2016 is drawing to a close and the holiday season is officially upon us! It’s time to start thinking about resolutions to make, events to prep and, lest we forget, gifts to give.
Whether celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some combination of the three, chances are, you’ll be purchasing a gift for at least one kiddo in your life this season. But the time-long question stands: what do kids want?
At PopUp Play, we believe smart, creative kids should play with toys that suit their unique qualities. So, we’ve rounded up some of the best types of toys that push kids to learn and use their imaginations while having fun, because every kid deserves something as special as they are.
If you’ve been reading any of our posts about this generation of kids’ exposure to and familiarity with technology, it will come as no surprise that tech-related toys are one of kids’ favorite genres. In fact, we’ve witnessed their affinity for technology personally when watching kids as early as age three build their own playscapes on the Build Lab.
Tech toys don’t only have to involve screen time, though. They include robots, drones and even toys to life, where digital toys come into the physical world. After all, our children are digital natives, and tech toys are a way of speaking their language.
Some of our favorites: Anki’s Cozmo robot, a little guy to keep your kiddo company that has his very own personality. We’re also excited about the View-Master virtual reality headset, which allows kids to navigate through crazy 3-D mazes and puzzles.
When parents, siblings and grandparents enjoy an experience together, like learning or creating something new, some of the most special memories are created. We believe toys don’t have to just be something that kids play with in their spare time. Rather, they can be great opportunities for the whole family to experience fun together. We’ve heard stories of grandparents spending summers with their children and grandchildren coloring castles or siblings exploring their gingerbread house with some cookies and milk on Christmas day.
At the end of the day, kids remember memories of learning and playing with some of their favorite people. So, keep an eye out this holiday season for toys and games that allow for face-to-face, collaborative play and learning.
Some of our favorites: For younger kids, Smart Games USA has a variety of puzzle-like board games fun for the whole family, like the Three Little Piggies. Of course, making cookies together is a family holiday must, and while you’re busy making cookies for the neighbors, your little chef can make her very own with an Easy-Bake Oven. Yup, those are still around.
Speaking of building toys, nothing is quite as special as a toy that a child can not only play with, but also point at and say “I made that.”
As fun as a favorite toy can be, how much more fun would it be if the child were personally involved in its creation? Kids can proudly show off what they created, be that hand-made jewelry, a custom playscape or even their own home video, and learn something along the way while creating it.
Empowering kids as creators from a young age was the dream behind PopUp Play, and we’re proud to say we still get to witness kids’ excitement when they see their customized playscape in real-life for the first time.
Some of our favorites: If your older kiddo is a fan of Minecraft, one similar successful building game is Dragon Quest Builders, a new PS4 and Vita game that allows players to build and create their way through unexplored worlds. Video games aren’t the only outlet for building, though. We also love Magna-Tiles, magnetic building tools for kids as early as age three.
That’s not all we’ve got, though. Check back on our blog for even more unique toy category ideas for this holiday season!