Educational Gift Guide: Games, Maps, and Building Toys

The Best Games, Puzzles, Maps, and Building Gifts for Kids

Yeah! The long-awaited gift guides for parents who prefer open-ended play and thinking toys and games to plastic do-it-all-for-you products!! There are five gift guides – literacy, books, math & science, games +, and art+ and I’ll publish one a day until they’re all posted. Watch for TONS of sweepstakes — at least half the products featured in the gift guides will be reviewed and you’ll get a chance to win them.

Don’t miss the 2012 Best Learning Gifts for Kids!
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Product

Description

Company

Alphabet Dice Game |  $12.99  | Ages 8+

Campbell’s® Alphabet Dice Game is not just another word game. It’s a simple, yet clever and challenging anagram dice game for the whole family to enjoy. Just throw the dice and spell. When it’s your turn, you could even try “slurping”. So gather around the table and warm up your evening with a serving of everyone’s favorite word game. It’s not only fun. It’s M’m M’m Good™!

Buy Alphabet Dice

I Built It! Checkers |  $24.99  | Ages 6 and up

These “I Built It!” checkers let you choose any of your favorite pictures and add them right into every game piece. You can even build learning into your game by adding pictures of important people, places, and things! Changing the pictures takes only minutes so your game can never be outgrown or outdated – it always stays fresh and fun!

Buy I Built It! Games

Pajaggle | $29.99 | Ages 4 and up

Each Pajaggle board set comes with a board, a set of 61 pieces, and electronic game timer, a carrying pouch for pieces and lots of fun. Each board is made of durable polycarbonate plastics with similar yet unique shapes. Buy now and let’s play Pajaggle™!

Buy Pajaggle

Jeepers Peepers – Ask and Answer Question Game | $39.95 | Ages 5 and up

Have one student put on the glasses. Place a photo card in the Peepers slot without showing it to the student. Have the student face the other players and ask yes/no questions to find out what he/she is! Then, have everyone play! Jeepers Peepers comes with 101 photo cards in five categories: Animals, Food, People, Things, and Transportation.

Buy Jeepers Peepers

Spot It! | $12.95 | Ages 6 – 10

There is always one, and only one, matching symbol between ANY 2 CARDS in this game. Spot it and you win! There are only 8 symbols on each card, but 2 matching symbols may be different sizes. This challenge increases as new cards are quickly revealed in this fast-paced game. Spot it! develops visual perception and matching skills. It supports quick mental processing and sharpens cognitive skills in a fun atmosphere.

Buy Spot It!

The Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game | $23.99 | Ages 4 and up

The Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game brings the classic tales of Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister Bear to life as kids use the detailed characters to race around the board. Drop the die down the tree house slide to roll, move your bear or draw a card that will tell you about a nice behavior or one that could cause some trouble. Kids love the fun role play and trying to be the first to reach Mama and Papa Bear! Love the book, now live the game!
For 2 to 4 players

Buy The Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game

The Egg Game | $30 | Ages 6 and up

A game of perpetual motion with no winners or losers. Players share the weight of the board, tilt and rock to spin the egg. 1-4 players, great for classrooms. 3 eggs in pouch instruction sheet.

Buy The Egg Game

Pick and Draw | $10.00 | Ages 6 and up

Pick and Draw is a fun, one-of-a kind drawing game that teaches how to make cartoon faces with over 60,000 possibilities. Buy Pick and Draw

Knock Your Blocks Off | $15.95 | Ages 8 and up

First, race to build one of five structures by matching up the patterns on your blocks. Then use the battle die to knock off your opponent’s crowns!Depending on your roll, you may get to attack with an avalanche of boulders, a wall-smashing ogre, or even a fire-breathing dragon!Knock your Blocks Off encourages logic, visual spatial skills & fast response. Rack up the most victory points and crown yourself king of the block!
Buy Knock Your Blocks Off

Q-Ba-Maze Big Box | $39.95 | Ages 5 and up

Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 is a unique system of colorful cubes that interlock to form a marble run. You can create marble maze sculptures in the form of animals, geometric shapes or any other design! Big Box includes 72 cubes in five different colors and 20 steel balls. Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 cubes are not compatible with original Q-Ba-Maze cubes. Buy Q-Ba-Maze

Mermaid Beach | $9.30 | Ages 6 and up

Invested by an 8 year old! Swim along with Swirly Shirley, Betsy Bubbles, Rip Rider, and a colorful cast of undersea characters as you try to collect the most seashell cards. Watch out for sneaky waves and icky seaweed along the way. Most of all – don’t get caught holding the sea monster at the end of the game!
Buy Mermaid Beach

