Even the North Pole may have ‘supply chain’ challenges. Plan ahead.
Most children have spent more time than usual at home recently. Public play spaces and museums are not as tempting as they were two years ago. Here are some holiday gift ideas to refresh the play space at home – entertainment, fun, laughter, imagination – with occasional logic and STEM skill building.
Learning Resources has a new line of appealing toys this year. Fidget Friend Hedgehog is a tactile toy for toddlers 18+ months. $13.99
Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog is for children 18+ months. $12.91
Magna-tiles are wildly popular and have stood the test of time. This year you can add to a child’s building possibilities with these brand new sets for the 2021 holidays. For children 3 years and older.
The Magna-Tiles Freestyle set has the classic squares, but it includes twelve new “X” pieces which free children to overlap tiles and build perpendicular to the center. Magna-Tiles Freestyle Set, $74.50
Magna-Tiles® Builder 32-Piece Set is new this year. $49.99
Magna-Tiles® Safari Animals 25-Piece Set. Brand new. $39.99
Magna-Tiles® Jungle Animals 25-Piece Set. $39.99
Magna-Tiles® Arctic Animals 25-Piece Set. $39.99
This fort building is tested and enthusiastically approved by my grandchildren. “Build the fort of your dreams—with our strong, snap-together builders! Then cover the frame with a sheet or blanket for hours of fun. You get forty-five poles and twenty-five connectors—perfect for creating any fort you can imagine – from a kid’s castle to a super-cool igloo! Poles measure 16″ in length. Ages 4+. $49.99
Magnet Movers, 39 Pieces, STEM Certified, Ages 5+. $14.99
Woodworking kit with six projects. Age 8+. $31.99
Ravensburger Gravitrax kits provide appealing building elements for kids to imagine and build structures with pillars, balconies, and chutes – all to guide marbles down through turns and dips. Gravitrax Starter kit. This was a 2019 ‘Toy of the Year’ finalist’. Ages 8 and up. $59.95
Gravitrax vertical starter kit. Ages 8+ $71.99
Duplo Bricks are designed for children 18 months and older. This eighty-five piece, Deluxe Brick Box is $49.99.
For young builders (and the young at heart) there is nothing like Lego. Legos are for children old enough not to choke on the small bricks. Duplo are for the youngest builders. There are lots of new sets this year.
Batman Lego is new this year. Ages 6+ . $14.99
Lego version of a Quilting Bee? Lego building can be a solitary pursuit, but this Art Project Kit encourages up to nine people to create squares from Lego bricks and combine the result into one art project. $119.99.
This Lego kits has the parts to build at least eight ‘Gear Bots’, and every variation a child can imagine. Ages 8+. From $24.75
This ‘Home Alone’ house is new this year and is an ultimate Lego challenge. Legos are for children old enough not to choke on them, but this set says 18+, I assume because it is so complex. $249.00
Kids can imagine themselves as the young architect in this book. Iggy Peck, Architect (The Questioneers). Ages 5+. $14.32
“This whimsical children’s book by award-winning author and illustrator Frank Viva explores MoMA’s collection through the adventures of Young Frank, an aspiring architect, who lives in New York City with his grandfather, Old Frank, also an architect. Young Frank likes to use anything he finds—macaroni, pillows, toilet paper, shoes—to make buildings that twist, chairs with zigzag legs, and even entire cities. But Old Frank disapproves, saying architects only create buildings. One day they visit The Museum of Modern Art, where they see work by architects Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many others.” $18.95
These MagnetBlox, 5” x 5” soft blocks have magnets inside, so they stick to each other when they touch. They require space to spread out and are an investment, but they have been wildly fun for the children in my life. The standard set has 27 blocks including: 19 Cubes and 8 Triangles. Children can cooperate to build forts, houses, castles, boats – anything they can imagine. $299.99