spike-the-fine-motor-hedgehogAs the holiday season approaches, parents all across the country are looking for the best toys to buy their kids. Here are some great gift recommendations to consider, broken out by age.

18 Months+ Toy

One Good Housekeeping Toy Award Winner is Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog. Young toddlers can enjoy putting the hedgehog’s attractively colored spikes into place at different angles. This allows parents to work with their youngsters on counting, sorting and identifying colors, while the toddlers can also improve their fine motor skills. After playtime is over, the plastic can be wiped clean and then the spikes can be stored in Spike’s body.

Parents can also choose age-appropriate hedgehog books and read them to their toddlers to reinforce information about this animal. (Image credit: Amazon)

2+ Toy

Good Housekeeping lists the Symphony Croc Music Band Set for children aged 2 and up, a toy that can help children develop motor skills and gain a sense of rhythm. This band set can be enjoyed by one child at a time or, if there are more children in the family, they can play together. This set includes a drum with two mallets, a bell, a xylophone, and a wooden block known as a “guiro” that makes sounds when a child rubs a stick against notches placed along the croc’s snout.

There are plenty of benefits to young children when they play music, with those who regularly do so having better body control, higher self-esteem, and much more.

3+ Toy

MomJunction.com recommends the LIKEE Wooden Pattern Blocks/Animals Jigsaw Puzzle. This toy contains 36 wooden blocks and 60 pattern cards, and your young children can use the cards to come up with ideas of what to build with the blocks—or they can be creative and make their own structures and designs. This toy helps children to develop spatial awareness, recognize shapes, and learn their colors. Materials are nontoxic.

4+ Toy

RaiseSmartKid.com is listing a game in its 2020 recommendations that can be enjoyed by the entire family: Zingo: Bingo with a Zing. This board game can be enjoyed by up to seven players at a time, perhaps your family or a group of children. The winner is the person who fills out their Zingo card from tiles pulled. Each tile has an image and the corresponding word, which means that pre-readers can participate — and learn how to spell the words at the same time. This game has won multiple awards, including the Oppenheim Gold Award, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and Astra Best Toys for Kids Award.

8+ Toy

For this age group, MomJunction.com suggests SmartLab Toys Smart Circuits, the perfect gift for children who are curious about the ins/outs of electronic devices. It contains the parts that real-life engineers use to create electronic boards that really work: wires, boards, a microprocessor and more.

These smart circuits can be used for 50 different projects, each laid out in an illustrated manual that comes with step-by-step instructions. Your kids can follow these plans or create their own unique gadgets. This can be a wonderful STEM gift so enjoyable that it won’t even feel “educational” to children.

Ages 5-12

This recommendation is also from RaiseSmartKid.com: Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit by National Geographic. Your child can put a rock, any rock, into a tumbler and it comes out with a polished look. These beautiful stones can make up a nice rock collection, be used in homemade jewelry, and more. This kit may spur a child’s interest in geology, which would be a wonderful plus.

When looking for the best toys for your children this year, you can also explore the other recommendations that are included in the links we’ve provided.

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