Villeta | $29.99 | Ages 3 and up

Inquisitive hands will transform Villetta into a village of colorful cottages, a tower of balancing prisms, or an abstract sculptural masterpiece. This artful open-ended building toy expands the possibilities of building ideas never before imagined. The color, form and sheer beauty of Villetta will attract young children as well as artists, designers and playful adults. Buy Villetta

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Trucky 3 | $24.95 | Ages 3 and up

  • 3-D puzzle with 3 trucks
  • Players fit puzzle pieces into trucks to solve visual challenges
  • Trucks fit small hands
  • International award winner
Buy Trucky 3

I Am Here Custom Play Mat |$28.50 – $63.50 |Ages 2 to 10

The I am Here play mat is custom-designed to your neighborhood and is professionally printed on 10oz vinyl (Deluxe 15oz vinyl is available for an added fee of $8.50). Easy to keep clean and store, the play mat can be wiped with a cloth and rolled up when playtime is over. Buy I Am Here Play Mat

Connectagons Creative Building Sets | $24.95 |Ages 4

Set includes 240 wooden circles multiplied by 8 slots each multiplied by 5 bright colors and countless patterns. Offers skill-building benefits and limitless fun and challenge. Encourages imaginative play with open-ended construction possibilities. Buy Connectagons

Doorway Market |$39.99| Ages 3 and up

Kids can head to the market or open their own toy store with just the simple switch of a sign. Perfect for imaginary play, our doorway market includes 2 Velcro® signs (market/toy store), open/closed sign, roll-up door, 4 clear sleeves to hold little trinkets or food, shelf and a plush cash register. Buy Doorway Market

Whoowasit? | $39.99| Ages 7 -15
Whoowasit? Is a captivating “who done it” electronic board game that challenges players to find the magical ring stolen from the wise king by the evil wizard.  Against the clock, players move their pieces through the various rooms on the board to discover who stole the precious gem – with the help of talking animals and a treasure chest that randomly supplies clues. A cooperative play game that reinforces memory, tactical and team-building skills.

Buy Whoowasit?

Ravensburger 3D Building Sets | $25.99 | Ages 10 and up
Ravensburger’s 3D Building Sets usher in an era of vertical puzzle construction with monuments to man’s ingenuity that all generations will appreciate.  The debut collection features easy-to-assemble 216-pc puzzles of the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben as well as an iconic New England Lighthouse. Like Ravensburger’s popular puzzleball® line, the 3D Building Sets feature precision-cut flat and hinged pieces that click perfectly into place.  Once complete, these impressive structures stand up to 15” high and feature exacting details for enduring enjoyment.

Buy The Empire State Building

Shop all Building Sets

Interactive World Map | $60.00 | Ages 6 and up
1,000 facts and questions about the countries of the world in this interactive world map. Features 78 interactive Buy Interactive World Map
House of Cards | $25.00 | Ages 5 and up
Famed designers Charles and Ray Eames’ picture-card decks have become universal favorites. Each card depicts a different familiar object from the animal, mineral, or vegetable kingdoms. Six slots on each card interlock for building the house of cards of your dreams.Small Set contains 54 cards. Large set contains 32 cards. Buy House of Cards
PlayShapes Wooden Blocks |$158.00 | Ages 4 and up
Miller Goodman’s PlayShapes is a modular 74-piece set that can become endless 3D incarnations. The set comes in an unbleached drawstring cotton bag and inside a graphic box. Buy Playshapes Blocks

Double Duel A Sound-Alike Word Game|$27.99 |Ages 7 and up

It’s a drink. A golf ball sits on it. What’s the answer? Tea/tee! 
High-speed homophone game requires sharp listening and vocabulary skills.

  • buzzers each make a different sound: honk honk, boxing bell, doorbell and boing
  • Supports students with color-coded question cards offering 2 levels of differentiation
  • Includes 200 double-sided, self-checking clue cards, card box, Activity Guide and 4 buzzers measuring 3.5″ in diameter

Buy Double Duel

Tic-Tac-Two|$19.99 |Ages 7 and up

This is a new twist on Tic Tac Toe that’s even better for your brain. Players can move a grid around the board during play to either win the game or block their opponent. Play this addictive game over and over and you’ll never see the same strategy twice.

Buy Tic Tac Two

Keep Reading . . . 

 Educational Gift Guide: Writing and Reading 

Creative Play Gift Guide: Music, Art, Nature

 2010 Games and Art Gift Guide

 Gratitude Activities for Kids & Avoiding Stereotypes at Thanksgiving