Texas Living

Toy Teachers: Educational Holiday Gifts

By Brian Kendall 12.14.16

Educational toys might bring to mind the red nose buzzing on Operation or the rudimentary building blocks of Legos, but toys, like most things, have come a long way since you were a young ‘un. Here are five educational toys to put under the tree that’ll bring smiles to your children’s faces while keeping their minds at work. (And busy parents need not worry, you won’t have to shop all over town. Everything’s available on Amazon, though prices may vary.)

VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone
(Ages 6 months to 3 years, $13)
Chances are your little one has already discovered the endless entertainment that your smartphone provides. Give them an equally mystifying source of enjoyment with an educational twist with the VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone, which includes 12 learning apps included on the phone. Youngsters can explore the ABCs, weather, music, a pretend calendar, and more.

LeapFrog Scribble and Write
(Ages 3 and up, $17)
This toy from LeapFrog will have your child writing his or her name before you know it. The educational tool lights up the shape of a letter that your child must trace with a stylus. Scribble and Write also provides instant accuracy feedback, and using this little gadget is certainly a change of pace from traditional paper and pencil.

Insect Lore Original Butterfly Garden
(Ages 4 and up, $17)
The amazing metamorphosis that takes place when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly can be mind-boggling and extraordinary to kids and adults alike. With this butterfly garden, your children can witness the transformation up close and personal. The kit comes with a mail-in voucher for five butterfly larvae and a reusable habitat, in case your kids catch any caterpillars in the future.

Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
(Ages 6 to 8, $14)
This junior chemistry set will inspire your children to partake in spectacular experiments like making a color-changing volcano or magic ooze. Kids will also learn how to conduct an experiment, test a hypothesis, and increase their vocabulary with words like, well, hypothesis.

OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot
(Ages 8 to 15, $20)
This solar-powered robot, which kids can build and transform into 14 different forms (including crab-bot, boat-bot, slither-bot, and more), gives children a glimpse into the future while improving their problem-solving and motor skills.

In addition to our roundup, remember there are plenty of fun and educational playthings on the market to keep your kids giggling and their minds working. Check out the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) toys available on Amazon here.

For even more ways to inspire your children at home — read our article “Kids in the Kitchen” for fun ways to involve your pint-size sous-chefs in cooking and baking and teach them a thing or two along the way!