After learning about general tips for choosing smart toys for your kids, we focus on toys for your school age kid.
Your school-age kid can now play more complex games, puzzles and toys that add to the intellectual stimulation he gets from school activities. The best educational toy for your kid at this stage are those that he learns from without him knowing it (it’s not learning Math, it’s Monopoly!).
Not all kids are the same, and their individual personalities at this stage begin to show. In choosing toys for your school-age kid, it is important for you to know what interests him. A toy that caters to his interests is not only more enjoyable to him, but it also develops his unique talent and potential. The toy should also be age-appropriate; otherwise it will just be ignored and wasted.
The following are toy ideas to help make your school-age kid smart:
Science toys – Toys that will bring out the budding scientist in your kid include toy microscope, magnifying glasses, telescope, periscope, kaleidoscope, anatomy kit, bugs kit, garden kit, magnet kit, or chemistry kit.
Computer and video games – There are many educational computer games that teach math, reading, and language skills. Role playing games that counts strength level, “mana” or money of characters teach math skills. Strategy games also build math skills, along with planning, problem solving skills and ability to work towards a goal. Action and racing games improve eye/hand coordination.
Board games and strategy toys – At this age, your kid begins to enjoy playing games with rules, with friends or family. This enhances cooperative social skills and also creates family bonding. Many board games teach Math skills (when your kid is adding the numbers in the dice, for instance). They can also improve spelling, memory and reading skills in a more fun way than a flash card or workbook. Excellent board games include:
- Chess – shown by many studies to improve memory and verbal reasoning, as well as math, logic, reading and problem-solving skills.
- Checkers and Chinese Checkers
- Pick-up sticks
- Snakes and ladders
Puzzles and brain teasers – Solving puzzles and brain teasers exercise your kid’s visual perception, eye/hand coordination, patience and problem-solving skills. In his early school years your kid should build from 25-piece jigsaw puzzles to 50 and 100-plus puzzles.
Creative toys and art supplies– These obviously enhance creativity and foster talent (for the budding graphic designer, architect, or writer). They also develop your kid’s ability to communicate ideas and feelings visually, to refine eye/hand skills and learn how to stick to a task. The following are some creative toy ideas:
- crayons, colored pencils, paints, and pastels
- arts and crafts materials
- create-a-book kit
- construction toys
- erector sets
Musical instruments – your school-age kid can try out musical instruments that are closer to the real thing like electronic keyboard, guitar, drum set, or karaoke. This is when he discovers his musical talents. Learning music also has a positive effect on your kid’s intelligence.
Sports – Physical activity is very important not only to your child’s health, but also for his intelligence. The best toys are the scaled-down version of popular sports equipment like basketball, volleyball, tennis sets and bikes.
Pretend play toys – These allow him to try on a different role, cope with feelings and fears, and develop his language, storytelling and social skills. At this stage, he wants more elaborate and realistic props for stepping into the roles of a scientist, a superhero, or a storekeeper. This is also the stage where your boy becomes passionate about collecting action figures and your girl about dolls and make them actors in his or her own fantasy world. Other examples of pretend play toys are:
- puppet and puppet stages
- Spy toys
- Doctor kit
- Carpentry kit
See also the list of best educational toys and gift ideas for children
How to choose toys to make kids smarter
How to choose toys to make your baby smart
How to choose toys to make your toddler smart
How to choose toys to make your preschooler smart