddlers will also enjoy opening and closing the sorter. It’s one of the best developmental toys as it encourages critical thinking and problem solving. As the child gets older, you can help them learn colors and shapes. Kids can sort by shape or color. In addition, they can use the pieces to practice counting.

What’s also nice is it stacks well and all the pieces fit neatly inside. This is an excellent teaching toy. Some of them are wood or wood-like material. Others are plastic.

You may also find a set that includes a key that the child needs to insert and turn in order to open the box. This adds additional learning opportunities.

Stacking Cups

Stacking Cups

Stacking Cups

You will be amazed at how much your little one will enjoy using stacking cups. You may also find them as nesting cups. Some have an edge to them (overhanging plastic edge) which will help kids hold them better.

These are colorful plastic cups in different sizes. They will have fun figuring out how to nest them together. They will improve hand eye coordination as they learn to build them in a tower. Indirectly, they will learn physics and cause and effect as they build.

Kids can use this development toy to help with motor skills. They can also learn to order from smallest to biggest. You can use them to teach colors.

There are differences between stacking cups. The best ones we’ve used are more than just the colorful cups. You will get more learning opportunities out of the cups if they have additional features. Some look like animals from the top. Some of them, on the bottom of each stacking cup, is a shape. You can help your child recognize different shapes such as a triangle, circle, square, etc.

Toddlers will make their own fun with the cups as well. This is an open-ended toy they can use in many ways.

You can supervise them playing with stacking cups in the bath. As they get older, these are fun to use to make “special potions” and mixtures or use at the beach or in a sandbox. These are easy to wash because the cups are plastic.

Blocks and Cubes

Blocks and Cubes

Blocks and Cubes

Not only will your child have tons of fun with blocks, they serve multiple purposes. Blocks help children understand counting, shapes, ABCs, spelling, and colors. There are soft stacking blocks, plastic blocks, and wood blocks.

Children can stack, make patterns, and sort.

They are also some of the most classic development toys around… a back-to-the basics type of wholesome toy. There are blocks strictly for building, arranging on the floor, stacking, and categorizing by shape or color.

There are also letter blocks. As your child ages, they can learn to recognize letters, letter sounds, learn to put them in ABC order, and eventually to build words. They can build word towers out of the blocks as well.

Stacking Rings

Stacking Rings

Stacking Rings

Choosing a stacking ring is another excellent developmental toy for babies and toddlers. These are for children ages 6 months to 24 months.

Babies will be able to explore the different rings, colors and textures. They are large enough for babies to grasp. Some come with balls that move inside the ring, like a rattle. Babies can shake it to make noise. This helps teach cause and effect. Picking up, grasping and later holding the rings  enables them to work on fine motor skills.

Note, there are different types of stacking ring sets. There are some where all the rings are the same size in the center so they all can fit without being in a certain order. This is ideal for babies and younger children.

As they age out of this toy, there is another type of stacking ring. This is one in which the child learns to figure out how to stack from largest to smallest for all of the rings to fit. As babies grow older, they can use the stacking ring to figure out how to stack. They will learn about how the larger rings have to go on the bottom for them all to fit.

Stacking rings make for excellent development toys. Babies, one year olds and toddlers will learn about sizes, including concepts such as sequencing as they learn to order the rings largest to smallest. They will learn about same and different. In addition, they will learn about colors.

You can wash these easily as they are plastic; however, they also make fabric stacking rings. The best stacking ring for babies is one that has different textures to the ring as well.

Musical Learning Table

Musical Learning Table

Musical Learning Table

While children today will have more than their fair share of light up, electronic devices, a musical learning table is an enriching developmental toy.

Parents can hold babies as young as 6 months while they explore a learning table. These are sensory wonderlands with levers, switches, gears, flaps, buttons, and dials. Tables can have 15 functions or more.

Many learning tables have removable legs so it can rest flat on the floor. As the child learns to stand and walk, he or she can stand by the table and play. These tables provide a lot of interaction with sounds, lights, and music.

Children will begin to make connections — if I press this, it lights up — which helps teach cause and effect. They learn they can impact their surroundings. The various activities also help youngsters to develop fine motor skills. While they figure out what to do with each piece, they build upon their critical thinking skills.

There are many types available. Some have four sides and some are more in a circular shape.

Note, there are some tables where all the activities face forward, meaning, a child is “supposed” to play from one end. We highly recommend the four-sided tables or circle tables where kids can approach it from any direction, looking at it from a different perspective.

Some brands to consider are Vtech and LeapFrog. These can be called activity table, learning table, learning center, etc.

Toddler Musical Instruments

Find a set of toddler musical instrument. Typically, these come with a set of at least six instruments. They usually include some wooden, plastic, and metal pieces. It’s best for ages 3 and up.

Many sets contain small bells, strings, and other pieces that can become loose. If you find any of the instruments questionable, you can put them away until the child is older.

What’s great about a toy musical instrument set is that children up until 11 years old will likely find these fun. Older children may have fun playing in the band and having performances for the family.

Most sets will include a drum, xylophone, triangle, maracas, shakers, cymbals, and a tambourine. Larger sets will include castanets, bell stick. Typically, the only “mouth” instruments are a whistle. Some sets come with a recorder, trumpet, flute, and a harmonica. You may want to consider these sets for when they are younger.

Kids will enjoy using these musical developmental toys… parents? Maybe not as much! Sometimes they can be loud. However, giving kids time to play with these toys will enrich them in many ways.

Each instrument will make a different sound. These sounds will also vary depending on how the child manipulates it.

They will work on eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, rhythm, imagination and creativity. In addition, they will learn cause and effect.

Musical instrument toys have the benefit of being interactive with sounds and noise without them being an electronic. Many include a carry bag, making cleanup easy.

Pound a Ball

Pound a Ball

Pound a Ball

A good developmental toy for one year olds is a pound a ball. You will need to supervise small children as the balls can be a choking hazard.

This is a toy in which children use a mallet to pound the balls into the holes. The balls fall down through the levels and out the bottom.

This is a STEM toy that will help kids build problem solving skills. It teaches cause and effect as well as critical thinking skills.

Kids learn to match the color ball to the same color hole.

This is a toy that helps develop fine motor skills and strengthen hand eye coordination. It’s a fun set. The only downside to it as there isn’t as much more to do. While kids will have fun sitting down to play, there isn’t much more to it. This wouldn’t be the only toy we would recommend if you were just buying one toy. However, kids will really enjoy playing it.

Children will have fun playing on the floor with this toy. A hard surface will make it more durable.

Puzzles

As children continue to grow, incorporate other toys into the mix. They may enjoy puzzles. Kids learn concentration, focus, and problem solving skills.

Puzzles are excellent developmental toys. Kids learn concentration, focus, and problem solving skills. They also feel pride and a sense of accomplishment when they complete the puzzle.

There are many puzzles which have just a few pieces. You can find toddler puzzles on wooden boards. Each piece has a peg holder for the child to place in the correct spot. You can find them with animals and sets with more pieces that include numbers or the alphabet.

There are many types of puzzles and matching sets your child will benefit from. The advantages to these types of activities is they are educational and fun. Kids will enjoy the hands-on opportunity to learn.

The Learning Journey Match It

There are many two and three piece puzzle sets. The Learning Journey has a series called Match It.

Kids can start with the animal sets that challenge them to match the head with the correct body and tail for animals. There are sets that match objects with words. As an example, the puzzle will be a dog and part of it includes the letters to spell dog.

GYBBER&MUMU Wooden Preschool Shape Puzzle

This toy is deceptive in its simplicity. This is a wooden board with shape cutouts. It’s a powerful learning tool.

Children can learn shapes and colors. They will also get a head start on problem-solving while figuring out which shape goes where.

These types of toys help cognitive development in children. Any toys in which children find and match shapes is an age-appropriate development toy.

Alphabet Set

Having kids use manipulatives helps to enforce skills and helps them learn in new ways. One of the best ways to judge a child’s development is the alphabet.

There are foam letter sets, plastic letters, and magnetic sets. Be aware of your child’s age and abilities to be sure you get them large enough so they aren’t a choking hazard.

Language is not only an important way to communicate but opens up doors to creative expression, independent thought, and reading.

Your child can feel proud mastering smaller words — mom, dad, dog, cat, book, toy — as well as sorting them by color. In time, you can teach your child about vowels.

Having tangible letters that kids can manipulate fosters and speeds up learning.

If you choose magnetic letters, children can leave messages on the refrigerator for their parents, learning new words along the way.

The magnetic toys also allow for interaction between the parent and child, giving you the opportunity to take part in the teaching process.

This is a simple developmental toy the entire family can enjoy. If your refrigerator isn’t magnetic, you can use these ABC magnets on a cookie sheet or a dry erase board.

As children get older, this is a tangible way for them to practice their spelling words for school.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

This musical rhymes book helps teach children how to read, associating words with sounds and images.

This sound and word association will increase literacy in all age groups. The interactive book also comes with play pieces to help develop motor skills.

The book also has bright pages and a flashing star that lights up with the sounds and music, giving your child positive reinforcement for learning and playing.

Developmental toys prepare children

Learning cognitive skills early in development helps children in school and social situations.

Playing with the appropriate toys and proper parental engagement can give your child a head start to success.

Investing in educational toys can make a big difference. These are the key years for your child’s learning and development.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

Stimulate your child’s curiosity and imagination and improve their fine motor skills.

Promoting a growth mindset in children is more important than ever. Make it easy for your kids to be engaged with play with these challenging and fun developmental toys. They will have plenty of time for the iPad when they’re tweens!

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More
Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

Magnetic toys are educational and fun for kids. While playing with magnets, they learn science, math, physics and more. When it comes to magnets, there are many types. It’s important to choose the right one for your child.

There are magnetic building toys such blocks, sticks, balls, and tiles. In addition, there are letter magnets kids can play. This will help them learn letters and to form words.

All of these magnetic toys are good STEM building toys. Kids will play with them in different ways for years to come. Magnets teach kids about math and science and let the kids explore cause and effect in tangible ways. 

Your budding engineer can use magnetic manipulatives to boost spatial reasoning, creativity and critical thinking skills. It’s even more fun when they can combine different sets, such as a set of magnetic balls with a set of magnetic blocks.

It’s important to know magnetic toys can be choking hazards. Children should use with supervision.

Best Developmental Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Magnetic building toys

Magnetic toys 

Here’s what to know about these magnetic toys as well as other things kids can do with them. It’s important to learn about magnetic building toys before buying a set.

We explain the differences between magnetic blocks, magnetic balls, tiles, sticks and magnetic toys so you can make the best choice for your child.

Magnetic blocks

When you think of magnetic blocks, you may be thinking of magnetic cubes — much like wooden blocks. However, most magnetic blocks today are more like tiles.

They usually come in a set with bright colors that you can see through. The shapes are made with durable plastic. Each piece is magnetic. These tiles will have strong magnets so builds hold together. Kids will learn shapes and colors playing with these tiles. 

Magnetic blocks

Magnetic blocks

Magnetic tiles and blocks sets include triangles, squares, and rectangles because they have a straight edge. Meaning, you likely won’t find magnetic tiles in circles. The idea is for kids to match sides together so they stick and hold together. 

Includes different shapes

The sets will include different sizes of each shape, meaning, two or three different sized triangles, rectangles, and squares. Some larger sets include hexagons. Some sets include wheels for kids to build vehicles and machines. This helps keep it interesting and so kids can create and build different things. It will also help kids learn shapes as well as sorting.

Children can build cubes or pyramids by color if they choose. They can build kingdoms and towers upright or build lower and horizontally. There are endless possibilities for play.

Like with most magnetic toys, the more they have, the more they can build. Magna-Tile was one of the first (maybe the first!) to come out with these sets. Since then, there have been many others on the market. Some brands are MagBlocks, Picasso Tiles, etc.

Magnetic block tiles are fun

In addition to being excellent educational toys for STEM learning, they don’t take up a lot of room and fit nicely inside a plastic box. This makes magnetic block tiles portable for kids to play. 

It’s important to buy enough tiles. Many sets only come with 30 – 150 magnetic tiles. While it will be fun in the beginning, it likely won’t hold kids’ interest for the long term.

Think of it like other construction toys, like LEGO bricks. The more they have, the more they can create with. Find a set you like. After your child shows interest, and you know it’s a quality product, buy more tiles if you can.

Most magnetic block sets will include directions for ideas. However, kids will enjoy building their own creations. Like all magnetic toys, these sets will foster creativity and imagination. They are educational and will help kids fine tune their motor skills and hand eye coordination.

This is one of the best magnetic toys because it likely poses less of a choking hazard than others with smaller pieces. Magnetic tiles are larger and good for younger kids. It’s a great way to introduce STEM learning to younger kids for this reason.

Older kids, including tweens, will enjoy them as well. Like most magnetic toys, teens and adults will enjoying playing too.

Magnetic building sticks set

There is another type of magnetic building toy. You may see them called magnetic building block sets and magnetic building stick sets. They are small, colorful magnetic sticks kids build with.

These are educational and fun. However, it’s important to note these are small magnetic sticks that can be a choking hazard. Many sets come with magnetic balls as well.

Magnetic Building Sticks

Magnetic building sticks

Kids use their imaginations to create structures. There is a wide age range — younger kids up to tweens will have fun building. Even teens playing with their younger siblings as well as adults will become imaginative building with these magnetic building toys.

These sticks contain strong magnets so creations hold together well. This means it won’t be frustrating for children.

Most magnetic building sticks sets are more than one color. This makes it fun for kids to learn colors as well as sort by color as they wish. 

Like all magnetic toys, kids will build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Playing with these will encourage spatial thinking. 

Other great things about these types of magnetic blocks and sticks is they are small. They don’t take up a lot of room. Kids can fit thousands of pieces in a small box. It’s also a portable toy kids can play on the road. 

It’s important to look for sets with a minimum of 300 pieces. You may have to buy more than one set. Like with many building toys, the more pieces kids have to create the better. They will be able to build more intricate pieces when they have more sticks.

Magnetic balls

The first thing to consider before buying magnetic balls is they are very small. These pose a choking hazard to small children.

There are two types of magnetic balls. Both are easy to store and don’t take up a lot of space. Magnetic balls help foster spatial thinking as well as imagination and creativity. Kids will fine tune their motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Magnetic balls

Magnetic balls

Depending on the magnetic set you buy, your child will have fun sorting, building, creating, and using her imagination. 

Even better, when kids outgrow the magnets — which won’t be for years, as even older kids love them — you and your kids can use them in engaging projects.

5 mm magnetic balls

Some sets come in a set with 5 mm balls. These usually come in sets of 222 – 1,000 pieces. Some magnetic balls come in a set with all one color; some have six or more colors.

The balls stick together. Many parents use this set as a fidget toy. Children can use them as a  sensory tool to improve concentration, active listening, and attention.

In addition, kids will enjoy creating patterns, flat shapes, 3D shapes such as cubes and spheres, and towers with magnetic balls. 

2.5 mm balls

At half the size, 2.5 mm magnetic balls will take up half the space. These are small magnetic manipulatives that will boost fine motor skills.

These usually come in sets of 500+ balls that together can be an inch in diameter. These are fun for kids and also often geared as a stress relief toy for adults. Oftentimes, companies advertise them as a magnetic sculpture toy to keep on a desk to reduce stress.

Kids can build and create with these magnetic balls; however, these are very small and more difficult to build towers and structures.

If you choose to buy magnetic balls, note the size and how many come with the set. It’s also important to consider the reason you want them. If you are looking for a magnetic toy for a smaller child, you wouldn’t want to choose magnetic balls. 

Magnetic marble run

Learning Resources makes a marble run for the refrigerator. It’s a wonderful STEM magnet marble set for kids to learn cause and effect. They will be learn to be quick to adjust their creation to ensure the marble drops into the holding container.

If you can buy more than one set, that will be ideal. As with many magnetic building toys, the more pieces they have, the more educational it is because they can create more. 

Some magnet marble runs include spinning wheels and other features. You may also find a magnetic wall coaster which is the same idea. 

Kids will enjoy creating different runs, using their science, engineering and design skills all of which build critical thinking and problem solving skills. You may also want to find magnetic gear sets which are an excellent learning toy as well. 

