Holiday Gift Guide 2016 – Elementary School Age

As your children get a little older, the gifts start getting more and more expensive. Gone are the days of the $10 toy, that they would rather just play with the box to! Luckily there is at least something for most price ranges here. I’m definitely a sucker for educational toys, especially STEM related educational toys. You definitely will not go wrong with any of the below gifts for your elementary age child!


Circuit maze – $30 – This is a really fun puzzle maze that teaches your kids about electrical currents. You have to get the current from one end of the maze to the other. It also helps with problem solving skills. ThinkFun has a few other games you might also want to consider, one similar one to this is Laser Maze, which teaches the same concept but the object is to get the laser beam to traverse the correct path. All of their board games teach really great STEM topics. I kinda want them all.


Kano – $130-$260 depending on how many components you purchase with it- We got this for our 7 year old son last year for Christmas, and we LOVE it. He really enjoyed putting together his very own computer! There is a booklet that comes along with the Kano system that offers really fun explanations of the parts of a computer, and how they work together. Once it’s put together, it has really great coding games and just fun games that the kids can play. The really nice thing is they won’t be messing up your computer anymore.


Dash & Dot – $280 – We got this toy several months ago, and the kids still can’t get enough! Dash and Dot are robots that your kids can program through Android or iOS apps. Once you pair the robot to your device, you can code all sorts of things for the robots to do. My son’s favorite program to create is to have the system tell jokes. He records his voice and the robot will play the recordings, and respond to the input of my voice so it can play the next part of the joke. The app interface is really easy to use, and easy for the kids to figure out on their own. I love that it’s teaching programming in such a fun and interactive way.


Nintendo DS – $99 on Black Friday – Probably the least educational gift of the bunch, but the Black Friday sale has definitely put this on our Christmas list for this year. On Black Friday you can pick up a black or white Mario themed 3DS for only $99. The cheapest it has ever been for this system. We are going to picking up one for each of our kids. Having a 3DS is the perfect travel companion for your kids, and there are a TON of educational games that the kids can play as well.


Osmo – $80 with add on packages at $30-$50 each – We’ve had this system for over a year now, and it is also still a complete hit in our house. The only downside to this system is that it’s only available for iPads. 🙁 I usually won’t even talk about a product unless it’s available for both Android and iOS, but this system is so awesome, I have to make an exception. My kids especially like the Tangrams, the drawing, and the coding apps. There is a new “pizza” app too that looks like a lot of fun. Once you see this thing in action, you will totally want one too. I promise. We brought it to my brother’s house last year, and even my 14 year old niece wanted one!


Gizmo Gadget – $150 – There was a story in my local news about a child who escaped an attempted kidnapping, and credits his rescue with this exact device. It’s a GPS smart watch for kids. When you aren’t quite ready for your child to have a phone yet, but you still want to be able to get a hold of them to tell them to come home for dinner, or to let you know when they have arrived at school safely. This is the perfect transition device! You can program specific people that they can call and text, and only those people can call or text the device. There is a cheaper device with less options, but I’d recommend getting this one instead. The only downside is that it’s only available for Verizon Wireless. 🙁 Might be a good enough reason to get you to switch carriers though.





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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website

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