The 15 Best Toys for Gifted Children of All Ages

Our top picks from Educational Insights, Puzzle Baron, Dalton Labs, and more

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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The Spruce / Amelia Manley

All children have very active minds, so toys that engage their imagination (and give their parents a moment of peace) are always a sure bet as a successful present.

We researched the best picks for gifted children from puzzles to robot kits, considering each pick's recommended age, safety features, and educational value. Based on our research, Educational Insight's Kanoodle took our top spot. Kids work to solve over 300 puzzles in this educational and engaging game.

Below, find our picks for the best toys for gifted and intelligent children.

Our Top Picks

Educational Insights Kanoodle Extreme

4.7
Educational Insights Kanoodle Extreme

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Fun and challenging

  • Suitable for various ages

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • Long play time

This top-rated board game challenges kids to solve more than 300 challenging puzzles in 2D, 3D, and even sliding 2D configurations, earning it our top spot. The challenges vary by difficulty, so younger kids have a stake in the game, while older children can enjoy an increasingly difficult challenge as they go, making this option suitable for various ages.

All you have to do is set up the puzzle and place the remaining pieces into the puzzle, but the more complex arrangements will leave you scratching your brain! It’s a great exercise in spatial awareness and critical thinking.

The box is small and portable, which makes it perfect for taking on roadtrips and vacations, but reviewers noted it is best played on a flat surface. While there are four levels to choose from, be sure to choose the one appropriate for the age of your child to avoid frustration.

Dimensions: 6.7 x 5 x 1.1 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

SmartGames IQ Blox

IQ Blox

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Tons of challenges

  • Requires critical thinking and concentration

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers wish the pieces had magnets to stick to the board when not playing on a flat surface

This compact game is perfect for kids to play in the car. The goal is to fill in the game board with the colorful pieces, working around the “walls” on the board. IQ Blox comes with 120 challenges and for hours of engagement.

Dimensions: 3.9 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches | Recommended Age: 6 years and up | Number of Players: 1+ | Duration: Not Listed

Puzzle Baron's Logic Puzzles

Puzzle Baron's Logic Puzzles

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Suitable for groups or solo play

  • Puzzles increase in difficulty

  • Promotes problem solving

What We Don't Like
  • May be too easy for older kids

Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles book is filled with more than 200 logic-based challenges. You’re given a backstory and list of clues, then left to deduce the correct answer—you can even increase the challenge by recording your completion time and comparing it to the average, which is listed on their website.

Dimensions: 6 x 0.48 x 9 inches | Recommended Age: Not Listed

Renegade Game Studios Architects of the West Kingdom

Renegade Game Studios Architects of the West Kingdom

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Impressive graphics

  • Easy to follow instructions

  • Strategy-based

What We Don't Like
  • Quick pace makes for short games

Architects of the West Kingdom is a hit with board game lovers. This board game requires strategy as you play a royal architect, helping to build the Carolingian Empire. You can construct buildings and work on the cathedral, but you’re also forced to make moral choices that can help (or hurt) at the end of the game. It can even be played in solo mode.

Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 2.5 inches | Recommended Age: 12 years and up | Number of Players: 1-5 | Duration: 90 minutes

SmartMax Start XL

SmartMax Start XL

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • STEM-based

  • Perfect for toddlers

  • Durable pieces

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Children ages 3 and up will have tons of fun with this magnetic construction kit. It comes with 18 short bars, 12 long bars, and 12 magnetic balls that toddlers can use to create all sorts of designs in this STEM-based activity. The pieces easily stick together, and they’re big enough for little hands to hold comfortably.

Dimensions: 22.38 x 2.38 x 13.88 inches | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Dalton Labs Molecular Model Kit

Dalton Labs Molecular Model Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Hands-on learning

  • Suitable for elementary age to college students

  • Informational manual included

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers wished there were more pieces in more colors

This chemistry model kit is ideal for kids who love science. It includes 178 pieces that they can use to create 3D models of molecules and help visualize atomic structures. This fun kit will come in handy all throughout their schooling—even college students may find it helpful.

Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Think Fun Rush Hour Shift

Think Fun Rush Hour Shift

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Teaches patience and problem solving

  • Fun and challenging

  • Expansion packs available

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers found it better as a one-player game

This is a twist on the best-selling logic game Rush Hour, reconfigured for two players. You’ll take turns moving cars on the board according to the cards in your hand, trying to get your Hero Car across the board first. Work quickly before the grid shifts, though!

Dimensions: ‎8.9 x 8.07 x 2.52 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

ROBOTIME 3D Puzzle Music Box Craft Kit

ROBOTIME 3D Puzzle Music Box Craft Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Interactive

  • Easy to follow directions and assemble robot

  • Can enjoy finished product for years to come

What We Don't Like
  • Need batteries for music box

With this wooden craft kit, children can build Orpheus, a robot-shaped music box that plays a tune and lights up. The kit takes about five hours to complete for those who are new to model construction, and the company offers a wide variety of other 3D model kits, too.

Dimensions: 7.6 x 2.87 x 10.63 inches | Recommended Age: 14 years and up

Winning Moves Rubik’s Cube

Winning Moves Rubik’s Cube

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Iconic toy

  • Suitable for various ages

  • No stickers that peel off like other models

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers had difficulty turning the cube right out of the box

The Rubik’s Cube is an iconic toy that’s perfect for gifted kids. This colorful puzzle is a 3-inch cube with twisting sides and the goal is to have each side a solid color—however, it’s a lot trickier than it seems with 43 quintillion possible moves. This particular model comes with a stand, as well, so kids can display the completed puzzle.

Dimensions: 9.15 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Plan B Azul Board Game

Azul Board Game

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to learn

  • Requires strategy

  • Sturdy and well made pieces

What We Don't Like
  • Game board design can be a bit confusing at first

Azul is a strategy-based game with beautiful, brightly colored tiles. The whole premise is to place your collected tiles on the board in specific patterns to earn points while trying to stop your opponents from getting points, and it can get quite competitive as everyone tries to outwit their opponents.

Dimensions: 10.25 x 10.25 x 2.75 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up | Number of Players: 2-4 | Duration: 30-45 minutes

Sphero BOLT App-Enabled Robot

Sphero BOLT App-Enabled Robot

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Teaches coding

  • Suitable for beginners

  • Educational fun

What We Don't Like
  • May be difficult to pair to the app at first

This advanced app-controlled robot ball teaches kids coding skills as they program it to complete various activities. It can be driven using the associated app, and what’s great is that there are various ways to code the robot, including drawing, using scratch blocks, or writing in JavaScript, making it suitable for a range of skill levels.

Dimensions: 2.87 x 2.87 x 2.87 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Smithsonian Motor-Works Advanced Science Kit

Smithsonian Motor-Works Advanced Science Kit

 Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Teaches engineering skills

  • Easy to follow instructions

  • Keeps kids engaged for hours

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers reported receiving incorrect parts

Older children who are interested in science, engineering, and cars will relish the chance to build their very own four-cylinder engine. This STEM-focused kit includes everything needed to build a motor, including spark plugs, pistons, and more.

Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 2.8 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Snap Circuits Pro Electronics Exploration Kit

Snap Circuits Pro

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Tons of challenges to keep them engaged

  • Educational

  • Lets kids experiment on their own

What We Don't Like
  • Some found the instructions to be lacking

This popular electronics kit lets kids learn all about circuits without the need for tools or soldering. It comes with 75+ snap-on modules that kids can arrange on the board to create real, working electrical circuits as they complete more than 500 cool projects of varying difficulty.

Dimensions: 17.7 x 3.3 x 13.8 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Blue Orange Planet Board Game

Blue Orange Planet Board Game

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Teaches environmental awareness

  • Lots of strategies to explore

  • Impressive 3D board

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers wish there were more facts involved

This award-winning board game lets you create your very own planet. Players each have a 12-sided 3D plant core, and throughout the game, you race to populate your planet with various ecosystems. It’s quick and fun to play, and Planet even won the Mensa Select award.