Older kids may enjoy putting together Spacerail marble runs.

Magnetic set

You can also get a magnetic toy set that includes different magnet manipulatives. With this type of open-ended set, kids aren’t building but exploring concepts.

Learning Resources has a set called STEM Explorers Magnet Movers that incorporates different magnets.

Most all open-ended magnet sets make for excellent engineering toy. Children will get inventive as they use the magnets with items around their home. This will help them figure out how things work in a hands-on way.

Magnetic letters

There are many magnetic letter sets available. Kids don’t need a refrigerator for them to stick to in order to use them. Kids can play with magnetic letters on a table or on the floor. Many dry erase boards are magnetic which can enhance play. Some magnetic sets include a small magnetic board.

magnetic letters

magnetic letters

Kids will learn letters and then words with these sets. Consider your child’s age before buying magnetic letters. There are many sets available. Some are larger than others. Consider what will be easy for your child to hold and use. Also, consider how some can be choking hazards.

Magnetic letter sets typically include more than one of each letter, especially the vowels. They often come with their own plastic case with spots for each letter. Many also include numbers.

Important tip for choosing letter magnets

Most letter sets come in different colors. This can be confusing for children who are struggling to learn letters.

If you have a beginning learner, you may want to buy a magnetic set that has the vowels in a different color than consonants. As an example, the vowels are red and the consonants are blue.  It can be easier for children to focus on the letter and phonics when it comes in two colors instead of many colors.

With these magnetic toys, children will learn letters, sounds, and to make words. They will build on upon their fine motor skills.

The brand LeapFrog makes a magnetic letters set. When the child puts the magnetic letter and pushes down, it makes the sound. It’s a great way to learn phonics and letters.

Playing with magnetic toys

Magnets are an educational STEM toy that kids will enjoy. In addition to playing with the toys as they are, there are amazing things you can do with magnetic toys for family fun. You can also get creative and make magnetic toys. 

Investigate the magnetic content of food

Kids will have fun learning about the iron content in breakfast cereals. You will need is a neodymium magnet. Next, select a cereal that has a high percentage of iron and smash it into tiny bits. Have your child hover the magnet above the cereal.

In cereals with higher traces of iron, you should be able to see tiny specks of iron pull onto the magnet.

Magnetic ball marble run

Use your child’s small magnetic ball to create a marble run out of old paper towel and wrapping paper rolls. You can even cut up pool noodles in half (horizontally) for longer ramps.

It doesn’t have to be magnetic for it to work; any marble or small ball will do.

Make painted wood sticks

Painted wood sticks or Popsicle sticks are another great way to get more use out of your child’s magnetic toys and encourage imaginative play.

You can have your little one paint on the wood sticks in fun and creative designs. After they are done painting and they dry, take your magnetic disks and put one on each end of stick using a hot glue gun.

Your kids can enjoy playing with the sticks on any magnetic surface. The fridge is the obvious choice but it could lead to fun little designs around the house. They can make different designs with the sticks.

Magnetic fishing

This is a simple magnetic toy you can make at home. You will need magnets, paper clips, hot glue, string, sticks, and any other craft supplies to make the fish.

Make a fishing pole by tying the end of the string to a stick and using a hot glue gun to secure the magnet on the other end of the string attached to a small piece of the stick. Kids can get creative making fish. Use a hot glue gun to a paper clip on each fish.

Once the magnet is attached you can place the paper fish in a bowl or behind a sheet you hang and have your kids start fishing.

Create magnetic refrigerator puzzle 

If your child likes doing puzzles, this next tip will be a blast. Choose one of your child’s puzzles, and adhere magnets to the back of each piece small magnets with super glue.

Your kids will be able to do puzzles on the fridge without you worrying about lost pieces. It will be a great way for them to stand instead of sit, and to view the puzzle differently. 

Magnetic sculptures

As your child becomes more involved with science, building things may pique their interest. Another excellent way to get the most out of your magnetic toys is to use the magnets to build sculptures.

Incorporate nuts and bolts, metal lids, and your child’s collection of magnets. If the magnets from your toy are not big enough to fit in the metal lid, adding flat, ceramic magnets should do the trick.

Once the magnets are in place, you can start adding the nuts and bolts onto the other side of the lid.

If you feel the magnetic structure losing its strength, put another ceramic magnet in the structure, and you shouldn’t have any problem expanding whatever your child builds

Magnetic slime

Kids love to get messy, and this could be the messiest idea on the list. To get things started you will need plain Elmer’s glue, liquid starch, iron oxide powder, and of course one (or a few small) neodymium magnets.

To make the slime you will need to put 1/4 cup of liquid starch into a bowl with two tablespoons of iron oxide powder. Stir until it starts to make a liquid form.

Add in 1/4 cup of glue and continue mixing for a few minutes. Next, have the kids mix it by hand. It should become the stretchy form you will use.

Pat the slime dry using a paper towel to get any excess liquid off of it. Children can use a magnet with the slime and have fun.

Create a mini magnetic field

This is a simple trick and shouldn’t take much time to get set up. You will need a round neodymium magnet and copper piping slightly larger than the magnet.

Stand the pipe up and drop the magnet down. Instead of dropping down quickly, it will slowly descend to the bottom. This will be fun, exciting, and entertain your children.

Make jingle bell wands

This magnetic toy is geared towards younger children but can be fun for tweens as well. To make the magnetic jingle bell wands, you will need craft sticks, bells, magnetic disks and a hot glue gun.

First, help children glue two magnetic disks on each side of the popsicle stick. Once the magnets are in place, glue the bells onto magnets.

After the bells are securely on the magnets, kids will have a jingle bell wand to enjoy playing with for their parades, plays, dances, and other creative play.

Magnetic toys ~ which to consider

Magnets are some of the best learning toys for early exploring of STEM concepts. Magnetic toys are educational and teach about simple science concepts, fostering creativity and exploration, and encourage problem solving.

Before buying magnetic toys, it’s important to consider the different types. There are magnetic blocks, magnetic tiles, magnetic balls, and more. Each has it’s advantages.

Creating with magnet toys is also a great way to get older kids interested in playing and creating and away from video games. With any magnets and small pieces, supervise young children and watch younger siblings.

Kids will use them in many ways for years. There are so many ways you can get extended use out of magnetic toys.

LEGO Women of NASA ~ Women Scientists LEGO Set
LEGO Women of NASA ~ Women Scientists LEGO Set

LEGO Women of NASA ~ It was exciting when LEGO launched the Women of NASA builds. There are three LEGO sets honoring four exceptional women scientists. They are sold together in one 231-piece set.

This collaboration between NASA and LEGO was anticipated and well-received. The NASA LEGO Women set was released November 1, 2017. It’s LEGO set 21312.

While there is no shortage of science and construction toys, it’s nice to see LEGO — a construction toy empire — represent these women of science. This is a great way to further enhance what’s great about LEGO.

Not only are they among the best STEM toys, they have taken it a step further by introducing history and science into households. Think of the conversations that will start with families who have this set. This is literally opening up an entirely new world of play.

LEGO NASA Women

These sets are called LEGO Ideas Women of NASA. The instructions are for three builds. Each pays tribute to some of the incredible NASA women scientists.

These women made history in math, science, engineering and space travel.

What’s fantastic is that LEGO put all of them in one set, so kids can enjoy learning about each   NASA scientist and don’t have to buy each kit separately.

They’ve also kept the set small, not adding additional pieces. The entire set of the four women NASA scientists is 231 pieces. Some may view this as a negative. They could have added more pieces to enhance the set.

However, by keeping it small, the positive thing is this kept the price lower. When they released this set and you could find it in stores, it was typically $30. This made it more affordable for everyone to have the LEGO women science set without paying for the additional pieces.

LEGO Women of NASA

There are four minifigures in this set. The women scientists featured are: 

  • Sally Ride
  • Mae Jemison
  • Nancy Grace Roman
  • Margaret Hamilton
Women of NASA LEGO scientists

Women of NASA LEGO scientists

Sally Ride LEGO

In the LEGO set that features Sally Ride, she is with Mae Jemison.

NASA choose her as an astronaut for NASA Astronaut Group 8 in 1978. It was a group of 35 astronauts. It was the first class to admit women. 

Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, but this isn’t the only way she was revolutionary. At just 32 years of age, she was also the youngest American astronaut to travel in space, a record that still stands today.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Physics from Stanford University as well as a Master’s degree and PhD in Physics from Stanford University.

Her gender made her a controversial pick for NASA’s Challenger task force. As a result, she dealt with countless questions and comments that no doubt prompted some eye rolls. These included suggestions that the flight would affect her reproductive organs and that she would cry if things went wrong. In her response, she pointed out that the other astronauts weren’t asked these questions.

According to Sally’s mother, there were a lot of people waiting for her to fail. However, Sally rose to every challenge.

After working with NASA, she went on to become a physics professor. Later, she founded her own non-profit organization to promote science, engineering, math and STEM education to young people in the USA. It’s called the Sally Ride Science organization.

Mae Jemison LEGO

Dr. Mae Jemison was the first black woman to travel in space, and is a hugely inspirational figure.

Her character in the LEGO set has the same famous orange space suit she wore. She is featured in this set with Sally Ride.

In 1992, she boarded the Space Shuttle Endeavor and made history. She was the Mission Specialist. She became an icon and role model for young girls everywhere.

In addition to being an astronaut, she was an engineer as well as a physician. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and African and African American studies. From there, she completed her medical degree from Cornell University.

Mae Jemison earned numerous honors and awards throughout her career. This includes a seat in the International Space Hall of Fame.

She started out in the Peace Corps. After her success with NASA, she pursued her interests in technology and social science. Then, she founded a technology research company and later a not-for-profit educational foundation.

Jemison has worked tirelessly to inspire young people to take up science and technology, with a particular focus on minorities. She has written children’s books and was on television, including in an episode of Star Trek.

Through this LEGO set, Mae Jemison can continue to inspire a new generation.

Nancy Grace Roman LEGO

Another extraordinary NASA woman scientist LEGO chose was Nancy Grace Roman. She was NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy, and the first woman to hold an executive position at NASA.

She is featured in a LEGO set on her own with a small LEGO Hubble Space Telescope.

Her role involved overseeing the planning and development of the Hubble Space Telescope. For that, people consider her the ‘Mother of Hubble.’

Various organizations have recognized Nancy’s work. In 1962, she won a Federal Women’s Award. Life magazine named her one of the most important young people. In 1969, NASA awarded her the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.

Currently in 2020, NASA is developing a next-generation telescope for space using wide field infrared survey. This telescope (WFIRST) is named to honor Nancy Grace Roman’s contributions in astrophysics.

NASA calls it the Roman Space Telescope for short. It’s official name is the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Nancy Roman was a pioneer in creating space telescopes which focused on the universe. She was NASA’s first chief astronomer.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1946 in Astronomy from Swarthmore College and graduate studies, including a PhD from the University of Chicago. 

Nancy Grace Roman had a passion to encourage young women to pursue careers in science and engineering. This LEGO set brings Nancy Grace Roman’s achievements to light and highlights her legacy.

Margaret Hamilton LEGO

Margaret Hamilton was the lead software designer for Apollo 11. It was partly due to her work to develop and test the Apollo software that the mission was successful. If it hadn’t been for her work, the moon landing would have aborted.

Just three minutes before the Lunar Lander reached the moon, the computer overloaded. It triggered several alarms. The software she helped to develop was able to recognize the problem and go into recovery mode. The moon landing was successful.

Hamilton earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

NASA also gave her a special award, including the largest financial award they’d ever given to an individual. Margaret was a coding pioneer and the first person to coin the term ‘software.’

She is a systems engineer, computer scientist, and later, a business owner. She studied at University of Michigan and Earlham College, earning a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. At MIT, she worked on software to predict weather among many other accomplishments.

The most astonishing photo taken of her shows her next to books full of pages of code that she’d written, stacked up as tall as her. This is what the LEGO set with Margaret Hamilton features: She stands next to her volumes of coding.

Women Scientists NASA LEGO

Surprisingly, Katherine Johnson is not part of this LEGO set. Katherine Johnson’s incredible mind was integral to some of NASA’s biggest missions.

A genius mathematician, she was able to calculate trajectories and launch windows for space shuttles. Can you imagine if the Apollo 11 flight to the moon had never taken place? Without her, it might not have.

Katherine Jonson has received a long list of awards and honors for her astonishing work.

However, by far the most prestigious award she received is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she received in 2015. In 2016, she was featured in Hidden Figures. This film told the previously little-known story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians.

The film’s release was a great step in putting NASA’s previously unsung heroines into the spotlight. We hope LEGO continues making NASA women scientists sets and includes Katherine Johnson.

LEGO NASA sets

LEGO Women of NASA
Women of NASA Lego Sets

This set is a welcome extension to some previous LEGO sets, which included female scientist figures.

Those sets featured female LEGO characters in a STEM career, instead of the usual shopping, hair salon, or pet store scene. These LEGO female mini-figures included a chemist, an astronomer, an inventor and a paleontologist.

What great role models! They were wonderful sets. However, LEGO made them limited edition sets. They sold out quickly.

As parents seek positive role models for their children, we were happy with LEGO’s effort to represent female NASA role models.

LEGO science sets

These LEGO science sets feature revolutionary women leaders from NASA. They give kids a chance to enjoy engineering toys in a new way. In addition, they encourage discussion about women scientists in history.

We hope LEGO will feature more scientists in sets, women and men. Whether it’s about NASA scientists or others, it makes learning about science more tangible for kids.

It also gives parents a way to further the discussion into history as well as discuss current NASA projects, astronomy, weather, physics, engineering, construction, and more.  

LEGO has a few sets that focus on space, some include female mini-figures as well. We hope they will feature architects, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and more. 

The LEGO Ideas Women of NASA set is amazing. It’s no longer in stores. You can find the women of NASA LEGO set on ebay and other auction sites.

FAQ’s about Women of LEGO NASA set

There are many questions about this set because you can’t find it in stores. 

What is kit number for NASA women set?

The LEGO Women of NASA kit number is 21312.

How to buy Women of NASA LEGO?

LEGO released this set in 2017. You can no longer find it in stores. You can find it online. Many people sell it on ebay. You may find it brand new or used, with or without the box. 

Depending on when you search ebay and other auction sites, you may find LEGO NASA new in box (NIB) and never removed from box (NRFB). 

How much does the new LEGO Women of NASA cost?

When this set was released, it was $29.95.

This is in line with how LEGO used to be with pricing for non-copyrighted sets. Generally, they used to be 10 cents a piece. This mean if the LEGO set had 200 pieces, it would be $20.

However, when they started adding commercial sets based on movies and characters, the price increased.

For this NASA science set, LEGO included 231 pieces. That translates to $23.10.

This is very inline with pricing, especially for the four minifigures and most every piece being significant.

When is LEGO Women of NASA being released?

LEGO Women of NASA was released November 1st in 2017.

Women of NASA LEGO set

LEGO creates great developmental toys, helping to boost fine motor skills, imagination and creativity. Now they will be help children to learn about STEM careers too. Sets featuring scientists will get kids thinking about LEGO and science in new ways.

Being such great engineering and STEM toys, you can add more LEGO bricks to this set to make it your own. Like most construction toys, the more bricks you have, the more possibilities for imagination.

If you are at all considering it, find and buy this Women of NASA LEGO Ideas set. It features women NASA heroes and will spark new topics and conversations.

Kids can accomplish anything… LEGO shows them this through these sets featuring scientists.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning
Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Best educational toys – Giving children a strong STEM education at a young age is vital to their future success. Even if they don’t grow up to become scientists or engineers, kids develop certain skill sets in childhood.

Our goal as parents and educators is to create a love of learning in children. Inspire them to have a growth mindset and for them to learn to be critical thinkers.

Toys are fun. If your kids play with the best educational toys, they will learn to think of STEM as a game or puzzle.

These positive experiences will translate to achievement in the classroom later on. And that positive reinforcement will make your kids more successful adults.

Best Developmental Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Best educational toys

It all begins in early childhood, and toys are some of the best ways to start that process. What seems like playtime to us is actually important learning for kids.

