I know that many parents are keen on gifting their child the “latest and greatest” and “hot” toys of the season. Trust me, I have been there myself, but I soon found that it wasn’t worth the stress to find the “it” toys for Christmas. Why? So your child plays with it for a few hours and then tosses it aside to play with toys that were not “on trend” for the season.
I remember the Cabbage Patch craze back in the 80’s. My sister (who is nine years older than me) just HAD to have a Cabbage Patch doll. If I’m not mistaken she had one sent to her from our cousins in the United Kingdom because they were IMPOSSIBLE to find here in the states at that time. Where is that doll now? Who knows.
When it came to buying presents for my kids, I liked to think “outside of the box.” I would get them stuff on their wish list, but I also loved to get them something totally unexpected. Bonus points if it could add a little educational value to playtime too (especially if they didn’t realize they were learning at the same time).
In the past, I have reviewed toys and games from the brand Smart Toys. Their toys and games are just that, SMART. Not only are they fun to play with, but they also challenge a child to think, imagine, create and explore. Their toys are terrific on so many levels.
I received to review a few new toys from Smart Toys that would make awesome gifts this holiday season, and beyond.
Tower Stacks challenges players to build a vertical castle using 9 puzzle pieces. Start from the floor and use planning skills to stack the pieces and solve the 80 included challenges, from easy to expert. A classic brain teaser for kings and queens, young and old!
What the experts say about this game – Playing Tower Stacks stimulates the following cognitive skills: Concentration, Planning, Problem Solving, Spatial Insight, Visual perception.
This game has proven to be a big hit with the kids at work. Whenever I am sent toys and games to review, I donate them to the program where I work. I am a site director for a program that cares for children ages 5-13. I am always on the look out for toys and games to entertain the kids and occupy their time with us. This game is popular with my “work kids.”
Tower Stacks comes with several castle pieces. To play the game you need to choose a challenge from the booklet, and figure out how to build the tower using the remaining castle pieces. That MIGHT sound easy… it’s not. You cannot make bridges out of the pieces or have them over hang the pieces below. They all need to stack up precisely.
WOW! This game can be challenging, even for adults. That is why it’s geared toward kids ages 8+. My 10 and 11 year olds play with this game the most, and sometimes they ask me for my help with a challenge. I find that funny because they do better at this game than I do.
This brief video shows you how the game is played.
I love that there are so many challenges, so your child will not quickly get tired of this game.
All the pieces fit in the box when not in use. It’s not a big box either, so it would be great for traveling (it would fit in luggage or a backpack).
I think even teenagers would have fun with this game. It’s also a game the whole family can play together.
Show that you are the sharpest tool in the box by solving the 80 different challenges. Nuts and bolts of this game is to fit all 13 screws completely into the transparent cube, without them blocking each other. A cube-shaped puzzle game fit for both kids and adults. Do you have the brain-tools you need for this challenge?
What the experts say – Playing Criss Cross Cube stimulates the following cognitive skills: Logic, Planning, Problem Solving.
Oh my goodness! Who came up with this challenging game. No wonder it’s for ages 8+. I have yet to complete one of the challenges. How embarrassing. At least my “work kids” are better at this game than I am.
Criss Cross Cube is a plastic cube, about the size of a Rubick’s Cube. It comes with various “bolts” in different sizes.
To play this game you need to remove all the bolts from the cube. Then select a challenge. The object of the game is to complete the challenge by putting the bolts back into the cube so the all fit back in perfectly. There can be no “left overs.”
Check out this brief video on how to play the game.
Sounds easy, but, due to the different sizes, some bolts won’t fit where you think they should go because other bolts are blocking the way.
This game drives me bonkers! When I see the kids playing it I give them all the credit in the world because as an adult, I find this game to be tough, yet the kids don’t. Maybe it’s a mental thing? My old brain is not what it used to be. BUT, that being said, maybe I need games such as this to keep my mind engaged and stimulated.
This is a game for teens and adults too. Don’t let the brand name of “Smart Toys” fool you. Even adults can enjoy toys and games from the brand.
The weather is acting out today: it’s like having 4 seasons in 1 day! Can you help get these figurines dressed for the weather? But watch out! The order in which you get dressed is important! The perfect puzzle game for toddlers based on the hit game Color Code. Learn about colors, shapes, sequence, and orientation. Are you a person for all seasons? Download extra challenges online!
What the experts say – Playing Dress Code stimulates the following cognitive skills: Concentration, Planning, Problem Solving, Spatial Insight, Visual perception.
This game is very popular with the younger girls at work. The boys play with it too, but the girls seem to be more attracted to it (it’s a unisex game).
For the most part this game is easy for kids. It’s geared toward children ages 4+. I have kids at work ages 5+, so it’s perfect for them. Occasionally there is a challenge they need my help with, but for the most part they play this game just fine on their own. Often I see kids playing together, which is fine. This game can ge played both individually or with a partner.
The way the game is played is that you pick a challenge card. Then, using the transparent “cards,” you need to stack them correctly so that the colors and patterns look exactly the way they do on the challenge card.
All the cards fit inside the stand. This is a great game to take when traveling, to restaurants, or anywhere you need to keep your child busy.
This video shows the game in action.
Kids can also play with it anyway they want. If they don’t want to do a challenge card they can simply use the “cards” to create their own scene.
As you can see, the games from Smart Toys are not only fun to play, but also lend themselves to teaching children other important life skills too. They can even teach us “old dogs” a thing or two. Ha Ha.
Smart Toys has toys and games for children ages 1-12+ years old. What I love about them is that they are very unique. I have not seen such games anywhere else, nor have I seen anything similar (personally).
You can shop on the Smart Toys website by age, what’s new, single or multi-player and more options. Prices range but from what I can see, their products are affordable and “budget friendly.”
If you are looking for more gifts for under the tree (or even stocking stuffers), check out what’s available from Smart Toys. Visit them online at SmartToysandGames.com. You can also find the brand on social media.
*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.