Dimensions: 11.5 x 3.5 x 11.5 inches | Recommended Age: 8 years and up | Number of Players: 2-4 | Duration: Not Listed

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot

Bit Coding Robot (White)

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • STEM-based

  • Compatible with app

  • Small and quiet

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

There’s no better way for kids to develop STEM skills than with the cute Ozobot Bit Coding Robot. They can either draw with a marker and watch the robot follow their commands or use the app-based programming editor to write real code for their robotic friend.

Dimensions: 24.5 x 15.5 x 6.5 inches | Recommended Age: 6 years and up

What to Look for in Toys for Gifted Children

Recommended Age

Most toys come with a recommended age. This can be due to safety concerns or the complexity of the toy or activity. Look for a toy that is geared toward your child’s age if you want them to play independently or just above their age if you want to challenge them. (Just be prepared to provide some supervision). Board games are a great way to play with your child while teaching them a new skill and developing their concentration.

Fourth-grade teacher Kelsey Kovacs explains the significance of purchasing age-appropriate toys for gifted children. "Sometimes keeping things age-appropriate is tougher for gifted children if they are seemingly more mature," she says. Still, stay around their age range to ensure a successful while still challenging toy.

Safety

It goes without saying that it's always important to make sure that your child is safe as they play. The top things to look for and consider are small parts, non-toxic materials, and required tools that may pose a pinching hazard. Toys that include electrical parts or chemical solutions should be handled with care to make sure that kids aren’t accidentally put at risk.

Educational Value

Toys and activities that help children create something new are excellent ways to challenge their imaginations. Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia, recommends going beyond consuming media to actually creating it.

Many toys can build on specific skills or talents that gifted children already excel in. Kovacs recommends introducing a new skill through play. "Games that involve coding or designing something new allows kids to be very creative and build something from scratch," she says. "They can then apply these new skills to different concepts and continue to build on them."

FAQ
  • What do you give gifted children?

    Gifted children, with their above-average intelligence, will respond well to gifts that help them develop spatial awareness, cognitive thinking, language, and problem-solving skills. This could include anything from a Rubik’s cube to books on a range of subjects, logic puzzle games, strategic board games, science kits, or robot building kits to help them practice their coding skills. Look for toys that are age-appropriate, keeping in mind that depending on their personal rate of development, gifted children may be bored by gifts that are geared to their peer group and more suited to advanced reading materials or more challenging toys.

    Kovacs recommends gifts that promote higher thinking. "Toys that specifically prompt children to use higher thinking skills and more analysis and critical problem-solving could benefit someone who is gifted," she says. Based on her own experiences, she suggests toys that have patterns and puzzles to solve. "Using memory skills and completing patterns and building on these certain skills are great to look for in toys for gifted children," she continues.

  • How do you entertain gifted children?

    Gifted children are celebrated for their intellectual abilities, but Mensa International points out that gifted kids have other signature traits, including a propensity for idealism, experimentation, daydreaming, curiosity, sensitivity, and a talent for linking conceptual ideas. Many gifted children excel in music, art, science, language, computers, or mathematics. You can help entertain a gifted child by giving them tools that will help them to entertain themselves and to express their natural creativity and curiosity about the world. Give them opportunities for self-directed exploration and enrichment by offering them access to musical instruments, advanced reading materials, or interesting and diverse experiences that will help them to build on their natural gifts.

  • What is the IQ of a gifted child?

    The IQ range used to identify gifted children varies from country to country and is generally rated on a sliding scale from mildly gifted (starting at about 115) to profoundly gifted (at 180). IQ testing is not an exact science and is increasingly considered just one method of determining giftedness. But the current consensus among experts is generally that children with an IQ starting at 130 are considered suitable for entry into special programs geared toward gifted kids. 

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written and researched by Julie Evans, a writer and editor whose work covers topics including health and wellness, parenting, and technology. Her writing has appeared on USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, and CafeMom, among others. Additional research was done by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce and The Spruce Crafts, covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, crafts, and the holidays.

Expert advice was provided by fourth-grade teacher Kelsey Kovacs and Chuck English, Virginia STEM Coordinator at the Science Museum of Virginia.

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