By Tracey Dowdy
Back in February, over one thousand toy companies debuted innovative and imaginative toys at Toy Fair 2018. From this massive exhibition, a number of toys stood out for their creativity and pure fun for kids, and they’re proving to be a hit this holiday season.
If you’re looking for gifts that will spark imaginations and inspire your kids from STEM to fashion design, these toys should top your list.
If your kiddo is a Star Wars fan, Sphero’s R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid ($30 – Walmart) is going to be a big hit. Users can control R2-D2 via an app or a Force Band, with sounds and bright LEDs lights that mirror R2-D2’s onscreen personae. kids can use the Sphero Edu App to learn to program three different ways and complete STEM activities or explore a holographic environment like the Millennium Falcon to further immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe.
The smART sketcher Projector ($49.99 – Target) makes drawing, coloring, and writing fun through a simple-to-use app or preloaded SD cards. Kids simply upload any photo, and then the (free, downloadable) app automatically turns it into a sketch that they can then trace onto any write-on surface like paper, canvas, or wood. Kids can send photos from any smart device via Bluetooth. smART Sketcher comes with Colored Pencils, 20 Sheets of Bordered Paper & an AC Adapter.
Magformers are bright, colorful and educational 360-degree rotating magnets designed to attract the magnet encapsulated in the next shape allowing kids to construct in 3D. The Magformers 44-piece Sky Track Play Set ($99.99 – Magformers.com) allows kids to build a space coaster then send the included sky-car speeding through its loops and hoops. As always, the Sky Track Play set is compatible with other Magformers sets, so the only limit is your child’s imagination.
Elenco Snap Circuits Bric: Structures takes ordinary bricks you have in your toy box – think Lego – and brings them to life. Kids can snap-together circuits to make their builds light up, move, or even make sounds. The set comes with 20 SNAP CIRCUITS® component parts, 75 Bric-2-Snap adapters, over 140 fully compatible building bricks, and a full-color, easy-to-read project manual so your kids can start creating from the moment they open the box.
Similarly, LittleBits Hall of Fame Kits ($27.95 and up) are designed so kids can use both their right and left brain so instead of STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math), it’s STEAM (science, tech, engineering, ARTS and math). Each LittleBits toy uses snap-together circuits so kids can create while learning STEM skills. This years’ kits include a night light, a bubble bot, a crawly creature, and an arcade game.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.