Kid-Tested Toy & Product Review

Back to School Games

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games

Back to School Games!  Here are a few child and parent-tested games that kids will want to play to get them ready for the new school year.


happy

Happy Atoms
$59.95-$159.95; ThamesAndKosmos.com

Happy Atoms is the most innovative and immersive product ever created to teach kids about chemistry, atoms, and molecules. This physical construction set incorporates the latest in augmented reality, delivering a digital teaching tool that enables kids to discover the world of molecules in an intuitive, hands-on way. Kids create molecules from plastic atom models that connect easily with magnets, then they discover the identities of the molecules they built by scanning them with the app, and finally they explore the molecules they discover thanks to the guided chemistry lessons in the educational app. Ages 10-17.


beyond

Beyond Tablet
$199.99; Amazon.com
Beyond Tablet is a high-tech take on traditional board games. It’s an interactive, electronic board for family games, a smart digital musical instrument for children to learn music, and an educational platform. Families play Beyond Tablet games with physical game maps, cards, blocks, and figurines, placed on top of the object sensing and recognition screen. Beyond Tablet encourages family members to play together, instead of watching TV or staring at their smartphones.


globe

Puzzle Globe
$29.99; Amazon.com
The puzzle globe helps kids investigate the continents, the oceans, famous landmarks, different kinds of animals, and so much more. The big chunky pieces are designed to match up to holes on the globe, so it’s easier for children to put continents in place. Includes a tough and durable base (with oceans labeled), rotatable globe, six continent puzzle pieces, six plastic continent labels, and blank label stickers. Ages 3+.



lego

LEGO DUPLO Preschool
$19.99; Shop.Lego.com

Play out real-life scenarios in LEGO DUPLO My Town: a recognizable world with modern DUPLO figures. Toddlers will love showing you their preschool day with this colorful DUPLO set, from playtime on the mat, lunch, and toileting routines to tidy-up time. Help reinforce your child’s learning and encourage early role-play skills. Includes three DUPLO figures. Ages 2-5.



ladybug

Ladybug Number Match
$19.99; LakeshoreLearning.com

Our ladybugs help children practice counting, match numbers to quantities & more! Kids just count up the dots on a ladybug—then find the leaf with the matching numeral from 1 to 10. Each leaf has a self-correcting peg that only fits the matching ladybug, so our set is perfect for independent practice. Ages 18 mos. – 4 years.



play doh

PLAY-DOH Letters and Language Set
$19.99; HasbroToyShop.com

Little ones can explore letter recognition, practice letter sounds, and explore reading and writing using the stampers, playmats, and classic PLAY-DOH compound. Set includes 26 letter stampers, stylus, roller, two double-sided mats, Together Time Guide, and six cans of PLAY-DOH compound. Ages 2+.



fidget

The Original Fidget Cube by Antsy Labs
$12.99; ZuruFidget.com

A versatile fidget toy featuring six different sides with multiple buttons, dials and switches so fidgeters can quietly focus while clicking, spinning, rolling and gliding their nervous energy away. The six-sided desk toy is equipped with an array of addictive features including five clicker buttons (two of which are silenced), a switch to flick up and down and a side designed after a gaming joystick with a satisfying gliding action. Available in eight colors. Ages 3+.

 

signs

Bright Signs Learning Kit
$119.99; Amazon.com

Introduces early reading concepts through sign language and a multi-sensory experience that includes videos, flash cards, signature characters, and interactive fun. Fundamental skill-building for communicating, sign language, and reading, including signing, identifying letters, and sight word retention and a unique way to inspire little kids with the desire to read.


dino

Magnutto Magnetic Sets
$24.99; Amazon.com

Children use thick, foam, low-strength, safe magnets to create facial expressions and represent a variety of emotions and feelings.  The sturdy box opens to a magnetic easel and closes to store all the magnets when play is done.  Multi lingual activity cards (English, Spanish, French) include samples questions for role play and to engage children in conversations about emotions, as well as a list of emotions and examples of facial expressions.   Sample questions:  "Have you felt that way?"  "What do you do when you feel that way?". Ages 5+.


desk

Creativity Desk & Easel
$45; AmericanPlasticToys.com

This colorful, sturdy desk easily converts to an adjustable, multi-position easel. Simply lift the desktop to the desired position and start creating. The desk features roomy side storage pockets, a large center drawer, additional desktop storage, a working desk light, a sturdy clip that holds paper on the easel, and a matching chair. Ages 3+.



movi

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach 'n Tag Movi
$49.99; Fisher-Price.com

Teach ‘n Tag Movi is an interactive learning buddy that gets kids up and moving while developing gross motor skills, listening skills and ability to follow directions. Three modes of play featuring six interactive games. Top two buttons can be used for child input/indicator. Fun facial expressions correspond with movement and gameplay. Ages 3-6.



timker

Tinkering Box
Prices Vary; TinkeringLabs.com

Get your kids' hands and minds moving with an exciting new fun and educational take on tinker toys. These electric motor prototypes allow kids to build and test out projects using real hardware and tools. There’s no “right” way to use the pieces. Instead of providing step-by-step instructions to build specific projects, they provide cards with the basic fundamentals on how the parts work together, then challenge kids to build their own creations. Catalysts are not a one-time activity or a single project. Instead, they’re meant to be made and unmade and remade over and over in as many ways as kids can imagine. Each box comes with ten 30-60 minute challenges inside.


