6 cool toys to stimulate minds & inspire creativity

Research shows that there is tremendous value in learning through play. As parents we not only want to delight our little cherubs as they rip off the wrapping paper on Christmas morning, we also want to inspire them to be creative and help stimulate their brains. With that in mind, BritMums blog editor Roni Dutta selects toys that will do just that for the 6+ age range.

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak £30 *gifted*

My 7-year old has just discovered the wonderful world of Hogwarts. Through it he’s developed a real interest in trying to perform magic tricks. Being dyspraxic, his sleight of hand often leaves a lot to be desired. But with this cool app and green screen cloak there’s very little that can go wrong. I’m hoping he’ll be able to confidently entertain us all with this clever disappearing act come Christmas Day. With presents that involve technology, I like to try them out before the big day to save any frustrations and delay. This was super easy to set up by downloading the ‘Wow! Stuff’ app and creating an account. Here’s a still from me trying it out. It’s really rather fun! (This product was gifted to BritMums for the purpose of review.)

Nintendo Switch LABO kit £35

After years of resistance, this year we’re embracing gaming technology and getting a Nintendo Switch. I’m hoping that some of the games will help improve hand-eye coordination and boost confidence. I like the fact that the parental controls can be managed from your phone. I’ve only selected games that allow for some creative input rather than just passively looking at the screen so am really excited to try LABO which incorporates on and offline game play with build-your-own ‘Toy-Con’ cardboard creations giving children a chance to be really think about how items from musical instruments to vehicles need to be constructed in order to function. 

 

Monopoly Voice Banking £30

Even very bright kids can struggle with reading and maths as do many younger kids, which can make board games like Monopoly really frustrating. The new Monopoly Voice banking set handles all of the game’s money and property transactions meaning the pressure to calculate and keep track of money is removed. This makes it ideal for kids with special educational needs such as dyscalculia and dyslexia too and the whole family can play together. All kids need to focus on is the strategy of building up their property empire. 

Lego Hidden Side – Paranormal Bus £54.99

My boy  is a Lego obsessive. He’ll likely grow up to be one of those adult Lego geeks with showcases and shelves devoted to vintage Lego sets. For now though, I’m happy to indulge his obsession. Lego helps him unleash his creativity and storytelling skills by making elaborate scenes and acting them out with different voices. So this year we’re keen try Lego Hidden Side which takes all the best bits of Lego but adds a new augmented dimension to play. A simple app brings the bricks to life so you can catch ghosts and earn points. What I like about Hidden Side is that in order to catch ghosts and earn points you have to play with the actual physical Lego creation, merging offline and online play.  

Bank Attack £25

The whole family can get involved in this fun bank heist game. The object of which is to crack the vault and release the gold hidden inside by working together as a team. Each player takes on the role of either Hacker, Money Man, Look Out or Explosives Expert. I had the chance to try out the game at a press event recently and was pretty useless, but it really got the adrenaline pumping. The game tests reaction speeds and the ability to quickly follow instructions. Make a mistake and the alarm is triggered and the heist is a bust. There are five levels of play plus an extra tricky bonus level.

Rubik Cube 3×3 £13

Like most children of the 80s I had one of these. I remember spending long car journeys trying to figure out how to do it but never did. To my shame, I pulled off the stickers and stuck them (badly) back on in colour order. In this new incarnation of the classic cube puzzle the stickers have been replaced with plastic tiles which eliminates the option of cheating. With over 43 quintillion moves possible and only one solution, this vintage puzzle cube is the ultimate brain teaser. 

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About Ronita Dutta

Former BritMums Brilliance in Blogging judge and award-winning freelance journalist with over 20 years experience producing engaging content for clients including BBC Studios, The Independent and Penguin. She’s written on a diverse range of subjects from health and beauty to parenting, education, psychology and even the weather. Daughter of Bengali immigrants, Ronita was born and bred in London where she and her son can often be found building endless Lego creations.