9 'Smart' Toys To Exercise Kids' MInds 2019 – Scary Mommy

You’ll Want To Snatch These Smart Toys For Santa To Put Under The Tree

October 25, 2019 Updated February 22, 2020

A Gift Guide To Help Parents Step Up Their Toy-Buying Game ASAP
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The holidays are all about family, togetherness, and – duh – gifts! I personally loathe when someone gifts my son with a mindless toy that will just add to the insane amount of clutter. I would rather a ‘smart toy’ that will exercise his mind, or something that can be built and then put on display directly after.

Jenn Choi, who writes about learning, productivity, and play, runs a blog called toysaretools.com says, “Instead of focusing all their attention on machines that speak, early learners actually need to practice so-called joint attention skills,” she says. “These skills are going to directly impact their ability to learn in a classroom, to speak up in a meeting, to make sense of conflicting thoughts and points of view.”

Choi also discusses on her blog that “good” educational toys need to be able to be used for one of these things:

– Icebreakers in social settings
– Make-believe play
– Memory boosters
– Executive functioning (a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal)
– Artistic expression
– Practicing scientific thinking

Sure, “smart toys” can mean tech-advanced, but I like to categorize them as “toys that will make you smart” too. There are a ton of options now with STEM, robotics, computers. Heck, a lot of these toys will give us as moms a lesson, too.

So here we go, here are the best smart toys to give your kiddo for the holidays:

Artie 3000

BEST FOR THE FUTURE MENSA APPLICANT

$62.99 AT AMAZON

Artie 3000 is a coding robot that lets kids design code, and he draws the pictures! (Is there a robot where moms say “clean your room!” and kids automatically listen?) There are pre-programmed designs for beginners and more advanced coders can start from scratch. Designed for mini-coders aged seven and up, this little guy is an Honorary Mensa Member, so he’ll be your kid’s smartest friend. (Right?)

Relay

BEST FOR THE MOTHER WHO ISN’T READY TO INTRODUCE HER KID(S) TO SMART PHONES

$49.99 AT AMAZON

Relay is a screen-free smarter phone that’s basically a walkie-talkie with nationwide coverage and GPS tracking. (Where was this thing when I was dating my ex?) There’s a companion app that lets you manage all the Relays on your account, and see where they are by GPS. It works over 4G LTE and WiFi, so it has unlimited range and works everywhere a phone does. If you’re not ready for your kid to have a smart phone yet, a Relay is a great solution.

Moving Creations with k’nex

BEST FOR THE LEGO LOVER

$39.99 AT AMAZON

Moving Creations walks junior engineers through 9 build and 18 STEM experiments. It includes “Think Bigger” challenges to deepen their understanding of the scientific method. Let your kid explore the science of pneumatic (air) and hydraulics (water), while you explore the dictionary to make sure you understand what s/he’s playing with.

Jooki

BEST FOR THE MUSIC LOVER

$199.99 AT AMAZON

Jooki is a music player for kids with a ton of other functions. It can stream music and stories from your phone or Spotify premium, play audiofiles, record and playback messages, and it works over wifi and bluetooth. Parents can also add their own content, so basically just get this for your kid but then steal it for your own use.

Boolean Box

BEST FOR THE GIRL WHO GONNA RUN THE WORLD

$159.99 AT AMAZON

Geared towards girls (who run the world?!) Boolean Box is a built-it-yourself computer and electronics kit. It contains a computer called a Raspberry Pi, a mouse and keyboard, and all necessary wires, lights, buttons, etc. so girls can bring their coding projects to life. For ages eight and up, girls (and fine, boys too!) can make art, games, music, recreate Pac Man and so much more.

Gumball Machine Maker

BEST FOR THE PHYSICS TEACHER IN ALL OF US

$27.99 AT AMAZON

Kids can build their own gumball machines all while learning physics lessons in the process. As gumballs roll down the track, they perform cool stunts and tricks, such as pulley lift, pendulum, funnel, trampline, and more. Each segment of the track teaches a different lesson in mechanical physics, so kids will never get bored. Plus, at the end of it all, we get to enjoy the sweet treat!

Air-Walker

BEST FOR THE FUTURE ASTRONAUT

$27.99 AT AMAZON

How about a robot that defies gravity? This four-legged bot uses a system of suction cups and pumps to crawl along smooth, vertical surfaces. Your kid(s) can build four other models too! This hands-on construction kit brings engineering and physics to life as it demonstrates the power of air pressure at work. Again, another toy where maybe it will teach you a thing or two.

ABCmouse

BEST FOR THE LITTLE ONE WHO’S ALL ABOUT THE BOOKS

DOWNLOAD AT AMAZON

ABC mouse is a digital learning program for kids aged 2 – 8 that can accelerate the development of early literacy and math skills. It helps ensure kindergarten readines and 3rd grade readiness, which are two important academic milestones (who knew?). Created and designed and by teachers and education experts, ABCmouse is a trusted learning resource that’s used in more than 70,000 classrooms and in nearly half of all U.S. public libraries. That’s enough for me to trust it!

KeySmart

BEST FOR THE OLDER KID WHO IS DRIVING AND DOING ALL THE TEENAGE THINGS

$22.99 AT AMAZON

Probably best for your older kids, this is the world’s most durable compact key holder. It holds up to 14 keys and includes a pocket clip and a bottle opener (you know, for the soda pop). KeySmart also comes with a Tile so they’ll never lose keys again! P.S. You can also track them this way.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.