- Holidays and Celebrations
Top 20 Best Toys For Smart Kids in 2014
The Hottest Toys for Raising Smart Kids
Parents and Grandparents: Christmas is soon upon us but I want you to forget Barbie, Video Games, and iPods. Kids need toys that are stimulating to mind and body in order to build brain cells during those crucial growing years. I have three sons: a doctor of nuclear physics (he got a full ride scholarship), a psychology student who also leads worship at his 300-member church, and a budding musical genius who plays the piano, drums, baritone, and guitar and just scored 30 on the ACT (that's pretty decent since the US average is 23). I'll tell you what kept them entertained through the different stages for more than 10 minutes. Read on...
Great Stuff on Amazon for ages 1-5
So simple but wonderful for baby to learn about sizes and colors. My kids played with this for months.
These are fun and versatile blocks that are 4x the size of regular legos yet easy enough for a 12 month-old to handle. My physics major loved Legos and played with them for years. These blocks stick together easily and come apart with no fuss. The top of the storage chest doubles as a base plate. There are orange, purple and green blocks, great for stimulating brain waves.
My eldest started playing basketball at the YMCA at age 9 and played until his senior year of high school (he played intramural sports in grad school!) Forget the "handheld" games and get them up and moving to keep blood circulating to the brain and reduce the risk of adult diseases.
My kids didn't have this toy, but a reader recommended it, so I added it.
More Recommended Toys for 1 - 5 years - Best Sellers Chosen by Amazon
Great Stuff on Amazon for ages 5-10
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between exposure to music and mathematical ability. All three of my boys took piano lessons, my physics major for 2 years. Expose those kids to music! See how they sing!!
My kids loved helping out in the puppet ministry at our church. When they were old enough, they got to "talk" to the pre-schoolers, who were enthralled! This set of puppets is good for younger children and since the mouths move, their interest is held much longer. My theater star still has his big blue puppet named Fuzzy Grumper.
Adds to the fun of putting on a puppet show. A great way for older kids to entertain the younger ones, too!
Boys and girls alike enjoy LEGOs! Great for hand-eye coordination, LEGOs can help build math ability by helping little brains see how things fit together. Of course, there are literally thousands of LEGO kits for kids from 2 to 102.
More Recommended Toys for 5 - 10 years - Best Sellers Chosen by Amazon
Great Stuff on Amazon for ages 8-12
Continuing with the puppet theme, these people-y puppets help kids imagine, plot, dialogue, and solve problems. The moveable mouths make for a more realistic puppet show. There are also Asian and African puppet sets. Mix and match for a more realistic community!
Chess is one of the best games to enhance math skills. Chess players make consistently higher scores on standardized tests. This game looks like a great starter set.
If you haven't started teaching your kids about money, now is the time. This ATM bank gives them a real-life lesson about the power of deposit and withdrawal.
"If I could teach the world to sing.." everyone would be smarter! This keyboard is a fun cross between a real piano and a handheld electronic game! Fun sounds, easy to learn, music builds brain cells.
Knots, puzzles, and brain teasers exercising the visual-spatial area of the brain and teach kids to concentrate, persist, and recognize cause-and-effect. That is, if they can get this colorful toy away from their parents!
More Recommended Toys for 8 - 12 years - Some of my kids' favorites!
Boys and girls alike spend hours creating and recreating with Legos. A classic!
Another great choice for active kids.
Get the whole family skates and find some cool trails or skate parks.
These can be used indoors or outdoors. My youngest walked on these for almost 4 months and even learned to maneuver stairs!
Get them outside and using those large muscle groups to help keep them healthy for a lifetime. My boys still love to ride with Dad!
Great Stuff on Amazon for ages 12 and over
Great for 2 or more - Describe what pops up on the readout to get your team to guess the word before the timer runs out.
Fast-paced game to get your team to guess the word without using any of the most commonly used words to describe it. For example, your word is "mountain" but you're not allowed to say "high", "hill", "tall", "Kilimenjaro", or "Pikes Peak". What do you do? You can say "The Alps are made of these" or "We hiked to the top of one of these last week". It really makes you think outside the box!
Great outdoor game for the whole family ages 4 - 104! Easy to learn, easy to play, no athletic skills required.
Again with the chess? Yup. This is an excellent game to develop critical thinking and strategy skills. I really can't think of a better "toy" for teenagers, especially this travel set so they can engage their friends during lunch or after school.
True, it's a video game - but with a great benefit! This one gets the kids (and you!) off the couch and moving your groove thing. It's fun and healthy! Gets the blood flowing to those brain cells. This one is for the Wii, but you can get them for XBOX, Playstation and other consoles as well. I even got one for me for Christmas last year!
More Recommendations for 12 and Up - Best Sellers Chosen by Amazon
Great Stuff on Amazon for All ages - The first "toys" a child should have are books, books, and more books.
Read to your kids. Read to them when they are babies, hold them in your lap and keep them there until they turn 16. If you consistently read to your kids, you give them more than just stories. You fill their head with dreams and their hearts with special times with you that remain long after they've outgrown Mother Goose.
Ages 0 - 4: My kids squealed every time they found something under a flap in a book. Wonderfully interactive.
Ages 3 - 10: The rhythm and cadence of Dr. Seuss is so delightful. These books by Suess are great for beginning readers.
Ages 5 - 12: Wayside school is just a bit wacky! Fun for kids to read about strange teachers and even stranger ways of teaching!
Ages 8 - 16: Redwall is the first in a long series of tales of Martin the Warrior and other mice, rats, and numerous sorts of rodents and mammals who have thrilling adventures. Brian Jaques has held the attention of all three of my boys for many years.
Ages 8 & Up: This classic series of Good vs. Evil will enchant children and adults alike. A bit more difficult to read because of the English used, but great for brain-stretching. Read out loud to the family on a stormy evening and everyone will be watching the weather channel for the next rainy night!
Give Books! They expand your child's thinking and develop creativity! - Best Sellers Chosen by Amazon
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My Boys (+ my first daughter!) in 2011.
From Left: Andrew, the psych student; me; Juliann, our newest - studying to get her doctorate in pharmacy; Steven, the physicist; Steve, the proud Papa; William, the Musician.