Kids learn a lot through play. As they explore the world through tangible objects — and not screens — they build fine motor skills, build hand-eye coordination, figure out cause and effect, and more.

There are some toys designed to help that along. They may teach numbers, math concepts, letters, colors, patterns, sorting, figuring out problems, etc.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Best Fidget Toys and Fidget Tools – How They Help

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

LEGO

Perhaps the best DIY educational game of all time, LEGO teaches a child how imagination can make even the smallest parts be important in the overall scheme of things.

Few educational games have retained their original charm but LEGO remains on top of the charts with its simple block colors and sizes for creation of almost anything, from houses to robots to cars and trains.

Ello Creation System

This one engages children in construction. Ello Creation System has incorporated traditional elements such as crafts with customization and beading.

These sets include panels and shapes in colorful palettes, a building process that is intuitive and flexible, and a variety of themes for kids to create buildings, characters, decorative accessories, jewelry, and anything else they want or imagine.

Zoomorphs

Each set has 30 – 100 plastic animal pieces which a child can snap together to create actual animals like a dinosaur or cat.

The pieces can be rearranged so as to for various fantasy creatures such as a horse-dinosaur-bird-cat.

Each of Zoomorphs set’s pieces are also interchangeable with pieces from other sets which result in dozens of possibilities for a child’s imagination to create.

Learning Resources Science Lab

These activity kits from Learning Resources let your child experience a lab right at home. Kids will love having tools of the trade, including test tubes, beakers and goggles.

This can be fun to set up in the kitchen, on a table or outside. Let your kids mix, create and experiment. This set recreates the thrill of laboratory experimentation for kids.

They will learn science is fun, and the lab is a great playground.

What kids learn

This Learning Resources toy teaches actual experimentation, instead of just providing a set of rules for your kids to follow.

While this obviously isn’t the same as giving your children free range over a chemistry lab, it is a great way to introduce these skills to your children from a young age.

In addition, the science lab kit teaches children valuable chemistry and lab safety skills.

This set will even teach your kids science terms. This is one of the best educational toys for teaching chemistry.

Goldie Blox and the Builder’s Survival Kit

Combining a story, a toy, and a game, Goldie Blox is one of the most fun all-around toys you can find. It comes with a story book, in which your kids will help Goldie Blox solve various problems.

They’ll choose between difficulties and either build simple or complex inventions. This is an educational toy that exercises both the intellect and imagination.

This is a great choice for anybody who has a child who’s been prone to get lost in their daydreams or a good book!

What kids will learn

The most obvious skill your kids will learn here is physics. This is a construction toy; your kids will be learning while creating, imagining, and engineering.

This is also among the best educational toys out there for teaching problem-solving.

When your child plays with Goldie Blox, they use construction and engineering to help her with the trials and tribulations of her fictional life.

See also best science toys and best engineering toys for kids of all ages.

SpaceRail

SpaceRail is a roller coaster toy that features 9 increasingly difficult levels. This is a top STEM toy for teens. You should start by purchasing the Level 1, to introduce your kids to the toy and constructing it.

If your kid likes construction toys, marble runs, or roller coasters, they’ll love SpaceRail. It works by allowing players to build a track and then roll a steel ball down the track — success requires a firm knowledge of STEM skills.

One of the other benefits of SpaceRail is that there’s are increasingly difficult sets. After you’ve accomplished setting up level one, there are eight more levels for you and your child to learn with.

As children get older, it’s more difficult to find toys that will engage them. SpaceRail is a toy that even older teens will find challenging.

It’s also a great way for parents and children to spend time together and keep older children learning through play.

Skills they’ll learn

This is one of the best educational toys for teaching construction and engineering skills. In addition, SpaceRail is a physics toy.

Getting an early start on physics can be good news for ensuring success in high school and college.

In both cases, you’ll help your children develop an interest in practical sciences from a young age. They will learn to follow directions and organize pieces. They’ll have fun setting it up, and then testing it when they’ve finished. They will have a sense of pride from completing the set.

KiwiCo Review for Older Kids

Trading Cards

From baseball cards to Magic: The Gathering, trading cards are some of the best toys for teaching STEM skills to children. You should choose trading cards based on your child’s interests.

If your son or daughter likes Pokemon, get them Pokemon cards. Maybe they’re interested in sports, then get them baseball or football cards.

If you get your kids trading cards they’re genuinely interested, you’ll be using the one of the best educational toys out there.

One of the primary advantages of trading cards is that while kids may not think of learning as fun, they’ll be learning through play with these innovative cards.

What kids will learn

Perhaps the most important skills kids can gain from these cards is the ability to categorize and organize. They may group cards by traits or other determining factors.

In addition, they may learn a set of rules. Even relatively simple games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh have intricate rule sets, and learning those as a child will translate to stronger analytical and rule-following skills later in life.

Beyond that, these games are highly effective at teaching math skills. Most of the games use statistics in the form of attack and defense points.

This is a great way to make math and statistics fun from a young age!

Math Workbooks

Math Games

CogAT Test

Interesting Math

Learn about the best educational toys

The best educational toys help us parents to help our children succeed. There are so many incredible resources available. Choosing STEM-based educational toys are a great start.

Developmental toys, even magnetic toys and other science sets, all work to increase your child’s awareness of STEM principles. They help to foster cognitive abilities, spatial relations, critical thinking skills, and many more.

In addition, the best education toys will also encourage kids to be creative and use their imagination. Helping kids prepare for a STEM-based world with toys they manipulate, not screens they touch, will give them a head start.

Hands-on education with manipulatives is critical and are among the best educational toys.

Best Fidget Toys and Fidget Tools – How They Help
Best Fidget Toys and Fidget Tools – How They Help

Fidget toys are all the rage. Everywhere you go these days, you will probably see a child spinning a fidget spinner in his (or her) hands. Here we discuss the best fidget toys.

Depending on who you ask, these little gadgets are either godsends or annoyances. Regardless, they are aptly named, as they capture the attention of the ever-fidgeting child.

Not only that, fidget toys are fun.

Best Fidget Toys

While they are toys, many experts consider them to be tools as well. Some studies are finding that fidgeting, when allowed, can improve performance in kids and adults who suffer from ADHD.

It is not such a leap then, to also apply this theory to those who experience OCD, autism, or anxiety.

Because they are being recognized for their ability to aid those with ADHD, fidget toys are also being called fidget tools.

There is also a connection between fidget tools and the STEM program.

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids

Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards

Fidget toys besides fidget spinners

While the popular fidget spinners are simple in design and performance, the benefit is often the calming effect is has on kids and adults with ADHD. But what about other fidget toy and fidget tools out there?

Some, like the 10 listed below, are proving to be educational tools in their own right.

While part of the design was to reduce boredom, the happy side effect is that kids are clicking, spinning, building. They are problem solving their way through their time with these fidget tools.

Seamless fidget spinner pattern

Seamless pattern of colorful fidget spinners isolated on white background

Fidget toys for ADHD and anxiety

The focus of these first 3 fidget tools are deliberately simple in their design, with the intent to help focus and calm the user.

This makes them effective tools for those with other anxiety-related disorders, such as autism. Yet, we can see that these are educational toys as well.

They can be age-appropriate developmental toys that have many benefits, including helping with fine motor skills. Since fidget spinners have saturated the market, we didn’t include them in this list.

Marble Fidget Toys

Mesh and marble fidget toys that keep hands busy while letting the mind relax.

They are also quiet and provide little distractions to other students in the classroom.

The marble fidgets are an educational tool because the user has to contemplate the motion of the marble in the mesh.

Some sets also include spinner tops for pencils.

Stress Relief Fidget Cube Toy

The stress relief fidget cube is a non motorized, no battery cube with six sides, like a die.

The user can enjoy manipulating each side, including rolling a ball, spinning a wheel, flipping a switch, pressing buttons, and rubbing a circle.

The tactile feel is designed to provide relaxation for people with ADHD or any other disorder which decreases attention or increases anxiety.

There is enough functionality in these little cubes to spark some interest in the mechanical makeup of the cube. They are small and discreet. Depending on the fidget cube you get, there may be minimal noise from the clicking.

Stretchy String Fidget Sensory Toys

Called Monkey Noodles, these stretchy string fidget/sensory toys can stretch from 10 inches to 8 feet.

They’re targeted toward sensory and tactile stimulation.

They also get kids thinking about the material these are made from, and how they stretch so far and then immediately snap back into shape.

STEM toys enhance science, technology, engineering and math skills

Now, think about the latest educational initiative, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and you can see how easily these toys become tools within the STEM objectives.

People are finding that fidget tools are doing more than calming the mind; they are challenging it, making STEM educators and parents everywhere take notice.

STEM toys, like educational games, are designed to engage learning in problem solving and experimentation as well as creative and critical thinking.

Some of these smaller toys most certainly qualify as fidget tools.

Neliblu Sensory Fidget Snake Cube Twist Puzzle

These snake-like geometric puzzles have been around a long time.

They build fine motor skills, eye and hand coordination skills, problem solving skills, and sharpens the user’s powers of deduction.

Tangle Relax Therapy, Brain Puzzles & Fidgets

The Tangle Relax Therapy, Brain Puzzles, & Fidgets is a toy bundle that features 8 interconnected twistable pieces to keep the mind engaged.

This pack keeps things interesting.

Several items come with this set, including the “Magic Wire Ring,” which challenges the user to make different shapes.

Another is the “Snap and Click Wacky Tracks” which has the learner create shapes with links.

IQ Challenge Set by GamieUSA

The IQ Challenge Set is an educational toy and puzzles set that stimulates creativity.

The set includes a 3” IQ puzzle ball and 4 different 2. 5” plastic puzzle balls, a metal puzzle, and a 2-inch wooden cube puzzle.

The toys in this set will help develop critical learning skills.

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Build & Bloom Building Set

This is an incredible set. Learning Build & Bloom set helps build STEM skills, creating thinking, and fine motor skills.

The flowers are interchangeable gears. In fact, all parts are interchangeable, which means endless combinations of a spinning flower garden, with butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and all.

Learning Resources Stem Simple Machines Activity Set

This Simple Machines Activity set contains six simple machines and accompanying activities to show how they make our world easier.

Your child will enjoy figuring out all he can do with a lever board, wedge, pulley with rope and hook, cart with removable wheels, Archimedes screw, and 4 barrel weights.

This set teaches science, cause and effect, and keeps busy kids engaged.

California Creations Geomatrix, The Magnetic Art of Building

The Geomatrix set is made with Neodymium magnets, which are strong magnets that keep the shapes where you place them.

Kids and adults can build models, thus developing knowledge in geometric shapes and design. Like the SpaceRail toys, this is all about building it yourself.

You may want to invest in several sets to make more creations.

Magnetit™ 216 piece heavy duty DIY Magnetic Balls Sculpture Toy

The Magnetit™ Magnetic Balls Sculpture Toy is a tabletop toy that certainly qualifies as a fidget tool.

The magnets are a stress reducer, but they also improve creativity, design skills, and focus.

Adults may find these on some of their coworkers’ desks as stress relievers.

For kids, they are STEM toys. Kids learn about cause and effect while using these magnetic toys.

Best STEM/Fidget Toys

As most of you know, the latest toy craze is with fidget spinners, fidget cubes, and related fidget toys.

Children embraced them immediately, but so have adults, many of whom have ADHD.

While some schools have requested no fidget spinners in the classroom, other fidget tools are finding their way into the classroom as well as at home.

People with ADHD often require help with focus and remaining on task. They also may need help calming down. Fidget tools and toys can be a great option.

Just about any kid will encounter the boredom monster once or twice. And so many of our kids today experience ADHD, autism, OCD, and other disorders that makes focusing difficult.

For some, these fidget tools do more than just occupy time and keep them in their seats. They engage the mind, improve cognition, increase fine motor skills, generate questions, and inspire theories and experiments.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Manipulatives, including the best fidget toys, are a great way for children to explore and learn.

Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation
Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

Best science toys – Remember how fun it was to play with toys as a child? You may not have realized then it was also helping your brain development in a huge way.

In fact, scientists have found that the more stimulation a child’s brain receives at a young age, the more developed their brain will be in the coming years.

Playing with STEM toys is a fun and educational way for kids to receive this kind of helpful stimulation.

Best science toys

We all want the best for our child’s development. It’s great to know we can give children the gift of education through play. STEM and science toys make it easy.

Kids are innately curious, and science toys make it fun. These toys will inspire kids to think critically and to develop a growth mindset.

STEM and science toys for older kids

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids

Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards

Ozobot

This toy combines critical thinking, coding, and drawing together in one. It develops fine motor skills as well.

It comes with markers for kids to draw paths in blue, red, black, and green. The little robot, Ozobot, will follow the route, enjoying the twists and turns.

Ozobot will also light up with that color when he is on it… when he rolls over a green line, he turns green.

The Ozobot Starter Pack includes a two-sided puzzle track which is fun to use.

Kids will have a great time making their own routes as well. The orb, which is about the size of a ping pong ball, contains sensors.

These sensors are programmed to complete different actions depending on which color is beneath them.

Kids can draw paths for him to follow, and change the color line order for him to do different commands.

My 11 year old had the chance to play with these in science class at school and used his money to buy one that weekend. He still loves it. He bought the Starter Pack. It is enough on its own without buying all the add-on characters, etc., at least to start.

This is a great toy because you don’t need a separate device to enjoy playing with it. It’s also portable but you need a flat surface and to bring paper and markers.

So it’s good for a restaurant but not at the ballpark. As long as your child will be careful with it, young children will enjoy Ozobot as well.

Little Bits

Oh how we love Little Bits in our house. These small sets are sort of like Lego in that the more pieces you have, the more fun it is.

We started getting our kids the smaller set with 10 pieces, called the Electronics Base Kit. They were able to make a lot of contraptions.

Over the years, Little Bits has done more marketing to encourage kids to incorporate Little Bits with objects around the house, to make different “machines.”

My kids haven’t ever done this. They enjoy playing with them on their own, by mixing up the colorful pieces from their different sets.

The pieces are magnetic and easily stick together. We now own four sets total, and they enjoy mixing the pieces to design different sounds, lights, etc.

We plan to get Little Bits’ latest set, the Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, for Christmas. It looks like a blast!) One of the sets we own is the Korg Synth Kit.

It says on the box it’s for ages 14+ but we bought this for our kids when my youngest was 8, and he was able to do it. Though he had experience with the other Little Bits sets. We like Little Bits for their portability too. Kids can play with some of the Little Bits sets on their lap in the car.

They don’t require a separate device in order for them to work. Most pieces are 1 – 3 inches long. Little Bits uses a 9V battery.

Boolean Box

Kids love screens and electronics. With this toy, your kids can build their own. They’ll develop some serious skills while doing it.

Technology is a great addition to the educational toys of today. And finding a way to incorporate it, rather than making it the central focus of the game, is best.

This kit comes with everything your kiddo needs in order to build their own Raspberry Pi computer. It also comes loaded with software that will promote your child’s understanding of coding.

It’s so great, it made this list: Time Magazines Eight Toys That Can Make Your Kids Smarter for 2017. The only thing we didn’t like about this is that it’s marketed toward girls. We wish the color was more gender-neutral. Still, boys and girls will both enjoy building their very own Raspberry Pi.

We don’t own this toy (because we bought them Kano, but they’ve used the Boolean Box at a friend’s house).

Kano

A runner up and similar to the Boolean Box, if you like this idea for a toy is Kano. Our children continue to learn a lot from it and have fun. Our school offers an online subscription over the summer for kids to learn and keep up with coding skills.

My kids have never been interested in doing it but they will pull out their Kano and code. I like that it’s more of a tangible coding toy — more of a manipulative — than just logging mindlessly onto a computer and go to a website to learn coding.

They use Kano for coding to make up their own games. It’s (a more neutral) orange than the pink Boolean.

We bought our kids these for Christmas when our kids were 8 and 10 years old. That was two years ago, and they still enjoy taking their Kanos out of the box to code.

Jimu Robot Kit

With two hundred parts that snap together, six motors for joints, and everything you need to build Jimu yourself, this robot is a blast.

Jimu is challenging to build, and that’s what makes it great. This is the perfect opportunity to join your child in creating something and learning together.

Once built, kids can control Jimu from a smart device, learning coding basics as they go. As they get more skilled in coding, they can do more complex maneuvers.

Kids can also build the robot using their own ideas and construct their own character. My kids used these in a science camp over the summer.

If you have more than one child, definitely start with getting one to share. Jimu is fun to build together. If they play with it often and you have more than one electronic device for them to operate it, you can always get the other models so they won’t be the same.

STEM and science toys for younger kids

Dot and Dash Robots

This is a great toy for starting around 5 – 6 years old. Dot and Dash come already assembled and ready for learning and play.

This makes them great for little ones who are just starting out with STEM toys. They provide another opportunity for early education about coding. Your child can create code that will have Dot and Dash dancing and singing all over your home.

Dash has wheels and comes with the capability for impressive maneuvers. Dot is a bit more basic. It can be programmed to play different games with your child.

My kids, who are older than this age-range, played with these at their cousin’s house. I wouldn’t recommend them for children over 8 years old as they will lose interest in time. However, older siblings will enjoy playing with them from time to time. My kids did have fun with them.

Cubelets

These are small cubes. They’re geared toward younger children (ages 4+) but older children will definitely find them fun, especially if they use them in combination with other toys they may have.

There are different sets, some with more cubes than others. We recommend starting with a smaller, less expensive set.

If you children enjoy them, you can buy the larger sets with more cubes. More cubes makes it that more fun, as kids can do so much more with them.

We love that Cubelets are portable and don’t require any device to make them work. Kids can play with them in the car or at a restaurant.

Something fantastic for my family is Cubelets are compatible with Lego, definitely extends the “playing life” of these toys.

Kids can use them combined with other toys too… that’s what makes them great. Kids use their imagination as well as science. Some blocks serve as motors, some as sensors, some as batteries.

As they try out different combinations, your kid will learn all about component placement.

Code-A-Pillar

This one from Fisher-Price is great for the littlest of curious minds. Although this caterpillar-like toy doesn’t involve coding in the way many other STEM toys do, it does provide the knowledge base for children as young as three to get in the mindset of a programmer.

By changing around the parts of a Code-a-pillar’s thorax and abdomen, your child can change the toy’s path as it scoots around.

There are sound effects and music as well. There’s an expansion pack sold separately which gives your child more options, but it isn’t necessary. Your children will grow their skills.

What is a science toy?

You may have heard about science toys or STEM toys. But what are they, exactly?

STEM is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM toys aim to encourage children to foster skills within these areas.

You may have heard of a curriculum called STEAM. The “A” includes Art.

Although STEM toys do incorporate these subjects, they’re about so much more than that.

STEM education concentrates on how these areas of study link to each other, and how they can be used in the real world.

When kids are using problem-solving skills and having fun at the same time, they will not only enjoy themselves, but they’ll develop a lifelong love for learning.

Best science toys can keep them off screens

Although there are a lot of great games for kids on computers, we think it’s best for a child’s health and development to limit their screen time.

In fact, pediatricians are concerned about this  issue. Studies show extended screen time can lead to myopia, or nearsightedness, in children. For this reason, it’s best to monitor and limit how much time your child spends sitting at the computer. Some screen time is fine, in moderation.

These kids science toys will get your child off the computer and stimulate their brains.

Best Fidget Toys

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

Best Developmental Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Science toys make great gift ideas for kids

STEM toys make some of the best gifts for kids to keep them engaged.

When we’re young, all we know is that we want to explore, play, and have fun. Providing children with the opportunities to grow, develop real world skills, and stimulate their developing brain function is one of the greatest gifts that you can give them.

If you want to see success in their future, kids science toys are the perfect way to make that dream a reality.

These best science toys for kids inspire 21st century learning in a developmentally appropriate way. No matter what your child’s age, you can find the perfect STEM toy.

Best Engineering Toys for Kids- Engineering and STEM Toys
Best Engineering Toys for Kids- Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Engineering Toys for STEM – Today’s world runs on technology, and it’s easy to project that the future world will only be more technology dependent.

In order for those innovations to happen, we need more scientists, researchers, engineers, and developers. However, recent education trends show that fewer kids are choosing to focus on the academic subjects that are most likely to lead to technological innovation.

For this reason, engineering toys and games that are directed toward STEM subjects are essential.

No matter the reason or season — holidays, summer break, weekend fun — this is the perfect time to select STEM toys or engineering toys for your child or grandchild.

These gift ideas are all fun, thought-provoking and beneficial to their future.

Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

Best engineering toys for kids

  • Gaming: Osmo – Genius Kit
  • Programming: Dash Robot
  • Coding: Ozobot Evo Starter Pack
  • Construction: Jimu Robot (BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit)
  • Circuit building: Snap Circuits was my kids’ go-to summer toy! Circuit toy
  • Engineering: Spacerails 6,500mm Level 1 Game
  • STEM building kits: Eureka Crate

Getting started early with STEM

You don’t have to wait to get kids interested in a STEM-based subject. The earlier these disciplines are introduced, the more likely kids are to develop a sustained interest.

These subjects are even more interesting to kids when the learning feels more like play. That’s the beauty of these holiday STEM and engineering toys.

Each one provides kids with fun and exciting challenges to discover, allowing them to learn useful skills without realizing that what they are doing is educational.

Just as vitally, many of these toys can be upgraded with modular parts so that they develop with your child’s skill level.

Best engineering toys and best STEM toys

If you want to give a gift that is bound to delight your child or grandchild, you can’t go wrong with one of these STEM toys. Each toy offers a world of challenges to accept and problems to solve.

Kids think they’re just having fun, but they are actually building the skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Any of these highly rated STEM toys will provide hours of fun and learning.

Another option is KiwiCo crates.

Game up with Osmo – Genius Kit

The Osmo Genius Kit lets kids turn an iPad into a multi-dimensional learning device.

This STEM gift is particularly useful because it can be scaled for children 5 – 12 years old.

As the years go by, the child can work to solve more challenging puzzles.

Best STEM toys for Christmas, engineering toys Osmo Genius Kit

Best STEM toys for Christmas, engineering toys Osmo Genius Kit

What will they do with Osmo?

The Numbers and Words games make math and spelling a fun adventure.

  • Tangram develops visual thinking.
  • Newton opens up a world of problem-solving abilities.
  • Masterpiece fosters creative drawing.

The kit includes a base for the iPad and playing pieces.

Other Osmo games — like Hot Wheels, Monsters, and Pizza — are compatible with this system.

If there is a drawback with this toy, it’s that it is only compatible with Apple devices.

Perhaps one day, the developers at Osmo will come up with games that are compatible with other platforms.

If your child already has access to an iPad, this engineering toy will be a hit.

Program with Dash Robot

When kids play with this innovative little robot, the learning and the fun never stop. Dash Robot comes charged and ready to play right out of the box.

Kids will enjoy Dash’s ability to respond to voice commands. Fun programs like dancing and singing make him an instant hit.

However, Dash is capable of much more.

Various apps like Blockly, Wonder, Path and Go give kids the opportunity to teach Dash new behaviors through programming.

Your kids will begin learning programming and then advance their skills as they become more experienced.

In addition to the various apps, several snap-on accessories are available to add to the fun and creative challenges.

Dash is designed for kids who are six years old and up. Reading isn’t required to enjoy this engineering toy. While many accessories are available for Dash, we recommend this, the launcher.

This add-on turns Dash “into a projectile firing machine.”

Your kids are guaranteed to have hours of fun. LEGO fans won’t be able to resist the opportunity to modify their bot with Dash’s building brick connectors.

Learn to code with Ozobot Evo Starter Pack

If you want to introduce kids to coding the fun and easy way, then you will want to get the Ozobot Evo Starter Pack.

This tiny bot packs in tons of effective learning.

Children will enjoy making different routes for Evo, not even realizing they are learning coding skills.

Kids learn elementary coding with paper, markers and a color language.

Evo is the size of a ping pong ball and packed with power.

On the box it says it’s for ages 8+ but younger kids can enjoy it. After a lesson on handling it safely, kindergartners at my kids’ school spend time playing with Ozobot Evo.

Even the fifth and sixth graders enjoy it. (Older kids will too!) OzoBlockly, a graphical drag and drop language, allows kids to drag and drop code to teach their bot even more tricks.

The bot also enables kids to use Ozojis, which are emoticons that the bot acts out. Kids are free to develop their own Ozojis so that they can express themselves like never before.

Remote control mode puts Evo’s personality fully on display.

Once the child has mastered Evo’s basic functions, they are free to participate in a range of activities and functions, which means the learning continues as they advance their skills.

Create a custom-built Jimu Robot (BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit)

Kids won’t be able to resist the personality and interactions that come with the BuzzBot / MuttBot Kit.

This robotics kit teaches children how to build codes that make their robot friends seem to come to life.

It’s the perfect engineering toy for kids who love to build. It comes with six servos and 271 pieces.

Building BuzzBot and his trusty friend MuttBot is a cinch with the instructions, but kids also have the option of building their own custom creation.

Then, they can take it apart and start all over again. The possibilities are endless. This particular kit is designed to entice kids with little or no building and coding experience.

There are additional kits for builders with advanced skills. You can find additional BuzzBot friends to add to their collection.

Draw energy with Circuit Scribe

Do you have a child interested in electronics?

If so, then one of these fun-filled kits may be for them. The Circuit Scribe Basic Kit includes everything needed to introduce beginning concepts and allow kids to make their own hands-on projects.

In the kit, you’ll find the proprietary Circuit Scribe pen, which is able to operate on any paper or surface that an ordinary ballpoint pen works on.

This pen is filled with a non-toxic, conductive silver ink that turns an ordinary piece of paper into a circuit board.

With various modules and accessories, it’s surprisingly easy for kids to learn about the basic concepts of electronics.

You and your kids will be amazed by what they can create as they learn about resistance, transistors and elements in parallel and series.

Other, more robust, Circuit Scribe kits also are available to expand the knowledge and the fun.

Learn programming with Sphero SPRK+

This quirky little bot comes with an app that makes programming concepts surprisingly accessible.

The block-based programming is approachable to even the littlest programmers.

With SPRK+, kids can tell the bot to navigate a maze or play entertaining games.

Because it’s waterproof and shockproof, SPRK+ can go anywhere and do virtually anything without sustaining damage.

The gyroscope, accelerometer and LED lights make every activity interesting.

Kids can connect with other users via the app to create shared projects or find extra inspiration.

Learn engineering with SpaceRail

This is a marble roller coaster marble run that children — sometimes with adult help — put together. They will learn engineering, physics, mechanics, design, math, and even patience as they work their way through the instructions.

The reward will come at the end when they can put the marbles on the run — that they built themselves — to test it out. This is an engaging toy and one that doesn’t offer immediate gratification, unlike everything today in our world of “I want it now.”

Another great thing about SpaceRail is that there are different levels. The idea is you start with SpaceRail Level 1. Once the tweens and teens complete Level 1, you buy Level 2. There are 9 levels total. Each getting progressively more challenging.

This is a brilliant STEM building kit that will build confidence, teach patience, determination, and grit. SpaceRails is challenging.

This is definitely a toy for older children. All of the SpaceRail kits say ages 15+. Younger children can do it but will need an adult’s help. The child will have to build the toy himself/herself, most likely with some adult guidance.

It’s a great toy to bring the family together. Even the Level 1 box says it’s for ages 15+ so it’s definitely a challenging toy. It’s an electronics-free STEM toy that is ideal for teens.

Engineering kit subscription

Something we look forward to every month is our kids’ Kiwi Crate subscription. Each month, they receive a STEM-inspired box. We think Eureka Crate is the best engineering kit. It’s ideal for tweens and teens and isn’t “too young” for them.

The fun is in putting the kits together. They also enjoy playing with their creations. Children will have fun creating and discovering.

There are different STEM kits depending on the age. They are very well-made sets that challenge children and give them a sense of accomplishment when they complete the projects.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

These four disciplines are frequently interrelated.

Education in STEM is the key to producing creative, critical thinkers who have the technical skills and knowledge required to keep making strides in these key industries.

Kids who participate in a STEM program are preparing themselves for a future which may include advances in medicine, infrastructure, building more efficient communities and more.

Why is STEM important?

In earlier decades, the U.S. was a world leader when it came to technological innovation.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that only 16% of American students profess to be interested in a career in a STEM field.

This means that we have a shortage of graduates with the technical qualifications needed to succeed in these industries.

Students who graduate with STEM-based degrees will find employment in computing, engineering, the physical sciences, life sciences or mathematics, but only if we start them off on the right foot.

Kids need to learn to become critical thinkers. Choosing the best STEM developmental toys is a great start. Best Fidget Toys

STEM toys help with overall academic success

Even if your child eventually decides not to enter a STEM-based career, they will still feel the benefit of playing with these innovative and thought-provoking toys.

Playing with any of these  engineering and STEM toys may spark a wealth of creative talents and foster a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. That’s the kind of holiday gift that we should all love to give and receive.

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SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

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If you want to buy STEM gifts that the whole family will enjoy, these are all great engineering toys as well as programming and coding toys. In addition, these are perfect to supplement summer learning.

These fun, innovative and smart toys are designed to prepare kids for future challenges in ways that are always fun and accessible.

You’ll love what your children create, and their sense of accomplishment will drive them to even bigger accomplishments.

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails
SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Assembling a SpaceRail marble roller coaster is a fun way to keep older children and adults entertained while challenging their problem solving abilities. SpaceRails is an educational and fun STEM toy that requires time and patience.

Think of SpaceRail like a marble run concept but much more difficult. These marble run sets are appropriate for adults and teens. They are advanced.

Each of the SpaceRail levels comes as a set. The higher the number, as in SpaceRail Level 9, the more difficult it is to build. Level 9 has the most pieces and is the most intricate and complicated.

The easiest kit is SpaceRail Level 1. It has less pieces and is more straightforward. However, know that even Level 1 is a challenge and will likely take a few hours to build.

The biggest issue with SpaceRail are the poor directions. They are in roughly translated from Chinese. It will take patience and organization as you organize all the pieces, matching them to the pictures. While these difficult-to-follow directions may add to the challenge and fun, they can be frustrating.

These are complicated sets. They are not easy to build. Because of this, SpaceRail is something that will challenge STEM-oriented tweens, teens, and adults.

SpaceRail marble run set

While SpaceRail offers nine levels, easier versions and very difficult sets, the premise remains the same: Build a marble roller coaster run and get it to work. You know it works when the marble goes up the “elevator” and down the tracks.

All of the levels are challenging, even for adults.

Setting up the SpaceRail marble run also involves the ability to follow directions, patience, being organized with pieces, and more. It will help develop STEM skills.

SpaceRail levels

There are nine SpaceRail sets. SpaceRail Level 1 is the easiest while SpaceRail Level 9 is the hardest.

The idea with SpaceRails is you start at Level 1 and progress through the sets until you finish Level 9. The recommended age for SpaceRail Level 1 is 15+.

You may be tempted to start with a SpaceRail 4, 5 or 6. We strongly advise starting with a lower set.

Even SpaceRail Level 2 and Level 3 are very challenging. Read reviews and be willing to start with a lower level set, even Level 1 or Level 2. Accomplish building those and then move on to the higher levels.

This is especially important if you are buying this marble run for tweens and teenagers. When they accomplish Level 1, they will feel proud and willing to try the next level because of that success. It’s better to do this than for them to get discouraged.

Even if you are excellent as problem solving and strong in the mechanics of building, the not-so-thorough directions make it more challenging. See below for more information on each of the SpaceRail levels.

What is SpaceRail?

SpaceRail is a perpetual roller coaster that you build. It works with steel marbles on an automatic marble run that you put together. Think of it as a build-it-yourself marble roller coaster.

What kind of toy is SpaceRail?

SpaceRail combines the best of beloved building sets such as KNEX, Erector Sets, LEGO, Tinker Toys, and marble runs. SpaceRail is based on the 1980’s SpaceWarp kits.

