Toys that encourage kids to engage their brains are some of the best investments you can make as a parent. Play, in and of itself, is a child’s highest form of learning. And giving your children brainy toys that encourage higher level thinking takes play to the next level!
I have listed below some brain boasting toys that we have in our home and some that we hope to try out in the future. Let me know in the comments the brainy toys that your children love!
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Magna-Tiles – Where Math, Science, & Creativity Meet
Magna-Tiles are a favorite with the 3-10 year olds in our home! These 3D magnetic tiles stick together to build elaborate creations. These fun tiles require the use of your child’s imagination AND fine motor skills. Magna-Tiles can also be used to make designs on your refrigerator or garage door. Or pack them up with a metal baking sheet for fun in the car while you travel to Grandma’s house this Christmas season. Your children can use these tiles to build anything their imaginations can dream of.
The set linked above contains 32-pieces. But if you are interested in going bigger, these sets are also available from Amazon…
- Magna Tiles Deluxe Set (48 pieces)
- Freestyle Set (40 pieces)
- Magna Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set
- Magna Tiles Metropolis Set (110 Pieces)
This snap circuit set is perfect for your electronic minded kiddos. Amazon describes this set by saying, “Give your child an exciting, hands-on introduction to electronics with Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits SC-300. This kit contains over 60 color-coded, real circuit components that snap together to create working electronic circuits and devices. Recommended for children 8 and older, this set offers 305 do-it-yourself projects that will give your child an entertaining, concrete education on how electronics work. Once children have mastered several of the techniques introduced in this kit, they can use the components to experiment and create their own customized circuits and electronic devices.”
The Snap Circuits Pro SC-500 Electronics Exploration Kit is also available with 75 parts for building over 500 projects!
While the snap circuit set above is only for kids 8 and older, this one is perfect for your 2-6 year olds. Here’s what Amazon is saying about this fun toy…
- Start-Up Circuits from MindWare is a fun way to teach your child the abstract concept of circuitry. The switch blocks and action tops are easy to snap together and the buttons are the perfect size for little fingers.
- Curious Kids: With a light that glows, a fan that spins and a siren that whistles, Start-Up Circuits from MindWare will delight children as they learn how a circuit is a circle that can make fun things happen.
- Mix and Match: Your curious child can mix and match the switch blocks and action tops simply by snapping them together. Make sure the red line is continuous across both pieces to complete the circuit.
- Interchangeable Pieces: Your child can experiment with each different combination to create actual working pieces. A bright red line represents the wire inside each piece. When the line makes a continuous path across a switch block and action top, and the switch is pressed or pushed, the Star-Up Circuit springs into action.
- Includes: 3 different action tops that light up, whistle and whirl. 3 different blocks to push, slide and flip. Instructions and Parents Guide are also included
Brainy toys – extreme dot to dot
These super fun Dot to Dot books are great brainy toys for your kiddos! Mine love pulling these out during read-aloud time in our homeschool to keep their hands busy while their ears listen. Many of the books have over 1,400 dots on each page. These puzzles guide kids in higher level counting, patience, & planning. Fun and engaging, these books are just as entertaining for adults as kids!
- Extreme Dot to Dot Around The USA Puzzle
- Dot to Dot:Around The World
- Extreme Dot to Dot: U.S. History Game
- Extreme Dot to Dot Coloring: Oceans
Brainy Toys Crystal Growing Kits
These cool crystal growing kits teach your children about chemistry and reinforce STEM skills. Your kids will have fun growing their crystals and then have a beautiful keepsake to display! These are great kits for your kids who are interested in science, especially geology! And they also teach delayed gratification and patience!
Most of these crystal growing kits are best for kids 10-years-old and older, and adult supervision is also required.
- HearthSong Grow Your Own Crystals Kit-Hedgehog (Pink)
- Crystal Growing Science Experimental Kit
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Mega Crystal Growing Lab
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Crystal Growing Garden
- IMRARA Crystal Growing Kit with 4 Dinosaur Molds
Can you beat a gift that teaches your kids physics, chemistry, AND produces a yummy product to enjoy at the end?!?
- Make your own groovy glowing gummies, hard candy, and sweet ice cubes!
- Mold your yummy creations into groovy shapes like peace signs, smiley faces, butterflies, and more, and make them taste great with the included fruit punch and tropical pineapple flavor mixtures!
- Learn about the physics of luminescence and the chemistry behind how the candies form.
- Experiment with your candies to make them glow in the dark under a black light (UV flashlight included).
Brainy TOys – National Geographic glowing marble run
Marble Runs are a toy that kids have been enjoying years! I remember my little brother got one in the late 80’s that we loved and played with for hours at a time. This set comes with 150 construction pieces and 30 glow-in-the-dark marbles. It also includes a detailed learning guide that has lots of information about the physics of motion and gravity, so your children can learn while they play! And when they’re all done playing, a convenient mesh storage bag is included so they can keep all their marble run pieces stored together. Can I get an amen?!?
Other similar sets…
- Marble Genius Marble Run Starter Set – 130 Piece Set
- Glow Marble Run Super Set – 200 Piece Set
- Marble Genius Marble Run Space Starter Set – Glow-in-The-Dark – 130 Piece Set
- Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme Set – 300 Piece Set
Science & Geography Trivia Challenge
Mindware’s Science Trivia Challenge tests your children’s knowledge of scientific facts. Players choose a level to play throughout, which helps create an even playing field. “Do you know which moves fastest… lightning, space crafts, or light?” “How about the number of taste buds on a human adult’s tongue?” This game is for 2-4 players ages 7 and up. This one will FOR SURE be under the Christmas tree for our 9-year-old son this year!
Mindware’s Geography Trivia Challenge tests your children’s knowledge of all things geography related. Can they rank European countries by size? Or identify the color of the spot on the Japanese flag? They’ll explore their way around the board while watching out for earthquakes, landslides, and other natural disasters. This game is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up.
Melissa & Doug is the favorite brainy toy brand around our house. They never fail to create amazing brainy toys for tiny people! These wooden magnetic pattern blocks are a classic math manipulative and learning activity. They are perfect for spatial awareness, color recognition, hand/eye coordination, and problem solving skills. This is a set of 120 wooden blocks in 6 shapes and colors, inspiring kids to assemble colorful patterns on 5 boards (10 designs for kids to follow). And it comes in a wooden tray for storage. Great for kids ages 3-6!
I hope you have found this list of brainy toys helpful! And I pray you and your kids have a wonder-filled and meaningful holiday season!
As always, you can learn more about our big family fun over at Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama.