When it comes to choosing toys for your child, the sky is the limit. With thousands of toys from which to choose, you want something that is not only fun to play with, but also encourages creativity, problem solving, social interaction and other skills.
Below are 10 of the hottest toys of 2014, toys that not only help promote the development of a variety of skills, but that will provide hours of fun. Don’t be surprised to find some of these toys on your elementary-age child’s holiday gift list!
1. Lego Minecraft – The Nether Ages 10+
With 469 pieces, including zombies, ghouls and other dark characters, this Minecraft-themed Lego set is sure to keep your child captivated for hours. Encourages imagination, builds fine motor skills, builds hand-eye coordination, encourages creativity, builds problem-solving skills.
2. Leap Frog Leap Pad Ultra Ages 4+
With a 7-inch high-resolution screen, 8 GB of memory capable of holding over 40K pictures and 140 gaming apps, along with a headphone port and included music and e-books, Ultra is the ultimate learning tablet for kids. Includes tough, durable design, parental controls, Wi-Fi access to kid-safe web, front and back facing cameras and more. Builds cognitive skills, encourages imagination, builds hand-eye coordination and small motor skills.
3. Zoomer Ages 5+
Zoomer is the robotic pup that learns and “mentally” grows with the training of his master (he can learn 15 commands). Voice recognition and multiple sensors, enables Zoomer to behave just like a real dog, with barking, tail-wagging, wriggling, growling and more! Charges using the included USB. Encourages imaginative play and cooperative play. Builds cognitive skills, social skills, speech skills and problem-solving skills.
4. Despicable Me 2 Minion Stuart Laughing Action Figure Ages 4+
As cute as the character in the movie, Dave comes with 55 Minion sayings. Press his pocket to hear him talk while making funny expressions, pres it again for another response. His soft skin encourages cuddling, and he runs on 2 AA batteries. Encourages imaginative play, one-on-one play, and creativity. Builds social skills.
5. Waba Fun’s Superstructs Ages 4+
This year’s’ hottest rod and connector style construction toy, Superstructs come in several different builder kits and themed kits. Using colorful, plastic rods and connectors together with unique foam panels, your little builder will spend hours building fabulous 3D creations. Builds hand-eye coordination, small motor skills, encourages imagination and builds problem solving skills.
6. Playdoh’s Doh Vinci Set Ages 8+
Children can create amazing homemade 3D designs using this kid-friendly 3D printer. This printer uses a unique kind of Play-Doh which hardens overnight, and it does not require any type of heating element like most 3D printers. Choose from several different kits. Encourages imagination, creativity. Builds small motor skills, and artistic skills.
7. Crayola Marker Maker Ages 6 +
This innovation kit allows kids to create their own favorite colored markers. They can combine and blend their favorite, multi-toned colors in 16 twirling markers, then use them for drawing, coloring, writing and even on coloring books. Each marker has a different tip with a reusable exterior and replaceable interior. Encourages problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination. Builds small motor skills.
8. Syma S109G RC Helicopter Ages 6+
The latest addition to Syma’s fleet, this Apache Helicopter is fast, responsive and lightweight. Easily controlled, kids can move the helicopter in 6 different directions including up, down, left, right and forward. 30 foot range. Builds hand-eye coordination, small motor skills, problem solving skills, and encourages imaginative play.
9. Monster High Dolls Ages 6+
The popular Monster High dolls are back and include several new characters. Made by Mattel, these dolls are popular with girls because of their original,indie style and focus on fashion trends. Each character has her own unique personality and embellishments. Buy the dolls in sets or individually. Several accessories are also available. Encourages imagination, creativity, small motor skills, social skills, life skills and more.
10. My Friend Cayla Ages 6+
The first-ever internet-connected, wi-fi doll helps kids learn through Google Translate and speech recognition software, along with a free special for Android or iOS app. Children can ask her questions, and she will answer, usually using Wikipedia for her answers. Pre-programmed with Google’s Safe Search parents don’t have to worry about unsavory words or topics. If your child cusses, Cayla will respond with a polite “That’s inappropriate”. Programmed to be like a seven-year old, there are certain questions, such as “where do babies come from”, that Cayla will skip over, providing a standard response that shows she doesn’t know. Encourages imaginative play and builds computer skills, social skills, speech skills, problem solving skills, small motor skills and hand-eye coordination.