This is a marble run set that involves building a marble roller coaster. Once completed, you roll steel marbles down the tracks. If you built it correctly, it will work. If not, you need to go back and troubleshoot until it does.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

SpaceRail - All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

SpaceRail marble roller coaster layouts

SpaceRails Level 1 has directions and illustrations for one build. However, with Levels 2 and higher, you can choose from different configurations. That makes SpaceRail even more fun. You can complete a set, and then build it again in a different layout.

Either way, the goal in each design is to allow the steel marbles to make a variety of movements along the tracks. It’s challenging to build and fun to watch!

Each kit is sold as a DIY project, the designs can be customized as you get better at building. The result? A giant space rail marble roller coaster set.

SpaceRail parts

Each set includes metal rods, plastic rails, clips, and balls. The directions are not always clear. You will be relying heavily on pictures and problem solving skills.

In addition, you will see a number with mm next to it. The number is the length of rails in millimeters that comes with the set. In SpaceRail, the plastic rails aren’t pre-cut to the correct length.

Each kit comes with directions that show you different roller coaster models you can build. You are meant to look at the directions and decide which build you want to put together. Then, you measure and cut the correct length of rail to make the track work.

Example of length of rails:

  • SpaceRail Level 6 includes 60,000 mm. This is the equivalent of 197 feet
  • SpaceRail Level 5 comes with 32,000 mm of rail which is 105 feet
  • Level 3 includes 16,000 mm which is 15.5 feet of rail
  • Level 1 comes with 5,000 mm which equals 16.4 feet

It is the responsibility of the player to cut tracks, form drops, loops, runs and attach them to metal rods on the base.

These activities challenge determination, patience, and resiliency and make them think creatively.

They will look at it from an engineering point of view. They may think of additional ways to build upon or change the track.

Features of SpaceRail

All SpaceRail levels have kits that vary in rail and track lengths and number of parts and pieces, depending on the level to be constructed.

All levels have basic pieces for assembly including tracks, marble balls, and the nuts-and-bolts.

The differences are on the degree of difficulty from rail length, pieces, and parts. All SpaceRail levels require varying cell batteries to power up its high lift elevator.

All SpaceRail games have different ascent, see-saw drops, speed runs, descent, loops, etc. depending on the level you want to construct.

Each of the levels comes with an instruction manual.

Is SpaceRail fun?

When you build a SpaceRail set, you have the fun of building it as well as the fun of playing with it. Much like building a large LEGO set, the fun is in the building and the satisfaction of completing the set.

SpaceRail will take hours to build, even for teenagers and adults. Think of it as a marble run for teens.

The bigger the SpaceRail roller coaster, the more time it takes to assemble because of the various parts that need to be placed in the right places. After you finish building SpaceRails, you have the fun of playing with it.

Putting together SpaceRail marble run

Whichever level you choose, it’s essentially an assembly game where the players can construct their own roller coaster out of the parts.

Each set includes tubing you measure and cut to form the various waves, loops and curves that go into making the track. You hold these in place by fastening rail holders and attaching hooked metal rods.

When you are finished constructing the set, you use the steel balls which are moved along the conveyor to the top of the roller coaster by a battery-powered conveyor belt.

The aim of the game is to ensure that these balls stay in place and do not fall off. You may need to make adjustments or changes to get it to work.

The best part about SpaceRail is that it’s hands on; you have to build everything for it to work. You will rely on the directions, including the illustrations, to complete the set.

It’s important to take some time out when assembling this game. Carefully arrange and organize the pieces. Take your time to be sure you are structuring the parts together correctly.

Going about it in an organized manner will help you enjoy the experience and finish with success.

Giant SpaceRail Marble Roller Coaster Kit

Giant SpaceRail Marble Roller Coaster Kit

Then, just place the marbles in the “elevator” and watch it run. The marbles will glide and slide through the loops, twists, drops, and turns you created.

Advantages of SpaceRail

There are many benefits to doing SpaceRails. One is the sense of accomplishment and achievement you will feel once you complete it. You will be proud you were able to complete one of these challenging sets.

Another benefit is the different SpaceRail levels which increase in difficulty. This means, as teens and adults gain skills and confidence, there are more challenges. This keeps it interesting.

It’s technology-free fun for teens. The beauty of Space Rail is this is a hands-on set which builds critical thinking skills as well as problem solving skills.

It helps the user to work toward the goal of completing steps. There are a lot of pieces and the directions at times can be confusing. This set takes patience and grit.

The end result is your teen will experience an immense sense of satisfaction after completing the set. It’s even more fun when parents participate.

Builds STEM skills

Building any of the levels means you will have built a marble run roller coaster. This involves many skills, including hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, mental toughness, resiliency, solving problems, troubleshooting, and more.

SpaceRail helps develop 21st century skills. This is a STEM activity.

It will help teach teens engineering as well was the laws of physics in a very interesting and creative ways. It’s one of the best educational toys for teens. It’s also a great way to get them off video games.

They may even decide to set up a new course based on what they learned from setting it up the first time. Again, this set will get users thinking, building, and engineering in new ways.

Good kit for teens

SpaceRail is a great way to keep older children off electronics. As they are learning to build the set, it will help them build essential skills for today’s world.

In addition, working on this marble run will help teens build confidence. It’s a great at-home activity.

Marble run for adults

In addition, these are marble runners for adults. There is nothing easy about these sets.

SpaceRail make great gift

This is a gift idea for teenagers. They will have the fun of building SpaceRail along with the fun of playing with the marble runs. They are quite advanced. This isn’t a “toy” or game in the traditional sense.

Another great thing about SpaceRail is that after you assemble and play with it, you can take it apart and build it again.

SpaceRails is a good gift idea for teens that isn’t electronics or a gift card.

Family time with older children

This is a fun activity for families. Parents and grandparents will have fun putting this set together.

Pros to SpaceRail

  • Takes hours to build over several days
  • Sense of pride and satisfaction when completed
  • STEM kit to use science, technology, physics, engineering, math skills and concepts
  • Problem solving, critical thinking skills
  • Troubleshooting
  • Fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination
  • Great for teenagers and tweens
  • Hands-on building kit
  • Way to get teens off electronics
  • Multi-dimensional; you can construct it in a certain way one time and then take it apart and construct it differently another time
  • Play with it after you build it

Disadvantages to SpaceRail

If you start with SpaceRail Level 1 or Level 2, it will be less frustrating. If you are buying this for tweens or teenagers, start with Level 1. When they complete it, buy Level 2.

Also note, these are not easy sets for younger children to complete. They will need adult help. The directions are not always easy-to-follow or clear as they are with LEGO sets.

Another downside to SpaceRail is you have to measure and cut the rails. This can be considered a positive thing. However, when you are new to SpaceRail, it can be intimidating.

Start with a lower level than you think. It’s perfectly acceptable to start with a Level 1, even with a parent helping.

Cons to SpaceRail

  • Poor directions
  • Rails aren’t pre-cut
  • May frustrate some
  • Small pieces, some poorly made
  • Many small pieces
  • Some pieces and the steel balls are choking hazard

SpaceRail levels review

Spacerail Level 1

Choosing SpaceRail Level 1 is a great way to introduce this type of set. You will enjoy spending time with your kids assembling the space rails together.

The assembling is generally fun but can be a bit tricky for young children. Most children will need supervision to successfully build the roller coaster.

As soon as you finish helping your child assemble the roller coaster, he or she will enjoy releasing the steel marbles on the tracks. They will enjoy seeing the marbles go through turns, twists, and successfully through loops.

Let the inner geek in you get out and take a look at features which have made the SpaceRail, at any level, worth your money, time, and effort.

SpaceRail Level 1 marble run review: Level 1 is a good starter set because you will familiarize yourself with the parts, construction, and directions. Once you complete it, you will understand more about it to determine what level you want to try next.

SpaceRail Level 2

Customization of SpaceRail begins at Level 2. This means you can change the design for each time you build it. The directions come with different layout options for Levels 2 – 9.

There are two Level 2 options. One set is glow in the dark. Children will need adult help. On the box, Level 2 says it’s for Ages 15+. Just like Level 1, this is a challenging set. It includes 10,000 mm of rail.

SpaceRail Level 3

Your hand-eye coordination should be picking up speed by now. Customer reviews of Level 3 report the need for ergonomic skills not only to assemble this game but to play it as well.

Level 3 has more steep drops and climbs, 360° degree flip overs, and sharp and high G-turns.

Additionally, Level 3 has more parts to be assembled because its length – all 16,000 mm of it – is longer.

Like with all the levels, you will need to read the instruction manual carefully and pay close attention to all the details. As SpaceRail Level 3 has more pieces than Level 1 and Level 2, you will want to take time to organize the pieces.

SpaceRail Level 3 marble coaster review: We strongly recommend to not attempt Level 3 SpaceRail as the first set you try. Build the first two levels and then attempt Level 3.

As the levels proceed higher, the skill set required gets increasingly more difficult. It’s important for builders to hone skills on Level 1 and Level 2, especially if you are buying SpaceRail for a teenager.

SpaceRail Level 4

It is a good idea to first go through levels one, two and three before starting assembling SpaceRails Level 4. There are more parts to assemble in Level 4 which will take more hours to complete.

The larger the game and higher the level, the bigger space that will be required.

SpaceRail Level 5

With this set comes more intensive labor regarding assembly of additional parts for Level 5 but that is to be expected as you have now reached this stage. You will have 32,000 mm rail length.

There is a glow in the dark version for SpaceRail Level 5 as well.

SpaceRail Level 6

Level 6 is intermediate stage with more accessories than the previous five other levels. Again, this will entail more assembly time.

The degree of difficulty, however, will really depend on how you will customize your SpaceRail.

More accessories mean more potential for more thrilling stunts. You should master them before moving on to the next three levels.

Features of SpaceRails Level 6 marble roller coaster

With a rail length of 60 meters, the SpaceRail Level 6 can be an endless game for those who want more than puzzles to challenge their creativity and skills. There are 1,155 pieces in this set.

To provide even more challenge, it has a 30 centimeters tall automatic lift for the highly entertaining descent of eight steel balls.

It comes with a bilingual instruction manual in English and German and runs on a 1xC cell battery. At only 3.5 pounds, this SpaceRail is lightweight.

Patience is required to assemble this mammoth of a roller coaster since it takes days to put everything together. It’s easy to lose yourself in the process.

As its model name says, Level 6 is an advanced stage which is for those who are already familiar with marble roller coasters. Hobbyists and gaming enthusiasts alike will find the SpaceRail Level 6 as highly entertaining as it is educational.

Once it’s complete, you will enjoy leaving it out to enjoy.

SpaceRails Level 6 review: The SpaceRails Level 6 is a great stage to reach because by this time, the gamers would have become quite familiar with what assembling the game entails. Users will be more confident putting the marble run together.

This takes the game marble runs to a whole new level. It’s a wonderfully entertaining, mind-challenging, and skill-enhancing “toy.”

It will be too difficult for a first-time user to fathom the intricacies of this kit if he or she started at an intermediate level. Start with a lower level.

SpaceRail Level 7

This one escalates, literally, as it has 120 feet of track. Think roller coaster meets oil rig, that’s how the assembled Level 7 will look like.

This level has more parts than the last six levels but these are neatly categorized, with each piece identifiable with symbols at both of its ends, a real time saver for this huge structure.

Have you accomplished lower level sets and are now considering SpacerRail Level 7? Like the sets before this, it will be a challenge. But that’s what’s appealing about SpaceRails. The game is fabulously structured and once you work your way up over each level, you will be able to feel a sense of epic satisfaction.

SpaceRail Level 8

Congratulate yourself as soon as you find yourself at Level 8 with its 40,000 mm of rail length and an assembled size of 92cm x 44cm x 64cm because you are now officially at the advanced stage.

You will still face challenges but will have the benefit of understanding the mechanics behind it. SpaceRail level 8 review speaks of the eighth level of the epic roller coaster game as being quite tough, even for seasoned players.

SpaceRail Level 9

At last, you’re on Level 9 and while all the features of the first eight levels have now converged in this ultimate SpaceRail game, working on 200 feet of rail length will be challenging.

Like the previous sets, this is a marble run for adults as much as it is for teens.

You will be constructing a gigantic roller coaster that you can choose to customize to challenge yourself even more. The majority of enthusiasts who enjoy this popular roller coaster game aim to reach SpaceRail Level 9. It’s the last and most challenging set in the SpaceRail series.

If you’ve progressed through the other sets, it makes sense to want to complete this challenging course. This ultimate level is ideal for advanced players because it’s exacting and will take a long time to set up.

If you are someone who has patience, enjoys problem solving, and gets immersed in tinkering, you will be happy with it.

If you are already familiar with SpaceRail games, you know the assembly will be complex — this is what makes it so captivating.

SpaceRail Level 9 marble roller coaster

Adults and teens who are interested motivated by challenges will enjoy SpaceRail Level 9 after having gone through the previous levels. Know it will still take days to complete.

If you’ve already completed SpaceRail 8, you will be ready for SpaceRail 9. If you’ve never built a SpaceRails coaster, do not buy Level 9 to start.

Review of SpaceRail Level 9 for genius kids

There may be tweens or teens who can successfully build the roller coasters with supervision. However, you wouldn’t want to buy them Level 9 to start. Even the most STEM-advanced teens should not start with this set.

It’s important to start with a much easier level track so they can familiarize themselves with how to build SpaceRail. They will learn essential science and engineering skills to make them more successful and to make the overall experience that much better.

The directions are often difficult to understand. Your kids will benefit from the experience of starting with the still-challenging, smaller, less-involved sets.

Then as your child gets older and has completed some of the sets, he/she and you can decide if you want to get SpaceRail 9.

It’s far better to support your teen’s confidence with a smaller set — which will still most likely be a feat to complete.

Let them learn about the physics and engineering concepts and build on those skills with an easier set.

No matter what lower level set you choose, your kids will be applying STEM concepts and critical thinking skills to complete it. For an older teen who is interested in engineering, this can be an engaging and enriching activity.

Great for teens

It would also be something to set out with a friend or two — much like in the manner of a jigsaw puzzle — for them to work on and collaborate with together.

There are very intricate pieces. You will want to be sure to have an area you can reserve to set this up in order to set out and organize all of the components. Being organized will make it less complex.

SpaceRail Level 9 is the hardest level. The box says it’s for ages 15 and up. It includes 200 feet of rails. Building the track is challenging and complex.

Features of SpaceRail Level 9

Spacerail Level 9 is also called Spacewrap Level 9. It’s advertised as the Hardest Level for Genius Kids for a reason. For certain, it has similar features to the lower level SpaceRails. Yet, it has some differences which make it stand out.

Some of the details in the Level 9 roller coaster include:

  • Track length

Players on this level of the SpaceRail game are able to build tracks of various lengths. These tracks are the ones that hold the steel balls that roll around in the building set and eventually make the various movements captivating regardless of the number of times the balls move round.

  • Battery powered

During assembly, you will attach a battery-powered elevator which will transport balls to the top. The elevator ensures the balls move seamlessly on the roller coaster. Furthermore, the construction material is hard plastic. This also allows the elevator to do its job much more efficiently.

  • Minimum age

As stated above, this set is difficult. This is definitely a set for older teenagers who are interested in STEM activities and who have mastered the earlier sets. SpaceRail sets the minimum age at 15 years old. It is also ideal for adults as it will still be a challenge.

  • Competitive price

For the fun and mental challenges this advanced Level 9 roller coaster game offers players, it is a decent price. If you consider what LEGO sets cost, this will also provide hours of entertainment.

SpaceRail Level 9 is one of the best roller coaster games and marble run sets for people who enjoy challenging tasks. You can use it to help older teenagers to take a break from electronics and have the experience of completing a detailed project. What an accomplishment!

People who are drawn to these types of roller coaster sets and activities tend to have the patience. Working on it for hours is part of the fun for these game enthusiasts.

Once you’ve completed the set, you have the thrill of running the steel balls on the tracks to see if it works.

Constructing the coaster is half the fun. Afterwards, you get to play on the roller coaster you built! This particular level is considered an ultimate challenge for SpaceRail hobbyists.

