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Below are some products and tools that we recommend because we believe they will be quite helpful for kids development (including some for parents also).
a) Educational Toys
Melissa & Doug Underwater Floor Puzzle
This is one of the best floor puzzles made by Melissa & Doug. It’s well-made and constructed using very sturdy cardboard that can’t even be bent. Even though the puzzle has only 48 pieces, it’s huge when fully assembled, measuring about 2 by 3 feet.
The puzzle image is also really beautiful and colorful including various sea fish. The variety of fish types in the image provides a great opportunity for teaching kids about the fish names and characteristics.
VIAHART Brain Flakes
These brain flakes provide plenty of fun for children of all ages. Kiddos can make a variety of shapes including cars, animals and trees. The pieces are made from a sturdy plastic that probably won’t ever break. Unlike other brands, these aren’t difficult to snap together, though they might be a bit challenging to pull apart for young kids.
There are over 500 pieces with 12 different colors in each set, which means more entertainment for children. They come packed in a strong plastic container for storage. Included also is a booklet that provides step-by-step instructions for building multiple designs. Despite being manufactured in China, this educational toy is imported by a reputable US company and tested for safety for kids.
ThinkFun Gravity Maze Falling Marble Game
ThinkFun is famous for making enjoyable mind-engaging toys and this game is probably their best one so far. This is a single-player game that’s aimed to make you really exercise your brain while having fun in the process.
The ultimate goal of the game is to build a path through the towers in order to get the marble into the target (i.e. the red cube). There are several cards that include different challenges with varying degrees of difficulties. Each card provides clear instructions into what towers to initially install and in what position, in addition to what towers you will need to solve the challenge.
b) Children Books
Totally Awesome Mazes and Puzzles
This activity book includes over 200 puzzles and mazes to challenge the kid’s brain. From word search to connect the dots to finding hidden pictures, there are a plenty of games to keep a child occupied for hours. There are some creative new puzzles you probably wouldn’t find in other activity books.
The book is big with thick pages, and has beautiful illustrations & nice colors. While it’s intended for ages 6-9, many of the puzzles are actually suitable for kids as young as 4 years old. With this fun book, you may be able to finally keep your child away from his tablet.
Where the Wild Things Are
A great old story book that’s loved by kids, not just in this generation, but by previous generations also.
The story was originally published in a 1963 picture book and has inspired a movie and an opera. It revolves around a disruptive young boy who causes havoc in his household and angers his mother, then goes through a long journey into a jungle full of creatures as emotional as him before coming back home and changing his behavior.
There are several lessons of the story including to show the love of mom for her child no matter how wild and destructive he is, the fact that disappointments and losses allow children to survive and grow, and the power of imagination and the places it can take you.
Nature Friends Lift-a-Flap Boxed Set
This is a collection of four board books for introducing reading to babies and toddlers. They’re made from durable thick cardboard and can withstand little ones turning the pages and flipping the flaps over and over.
The illustrations inside the books are beautiful and bright. The stories include some cute animals in a nature setting which will be entertaining for young kids. Also, the rhyming sentences on each page are quite fun and easy to read. These books make for a great bedtime story at night.
c) Online Calculators
Calculator for the Suitable Puzzle Size for Kids
Choosing a puzzle with appropriate number of pieces (i.e. difficulty level) for kids is quite important to get the most developmental benefit. But that can be hard to achieve for many parents.
Thanks to this dandy calculator, you can easily know the right number of puzzle pieces for any child. All you need to do is input the kid’s age and you will instantly get the answer.
Calculator for Lego Price per Piece
Legos are quite popular among children but they’re relatively expensive compared to other toys, so parents might want to save money. To get the most bang for your buck, you should ultimately look at the price per Lego piece, not per set.
To make things easier, we made a calculator that directly tells whether the price of Lego set is good or not. You merely need to input the set price and number of pieces in order to know the answer.
Adult Height Calculator
If you want to know how tall a child will be at adulthood, this calculator will help. It uses the Khamis-Roche method for kids aged 4+ and the mid-parental method for newborns and younger children.
You will typically need to input the kid’s age, height, weight, gender, father’s height and mother’s height. If the child is under four years old, only the last three parameters will be required.