12 Great Creative Play Toys For Kids: A list of toys that are powered by imagination and can be used over and over again, in new settings and surroundings.
The power of your own imagination is pretty gosh darn wonderful, no? So when it comes time to pick out toys for our children, we make sure to balance their high tech gadgets with a lovely assortment of creative play toys too. Our definition of “creative play toys” is pretty broad, but we’re basically looking for toys that can be used over and over again, in new settings and surroundings.
In the hands of our daughter’s, a raccoon puppet can be an innocent baby left all alone in the forest and now her Mommy is frantically searching for her. But never fear! A group of kindhearted puppets have taken her in and will now care for her until her Mommy returns.
But, that same raccoon puppet now becomes something entirely different when our boys get a hold of it. In their hands, it’s a rabid, raging, wild animal set on destroying every garbage pail in town. Wary be the human that sneaks out the side door when this angry critter is on the prowl!
See where we’re headed with this? So what may look like idle mindlessness to an adult – like stacking Connectagons until they crash (over and over and over again) or playing with puppets for hours – is actually very important to the development of their brains. And, when we choose a healthy balance of both electronic and non-electronic toys for our children, we’re helping them make the most out of their down time.
Just so you know, most of these toys are already in our home, but a few newbies were sent to us to test out.
12 Great Creative Play Toys For Kids
In a world full of beeping gadgets and gizmos, sometimes it's nice to walk away from it all. We encourage our children to use their imaginations as often as they can and this list of creative play toys has a terrific selection to choose from. The beauty of creative toys is that as long as you need to use your imagination - they count. From running away from zombies in the yard to discovering a new type of magical bug, from hosting an animal fairy tale wedding to earning an A+ on your doll's science experiment, the world is in their hands with these toys.
My sister and I were introduced to Worry Eaters at a publicity event this past summer. As soon as we laid eyes on them, we started squealing with delight as we picked them up and started squeezing the adorableness right out of each one. To say we made fools of ourselves is a major understatement. These impish little creatures are the perfect gift for any child that may have a worry or two troubling them. Just open up their cute little mouths and shove the worry inside. They gobble up little kid worries like no one's business!
About this toy: Does your child has a doctor's appointment coming up? A super hard test the next day? Or perhaps they are just a "little" afraid of the dark? No matter what their worry may be, there is a Worry Eater that is just perfect for them. These little softies come in eight different personalities with names like Polli, Flamm and twins Bill and Betti. Believe me, you will have a hard time choosing just one! The Worry Eaters are an incredible example of an "emotional toy", they foster healthy habits for children to express their worries. Children of all ages can write or draw their worry on a piece of paper and zip it away in their Worry Eater. This also allows parents to be more in tune with what may be troubling their child. It comes as no surprise to us that this innovative emotional toy is award winning!
The following independent award companies have lined up to give their seals of approval:
- 2014 Creative Child Awards Plush of the Year -The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval
- Mom's Choice Award - Gold
- PAL Award
- Mr. Dad's Seal of Approval
- NAPPA Gold Award (National Parenting Publications Awards)
- National Association of Gifted Children’s Recommended Toy Seal
Just when you think your child couldn't possibly want another stuffed animal - they do. And this time, you won't be able to say no! Switch-A-Rooz offer a unique twist on the traditional stuffed animal. Your child literally gets two toys in one! When they flip their Switch-A-Roo inside out they discover an entirely different animal! Two in one toys mean less clutter for you and twice the fun for them! We love seeing new dolls and stuffed animals on the children's birthdays or Christmas lists because that means new pretend play adventures are awaiting for them. Through pretend play children learn how to play independently as well as together with siblings and friends. Plus, it's one of the best ways to encourage your child's imagination.
About this toy: Smokey the Gray Wolf and Timber the Black Bear are reversible 8" stuffed animals that pair up together to protect the forest from fires. Flip these Switch-A-Rooz toys inside out to switch from one character to the next. Play with the Gray Wolf or Black Bear separately or pull them both out and play with them together! "All Your Friends Come In Two's" - Each Switch A Rooz Plush Is Reversible.
