Ever get fed up of your child pestering you for the latest fad or film spin off toy?
Kids today are besieged with a bombardment of TV and movie spin off toys, where the function seems to be way less important than the aggressive marketing behind it.
These products are everywhere.
Peppa Pig. Elsa and Anna. A host of Disney princesses. The list goes on.
Did you know Peppa Pig’s vibrant pink colour is actually designed to appeal to kids at a subconscious level?
Colour psychology is used in marketing all the time and you can’t completely avoid these types of branded toys, of course. It’s almost inevitable a few will end up in our child’s life (if not from you directly as a parent, through gifts on birthdays and Christmas).
And whilst I’m not necessarily saying all branded and ‘fad’ toys are bad, I am fed up of them taking centre stage to a lot of the more traditional toys that benefit young kids SO much more.
Aggressively marketed toys get played with less than traditional onesSimplicity Parenting (a great book that uncovers the value of ‘less is more’ with regards to how much ‘stuff’ your kid has) notes how one study uncovered that:
11% of kids, who were surveyed, admitted to asking for a toy that had been aggressively marketed, over 50 times!
Interestingly, it also suggested it was exactly these toys that generally ended up buried (and unplayed with) at the bottom of the toy box.
Why? Because the majority of these toys are designed to make money and give your child a ‘quick fix’. They’re usually pretty one dimensional and very limiting in terms of opening up ideas for new creative play.
You can read more about this area in my post 5 Reasons I Stopped Buying TV Show and Movie Branded Toys.
So, what’s the answer?
Branded toys will likely be a part of your child’s life, but it’s important to balance these out with toys that foster creative play and spark the imagination.
The importance of play is huge. According to the American Society of Paediatrics, play allows:
‘children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.’
They go on to suggest that parents should buy children:
”true” toys, such as blocks or dolls, that encourage imagination and creativity.’
So if you want to balance out the relentless commercial bombardment with toys that are:
- much more educational
- a whole load of fun
- more likely to foster your child’s imagination and play
…the following cool toys for kids should do just that.
I hope you find the list helpful.
Happy creative playing!
15 Cool Toys For Kids That Foster Imagination & Creativity
1 – Kinetic Sand
No mess, indoor sand that moves!
Kinetic Sand is easy to shape sand that moulds into simple designs.
Enhances sensory awareness, fine motor skills, and creativity.
Plus, most importantly it’s great fun!
2 – Magna Tiles
These easy to connect tiles offer hours of open-ended play.
Watch your child create 3D cubes, pyramids & other geometric shapes.
Develops math, science, spatial and tactile skills.
3 – Marbulous
Who doesn’t love a good marble!
Marblulous offers your child the opportunity to create an array of fantastic towering structures, which act as marble runs.
The Marbulous Marble Run stimulates creativity and reasoning.
Great for budding engineers or architects!
4 – Wooden Train Set
Everyone loves a train set!
And wooden sets are so much nicer than the plastic versions.
Tactile and easy to fit together, your child will have hours of fun setting up the track and designing their very own locomotive scene!
Great for the imagination.
Kids love sounds and music.
A musical instrument set offers kids the chance to explore and make their own unique sounds and rhythms.
Fuels musical exploration and creativity and idea for a range of ages.
6 – Eco Play Dough
The basics are often the best!
Play dough is a timeless favourite and whilst you don’t have to go eco of course, eco dough uses all natural ingredients and keeps the dough soft and pliable with subtle essential oils.
Fosters find motor development, imagination and creativity.
Unleash your child’s inner chef with a play kitchen!
Kids love to play out the things we do as parents and a play kitchen is a great way for children to do just this.
Most play kitchens come with a cooker and sink and an array of utensils.
Great for imagination and creativity.
Dress up as cowboys and indians, fairies, witches and wizards, doctors and nurses or your favourite superhero.
The opportunities for imaginative play with some dressing up gear are endless.
Perfect for pre-schoolers or older kids.
Great for imagination and creative play.
Wooden blocks are a lot more tactile for little hands to build and explore an build with and the endless opportunities of wooden building blocks allow your child’s imagination to run wild.
From houses and space ships to cars and villages, watch your child be his or her very own early architect.
Stimulates creativity and hones basic motor skills.
10 – Toy Animals
A timeless winner, toy animals rarely fail to fuel the imagination of a young child.
My little lady loves her country animals tub, supplemented with a few sea creatures and dinosaurs!
Choose from a whole range of themes – from farm animals and zoo creatures to wild animals or cutesy pets.
Fuels imagination and creative play.
11 – Wooden Doll’s House
Another timeless classic and for a reason.
Doll’s houses open a whole new world of opportunities for playing out your own family life or starting am imaginative one of your own.
If you can, opt for a wooden dolls house with non toxic finishes, like this popular version from Hape.
Fosters imagination and role play.
12 – Playmobil
I’m not a huge fan of plastic toys and massive brands, but my little lady does love a good Playmobil figure (as, secretly, do I!).
Playmobil have been developing their imaginative figures for over 30 years, allowing children to dive into a world of real life or fantasy themed pretend play.
In fact, a research project developed by Playmobil, in collaboration with Yale Researcher, Dr. Dorothy Singer, found that many parents undervalue and are largely unaware of the concrete developmental benefits of pretend play.
Playmobil benefits include the fostering of cognitive, motor, emotional and social skills.
13 – Doll Figures
My little lady loves acting out little fantasy or real life scenes – sometimes it’s things that have happened in her day that she needs to make sense of.
These little wooden dolls are great for that, plus their flexible limbs make them more life like and interactive.
Fosters nurturing and creative play.
14 – Snap Circuits
These are designed for slightly older kids (8 and above), but my little lady loved this from around 3 upwards, as long as I helped and guided her.
Containing easy to snap together parts this best selling toy includes a range of engaging projects where your child can build circuits that transform into light switches, alarms, doorbells, fans and even an FM radio.
Easy to follow instructions make this an accessible and exciting introduction into the world of electronics.
15 – Usborne Flap Books
Ok, so technically these are books!
But I defy you to find me any child who doesn’t love a flap book.
Osborne offer a whole range of subjects in their interactive flap books – from fantasy fairy worlds to space, the human body and under the sea.
My little lady absolutely loved the pirate ships flap book, which lets your child enter a world that is both educational and fun.
For more ideas, Aha Parenting also have a great list of age appropriate recommended toys that encourage imaginative play.
If you have any other cool toys for kids ideas, please drop me a comment below!
More Posts You Might Like:
- Picture Books With Strong Female Characters: 16 Awesome Heroines That Kick Butt
- 15 Amazing Short Stories For Kids You’ll Want To Read Too
- Solar System and Space Books For Kids: 9 Reads That Are Out of This World
- Roald Dahl Books For Kids: 15 of the Woopsy Wiffling Best
- 13 Halloween Books For Kids (That Are Fiendishly FamilyFriendly)
- Easy 5 Minute Homemade Playdough Recipe (Without Cream of Tartar</li