Our Top Picks
Best one-Player Game: IQ Blox at Amazon
“Designed to play alone, you can also collaborate with others to solve the challenges.”
Best Puzzle: Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles at Amazon
“This book is bursting with brain-challenging fun.”
Best Board Game: Educational Insights Crowded Waters at Amazon
“Players add their sharks to the board trying to trap the other players.”
Best for Family Night: Educational Insights Riddle Cube the Game at Amazon
“Full of fun, mind-bending challenges.”
Best for PreSchoolers: SmartMax Start XL at Amazon
“Lets kids put their creativity and problem-solving skills to the test.”
Best for Grade Schoolers: Ozobot Bit Maker at Target
“Kids get to step into the world of coding.”
Best for Teens and Tweens: Tangram Puzzle at Amazon
“For each puzzle, you must recreate the shape that’s on the box.”
Best Science: 101 Great Science Experiments at Amazon
“Step-by-step instructions for more than 100 science experiments.”
01 of 08
Best One-Player Game: IQ Blox
This box of colorful pieces comes with 120 challenges to keep kids entertained for hours. There are seven game pieces and four walls included. Game cards present various challenges, then players must fit the pieces within the confines of the walls. Reviewers say it’s deceptively easy in the beginning, but that it gets progressively harder and more addictive as you move on to additional challenges. All of the pieces fit inside the box, which has an attached lid, so it’s great for road trips and other occasions when you want on-the-go entertainment.
Designed to play alone, you can also collaborate with others to solve the challenges. It’s recommended for ages 6 and up, and while it might be suitable for younger, gifted children, the pieces are small, so it should be kept out of reach of children who put things in their mouths.
02 of 08
Best Puzzles: Puzzle Baron's Logic Puzzles
This book is bursting with brain-challenging fun in its 200 grid-based logic puzzles. A list of clues and the backstory is given for each puzzle, then it’s up to readers to use their logic skills to figure them out. Answers can be checked against the enclosed answer key, For those with a competitive side, they can time just how long it takes them to solve the puzzles then compare that to the average completion time of others.
Recommended for children and adults alike, you can work alone or together to solve the puzzles during car trips or vacations. Customers love these books and say they’re challenging, but not impossibly frustrating.
03 of 08
Best Board Game: Educational Insights Crowded Waters Game
Duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... Watch out, this fast-paced game comes with a serious bite of competition. Designed for two to four players, it’s all about survival. It comes with a game board, 88 colorful sharks and a guide. Players add their sharks to the board trying to trap the other players in the process. The last shark swimming wins. But it’s not that simple, it takes tons of strategy, visual planning and decision-making skills to win.
While the manufacturer lists the recommended age as 7 to 8, teens and adults have a blast playing it too. Customers say it’s fun, interactive and engaging, and the board is well made. Bonus: The sharks fit into the board, so you don’t have to worry about the game being derailed if it the board gets bumped.
04 of 08
Best for Family Night: Educational Insights Riddle Cube the Game
If you’re puzzled by which game to pick for family game night, this one solves it for you. Full of fun, mind-bending challenges, it’s a race against time to try transform one of the riddle cubes into the shapes on the challenge cards, which include things like glasses, a house or a spaceship. To do so, you've got to twist, stretch and bend them as well as your brain to get the job done. The first person to match five challenge cards wins. Included in the game are four Riddle Cubes, 100 double-sided challenges cards (there are 200 challenges in all), a timer and instructions.
This award-winning game is designed for up to four players, but it can also be played individually. It’s recommended for ages 8 years old and up, but customers say it’s fun for all ages.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Preschoolers: SmartMax Start XL (Basic 42)
This set of building blocks from SmartMax lets kids put their creativity and problem-solving skills to the test. It comes with an assortment of magnetic rods and metal balls that allow them to build anything they can imagine. There are 42 pieces in all, and the set is compatible with all other SmartMax building sets, so you can expand their collection as you like. While playing with them is mostly fun, they also teach important STEM skills and concepts like the effects of magnetic attraction and repulsion.
The pieces are large and strong (the manufacturer says they can hold up to 60 times their own weight), and safe for children as young as 1 year old.
06 of 08
Best for Grade Schoolers: Ozobot Bit Maker Starter Pack, White
Kids flip for this tiny bot. Though it’s little (just 1 cubic inch), it packs a mighty powerful punch of possibilities. Kids get to step into the world of coding as they use special markers to draw on paper or the screen of a tablet device. The Ozobot then performs as the codes command. It’s pretty amazing to see what kids can do with it, and they can take their skills even further with a host of Ozobot apps and a website to explore.
This starter pack comes with everything they need from the markers to the bot as well as skins and stickers. It runs on one lithium battery, which is also included. Recommended for ages 8 and up, it’s great for developing STEM skills and is just a heck of a lot of fun too.
07 of 08
Best for Teens and Tweens: Tangram Puzzle
This game offers a challenge right on the lid: “Can you solve me?” Inside is a set of puzzles that offer a challenge for kids and adults alike. There are 12 tangram puzzles in all in varying levels of difficulty, each of which requires creating thinking, imagination, geometry and spatial planning skills.
For each puzzle, you must recreate the shape that’s on the box with the plastic pieces inside of it. Just because you’ve solved it once, doesn’t mean you’ll immediately be able to do so again though. There’s no cheating either, as the solutions aren’t included. If you’re totally stumped, they can be found on the company’s website though. Recommended for ages 9 years and up, these puzzles are fun for the whole family.
08 of 08
Best Science: 101 Great Science Experiments
For budding scientists, this book provides step-by-step instructions for more than 100 science experiments they can do at home. While some may require the help of parents, there are others they can do all by themselves as well. From electricity to motion, music and more, the experiments span various areas of science. Colorful pictures help illustrate the processes and brief explanations describe what is happening. Most of the experiments can be done in seven steps or less, many with common household items
Parents and educators alike recommend this book and say it’s a great way to get kids interested in science and further develop the passion of those who have already discovered just how magical it can be.