SpaceRail roller coasters are educational

Building this coaster teaches math, physics, engineering, design, construction, mechanics, and science. All the while, you will strengthen your critical thinking skills.

It will take time and patience to set up. You will want to take the time to read the directions for each step but that is what makes it fun. It’s an educational and challenging set that, depending on the level, takes several hours to complete.

The higher the level, the more difficult the set.

Start with a Level 1 or Level 2 set and let your kids gain mastery over it. It will be doable and enjoyable, and they will learn the basics of setting up SpaceRails. These are great sets for parents and children to complete together.

Your kids may enjoy building with Lego and other types of creative sets. Space Rail is unique and will further introduce STEM concepts. A nice feature of all SpaceRail sets is after you build it, everyone can have fun running the marbles down the tracks.

SpaceRail marble roller coaster building set

Space Rail is a set or game that is educational and challenges your creativity, skill, patience, and persistence.

It’s more than a game in that you don’t take turns playing it. You can consider it more of a model you build and then enjoy playing with. SpaceRail can provide you, your family, and friends hours of learning fun and exhilarating entertainment.

Should you buy a SpaceRail Game?

Know that SpaceRail isn’t a “game” that you play against opponents. If you want an educational game that can teach your child skills like problem-solving, grit, critical thinking skills, and the like, then a SpaceRail marble run set is a good buy.

More than anything, this STEM kit will encourage a child to be patient and inspire creativity. It will improve building skills, and instill self-esteem upon completion of assembly.

Family time with older kids

This is a “must have” item for families who want to encourage their children to learn engineering, mechanics, construction, and more. It’s a great way to spend time with your child or grandchild. Working together completing this project will take hours and teach perseverance.

Note, there are very small parts. You will need to be able to leave the set and pieces out undisturbed in order to come back to it.

The popularity of the game has increased over time because of its ability to integrate both fun and education at the same time.

SpaceRail is a toy that even older children will enjoy as the sets get progressively more challenging. It’s great for building a growth mindset in kids, even into their teen years.

There are beginner sets up to advanced sets. It is a perfect STEM project for parents looking for activities to occupy children who enjoy math, science, and construction.

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids

Magnetic Toys: Choose Between Magnetic Balls, Blocks, Tiles & More

Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

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KiwiCo Crates Review ~ Tinker Crate and Eureka Crate for Older Kids

Where to buy SpaceRails

You can find SpaceRail sets at specialty game stores, used bookstores, as well as online. You won’t typically find it in mainstream stores. If you see SpaceRail or SpaceWarp on the box, it’s the same thing.

SpaceRail and Space Warp

SpaceRail is based on the Space Warp game. The assembly roller coaster game Space Warp was first created in the 1980s.

Initially, a Japanese company which made toy created this toy but stopped its manufacture in 1988, for reasons unknown.

They still continued manufacturing parts of the toy that might be needed for replacement purposes and kept creating these parts till they ran out of supplies and materials around 1995.

However, after there was a huge demand for the toy in the United States, A US based company decided to start manufacturing and marketing the Space Warp toy specifically to be imported to the United States.

Great STEM toy

Unlike other STEM toys and building sets, SpaceRail is not a fast build. Budding engineers will learn patience and organization as they set it up.

SpaceRail is really about the fun of constructing the run, whatever level it is, and watching the marbles go through your particular creation. It’s a great project to leave out and complete over the summer. In addition, it’s a great indoor activity to keep teens off electronics.

Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids
Best Family Board Games to Play with Kids

Best Family Board Games – When you play family board games with your kids, you are doing a lot of good. You will never regret this time. In addition to them learning valuable skills, playing games with your children and teens is an easy way to connect.

No matter their ages, it’s never too late to start playing games with your kids. Starting this habit is fun, educational, and will pay off in so many ways.

Best Engineering Toys for Kids– Best Engineering and STEM Toys

Best Science Toys That Will Inspire a Generation

SpaceRail – All About Marble Run Roller Coaster SpaceRails

Family game night

Just play a game! While the idea behind a structured family game night is awesome, when it’s more of an everyday thing and less of an event, you will do it much more often.

Certainly, parents don’t have always have extra hours each week to play games with their kids; however, you can use the time you do have and make it happen.

There are games you can play a in 10 – 15 minutes.

You can play a quick game of Yahtzee or Connect 4. Or you can start a game that takes longer, and leave it out to play when you have more time.

There are amazing games available. The best family games and board games are ones that you all want to play.

They should be age appropriate but it is okay for your child to grow into some skills.

Even as an adult — with games I played countless times with my daughter — I learned new strategies playing the same games with my sons years later.

Best family board games for kids

We are most definitely a Game Family. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing games with my family. These games below are all great family games. All of them are educational in some way.

If you are going to buy one game today, choose the strategy card game, SET Game. You can use it in different ways for kids ages 4+, by teaching them patterns, not playing it as a game. Teens and adults will enjoy playing SET Game. It teaches math and critical thinking skills in a fun way.

There are many reasons to play games. Once your kids are older and you start playing more involved games, you can continue to enjoy them for years. They are still lots of fun even as the kids get older.

We’ve owned or own each of these games and have played them all, many times. There are a few other board games we didn’t like, and I have excluded them from this list of games. We have many others I need to add to this list.

This list starts with the best family games for teens because this is an age when it’s sometimes difficult to spend time with them. Playing games is an easy way to connect.

best family board game

best family board game

Best board games for teens

Here are the best family board games for teens. Kids of all ages will learn something from playing games.

In this list of best games for teens and tweens, you will see a lot of games that you can start much younger. However, these are fun games that will still interest teenagers.

What makes these board games classics is you and your kids will continue to improve your skills. They are open-ended games that will continue to challenge you and your family. This keeps them interesting and fun to play.

Spending time with teenagers 

When your kids are tweens and teens, it’s common to spend less hands-on time with them. Between school, homework, and all their activities, when there is downtime, they are likely to be on their electronic devices.

What tween and teen doesn’t resort to going on the iPad, texting a friend from their phone, or playing a game on Xbox? And frankly, parents are usually grateful for the much-needed break.

However, we all know this is a critical time in our kids’ lives. Playing family board games with teens and tweens will help them in so many ways.

It’s an easy way to spend time with your kids, even if you don’t always get them talking. Just having being together, having fun is important.

Even if they are reluctant at first, find some games that capitalize on their strengths. Are they into strategy and math? Do they excel in reading or spelling? Just have fun with them.

Don’t criticize their moves or over-explain. Let them figure some things out. Make it stress-free and fun to be with you.

Start off with a quick game and end on a high note so they will look forward to playing the next time. Playing family board games with teens is something you can do with them whether you have 15 minutes or two hours.

Best Educational Toys for STEM Learning

Trading Cards for Kids

Apples to Apples

This is fun when your kids have friends over and you want to get them off electronics. You need at least three people to play.

You can play individually or on teams. This is fun for the family but tweens and even teenagers may not know everything on the cards. This makes it great for conversation.

Backgammon

This is a two-player game. It’s easy to learn but you will see your teen’s strengths shine as he figures out ways to strategize.

Bananagrams

Use the tiles to make words. Bananagrams is almost like playing Scrabble without the board. You make the grid yourself, making words and connecting them together, trying to be faster than your opponents.

Sometimes we play by the rules, and other times, we modify the rules according to how much time we have and what we’re in the mood for.

You can play for however long you like. No matter your kid’s age, he or she can use these tiles or Scrabble tiles to spell out their spelling words. Your tween or teen can even play this on his/her own.

Boggle

This is another game that will enhances your teen’s ability to find words. Players try to find as many words as they can with the letters.

It will fun when your kids are really old enough to win against you. In the meantime, depending on their skill level, let them use two letter words.

Or make it so you have to form words that are at least four letters to count. As with all games, remember they are still kids — even though they are older. No one wants to lose all the time.

This is a fun game to play when you don’t have a lot of time. You can play a round in less than 10 minutes if that’s all the time you have. This is a go-to game with my adult family members as well.

CATAN

This game is called Settlers of CATAN. We refer to it as CATAN.

This is my teenagers’ favorite game. What’s great about CATAN is no matter who rolls, you can win cards so you have to pay attention.

This keeps everyone interested and strategizing at all times. You aren’t waiting around waiting for everyone to take their turns before you go again.

Even though the original version in the red box is fantastic, as your family plays more, the Expansion additions — Seafarers; Cities & Knights; Traders & Barbarians — make it even more interesting.

If you have a larger family or want to play with more than four people, you can also buy Extensions of CATAN so that five or six people can play. Read more below about playing CATAN and which to buy.

Catch Phrase

Be sure to pick out a version that’s appropriate for kids. There are some adult versions.

This has been a fun party game for kids and adults. The more people you have, the more fun it is. We find it’s best when a minimum of four people play but you can play with three.

This is another game you can play quickly.

Chess

This is a two-player game. When there are three or four of us, we make a mini chess tournament. After your teens learn the fundamentals, they can build on additional skills and strategies.

Clue

I still had my Clue game from when I was a child. Now they have different versions, which is fun too.

We highly recommend you read reviews. Some versions of Clue are better than others. Some versions, such as the Harry Potter Clue we have, has different rules. This is fine, and it’s fun, but just know what you are buying so you can get what you want.

To win in Clue, you have to be first to uncover the Suspect, Weapon, and Room. Teens will definitely learn skills from trial and error, process of elimination, and strategy.

They will learn strategies to deduce different ways to get the answer they want.

For example, if they are trying to learn if someone has a suspect, they may learn to ask an opponent a room and a weapon they already have to flush out if the person has the suspect.They will also learn to be organized on their sheet.

Clue is a very fun game and fun for teens.

LIFE

It’s a fun game for tweens. We put it on this list because it’s good for up to 13 years old. We like the difference between taking the College track or the Job track and all the challenges that come with each.

Memory Match

The “Memory Game” may seem basic, but it’s fun if you can find cards that your teens are interested in. For us, we have the NFL Memory Match. We play where you have to get an entire division in order to win.

We continue to vary the rules. It’s really fun. See below for our Memory Match review for ages 5 – 7 below. Trust me, your kids will beat you in this game unless you’ve had a good night’s sleep!

This is also a great game to play when you have children of different ages. Teens can play with 5 or 6 year olds and still be engaged.

Monopoly

The different versions of this board game keep it a classic and interesting. You can choose Star Wars Monopoly, Game of Thrones, Pokemon Monopoly, Mario Bros, and more.

We recently bought Monopoly National Parks Edition. We are all learning things from it.

There are also Late for the Sky -opoly versions. These versions are based on cities, animals, and more. Some examples are Chicago-opoly, Horse-opoly, etc.

If your teen is into something, see if there is a Monopoly or a Late for the Sky version. These make great gifts for teens and are fun to play as a family.

Monopoly teaches essential skills about not just living to spend money and pay other people. Make sure your kids play this several times when they are teens so they can really see how in order to win, they need to have income-generating properties.

Like in real life, they can’t just spend, spend, spend and expect to win.

We’ve modified the Monopoly rules so that you have to go twice around before you can start buying properties. We’ve found this to be more fun and interesting.

Poker

Get some poker chips and a deck of cards, and you are ready to play. I’m stunned my tweens and teens find playing poker so fun.

On a recent vacation meeting up with friends, every time we made them get off electronics, they joyfully returned to playing poker together. You can have a larger set of poker chips or a smaller set.

When we play with the smaller set of about 100 chips, we can easily play for even just 20 minutes until someone runs out of chips.

RISK

You will love playing RISK with your teen or tween because while it’s easy to set up, it takes a long time to play.

This will be a game you can enjoy together for many hours, but you can play in whatever time you have available. This game is best played with at least three people. When you have four or more, someone will most likely be eliminated fairly early on.

You want to make sure that person isn’t the teen you are trying to spend time with! If you don’t have hours to play in one sitting, you will just need a means to set the game board aside and leave the pieces intact.

You won’t want to have to recreate the board once you’ve started. This might mean you move it to the side of the table.

Or, if you don’t have room to leave it out, or have little ones or pets that might ruin the board, you may want to slide it onto a sturdy piece of cardboard and put it under the bed or dresser. (It’s worth the trouble because it’s so fun!)

There are many versions of RISK, including Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and more. We’ve always enjoyed the original.

You can play with the RISK Mission cards if you like. Each player gets a card and needs to complete the mission in order to win. Using the cards makes it much faster than without the cards.

Please see below for how much your teens about countries from playing RISK.

RISK Europe

When you think of buying Monopoly in a different version, the game has the same premise, just the characters, cards and board are different.

But you play the same way. With this version of RISK, that’s not the case.

This is a different game than the original. The idea is simple: Take over the world, or in this case, Europe.

However, it definitely has more rules and is more involved. When we bought RISK Europe, my kids were old enough (9 and 11) and interested enough to watch Youtube videos and read the directions themselves, and they taught me to play. That was fanastic!

If your tweens or teens love strategy and are learning history in school, like the original RISK, this is a great game.

Scrabble

This is an easy to play game that will meet the kids where they are with their word-building skills.

They can use their language and spelling skills to put together words. It helps them to remember blends and diagraphs and which letter combinations make words.

Scrabble is a fun game for teens.

SET Game

This remains a family favorite in our house. Talk about keeping the grown ups engaged in a game!

SET is a game in which everyone plays at once; you don’t take turns. You need a flat surface to lay out 12 SET cards.

The goal is to be the find sets before the other player(s). Whoever has the most sets at the end wins.

A set consists of three cards with everything in each of the four categories being the same or different. Players look for color, shape, number of shapes, and pattern inside shape.

In each of these categories, they all have to be the same or all have to be different.

As an example of a SET can be:

  • The shapes on each card are red
  • Each card has a different shape
  • All three cards have the same number of shapes
  • Each card has the same pattern

It’s amazing how a simple game can at times be so difficult.

It really helps develop and cultivate critical thinking skills in your kids (and in yourself!). Teens will look for patterns in the cards, running through all the possibilities.

While I’m all for playing games with your kids, this is something they can even play on their own, as one person.

SET Game is a favorite game. It’s also great because you can play for 10 minutes or however long you want. The game can end when you’ve used all the cards, or you can play another round, etc.

Stratego

Kids and adults love this game. It’s for two players.

We actually play on my parent’s Stratego game. Be sure if you are purchasing this family game online that you read the reviews and know what you are buying.

You will want to be sure you and your kids can distinguish each piece from the other. Some of the newer versions of Stratego aren’t as good as the original versions.

In this age of battle games online, this is a great way to capture that spirit in a board game.

Players hide their flag and try to capture their opponent’s flag first.

best family board games for teens

Ticket to Ride is a fun board game for teens.

Ticket to Ride

This game involves math, strategy, and geography. You can finish in an hour.

In Ticket to Ride, players build routes from destination to destination, depending on the cards. We played with three players and modified it playing with two players. It’s a fantastic game for tweens and teens.

We only have the original version which is the United States, but there are other versions across the world as well.

Yahtzee

You will be amazed at how much your kids’ game-play will evolve playing this game as they get older.

Together, you will be able to talk about probability and the odds of trying for certain dice combinations over others. These games for teens are timeless. It’s likely you and your kids won’t outgrow them.

Other fun games for teens: Blokus, Quiddler (made by the same company as SET Game), Othello (difficult to find in stores now), Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo.

Best family games for ages 9 – 11

Apples to Apples

My kids started playing this when they were 7 and 8 years old; however, sometimes they didn’t know what some of the words on the cards meant, so I’m putting this in the older age category.

Of course, had we bought Apples to Apples Junior, they would have been fine.

This version is Ages 12+. We were always able to help them by quietly taking them aside to explain the meaning. This was always fun to play in groups or when my kids’ friends came over. Sometimes we play as a family.

It comes with enough different cards so unless you play all the time, you won’t repeat cards.

Backgammon

My kids would have been ready for backgammon when we all learned chess years earlier, but we never had a backgammon board.

It’s fun and a classic. It’s a 2-player game. Kids will make choices on which of their pieces to move to make it to their “home” side before the other player.

There’s strategy, counting, and it helps kids build critical thinking skills.

CATAN

Start with the red box, which is the original Settlers of CATAN. Everyone works on their own to build roads, settlements, and cities with sometimes-abundant and sometimes-scarce resources.

The great thing about this game is that when someone rolls, everyone stands to benefit.

It keeps everyone focused on the game and planning what moves they will want to make on their turn.

After you play regular CATAN for months or (like us) years, you can add on another version. It will really take this already-amazing game to a new level.

Before you buy any of the expansion versions, you need to have the original CATAN in the red box.

Make sure you know what Settlers of CATAN you are buying. CATAN Expansion is an add-on themed version.

CATAN Extension versions add more to the game so five or six players can play. Extension means you are buying the pieces so five or six players can play (instead of four players).

Clue

Above we discuss how clue helps kids solve the mystery. They roll the dice and move their player to different rooms, trying to find out who committed the crime.

The Game of LIFE

We ended up buying LIFE for our kids because they played it at a cousin’s house and loved it. In The Game of Life, players spin the spinner and travel in a car as their game piece throughout their life until they reach the end of the board to retirement.

Whoever has the most money wins.

It’s a fun game, but my complaints are the game has the same inflated salaries and payouts that it did when I was a kid.

I wish they’d make it a little bit more realistic. Also, I don’t like how you earn money for each additional child you have. (I’m not sure what that’s supposed to be teaching.)

This game teaches concepts though, and some strategy, taking turns, etc., and my kids always enjoy playing.

They really like the pieces. So while it’s not one of my favorite family board games, my boys like it, so I play.

RISK

I actually had my daughter’s RISK board from the 90’s and played this with my kids when they were 7 and 8 years old, but only because we had it and I thought they were ready.

They were ready; however, we played for short time periods.

Also, I had to talk with them often about how the game can get heated/stressful when you are losing and how it’s all just for fun.

So, I’ve moved this into the 9 – 11 year old category but my kids and I really enjoyed playing it for years before.

Unless you have hours to play, you will most likely need a place to leave it out so you can come back to it because it’s a long game.

Sometimes, we’ve slid it on a big piece from a cardboard box and put it out of the way until we had time to play again — oftentimes over several days. It is long!

However, it’s fairly simple to learn with not tons of rules like other advanced games.

It’s also ensured my kids know their continents and where each of them are in the world. (Our game board from the 1990’s has North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.)

It’s also encouraged subjects such as how countries have been renamed through the ages.

SET Game

See above in the games for teens section about SET. This is a fast-paced card game. It’s an amazing game to help your child think critically and look for patterns.

SET Game remains an all-time favorite family game. Sometimes it takes awhile to find a SET, and it’s really fun when it’s the child to find it before the adults!

Stratego

This is two-player game. If your kids enjoy battles, this is a great game. It’s sort of like Battleship.

It helps teach numbers (lower numbers beat higher numbers), strategy (where will you hide your flag and what strategy will you use to find your opponent’s flag first) and logic.

This is a game your family will enjoy as your kids become tweens and teens.

Suspend

My boys would have enjoyed this when they were younger but received it as a gift when they were 9 and 10.

You learn about balance along with other physics concepts. It’s a fast game.

Other great games for 9 – 11 year olds: Blokus, Pictionary, Othello, Sorry, Tenzi, Ticket to Ride

Games for ages 7 – 9

Look in the lists for ages above and below as well. There are a lot of great games for 7 – 9 year olds.

Bananagrams

We didn’t love the rules to this game so over time, we made up our own games. Sometimes we divide the letters evenly and do our best to use all our letters. Other times, we take 15 letters at a time to make words.

When my boys were younger, we would often work together instead of compete against each other.

I’m happy my kids want to play because it helps them figure out what words they can make with their letters.

I’ve seen them put together blends and diagraphs they know go together, like tr-, sh-, sch-, ck-, fl-, etc., and try to make words.

It builds on skills they learn in school.

It’s definitely a game in which you will see your kids’ progress. They will make more complicated words and find ways to use all their letters in ways they wouldn’t have years earlier.

Battleship

This is engaging for younger kids and still is fun for my tweens. It’s a two-player game.

Kids learn to figure out coordinates on their game board and work to find their opponent’s ships first to win.

Boggle

You can play this game at any age and don’t have to make it a contest to see who can get the most words.

This is really a great game to help teach spelling and reinforce skills. As kids get older, they will still be able to play. Another bonus to this game is they can learn writing skills as well as math skills when they add their points. You can play it in any amount of time you have.

Chinese Checkers

We never owned this game until recently when I asked for it for my birthday. I owned it as a child, and played it with my kids at the library and at their cousin’s house. This game involves strategy and goes quickly.

It’s best for an even number of players (you only need two) but works when three of us play.

You maneuver your pieces (like marbles) to get them all to the other side before your opponents do.

You can move one at a time or figure out strategies to leapfrog over your pieces to progress faster. Find a set that includes an area to store the game pieces.

Clue

See above for Clue. It’s a great game even for kids 7 – 9. It will take them a little more time to understand how to complete their sheet, but once they understand, it will be a fun family game. They will practice counting and learn problem solving skills.

LCR – Left Center Right

Don’t make the mistake I did when we first started playing this with my kids. I thought it would be fun with real coins. It resulted in tears — and my boys weren’t/aren’t criers!

Use the chips it comes with and enjoy this simple game for what it is. It helps kids learn their left and their right and some math skills.

Like Hi Ho Cherry-O described above, this game is all about chance.

Everyone has an equal chance to win.

There isn’t skill involved; therefore, younger players will have just as much of a chance as his/her older siblings.

Also a bonus is that it’s a fast game, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. It’s just three dice and some chips that you can store easily in the small tube.

It’s a perfect game to bring on a trip and was something easy to bring to grandma’s house and have her play with them.

Tweens may still enjoy playing this. However, we don’t play it as we have a lot of other games that involve strategy.

Maybe it’s just my family, but we always call this Left Right Center instead of Left Center Right!

Monopoly

Like all classic games for older children, Monopoly is one you can play repeatedly, even as an adult, and work to refine your strategies.

It really teaches the kids the concept of having an income-generating asset vs just saving money to pay rent when you land on other players’ properties.

Between all the versions of (Hasbro’s) Parker Brothers’ Monopoly and all the Late for the Sky’s -Opolis versions, you will have endless choices for fun. My daughter owned Horse-Opoly. One of my son’s has Puppy-Opoly. In addition, we have many other versions, including Kansas City-opoly and Seattle-opoly.

We also own many versions of Monopoly, including Pokemon Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, National Parks Monopoly, Monopoly Gamer (not exactly like the original version), among others.

Parchessi

This remains a classic for a reason. Your entire family will enjoy it. You can think of it as a more involved version of Sorry.

This is a game older kids will enjoy as well.

Payday

I have my game from the 70’s and my kids love playing Payday. It’s a classic game that helps kids learn about paying bills and earning money each month.

It’s really quite realistic and engaging at the same time.

My kids still wanted to play this game when they were tweens.

SET game

Start off your younger kids playing this game. You can start by having them find sets in the cards, not making it a race to do so.

They will learn about shapes, patterns, colors. It’s a brilliant game that they can continue playing into adulthood. It’s fun for everyone and really will help build your child’s brain. Schools often play SET in enrichment classes.

If you have 10 minutes or 30 minutes, you can start introducing SET Game to your kids. Buy it!

Yahtzee

Once kids learn the different combinations of dice, this is a very easy game to play. Yet, there is a lot of strategy to this game that you might miss when you first play.

This is an excellent game for teens as well as younger children.

As your kids get better at understanding the rules and learn the different combinations for the dice, they will learn to figure out the odds of getting the different combinations.

After they roll the dice, they will have to choose what combination to roll for in their next two rolls. After their third and final roll for their turn, they will have to decide where to mark on their sheet.

For example, if after three rolls, your daughter has three fives and two fours, she will need to choose to mark down three fives, or three of a kind, or full house.

Kids will definitely hone their decision-making skills. Throughout the game, they need to add up their dice.

At the end of the game, they add all their points together. Yahtzee is a great game to teach math concepts, probability, and strategy.

Games for 5 to 7 year olds

Please also look below for games for younger kids as many of them are still fun, especially if you have children of different ages. They will love many of the games on that list.

Connect 4

Connect 4 spans different ages. Younger kids will enjoy it and have fun dropping the pieces in the slots. There is still enough strategy involved — getting four of your pieces across either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Connect 4 is a great game for when you don’t have a lot of time. My kids often made up more advanced rules when they were tweens. They still have fun letting all the chips fall through the slots when the game is over.

Jenga

You can have your kids play this younger as well.

We own two sets, and the kids use them to build the tallest tower, among other things.

I’m glad to see they are creative with it in addition to playing the intended way.

I bought this for my boys because my younger son played in school. The teacher had multiple sets, and during free play, the kids would compete to see who could get the highest tower.

So while they sometimes are creative with building, if we had more than two sets, they would do this more often. Sort of like with Lego bricks, the more you have, the more you can do.

The fact that they are being creative in this way, makes me love Jenga even more.

How do you play? Set up the tower with three blocks facing one way and on top that, three blocks facing the other way. Continue until you’ve stacked all 54 blocks.

Players take turns removing a block without making the Jenga tower fall down.

This last time I brought my boys’ Jenga sets out, I was surprised to see folded slips of paper in one of the boxes.

My tween boys had made up some additional rules, like “Pick a brick from the bottom half,” and “Use your left hand,” etc.

I didn’t even know they did it! I love to see how they modify and add on to the games as they are getting older.

Junior Monopoly

Junior Monopoly helps introduce the concepts of counting money. It’s a much less involved version than regular Monopoly.

The rules are appropriate for the age range.

What’s great is you will know when they’ve outgrown this version and when to start them on the regular Monopoly.

Once they’ve aged out, you won’t want to regularly play it again, but it’s awesome for what it is.

Memory Match game

What’s great about the memory game is the different versions available. Depending on their age, you can get start with an alphabet version or a character they are interested in. Memory Match is great for all ages.

There are so many options.

When my kids were small, they had a Thomas and Friends and Toy Story memory games. When they were older, we bought the Mario Memory game. This is how I learned all the Mario characters! My kids had fun trying to help me remember their names.

Basically, whatever your child’s interest, you may be able to find some version of the memory match game. Once, my aunt gave my kids memory match cards with famous paintings that she bought at a museum.

When my son was 10 years old, we bought him an NFL memory match set. We still play it a lot. To make it more challenging, we play where we have to find matches for an entire division.

It’s fun to watch how my kids modify and add on to rules to make it more interesting for their age.

It’s a great game to build memory skills. I remember this game being one of the first games in which my kids started consistently winning against me.

Who can remember all of those cards?! Now they beat me in most games, including Monopoly, CATAN, chess, SET Game, and RISK.

It’s awesome when I’m trying my best, and they continue to win.

Mousetrap

My son played this at school and had been asking for it. It’s the same classic game you may have grown up with.

It’s fun, and when the kids are old enough, they can play on their own.

Whereas many games involve setting up pieces in advance — especially as kids are playing more involved games — the unique twist to this game is players build the board as part of their turn.

They will have fun rolling the die to see where to move their playing piece (mouse) as they travel the game board.

Depending on what they roll, they might have the chance to build a part of the elaborate mousetrap.

That’s what makes the game fun. And chances are, even if your family plays often, kids will likely get to build different sections and pieces to the game.

Kids and adults will enjoy seeing if the mousetrap catches a mouse, which is one of the player’s. It’s sturdy and fun.

There are two steel marbles so watch for choking hazards and so they don’t get lost. You can replace them with regular marbles but it won’t work as well. You really need the weight to enable the trap.

Operation

There are multiple versions but we enjoyed playing the Classic Operation game.

Kids refine fine motor skills as they patiently work to extract body parts without sounding the buzzer.

If you purchase this game, be sure to get something close to the original. It should include real body parts, including the Funny Bone, Wish Bone, Adam’s Apple, Spare Ribs, etc.

Some of the newer versions are much different and not as fun. If you purchase online, buyer beware.

You will want to look for this in a store so you can check out the box and know what you are buying in advance.

Perfection

My kids loved playing Perfection. It’s great to enhance fine motor skills and the ability to make decisions quickly.

I even had my old Lakeside Superfection game in which you would build cubes in the same timed way you do with Perfection.

Sadly, they don’t make Superfection anymore but Perfection is still fun — just a bit easier as your kids get older. Still, they can have fun modifying the rules so that it remains challenging.

Sorry

Sorry uses cards instead of dice to move your pawn. This is a great game to start introducing decision-making.

Which of your markers should you move?

It’s still one of our families’ favorite board games. Somehow, it never gets old.

Tenzi

Get the set with the cards, and it will become a game you can play until your kids are teens and beyond.

Tenzi also makes for a great party game. It’s a great game to play over the holidays with family.

It’s a fun and easy game to play when you have a play date or another family over and the kids are different ages.

The rules are simple, and you can make up your own, especially if you don’t get the cards. You can play however long you want — five minutes or however long you have or want to play.

This is a fast game because you can end when the cards run out or whenever you decide.

Also, a bonus…. This game involves everyone the entire game, so no one has to wait for their turn to play.

Trouble

We had Hasbro’s Trouble Star Wars version but the original is fun as well. This is one game in which the version really doesn’t matter; it doesn’t alter the game in any way.

It’s perfect to learn counting, and like Sorry, to have to decide which pawn to move. You “roll” the die by pushing down on the plastic dome in the center of the board. The die is inside.

After you press and release it, the die pops up and lands on a number.

Whack a Mole

My kids would have enjoyed playing this when they were younger than six and seven.

However, one of my son’s friends gave this to him for his birthday when he was six. Both boys enjoyed playing for years. It’s a two-player game but sometimes we had Whack a Mole tournaments so three of us could play.

This was also a game my kids enjoyed bringing out when they had a friend over.

Games for 3 to 5 year olds

Candy Land

This game involves players turning over a card and moving to the next color that matches the card. It’s great for building on color recognition.

If you are ordering Candy Land online and not buying in the store, you will want to be sure you are buying the one with cards.

Try to get as close to the original as you can.

Some of the game’s remakes have lost what it was that made Candy Land so magical and special to play.

Chutes and Ladders

In addition to counting and moving her playing piece, your child may find herself in the lead, only to slide down to last place.

Like with all games, they will start to learn about winning and losing.

It’s a fun game with all sorts of built-in lessons.

Don’t Break the Ice

My kids loved this game. They played with it until they were nine and 10 and would probably still play if I hadn’t (unfortunately) donated it when we moved.

I’ve known parents to pass down, donate, or let their kids sell this game at a garage sale much sooner in order to clear out their closets. I always wished they’d hold on to it longer.

If you let it be accessible to your kids — and not keep it in the back of the closet — they will return to it. It’s a really fun game and believe it or not, there is strategy involved.

It’s just a little bit of a pain to set it up — dozens of times — when kids are younger, and they can’t do it themselves. Your kids will love it!

Don’t Spill the Beans

This game is always fun, and it helps little ones build their fine motor skills. In my day, the set came with real beans. Now, they are plastic.

It’s a little flimsier and more likely to tip than it was when I was younger. However, it’s still a fun and simple game.

If you play games on a table instead of on a rug on the floor, you will want to be sure you have a tablecloth or something other than the bare table.

You will have an easier time catching some of those beans that don’t make it into the holder after it tips. Like with many of these games, you will want to watch for small pieces if you have young children.

Hi Ho Cherry-O

This game remains a classic for a reason. Kids learn to spin a spinner and follow directions, counting, taking turns, and fine motor skills.

The best thing about this game is there isn’t strategy involved. So the youngest child won’t automatically have a disadvantage, like in many other games.

Everyone has an equal chance at winning. It’s a quick game.

You can play multiple rounds so all of your children will hopefully get a chance to win.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

This is an action-packed game. My kids always loved playing.

We had one of the original versions with marbles. Like other games with small pieces, you need to be aware of choking hazards, especially for younger siblings. This is game is the most fun for little ones when you can play on a carpeted floor.

If you have more than one child playing, it may be hard for them to reach the game if it’s in the middle of the table.

Lucky Ducks

My kids had a blast with this quacking ducks game, and we went through a lot of batteries. The ducks circle the pond, and you try to find four ducks that match your color before the other person does.

