Trucky 3 Toy from SmartGames / David Baratz / USA WEEKEND
OgoBild Nexus toy. / John-Peter Lee
This year give a gift that both parents and children will like. Here are Parentsí Choiceís top picks for fun and educational toys at a budget-friendly price.
Life-Size Farm. Facts and illustrations complement life size photographs of farm animals. (3+, $18.95, Amazon.com)
Trucky 3. Similar to traditional tangram puzzles, these trucks offer different shaped beds to be filled with a number of different configurations of tangram-like cargo. (3 +, $24.99, Amazon.com)
OgoBild Nexus. The 58-piece set includes flexible ogobild balls, wheels, connectors, joints, wings, imagination pieces, and propellers to make inventive creatures, sculptures or other wacky contraptions. (3+, $24.99, Amazon.com)
BabbaBox. A subscription-based creative- and educationally-themed box of activities includes materials for 2-3 hands on projects, content, digital downloads and more. (3-7, $29.99/month, shipping included, babbaco.com)
Puppet-On-A-Stickô. A set of three oversized colorful puppets on sticks with moveable mouths that inspire dramatic play. (4+, $23.99, educationalinsights.com)
Pathwords Jr. Arrange translucent block pieces over a crossword-like grid to find the hidden words. (6 +, $19.99, thinkfun.com)
Fabric Sun Photo Kit. Combine the light of the sun with the spark of imagination to create photo prints on fabric. With enough materials to create 9 prints, everything needed is included, down to scissors and glue. (6+, $30, eyecanart.com)
Makedo Find & Make Space Pod. This simple kit of connectors enables large cardboard boxes, egg cartons and containers to become a space pod large enough to play inside. (7+, $20.00, mymakedo.com)
Solar Mechanics. Build more than 20 solar-powered models to learn about how solar cells convert energy from sunlight into mechanical energy. Experiments demonstrate how different placement angles, light levels, sources of light and different loads affect its operation. (8+, $32.99, Amazon.com)
Indigo. Ravensburgerís board game of intricate pathways and twists has players competing to gather precious gems. Lovely to look at, fascinating to play; itís always a different game. (8+, $34.99. Amazon.com)
Claire Green is president of Parents' Choice Foundation, a non-profit guide to quality media and toys for children. For more information, visit parents-choice.org.