For the inquisitive child who would appreciate a concrete hands-on education on how electronics work, the Snap Circuits SC-300 ($40) offers 305 do-it-yourself projects from a 60-piece set of components. Snap Circuits is the award-winning product for kids to build a radio, doorbell, burglar alarm, and much more from a clearly illustrated manual and without any tools. We only wish it showed how the Professor from Gilligan’s Island built a radio from a coconut, but alas, we’ll have to settle for this awesome set of real-life snap-together circuitry.
Kids of all ages can collaborate creatively when playing eeBoo Obstacles ($17), one of few children’s board games whose gameplay is actually fun for the grown-ups, too. Players collaborate to use their tools in imaginative ways to overcome hazards and barriers. It’s a simple game that whose reward comes from the cooperation and communication with each player. Kids enjoy getting particularly clever and exercising their genius with this fun board game.
For kids that love music and playing in bath, the Alex Water Flute ($11) brings a bit of music education into the mix. Fill the different color flutes to pre-marked levels to get specific tones, then play along with the included waterproof song sheets, or let the kids come up with their own tunes. Might we suggest ‘Splish, Splash, I Was Taking a Bath”? Expect a nightly recital, with the grand finale being a clean kid.
For young ones that love to move, the Kettrike Happy Air Navigator ($230) provides is a tricycle trainer to full trike that makes it easy for both parent and child. Kids can pedal forward, backward to brake, or rest the pedals for auto-free wheeling. The quick-release frame adjusts for growth of the child, and allows for a tandem seating insert (sold separately), making it up to a 4-seated trike! In parent push mode, rear tires can pivot to make it easy for parents to guide. Pneumatic air tires in front and rear help absorb vibration when going offroad, and has more traction than non-air tires. Completely made in Kettler, Germany.
The Baby Einstein brand sure knows how to capture a baby’s attention, and such is the case with Baby Einstein Takealong Tunes ($9). Other music-playing toys may sound too electronic and annoying to adult ears, but that’s not the case with the Takealong Tunes. Enjoy versions of classical masterpieces by Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin and Rossini that are pleasing to the ear for both child and parent. Lights dance colorfully with the music and are fun for baby’s eyes to follow.
If you want to make huge bubbles, and we mean HUGE, the Bubble Thing ($10) is for you. The Bubble Thing wand has a flexible fabric loop that opens and closes to make all sizes and shapes of bubbles. Expect bubbles as large as 10 feet, or even bigger. Be sure to get a bottle of the Big Bubble Mix Refill to use with the wand, and let kids enjoy creating bubbles bigger than they ever imagined.
From Pacific Play Tents, the ‘Find Me’ Multi Color 6 Foot tunnel ($30) is made of durable, flame-retardant 70 Denier nylon. With the sturdy spring steel construction, children can hide, crawl, and play without concern of durability. Simple to collapse and store with the attached Velcro ties, and springs into shape when ready to play.
Kids love singing along to catchy, toe-tapping songs, and would love to do so with Here Comes Science ($15) audio CD from They Might Be Giants. Songs like “Science Is Real” and “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” introduce the concepts of science, the scientific method, and being inquisitive about the world they live in, presented in enjoyable and clever rock’n’roll. It comes with a DVD of the song’s videos, which are just as fun and wacky as the music.