Need some ideas for your holiday shopping list? Check out our 2017 top toy picks for the best in STEM, creativity, learning, and just plain fun!
Are you done with your holiday shopping? With the season in full swing, we’ve made a short list of fun toys and gift ideas for your child. We have researched everything from the latest in board games and arts & crafts, to STEM, and tech toys. Happy shopping!
Most Popular Toys
These toys won’t stay on the shelves for long! Get them while you can.
Ages: 5 and Up
2016’s Most Popular Toy, Hatchimals are magical creatures that live inside of eggs. Who’s inside? It’s a surprise! Each egg contains one of two interactive Hatchimals. Love and care for yours inside the egg and its eyes will light up as it makes cute sounds, telling you how it’s feeling! Once you’ve played with it enough, you’ll see rainbow eyes—that means it’s time to hatch! Hatchimals can’t hatch on their own. Your touch encourages them to peck their way out of the egg! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Now you get to raise your furry Hatchimal through 3 stages, from baby to toddler, to kid. Your Hatchimal sings “Hatchy Birthday” each time it enters a new stage! Teach yours to walk, dance, play games and more! It will even repeat what you say in its own voice! Hatchimals — who will you hatch?
Ages: 7 and Up
The most backed project in Kickstarter history, Exploding Kittens is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats. In this highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette, players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a Defuse card, which can defuse the Kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.
Watch Ya’ Mouth
Ages: 8 and up
Watch Ya’ Mouth is the AUTHENTIC, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party Game. In this laughter-inducing, competitive card-based game, teams of players, hampered by cheek retractors, attempt to read and interpret/speak out phrases and…. Hilarity ensues! Good for Ages 8+, with virtually unlimited players (when played using our “Alternate” rule set), Watch Ya’ Mouth is a must for any gathering, party, game night, or family night. Be warned: Stomach-Cramping, Eye-Watering laughter is a very frequent occurrence. “One of the funniest party games there’s been” Learn it in seconds, play it for hours, and create lasting memories with your friends and family.
Top STEM Toys
These toys will engage your child in science, technology, engineering, and math so they learn while they play!
Barbie Stem Kit
Toy Insider STEM 10 Award 2016
The Annual Animal Shelter Gala is just hours away! Help Barbie and Nikki prepare for the party as you learn important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills. The Barbie STEM kit includes a full-color storybook manual guides your journey as you explore physics and engineering. Construct 7 different models, including a spinning closet rack, washing machine, and greenhouse-all compatible with the Barbie Dreamhouse (sold separately). Then, conduct experiments to learn how and why your designs work! Create three unique types of dresses for Barbie and Nikki—an optical illusion origami dress, chromatography dress, and leaf-print dress—while learning important lessons in biology and chemistry. Follow along with the story and discover ways to use science to solve problems!
Circuit Maze Board Game
Techlicious Best of Toy Fair 2016
Ages: 8 and Up
Your logic skills and sequential reasoning will light up with Circuit Maze! Your goal is to arrange tokens and create a real circuit to light up the Beacons. Circuit building while solving challenges provides a boost of brainpower and a fun education in electronics. With 60 challenges, ranging in difficulty, this logic game will provide budding electrical engineers with hours of electrifying fun and intense learning.
Crayola Air-Dry Clay
Ages: 6 and Up
Engage in creativity with your child and try Crayola Air-Dry Clay. Crayola Air-Dry Clay hardens without the use of a kiln or oven. Its smooth, pliable texture softens easily with water. This natural, white earth clay hardens within a few days and can be painted with watercolors, tempera or acrylic paints when dry. The generously sized, 5-pound bucket is ideal for classrooms and groups.
Top Tech Toys
Virtual Reality is the latest trend in technology … and toys!
View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer
Ages: 7 and Up
View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer that Works With Google Cardboard has been designed to give you a more immersive VR experience. It features a headphone connector for a more immersive audio experience, wider lenses for expanded field of view and a focus wheel to bring images to focus without your glasses! Immerse yourself in 360-degree interactive environments and explore amazing virtual worlds.
Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit
Ages: 14 and up
The Basic Make Your Own Drone Kit Using LEGO® Bricks gives you the full Flybrix build-and-fly experience. With this kit, you can build quad, hex, plus octo airframe designs and fly them with the Flybrix Bluetooth Flight Control App. The kit comes with the all the components including LEGO® bricks, design plans, and software you need to get flying out-of-the-box. No extra tools or supplies needed. If you decide that you want a different flying experience, the optional Flybrix R/C Expansion Pack can be added at anytime.
Ages: 12 and Up
Discover a new world of unexpected gaming experiences with PlayStation VR. Redefine your expectations of immersion in gaming with moments so intense your intuition takes over. Step into incredible virtual worlds and overcome new challenges in extraordinary ways. With gamers in mind, PlayStation delivers a new world of unexpected gaming experiences through PlayStation VR.