My sister and I each have a daughter and we were thrilled to learn about the line of Project Mc2 Dolls. What we love about the Mc2 dolls is that each girl comes with her own personality and a special science experiment for kids to create with their dolls. Project Mc2 hopes to inspire young girls and encourage their interests in S.T.E.M (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
About the dolls: Project Mc2™ is a team of four super-smart and seriously cool girls who use their love of science and their spy skills as they go on missions for secret organization, NOV8™ (that's “innovate”!). They're real girls with real skills ready to take on anything. Articulated fashion dolls have totally cool outfits that reflects their personality and style. #Smartisthenewcool
Do you know what wet, cold, rainy days are perfect for? Building forts! With Discovery Kids Build and Play Construction Fort set, the possibilities are truly endless. This playset is the perfect construction toy for kids that love to build and make forts. I guarantee that you will be amazed with what your kids can build with this set. Castles, tunnels, rocket ships, boats, teepees and so much more. The next time the weather takes a turn for the worse, sit back and prepare to be impressed by your child's imagination!
About this toy: Includes 72 pieces. Sturdy rod and custom connector set. Custom connectors allow for quick and easy assembly of nearly any structure a child an imagine. Sturdy rod set for building large structures including playhouses, forts, castles and more. Ages 5 and up.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You just spent a solid 45 minutes helping your child put together their latest lego set and as you sit back to admire the result of your teamwork they announce: let's break it up and make a castle now! If you find yourself shuddering at the thought of dismantling their LEGO projects time and time again, then you need the LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box. All of the pieces they need for their next project are right in this box along with a bunch of project ideas that they can build on their own!
About this toy: This is our go-to holiday gift this season. Stored in an adorable lego-shaped container, this 790 piece set contains a variety of colors and pieces for building anything and everything. The Classic set is the perfect complement to other Lego sets but is just as fun on its own!
Getting your kids excited about the great outdoors is always a good thing! And our children love this Backyard Safari Wet Dry Field Kit. Loaded with gear, it helps them go on all sorts of bug adventures where they can even safely capture assorted backyard creatures without ever having to touch them. If your child loves creepy crawlies, but is a bit squeamish about touching them, the bug vac has them covered!
About this toy: Backyard Safari Wet Dry Field Kit lets you wrangle insects and small wildlife. With the 6-in-1 Field Tools you can shovel, brush, grab or probe the earth, and even call for help! Capture what you find crawling using the Lazer Light Bug Vac! Use the light to illuminate the area, then pull the trigger to suck up the critter. It goes into a detachable capture pod with a magnifying lid. Use the Scoop Net to grab creatures in the sky or in water. Carry and observe what you find in the Magna Bucket, which features magnifiers and air vents so your critters stay safe. It’s sealed on all sides so you can recreate a wet or dry environment. Recommended for children 5 years of age and older.
Just because the cold weather is on its way, doesn't mean that your kids should be cooped up inside. Besides, nothing could be more fun than bundling up in snow gear and bouncing around in HearthSong's GBOP ball. Kids can climb inside and pretend to be in their very own private igloo and if a scary Abominable Snowman comes lurking, they can just roll themselves away from danger. This toy will provide hours of outdoor fun for your kids all year round!
About this toy: Our translucent 51"-diam. Clear-View GBOP (Great Big Outdoor Play) ball is the perfect big, wearable ball for the kind of Bubble Soccer sports that are currently the rage. It makes other ball play into safe contact sports, too-whether you're inside or outside it. Roll it, race it, run with it, bounce it-clearly, this outdoor play ball is full of fun! For ages 6 and up. Dimensions: Approx. 51" diam.
Do you find your kids bouncing off the wall when the weather has them trapped inside for too long? If you do, this is the perfect gift for them. This slackline sets up in minutes to provide endless amounts of fun, outdoor, creative play for your kids. As they maneuver over fire, lava, a raging river or even a swamp full of zombies - they won't even realize that they are improving their core strength and balance!
