There are so many amazing educational and engaging products for kids available these days, that they can learn and develop their knowledge and skills through play without it feeling like a chore at all. Whether your child wants to learn more about coding, maths, history or the world around them, these are a few of our favourite educational toys to keep both parents and children happy this holiday season.
STEM – made up of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – is a huge focus in kids eduction these days. These are really useful topics that will see them through life, and help develop their skills.
Coding Pals from Learning Resources
Coding is something that can sound quite daunting to the uninitiated – it was not routinely taught when we were at school, but now our children are expected to get to grips with this subject. Coding Critters from Learning Resources is a gentle introduction to coding in a really fun and accessible product, which is screen free.
The Coding Critters Ranger and Zip set consists of a larger dog, Ranger, who can be programmed using the arrows on top, and a little pet dog, Zip, who makes up part of the story. You also get lots of landmarks like the slide, house, trees, bar and bone seesaw which you can use to make up coding stories, directing Ranger where to go.
The set includes a book which gives you challenges to follow, and once these are completed kids can continue with making up their own – the possibilities are limitless. It is pretty open ended, and definitely makes coding playful and engaging for younger kids.
This set is recommended for age 4+ which I would say is a perfect age for the product, but it was also enjoyed by my child who is slightly younger and even my older kids enjoyed programming Ranger too .
Available on Amazon for 35.39 (RRP 40.00)
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit
Osmo kits take your iPad, and bring the screen based activities to life by incorporating hands on activities. We already have a few Osmo kits for the older kids, but now the Little Genius kit has been launched so younger children of around 3-5 years old can get involved. This Little Genius kit includes 4 activities: ABCs, Squiggle Magic, Costume Parties and Stories and comes with the base all included so you have everything you need ready to go.
This set is really easy to use, and keeps my preschooler very engaged.
Brainstorm Projector Torch
Add one of the three included projector wheels, and space images will light up your walls or ceiling! This torch is easy to use and very effective. It can also be used as a normal torch when the projector wheels are removed, making it multi purpose. There are also other themes available like dinosaurs, and even fantasy themes like mermaids and fairies. This space themed torch was a big hit with my 8 year old boy, who loved the real NASA images included. It’s a great way to keep kids inspired about space, and ignite that interest.
You can’t beat curling up with a good book over the festive season! A few of our favourites are…
Myths and Legends
Lonely Planet Kids always have excellent quality books, and this Myths and Legends compendium is a fascinating way for kids to open their minds to different times and different traditions.
Tales of daring and deceit, reward and punishment, and the very beginning of the world are collected together in this beautiful new book from Lonely Planet Kids. Young readers will meet powerful gods, vengeful goddesses, talking fish and clever spiders, cavort with sea nymphs, terrifying beasts and volcano people, as they are transported across the globe and through time with every dazzling story.
The tales in Myths and Legends of the World are as old as time itself, fables that have been passed down through a long line of oral traditions, now brought together for new generations to enjoy and pass on. Readers will journey through Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, the Americas and the Arctic, learning of the enchanting stories first shared around the fire by ancient ancestors around the world.
Retold by Alli Brydon, these powerful myths and legends will enchant and delight, all brought to life with Julia Iredale’s magical illustrations.
Recommended for readers of around 9-12 years old.
Guinness World Records 2020
The Guinness Book of Records is a must for number-loving children. My boys are always fascinated by the statistics featured inside. Can you believe this is now the 65th edition of the Guinness World Records?
In a series of 11 fact-packed chapters, children will be introduced to the record-holders who’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. Meet…
- The adventurers who’ve overcome adversity to trek, swim, ski, climb and fly to all four corners of the globe
- The painters, sculptors, musicians and moviemakers taking performance art to new levels
- The superstars of social media generating millions of views on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- The athletic legends who continue to raise the bar in the world of sports
Guinness World Records Gamer Edition is also available.
Hangman Puzzles for Your Backpack
Activity books make a great stocking filler – it’s an essential for us at Christmas and this Hangman Puzzles for your Backpack stood out as a unique idea this year. My 8 year old loves Hangman and I have never seen a book like this before.
Play hangman anytime you want with these 93 entertaining puzzles. Each one lists the 26 letters of the alphabet: choose the letter you think is in the phrase, scratch it off and see if it’s used. Make sure to solve the puzzle before you run out of turns!
Published by Sterling. Available on Amazon for 6.99
Also available are Wordsearch puzzles for your backpack / Crossword puzzles for your backpack / Sudoku puzzles for your backpack.
Another Christmas essential is family games. The season wouldn’t be complete without gathering everyone together for a few rounds of something competitive!
Harry Potter LEX-GO
Harry Potter LEX-GO is a fast paced word game, with a touch of Harry Potter magic! It encourages quick thinking, as you race to build words and get rid of your tiles the fastest, while also swapping letters and even adding your tiles onto other players’ words. The game comes in a cute L Shaped bag which is very portable so ideal for bringing to relatives houses when travelling at Christmas.
In this special Harry Potter Edition of Lex-GO!, there are 4 spell tiles to increase your chances of winning, the Polyjuice Potion tile can be used as any letter and if you can spell the word SNITCH you win the round! We played this with kids aged 8 and up, which seems the ideal age to keep up with the fast pace of the game.
This is another fast paced quick moving game, but this time it’s with numbers.
7 Ate 9 (SSP £12.99) is the fast and fun number crunching game, named after the popular number joke, that requires players to think quickly and get rid of all of their cards as soon as possible! The card played must equal the value of the previous card plus or minus the number shown in the corner of the card. All players play simultaneously and race against each other to find a card which they can lay down first – the player who uses all of their cards first, wins!
I hope you find these ideas helpful, and get a little inspiration with your Christmas shopping. Wishing a happy holiday season to all!
All prices correct at time of publishing. Amazon Affiliate links used. Products featured received for review.