With news that the number of mobile phones that exist in the world will exceed the current global population in 2013, it makes us wonder why mobile phones have made such a huge impact on our lives over the past ten years.
I remember my very first phone- a hand me down from my mum, then sister- and strongly recount how grown-up I felt for owning my very own mobile device. However, at 9 years old, I used the phone for nothing but playing games, especially as none of my friends had a phone for me to text or call.
But things today are already very different from when I was 9 years old; it was just last week that I witnessed my 3 year old cousin successfully unlock her dad’s iPhone and navigated her way to a particular app. With children having more and more exposure to technology today, it is hardly surprising that toddlers are capable of handling mobile phones and tablets.
But what age is too young when it comes to children owning mobile phones?
A recent study suggested that 47% of teenagers now own a smartphone, with over half of them considering themselves addicted to their mobile device.
Teenagers activating and looking for the best mobile phone deals on smartphones such as BlackBerrys, iPhones and Androids was at a record high last Christmas, suggesting that the number of young people being bought a mobile phone is increasing year on year.
The report found that over 20% of 13 year olds now own a mobile phone, though the majority of these teenagers don’t have the latest smartphone models such as the iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S3. Many parents even admitted that their children as young as 10 owned a mobile phone, though a high proportion of these owned hand-me-down devices rather than brand new phones specifically purchased the for child in question.
The increase in young people owning a mobile phone can even be seen in the way that contracts have changed. For instance, while pay as you go devices may have become less popular over the past 10 years, pay monthly contracts that can be capped have become more so. In this way, parents find that they are able to track their children’s mobile phone usage insofar as checking which numbers they are calling, and how much money they are spending.
The Pros of young people owning a mobile phone
While critics often focus on the negative impacts of children owning a mobile phone, it is clear that there are obvious benefits of young children being able to navigate their way round technical devices at a young age.
The main pro of a child or teenager having their own mobile phone is an issue of safety; if they can contact you and if you can contact them at any time, it lessens the anxiety that a parent feels if their child is out with their friends, or on a school trip, for example.
Also, by allowing young people to have their own mobile phone, it teaches them the art of budgeting, as well as making them responsible. As mobile phones aren’t always cheap, entrusting a device to a young person is key to their personal development and transition into becoming an adult.
Cons of young people owning a mobile phone
On the other hand, recent reports suggest that out of the all mobile phone thefts last year, a high proportion of them were targeted at teenagers. For example, of the 1,223 mobile phones that were stolen in Nottinghamshire last year, 40 per cent were taken from young people under the age of 21.
However, while this figure may be high, it doesn’t necessarily represent the crime rate throughout the UK. Also, teaching young people about how to stay safe when using their mobile phone is a good lesson learning how to prove their ability to take care of their most prized possessions.
So there we have it; while the number of young people owning a mobile phone might be on the rise, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our children are failing to learn how to communicate. With the technology dominating our society today, it only seems fitting for the future generation to be at the forefront of the hi-tech revolution. And with ‘text speak’ well and truly out of fashion, mobile phones could even get young people writing the English language more frequently, thus enhancing their education. What is clear, however, is that the pull of mobile phones to young people today seems to be getting stronger for parents to resist.
The article above was from a MamaBear guest blogger. The MamaBear blog is now accepting guest post from reputable bloggers on a variety of subjects. If you are interested in guest blogging for MamaBear simply contact us here.
Happy New Year from the MamaBear team! Well . . . do you have your New Year’s Resolutions planned? They are so hard to stick to, right? It’s hard because it’s discipline. Ultimately, New Year’s resolutions are all about discipline and accountability. Working out when we say we’re going to work out. Skipping fries when we say we’re going to cut carbs. Consistency is hard to maintain with new habits. We’ve all broken a few resolutions here or there, and we all know how hard it can be to maintain constant discipline.
If we, as adults, have a hard time with discipline, it is no wonder that our kids battle with it just as much. It’s human nature to want to explore and push boundaries. I haven’t found a parent yet that says, “My kids do exactly what they are supposed to after being told just one time.” As many parents know, it’s about consistent reinforcement.
Obviously we feel that keeping a watchful eye on our children is a good idea – it’s why we created the MamaBear app in the first place. But remember, no one is perfect. Not us as parents and certainly not our children. If we can’t keep our own New Year’s resolutions every time, then maybe we can show some empathy when we feel overwhelmed by our words of repetitive discipline.
We encourage parents to use MamaBear as a tool to gather information. Information to have continued, relevant, consistent conversations about important issues like appropriate behavior on social media, why certain places are off limits and why accountability is important. It’s not hard to teach kids the importance of showing up for practice when they say they will. It just takes consistent reinforcement, even when a child strays a bit.
Going over the speed limit, visiting places we’d rather our kids not visit or perhaps taking a day off school without you knowing are ways boundaries could be tested. We all tested our boundaries growing up, now we have tools like MamaBear that give us vital information to talk about consequences. Tools to give our children consistent and empathetic dialog when they push against our boundaries in the New Year. Make it a great 2013!