The best toys for raising smart, social girls and boys

With the rise of tablets and other digital devices that kids easily become addicted to, toy shopping for children can feel more difficult than ever. Kids should be playing outside – or so most parents once thought. But the sight of children wrapped up in outdoor activities has since become a rare occurrence with the rise of digital games and services. Kids primarily play with toys for entertainment, and not even toys seem able to entertain them better than an autoplay YouTube queue of other children unboxing toys.

Kids wanting fewer toys is good news for parents’ wallets, but the developmental lessons that come from playing with toys are often missed. The best toys will capture a child’s attention while encouraging them to be imaginative, active, and creative.

When kids have toys that engage them in tasks like building or drawing, they are able to use those toys to express themselves and build spatial reasoning skills. Toys that encourage children to play with others are also recommended for developing empathy. Sharing toys and interacting with others helps kids develop social skills and learn to be cooperative.

Whether they’re for the little one in your life, a gift, or you’re simply a kid at heart, these are our picks for the best toys for curious brains.

101 Piece STEM Toys Kit

Got a kid who’s super into making things? The Brickyard Building Blocks 101 Piece STEM Toys Kit is ideal for the aspiring engineer. Your child can construct just about anything with this fantastic kit that opens a world of possibilities. It boosts creativity, imagination, logical thinking, problem solving skills, among other cognitive abilities. It is made out of child-friendly materials, and is guaranteed safe from toxic chemicals. It includes a handy storage box for easy cleanup.

Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad

The Crayola Light-up Tracing Pad is essentially a graphic designer’s lightbox that’s been simplified for kids. It includes a graphite pencil, 12 colored pencils, 10 tracing sheets, 10 blank sheets, and over 100 traceable images. Let your child’s imagination and creativity flow freely with this pad, where they can scribble, draw, color, and create whatever they desire, or else find inspiration from the traceable images. Powered by two AA batteries, it promises to last for hours. It comes in both a bright pink and blue, meaning that your youngster will never lose it. It also glows in the dark, for that extra fun element.

Force1 Hand Operated Mini Drone

The Force1 Hand Operated Drone is a gravity-defying marvel that flies with the aid of a small onboard battery for a full 8 minutes. It is powered by a motion sensor, so you can steer it just by using your hand underneath it. That’s right. You don’t even need a remote. You can let your child fling it to the air, control it by hand, and allow your kid to experience something that usually only happens in a lot of superhero movies. This drone lights up in a variety of colors so you can play it even in the dark. The plastic casing assures it won’t break anything it bumps into.

No matter what your kid is into, here’s a great selection of picks for the best toys on the market today, from a set of building blocks to a hand-operated drone.

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