Educational toys for kids 10+ years old
Lego Mindstorm Robot
Fun Toys that Also Develop Skills
The best toys are always the ones that require your kid to build something, that present a challenge and allow their knowledge about the natural world to expand. These gifts will be used over and over again, providing hours of absorbing activity that will rival video games in their attractiveness. The fact that they teach patience, attention to detail and expand your kid's scientific knowledge is an added bonus. Modern life doesn't provide most of us with the satisfaction of building something with our own hands, too often, whether it is an adult working in an office, or a child studying in school, the work is very abstract, one rarely gets the opportunity to touch the product of one's endeavours. Toys that allow you to build something with your hands, make it do things, or conduct an experiment and verify a scientific principle, are much more valuable than toys that you simply possess.
Build your own robot, how cool is that? Robot kits might well be the 21st century equivalent of aeroplane models. Of course, putting together your model and programming it to do different things, requires a certain meekness. But that is ok, remember, geeks will inherit the earth! Simple robot kits are surprisingly accessible and cheap, nowadays. Of course you could go all the way and splurge on a lego windstorm kit! A computer is usually required to program the robot after it has been assembled. The only question I have is: where were these toys when I was a child?
Build your Own Electronic Devices, Snap Circuits
With snap circuits kits children can build their own electronic devices without soldering. The kits come with colour coded parts which can be easily snapped into plastic boards, and clear instructions of how to combine the different parts into working electronic circuits. There is a variety of projects to choose from, such as constructing an FM radio, or an RC-Rover to the monster Snap Circuits Extreme SC-750 kit, which allows 750 different projects. The smaller kits are can be upgraded with additional parts to allow for more experiments.
Chemistry and Biology, Crystals and Amoeba
Chemistry kits have always been a favourite with budding scientists, there is a lot of safe opportunities to create colourful or foamy effects with quite simple chemical reactions. I personally have always enjoyed crystal growing kits, they require a lot of patience but it is so satisfying to watch the crystals form and grow over time. There are also many kits that help your kids observe and learn from the natural world, grow plants, culture butterflies, or observe ants. I think beginner microscopes are particularly fun. It is amazing how interesting some stagnant water is when you look at it with the proper tool!
Or perhaps you could get your (older) children the ultimate natural gift, an exotic pet?