Finding toys your kids will actually play with

There are so many new things to explore, experience and understand when you’re a kid, and it’s all coming at them at a rapid pace. Whereas an adult could be content doing nothing but sitting during a long car ride, it is torture for a kid because nothing changes. Their natural curiosity is stifled.

One of the reasons why Pop Its became so popular during the pandemic is because they help a child release stress and anxiety that can build up during stagnant situations. These toys give the child something to keep them busy. Sometimes, the best toys are so obvious that you can’t believe you didn’t think of them sooner.

Why a cardboard box is better than a pony

A pony is a small horse. However, a cardboard box can be anything. The limits are only set by imagination. For a child, that means there are no limits.

When a child plays with a cardboard box, they are defining reality. They are problem-solving. They are developing spatial awareness. The game can involve physical activity or role-playing. Sometimes, just having a small space to crawl inside and feel safe is why a cardboard box can be so amazing.

Kids need change as they grow up

Manufacturer’s age recommendations can be for safety. For example, a product with small pieces, such as a Lego set, can be a choking hazard for a young child, so many sets are recommended for kids 4 years old and up. However, recommendations can also be based on skill and maturity levels. For instance, a science toy is usually recommended for kids 6 or 8 years old or older.

Preschool

In preschool, kids are learning how to do the basic activities required for outdoor play, such as running, climbing, taking turns and more. Engaging toys will have very simple mechanics that young kids can easily grasp and master to develop fine motor skills. Sensory toys that provide comfort are also good options at this age.

Early grade school

In grades one through four, kids have a lot of energy. They also need to start initiating their own activities but still require help with self-regulation and seek nurturing. Toys that encourage them to master their fine motor skills, such as drawing and coloring, are good options. Also, activities that allow them to show off and increase their knowledge in fundamental skills such as math or reading can be very engaging.

Late grade school

In grades five and six, kids are beginning to identify themselves by what they can do. They are interested in other people and are learning how to feel confident. At this age, things can start to get tricky because it is the beginning of wanting to fit in and stand out from others. The best toys will help a child grow in an area they find intriguing. Activities that encourage and help develop social skills are also a good choice. It is important to remember that a child wants to be challenged but is just starting to understand failure, so winning or losing can be an intensely emotional experience.

Middle school and up

At this age, kids are moving away from toys and embracing all they’ve learned through play to help them transition into being teenagers and adults. The objects that capture their attention will be interests they have developed over the years that they wish to pursue further. Engaging activities may be more focused on understanding and enriching the self. These activities may include anything from reading and absorbing new ideas and concepts to learning how to express who they are. It is also a time when kids become increasingly fascinated by activities that have more of a grown-up theme.

Best products to keep your kids engaged

Continuum Games Games on the Go

Continuum Games Games on the Go

This collection of 50 cards is packed with ideas for creative play. The short games require no pieces, so they are perfect for travel or anywhere you want to have fun. Since they are appropriate for any age, kids will enjoy playing with parents to see who truly is the best.

Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

VTech Write and Learn Creative Center

VTech Write and Learn Creative Center 

Whether your child is just learning about shapes and letters or likes to doodle, this magnetic drawing board lets them create endlessly. The animated demonstrations allow your child to learn the proper stroke order for writing letters, and it comes with stencils so they can draw 26 different objects. When they are done, just wipe the drawing away to start with a clean slate.

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Fisher-Price Babys First Blocks

Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks

This toy is designed for ages 6 months and up. It comes with 10 colorful blocks that have rounded edges, so they are safe. You can introduce your child to colors and shapes with this classic toy.

Sold by Amazon

Coogam Wooden Blocks Brain Teasers Toy

Coogam Wooden Blocks Brain Teasers Toy

Coogam’s wooden brain teaser puzzle is like playing Tetris in the real world. Older kids can try to fit all the pieces into the frame, while younger kids can use a variety of shapes to make robots, airplanes, flowers and more.

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Osmo Genius Starter Kit

Osmo Genius Starter Kit

If you’re unfamiliar, Osmo is an ingenious toy that combines actual handheld pieces with an iPad. This kit is for ages 6 to 10 and has games covering a wide variety of skills, from math to marine biology. Osmo is a toy that encourages creativity and learning.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a ridiculously easy game to play. It only takes a few seconds to go over all the rules needed to enjoy a 10 to 15-minute game. There are no age limits on this fast-paced card game, and it is small enough to take with you in your pocket.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Monster High Frights, Camera, Action Elissabat Doll

Monster High Frights, Camera, Action! Elissabat Doll

This fall, Monster High is making a comeback on Nickelodeon. To be prepared, start stocking up on these popular characters before they are even harder to get. Kids learn to express themselves and socialize when creating scenarios for imaginative play.

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Melissa and Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes

Melissa and Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes

These scratch-art cards from Melissa and Doug provide your child with a colorful canvas of creativity. They can use them to draw pictures or to write rainbow-colored messages for parents and siblings.

Sold by Amazon

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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