About this toy: Slacklining is a practice in balance that typically uses 1 or 2 inch nylon webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line's tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping the slacker's footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary round rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for impressive tricks and stunts.
Between my sister and I, we have 4 sets of Connectagons - one for each child. We love to set this toy out on the table before our kids come home from school. This way, if one child finishes their homework before the other one does, they can sit calmly and play. It's one of those toys that truly inspire quiet moments as your child connects the pieces to see how high or wide their stacks can go. We've watched our kids build everything from butterflies to towers to snakes. This seemingly simple toy is really wonderful for sparking a child's creativity.
About this toy: HearthSong® Exclusive - This heavenly spin on our popular Connectagons construction set lets kids create a celestial masterpiece that softly glows in the dark! They can combine the moon phases, constellations, and galaxies any which way, building up or out as inspiration dictates. Slotted sides allow infinite free form structures to come together (and apart) easily. The 157-piece set includes a 10" base with a full moon. NOTE: Pieces shine brightly when you turn off the lights. The longer they're exposed to light, the longer they'll glow. For ages 5 and up. Size: Base measures 10".
Ohhhhhh, Engino. This company makes quality building kits that challenge children and their parents to work together to build some truly amazing machines. Our son asked for this same exact kit last year and we love how it challenges him to push past his comfort zone. I recommend this toy for kids 8+, and even then, you'll need to sit and help out. But the look on their face when it's done, is worth every spare minute it takes to build!
About this toy: The 100 Model Set with 2 RC Motors and Gears is ideal for both beginners and advanced users - Features: 498 pieces. 1930 connecting points - It contains enough parts to build fairly large and functional models and also includes 2 Radio Controlled Hand sets that can control 2 Engino motors and extra gears for even more complex and amazing contraptions. The Engino Toy System is perhaps the most advanced and versatile three dimensional construction toy in the market today. It offers both children and adults unique opportunities for design and creation.
My son recently discovered the Weird and Wacky Contraption Lab in my sister's playroom. My nephew had received it as a birthday gift and had left it out after playing with it himself. When I tell you I could not pull my son away from this toy, I mean it. As I watched him maneuver the mix-and-match pieces to build an obstacle course, he excitedly told me he was going to make the pig fly! Flying pigs? Now he had my attention! This is a toy that will undoubtedly make it's way under the tree this year.
About this toy: Smart Lab's Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab has 66 mix-and-match pieces to create and test nearly any crazy contraption your child's imagination can conceive. Your child can play the architect, builder, or engineer using the variety of wacky parts, gears, levers, and tracks along the Velcro-like play surface. Kids will learn fundamental physics concepts, such as gravity, momentum, and velocity, and problem solving in a fun and interactive way. The easy-to-read manual includes five course designs to get the experimenting--and fun--off to a start.
Is there anything like a Folkmanis Puppet? I don't think so. From the first time our children saw the "tree" at our local library, they were hooked. As my sister and I watched them excitedly - yet gingerly - taking the puppets down from the stand, one by one, and hugging them, and kissing them, and playing with them, we knew we had to have some of our very own. These puppets are meant to stand up to the test of time...and they do. They are so gorgeous that I have a few of my Wish List too!
About this toy: Folkmanis Puppets: Family Owned and World Renowned. Folkmanis Puppets believes imagination is the key to a healthy childhood, encouraging play and discovery. Widely regarded as the most innovative puppet-maker in the world since 1976, Folkmanis Puppets consistently designs award-winning, beautifully crafted heirloom toys that inspire creativity, promote hands-on discovery, encourage interaction, teach fine and gross motor skills, help develop early language, and become a child’s lovable companion to be treasured for years. Handle With Fun. Folkmanis Puppets are an essential ingredient to every toy box, every childhood, every generation. Easy to feed and care for, just add love and snuggly fun.