It is a fast game and helps kids identify colors and sharpen their memory.

Like with all of these games, children are learning cognitive skills, such as problem solving and decision making.

Play family games with your kids

If you have an extra table or room for one, this is ideal for any game-playing family.

A folding card table is ideal for this. You can start a game and then leave it out.

In some of our houses, this has meant sliding the game board on a big cardboard box cutout and moving it to another part of our house.

Fast games 20 minutes or less

There are many benefits of playing board games, no matter how much time you have.

You can play many of these games for as long as you want, however, you can also play them in 10 – 20 minutes.

This is great for when you have some time — like right after dinner or before bedtime — but can’t commit to playing for a long time.

Most all games in which there are “rounds,” instead of competing to get to the end of the board, are faster to play because you can end them at any time.

  • Bananagrams: You can even sit with your kids and have them spell out their spelling words instead of playing a game.
  • Boggle
  • Candy Land
  • Cards
  • Catch Phrase
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Chute and Ladders
  • Connect 4
  • Don’t Break the Ice
  • Don’t Spill the Beans
  • Hi Ho Cherry-O
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Jenga
  • LCR – Left Center Right
  • Lucky Ducks
  • Memory Match
  • Operation
  • Perfection
  • Poker
  • Rubik’s Race
  • SET game
  • Suspend
  • Tenzi
  • Whack a Mole
  • Yahtzee: if playing with two players

If you are playing with older kids, there are other games you can play that will likely be shorter than 20 minutes as well.

Reasons to play family games

1. Playing family games is a great way to spend time with your kids.

Everyone can put away the electronics and other distractions and enjoy time with each other.

2. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Even if you have 15 minutes, you can start or play a game, especially card games and games with rounds.

These are much shorter because you can agree to stop at any time. On school nights, this is ideal.

During the weekends or schools breaks, you can play longer games, like Monopoly, Scrabble, or RISK.

3. Playing games teach valuable skills.

Some games are more educational than others. However, with family game, you child will be learning something or build on existing skills.

Your kids will learn so much from playing games.

  • Taking turns
  • Following rules
  • Being a good sport
  • Counting and adding
  • Spelling, forming words and letters
  • Strategy
  • Logic
  • Matching
  • Colors, Shapes
  • Odds and probability
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Math
  • Spelling (Bananagrams, Boggle, Scrabble)
  • Geography (RISK)
  • Generating income
  • Paying bills

4. Your kids will learn strategy.

Even as an adult, I’ve learned some more involved strategy after playing these games so many times.

5. It’s something you can always do together.

No matter how old your children get, you can always enjoy playing games with each other. Playing family board games with teenagers is a great way to spend time together.

6. It doesn’t cost money after you have the game.

So many ways we spend dedicated time with our kids involve spending money.

Playing board games together is a great way to have quality time with our children, at home, without spending money each time.

Different versions of games

Sure, it’s marketing. These big game makers want us to keep buying their games.

But it’s been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions. My one son loves them so much, he’s started collecting them.

Even though it’s usually the same game, it’s  been fun to see the different Monopoly game versions and other versions Parker Bros (owned by Hasbro), Late for the Sky, and Hasbro make.

Sometimes they are the same game with a theme. Other times, as in RISK Europe and some versions of Clue, there are different rules.

Either way, having different themed games changes up your game play and makes for a great gift.

Game sets

When a friend bought my son a game set that included checkers, chess, backgammon for his birthday, we started playing backgammon.

Some include a deck of cards, Mancala, and/or Chinese Checkers.

Popular board games are fun but be sure to remember the classics.

Family board games gifts

Some of our favorite games have been gifts.

Especially when kids have so much access to technology, an age-appropriate board game can be a welcome change.

As you play more games with your children, you will want to find different games to expand upon their skills and everyone’s enjoyment.

Games as gifts

My son was invited to a birthday party. We are good family friends with the parents. I texted them to ask for gift suggestions. The dad responded with, “board games” along with some other suggestions.

The mother wrote back to say to “forget the board games” because they “had too many.” I’ll admit to being shocked.

We love games and are always looking for fun family games. My daughter and sons have always enjoyed getting games and board games as gifts.

One of the best gifts ever was when a relative gave my sons Settlers of CATAN for Christmas. We’d never heard of it. We’ve played 30+ times and will play for years to come. We bought additional versions and change the board so it’s never the same game twice.

Best board games

The best family games are educational, fun, stress-free, and ones you don’t tire of. You want to find fun games to play, and you know your kids best.

Choose games that will interest them and play to their strengths. Consider how many people will be playing and if there will be older or younger siblings playing.

You want to be sure everyone has a good time.

Board games for kids

Playing board games help kids to learn about saving and spending money, costs, having enough money, and running out of money.

They learn logic, strategy and figuring out ways to win. Through all of this, they are learning about taking turns, good sportsmanship, and finishing the game, win or lose.

All the while, you get to spend invaluable time with your children, no matter what their ages.

Bring a deck of cards or some dice, and your kids will always have something to do. It’s a great way to spend time together that doesn’t involve an outing.

And unlike watching a movie together, playing family games together gives you a way to really connect with each other.

Play a game!

I grew up playing board games and card games with my sister and parents. This is still something we sometimes do when we get together.

It’s a great way to spend time with each other without electronic distractions. When you do this often enough, it’s not so much an occasion as it is just something you do.

While the idea and branding behind Hasbro’s Family Game Night is great, it doesn’t have to be a dedicated event. There are great reasons to play games with your kids.

You will never run out of fun family board games. There are popular games and classics. My kids and I have played all of the games I’ve reviewed above.

We just bought Blokus for Christmas and love it. It’s great for 9 years and up. There are many we play that I didn’t include that I’m remembering now, including Othello, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Taboo.

These are especially fun for older kids.

We also play a fair amount of card games, including Monopoly Deal, Quiddler (made by the same company as SET game) and Uno.

With electronics being so prevalent, now more than ever, it’s important to pick up some family board games, and play with your kids.

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Playing games with family

I grew up playing board games, and it’s still something we do when we get together as adults. Because of this, I started playing games with my daughter when she was three years old.

We began with simple children’s board games, like Hi-Ho Cheerio, Memory Match, and Chutes and Ladders. Later on, we played different games, such as Don’t Spill the Beans, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, Junior Monopoly, and Junior Scrabble, and Don’t Break the Ice.

We played card games, like Go Fish, with a regular deck of cards. We played Old Maid and Uno.

As she grew, we played games involving more math, strategy and skills, including counting money. We played regular Monopoly, Yahtzee, Boggle, and card games, like SET.

Depending on how much time we had, we played quick games or longer games. No matter how much time we played, it was a way to connect us, more so than sitting in front of the TV together.

When she was a teenager, she would still want to play games with her father and me. Even more incredible, a few times she wanted us — her parents! — to play a game with her boyfriend or her teen friends.

What teens want to spend time with their parents?!

Playing family games together always gave us something to do as she aged into adulthood. Games are also educational.

Playing games has always been a big part of our family. My younger sons and I have shared these same positive experiences from playing board games together. And we are all better for it.

Use this list for the best games for teens and end with the best games for younger kids. There are so many to choose.

Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards
Trading Cards for Kids ~ How to Get Started in Trading Cards

Trading cards for kids are fun, developmentally appropriate, and a worthwhile experience for kids. Kids can learn so many lessons and stay off of electronics in the process.

There are many different types of kids trading cards that may appeal to your children. They will become interested in trading cards for different reasons.

Many kids get “into” cards because of their peers. Kids might be talking about Pokemon cards on the bus or football cards at recess or lunch at school.

Yes, it’s tempting to try to let your child’s interest pass before letting them amass a collection; however, there are so many wonderful things about collecting these types of cards.

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We explain why and how to get started in trading cards.

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Advantages of trading cards for kids

For one, it gives kids something in common with kids they might not have been friends with before.

When children can bond over trading football or baseball cards, they expand their social circles and get to know kids they might not have had anything in common with before.

Second, kids learn responsibility and to care for their collection. They may start being interested in earning money to buy cards.

Even better, it gives them something to do – besides electronics – as they get older.

Kids enjoy sorting and organizing their cards and playing games with them. They are every easy to bring along on car rides.

Younger children may enjoy making up games with Pokemon cards, Yi-Gi-Oh cards, and Magic: The Gathering cards. As they age, they enjoy learning the actual rules to these games. Like with playing board games, they will learn critical thinking skills, taking turns, and strategy.

They will learn point values and important math skills with trading cards such as Pokemon and Yi-Gi-Oh cards. Even if they don’t play trading card games, it’s fun to collect and trade them.

Another benefit for starting a card collecting hobby is there are low barriers to entry. Trading cards are inexpensive and can be stored in a box already at home.

If they get more serious about collecting cards, they can get a special box or use a binder with some plastic trading sleeves. They also don’t take up a lot of room and are portable. Trading cards for kids make great gifts.

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How many trading cards do you need?

Most packs of trading cards cost around four dollars. If your child saved money or received a pack or two of cards they are interested in, you can see how likely it will be they are interested in them.

However, much like with many developmental toys, Lego building, Trio, Zoob, Lincoln Logs, etc., more trading cards means more fun.

Think of it this way, if your child has 50 Lego bricks, he/she can only do so much with them. However, with 2,000, there are many more possibilities. Trading Football Cards for Kids It’s the same with trading cards for kids. So while your child may own a pack of Pokemon cards with 10 cards, it will be exponentially more fun with 50 – 100+.

What kids need to get started collecting trading cards

While you should let their trading card collection evolve over time and let them figure it out as they go, here are some tips to get started.

An interest in a certain type of card

What is your child interested in?

Popular cards include Pokemon cards, football cards, baseball cards, basketball cards, YuGiOh, and Magic.

There are also wrestling cards, soccer cards, college sports cards, and hockey cards. There are Star Wars cards, Club Penguin cards, and other specialty trading cards for kids as well.

Find out what types of cards your child is interested in.

A few packs of cards

One or two packs is great to start. Perhaps the Tooth Fairy leaves a pack or Santa leaves some in the stockings. Maybe your child can earn money toward them.

If your child shows interest, get them a few more packs.

Maybe you will get lucky and find trading cards at a garage sale or Goodwill like my kids have found. playing with Yu-Gi-Oh cards For years, my kids’ put Pokemon cards and football cards on their birthday and holiday wish lists.

If it seems your child is getting interested in them and/or wants to start trading with other kids, they should have more cards. They will need 75 – 100+ cards at the very minimum.

If your children have enough cards, they can have fun sorting them. In addition, they can play games with them. They may even make up games with their YuGiOh or Pokemon cards.

Again, trading cards are sort of like Lego bricks. The more they have, the more fun it is and the more they can do with them.

At the same time, much of the fun with trading cards is collecting them, trading them, and planning how to get them. Giving your child 1,000 cards right from the start doesn’t let them experience what’s fundamentally fun about collecting trading cards.

They need enough to get started but let the collection evolve naturally from there based on their interest and involvement. Don’t take the fun away over the longer term by overdoing it from the start.

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Somewhere to keep the cards

Set your kids up for success by allowing them to have a system that works for storing the cards. Keeping a card collection helps them learn organization and responsibility.

In addition to keeping them organized and safe, you will also want them to have a way to transport their cards.

You may have to use trial and error to see what works best for the way in which your kids use their cards.

Some kids may want to keep their cards in stacks in boxes while others may enjoy seeing them all face-up in a binder. They may want to keep their special cards somewhere else. In addition, they may want to have a place for a certain trading card deck or for cards they want to bring somewhere.

Be flexible when it comes to kids’ card storage ideas. You want to make it easy for them to use their cards so they will play with them more.

As they acquire more cards, ask them how they would like to organize them. They may have seen the way friends organize their cards and already know what would work for them.

Some ways to organize trading cards include tins, boxes, and binders. Whatever system you and your child choose, it has to work for him/her.

  • Will your child be bringing the cards in the car?
  • Will he want to spread them out to play or will it be better to organize them in a binder?

Tins: If your child gets a Pokemon tin, that’s a great place to store dozens of cards. Have your child put a rubber band around it when he/she takes it outside the home.

Shoe box: A shoe box or other box is handy, especially in the beginning.

Plastic trading card box

trading Card Collecting boxes A plastic box made to carry and store trading cards is a great way to store, sort, protect, and access cards.

It will protect them from spills and make it easy to tote in the car, to stack evenly in a closet, etc. It even has a carrying handle.

The best box we’ve found is a small plastic box that holds 1,100 cards. It has five dividers and is great for a large collection or to house multiple collections.

These boxes are made for trading cards and are great for storing and sorting. They stack well on top of each other.

Oftentimes, my kids put several different types of cards in the box to take with them in the car to sort, discuss, trade, and play with.

3-ring binder with trading sleeves

You can buy a specialty trading card binder or use one you already have. Some of the specialty binders for trading cards are very wide. Your child may rather have two thinner binders rather than one big one. Again, be flexible as the hobby evolves.

The important thing is the plastic trading card pages which hold all types of standard trading cards. These plastic pages hold nine cards on each page.

These pages have sleeves which fit all regular-sized baseball, football, basketball cards, Pokemon cards, etc. You can find them at Target or Walmart in the trading card aisle.

Trading cards go in and out of popularity

The fact that cards will be “in” and then “out” is something to know and expect. Don’t be upset with your kids when they put their once-loved trading cards aside.

It’s like with anything else:  Your child will be interested in things more at certain times and less at other times.

It will often depend on what their peers are interested in at school.

The difference with Pokemon cards and football cards, etc. is that usually they will come back “in” again.

Depending on the age your child starts to collect the cards will let you know how many more years you have left with them.

In our experience, it seems like most kids start aging out of Pokemon cards by third and fourth grade. However, when my boys were older, they would play all day, so every child is different. During summer break when my kids were in 5th grade and 7th grade, they played with their Pokemon cards a lot.

There are teenagers who still enjoy them. However, the big talk at school will generally not include Pokemon trading as kids get into the older grades.

You may be surprised to know there are Pokemon events at bookstores and Pokemon tournaments at game shops which attract teenagers, young adults, and people in their thirties who play Pokemon. binder for trading cards Pokemon It seems that football cards start being popular when in kids are in 2nd grade. These seem more timeless. Kids in older grades are often still interested in them.

However, a difference with sports cards instead of Pokemon cards is that kids seem as happy with older Pokemon cards, even from their date of origin: 1995 (great to find at garage sales, Goodwill, etc.), but it seems with football and sports cards kids either like certain teams, certain types/brands of cards, and certain players. Often this often just includes current players though they will be happy to collect rookie cards and legends.

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Save kids’ trading cards

Encourage your kids to keep their trading cards for later use or for when they are adults. They don’t take up room, and stored properly, they will last.

Don’t give away, sell, or donate your kids’ trading cards. Even if they aren’t playing with them now, they may again. Save them for as long as you can. Pokemon isn’t going anywhere. Save them for their kids.

Trading cards for kids

Trading cards for kids can be a great developmental learning experience as your children get older.

Encourage your child’s card-acquiring interest, however short-lived.

Just as when they first decided they wanted to try t-ball or soccer, your child is learning more about the world and their place in it. Maybe collecting cards will be something they stay interested in and want to continue pursuing.

There isn’t much you need to get started collecting trading cards.

Not only is it a timeless hobby, it keeps them off electronics. It’s something to talk about with their friends.

Also, it will keep them occupied even as they age out of their toys. Chances are, they will circle around to them again. Even if they don’t play with them often, they may have fun looking through them when they are older. It helps to let them be kids for as long as possible.

Remember to keep the cards even if your children don’t play with them. Bring them out over school breaks and other times when they have time to play. They may enjoy them.

We are keeping my kids’ trading cards. My kids may forget about them now that they are older but always circle around to them.

There is a great article on www.gogreentravelgreen.com called: What Kids Learn from Trading Cards that explains more advantages. It lists 18 reasons kids should get trading cards because they are such amazing learning tools. Bookmark it, and check it out!

Kids trading cards

Cards for kids are worthwhile. They will gain skills while having fun playing. There aren’t many toys that work across many ages. Trading cards for kids is a hobby that’s timeless.