lundar

Lunar Landing
$14.99; ThinkFun.com

Use your five loyal help-bots to find a way back to the ship’s emergency entry port or you’ll be stranded in space forever. 40 challenges from beginner to expert level, and helps build logic and problem solving skills. Ages 8+.



robot

Robotics Workshop
$249.95; ThamesandKosmos.com

Build and program robots with this complete robotics engineering system. Using sensors, motors, a core controller, and hundreds of snap-together building pieces, you can follow the instructions to assemble ten different robots. The versatile parts also allow you to make robots according to your own designs. Ages 10+.


bus

School Bus Ride-On
$10; AmericanPlasticToys.com

School bus fun for even the youngest little student. Toddlers can ride along on this colorful decal decorated school bus.  It comes with a storage compartment under the seat so kids can pack up their favorite toys, too. Ages 1 ½+.



pyramid

Pharaoh’s Pyramid
$69.99; Playmobil.us

Dive into history and use your imagination to unlock ancient secrets and mysteries. Including figures, mummies and tombs, treasures, hieroglyphics and other accessories, this playset is full of discoveries. Ages 6+.


animals

SmartMax My First Safari Animals
$19.99; SmartMaxUSA.com

Creative kids can mix and match part to make crazy animal combos. The chunky animal parts are made from soft material and easily click on the SmartMax bars, making them ideal for little hands. Hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, color recognition and creativity are stimulated. Ages 1+


bloco

The Zebra, the Giraffe and the Elephant Foam Building Set
$34.99; BlocoToys.com

Building animals is an opportunity to learn more about them, thanks to the information sheet included in the box containing amazing facts on each one. An exciting African safari awaits you. Ages 5-10.



graffiti

Graffiti Blocks
$14.99; Target.com

An innovative paper-based building toy that provides endless imaginative and creative play. With a few simple folds, colorful 2D flat shapes transform into bold 3D geometric pieces to create spectacular looking paper toys and art forms.



roller

Roller Coaster Challenge
$29.99; ThinkFun.com

In this thrilling engineering challenge, players get to build their very own roller coasters. It combines roller coaster building and logic puzzle concepts to teach the basics of structural design. Choose one of the 40 challenge cards, then set up the board as directed. Using the remaining pieces, players build a working roller coaster that meets the build conditions specified on the challenge card. Or they can design their own thrill ride with free-form building.


roll

VTech GearZooz Roll & Roar Animal Train
$29.99; VTechKids.com

Kids can customize the train by mixing and matching the 15 included gears while strengthening their fine motor skills. Press the buttons to listen to different musical instruments or answer kid-friendly quiz questions. Then, pull the string or push the train to watch the gears spin and move together to experience cause and effect. Ages 1½ - 4.


train

SmartMax My First Animal Train
$29.99; SmartMaxUSA.com

Mix and match the train’s vehicles to bring all the circus animals aboard. The animal parts are made from soft material and the parts of the train simply click on the bars, making them ideal to grasp. Kids are naturally attracted to large animals like giraffes, lions and hippos found in storybooks or on a trip to the zoo. Ages 1+.



scxience

Science Expeditions
$21.95 per month; LittlePassports.com

Each month, dive into a new Science Expeditions package and discover exciting themes like forensics or magnetism. Inside, kids will find mysteries to solve through experiments, hands-on activities and stories that inspire kids to have fun learning. Ages 9+.



fidget

ZURU Spinner
$5.99; ZuruFidget.com

The ZURU Spinner lets fidgeters quietly finger spin, twirl and turn their nervous energy away. Available in four colors. Ages 3+.


emojito

Emojito!
$19.99; Amazon.com

Players compete by expressing themselves without words and acting out their emotions. Each player (or team) must only use either sounds or facial expressions to portray the emotion shown on their Emotion Card. Emojito! requires players to think and use an awareness of nonverbal cues, sounds and body language to beat the competition. Ages 8+.



puzzle

Under the Sea Foam Puzzle
$15.99: Amazon.com
Features more than 10 different animals underwater, which the little ones will love and adore. That’s not to mention that the image is so vibrant and colorful that the kids won’t be able to resist. What’s more; it is a foam puzzle made using high density and quality foam material. It's built to be highly durable even with frequent use and assembly. This 12 x 18 inches floor puzzle consists of 54 soft and thick foam pieces. It will engage the kids and keep them happily challenged as they try to assemble and complete the image. As a result, it will promote their problem solving skills.


count

Counting Chameleon
$25; BeginAgainToys.com

This puzzle teaches numbers 1 to 15 on one side and spells out the number names in both English and Spanish on the reverse. Each chunky, double-sided piece fits sequentially for a rainbow of counting fun. Made from sustainably harvested rubber wood with non-toxic, child safe stains, the puzzle includes a 7"x10" wood tray for storage and display. Ages 3+.


Published: July 2017