Christmas gift ideas UAE: Top 10 educational toys for kids that are more than unnecessary plastic objects
Looking for some educational toys as Christmas gift ideas for the kids in the UAE this year? Instead of buying another plastic plaything that’s destined to be deemed junk by New Year (or before!), this handpicked selection of Christmas gifts offer long-term absorption, and are guaranteed to teach them something in the process…
Lego Vidiyo The Boombox BeatBox
Kids can direct and star in their own music videos with this amazing music video maker set from Lego. After assembling the stage and downloading the AR app, scan in the music minifigures and see them come to life in their own music video, which can then be shared in the app’s child-safe social media feed. Kids can tinker with lighting and special effects, experiment with sound effects and slow motion, try out different songs and dance moves, and even swap heads to choose different background scenery, for creativity boosting enjoyment both on and offline. Suitable for 9-year-olds upwards we rate this number one of the educational toys available this year to get kids thinking. From Dh523, Sivvi.com.
Think Fun Gravity Maze
This is one of the biggest sellers on Amazon this year, and for good reason. A gravity-powered logic maze with colourful translucent towers, kids will put their visual perception and spatial reasoning skills to the test as they construct new paths to get the marble to the target. With 60 challenges of various levels of difficulty, this combines construction and creativity skills with planning and logic, and will keep kids age 8 and upwards occupied for hours. Dh149, Toys R Us.
Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! An Animal Poem for Each Day of The Year, selected by Fiona Water and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
Make your bedtime routine all about the wonder of poetry and the natural world next year, with this gorgeously illustrated book of delightful, animal-themed poems – more than enough to read a new one every night of the year. This very special anthology contains 366 poems about our furry, feathered and finned friends, including many familiar poet names – from Christina Rossetti and William Blake to Dick King-Smith, Ted Hughes, Emily Dickinson and modern Guyanese poet Grace Nichols. No poem is longer than a page, and each comes ensconced amid sumptuous and vibrant illustrations, that will keep kids lingering over the vivid images as much as the luxuriant, lyrical words.
Melissa and Doug Let’s Play Pretend Housekeeping Set
It might seem like a strange Christmas present, but this Housekeeping Set makes the perfect gift for a toddler or young child whose parents are fans of the Montessori method and understand the benefits of open-ended play. Little ones will use their imaginations as they mimic what they’ve seen their carers do, and during this purposeful playtime they’ll also come to observe the relationships between objects and become familiar with concepts of depth, mass and volume.
This six-piece wooden play set gives kids all the housekeeping tools they need, all of which are kid-sized and built to last. Dh219 Babyshopstores.com.
VTech KidiZoom PrintCam
Remember when Polaroids were all the rage? It’s a whole new world now, with this VTech instant camera boasting not only an in-built printer, but the ability to take both regular photos and selfies, and a digital screen – so little ones can check the photo is tip-top before committing it to print. Kids can take up to 80 photos with the included roll (or even more with a refill), and they can turn them into fun drawings or stickers, too. Dh319.
Thames and Kosmos Gravity Bugs
These clever little bugs defy gravity! A finalist in The Toy Association’s Construction Toy of the Year category, this STEM-inspired toy combines a physics experiment covering air pressure and suction with joyful, hands-on play. Children will learn how motors, gears and switches work together, as they construct their robot bug, which will then crawl in a gravity-defying fashion on any smooth surface – whether that’s across a table or on the ceiling! From Dh87.
Osmo Potions Game
Ensure your child’s screentime is constructive and entice them into the real world with this new game from Osmo, which combines digital gameplay on the iPad or Fire Tablet with active, hands-on learning methods to teach addition and subtraction. Set in the mystical village of Wyverndell, kids will brew magical potions and fly dragons with their sidekick-cat Mumbles, while solving equations and learning how to add and subtract number bonds. The Osmo Reflector (sold separately) bounces an image of the player’s game piece arrangement or drawing onto the device camera, which is then processed and either recreated on-screen, or translated into an effect on the story in the digital world. Aimed at 6-8 year olds, this curriculum-based learning can be adapted to suit a child’s ability. Game comes with Mixing Mat Double Sided (number bond playmat), 2 Sticker Sheets, Spell Book, 28 Counting Cubes, 6 Counting Rods (useful for place value & teaching regrouping) and 1 Game App: Math Wizard Magical Workshop. Dh280, Mumzworld.
Lego Super Mario adventures with Luigi starter course
This new addition to Lego’s Mario adventures range lets gaming fans guide Luigi through real-life adventures, whizzing through the spinning seesaw and flying challenges, and collecting coins along the way. This is another foray for Lego into digital educational toys linking bricks to the screen characters that children are so inspired by. The Lego Luigi figure even has an LCD screen that reacts to movement and plays some of the iconic sounds from the game. Dh233 Firstcry.ae
Teeturtle reversible octopus plushie
These butter-soft octopus plushies went viral on TikTok recently (and as a result become almost impossible to find), so are as likely to delight your tween as your pre-schooler. They’re now back in stock and are a finalist for The Toy Association’s 2022 Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards. While they’re undoubtedly cute, the reversible expressions also make them a useful tool for teaching younger children about emotions. From Dh53 on Amazon.ae.
Folio Society Roald Dahl Collection Set 1 – Books the Original Educational Toys
These heirloom-quality new editions of Roald Dahl’s classic books by the UK’s prestigious Folio Society would make a great gift for a child (or adult) of almost any age from reading-stage upwards. Three of Roald Dahl’s best-loved works – ‘James and the Giant Peach’, ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ and ‘The Twits’ – are stunningly bound with tactile cloth covers and printed on creamy, lush paper. We do not think of books when we think of educational toys – but maybe we should. Folio books are exquisite – and just may re-inspire your child’s love of reading in the face of the endless pull of games consoles. Dahl’s darkly mischievous and grotesquely entertaining tales still grip just as much as you remember, while the spidery and evocative illustrations by Quentin Blake make for a quintessentially Dahl experience. Dh365, The Folio Society