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Educational gifts: Top 5 toy websites for the holidays

Educational toys for kids

The best holiday gift you can give your child is an educational toy. Your child’s curiosity is fueled through exploration and play

As we enter into this holiday season I wanted to give you my top 5 websites and catalogs to explore when making your holiday list this.

Playing is one of the best ways to grow a child’s brain. In a world where marketing easily grabs hold of the minds of our little kids, tricking them into believing their sales pitch, it is important for parents to provide access to growth minded toys that enrich learning.The beautiful secret is that kids love this type of toy and will be grateful that you took the time to find that unique gift that they did not even know was available.

1.Marbles the brain store:

According to the Marbles website their goal is to prove that smart toys educational toys can be fun, and I think they do a fabulous job of upholding their mission. One of my favorite things in this catalog can be found on page 22 and 23 entitled “know brainers”. They provide a host of stocking stuffer ideas that I know any child would love. Now through December 4, 2016, they are offering a Free $10.00 gift card when you spend $50.00 (code 10FREEGIFT) and they offer free shipping for any orders over $19.99.

2. Fat Brain Toys with the tag line, “A Smarter Way to Play”,

They organize their catalog into 23 Titled Sections that allow the shopper to breeze through and find the topic that relates most to them. For example, the STEM Contraptions section is easily identified as the area for those seeking a more complex science, technology, engineering, and math type of enrichment. One of my personal favorite toys can be found on page 31 and is called What’s in Ned’s Head? This toy claims that it is for ages 4 and up, however, an average 3 year old would love this game. It offers a wonderfully gross way of teaching matching skills, increasing verbal expression, and provides meaningful connection between parent and child that both can enjoy.

3. Lakeshore® Gifts for Growing Minds,

I love this catalogs design and build section, particularly on page 3 with the Light Up Building Bricks. If your child likes LEGOS then he or she will enjoy this alternative. It opens the mind to creativity and visual spatial learning. For the younger learner, but still on the same page, the Create and Design Drill Kit is super. This is geared toward the 3-6 year old and enriches eye hand coordination while boosting the brain.

4. Hearthsong Catalog, “Toys you’ll feel good about giving”,

This is my go to catalog for physical activity, outdoor exploration, and sensory enrichment. I remember that one
of my favorite toys that my sons received was a zip line. They continue to add new items and this year’s offerings are the best that I have seen. The Balance Teeter Popper, Whizzy Dizzy, and Skycurve Platform Swing are among my favorites.

5. ThinkFun,, the name says it all.

I can’t rate this website high enough. Ritchie and Andrea Barthello, the founders, continue to improve the website and their offerings. The latest toy, Balance Bean is a personal favorite of my clients. This game enriches logic and reasoning an enhances math skills without the child even knowing. The website has wonderful information for teachers and homeschoolers while making it very easy to identify the skill that each toy enhances.

Remember that time and connectivity is the best gift that you can give your child. These websites provide easy engaging toys to spark your time together, while fueling their brain power.

Do you have a favorite toy or website? Let me know in the comments below.