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Here in Vermont, Winter Break is about to start. Some of you will be traveling, some will be staying home. Turner Toys & Hobbies has products to make Winter Break fun and maybe even educational!

If you are traveling bring along an Eni Puzzle. Eni Puzzles are a great “fidget” puzzle toy with lots of possible solutions and great for spatial relation skills. They come in a small keychain size (which can clip onto a backpack or school bag)

Eni Keychain Puzzle

Eni Keychain Puzzle

 

Eni Brainteaser Puzzle

Mini Eni Puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and a slightly larger “Mini” size. Each is available in two different colors.

 

                                                                                                                                                                   Woodkins are also great for traveling. A modern twist on dress up dolls – Woodkins consist of a hinged wooden frame with a two dimensional image of a fairy, princess or kid on the bottom half and a matching outline on the top half. Woodkins dress up dollKids arrange the supplied fabric pieces to create outfits on the bottom half and then close the top half to see the completed outfit. They are quiet, don’t require batteries and can keep kids occupied for hours.

If you are staying home vacation can be a great time for some together time. Puzzles are a great family activity and we have a wide range from colorful jungle frogs Ravensburger Friendly Frog Puzzle for kids

to a 3000 piece world map (circa 1665).

Ravensburger 3000 piece puzzle

Ravensburger 12557 Leaning Tower of Pisa IIWe also have 3-D puzzles of famous landmarks including The Empire State Building, Big Ben and The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

 

Learning doesn’t have to stop just because its vacation time. We have science kits from Science Wiz that cover Chemistry, Electricity, Energy, Inventions, Light and Physics. Each kit includes materials, a book with experiments and background information plus access to more experiments and lessons on the web. These kits have been favorites with our customers.

Science Wiz Physics

 What toys have you found entertaining, educational (or both!) during past vacations?

 

 


10_15boygiftSomeone just asked me about good gifts for 10-15 year old boys.   I thought it might be helpful to think about it in terms of their personalities. 

Here are three types of boys I know:

Creator  (C)

  • Likes finding solutions for different kinds of “problems.” A Rube Goldberg type.  Learns, experiments, builds.  Might like blocks, mazes, marble runs or planes and rockets that they can design or tweak for different performance effects.

Sprinter (S)

  • Doesn’t necessarily want to devote a lot of time to an activity – maybe 10 minutes here and there.  Short bursts of concentration but likes to practice things over and over to master a skill.  Might like brainteasers, yo-yos, tops or ready-to-fly rockets and planes.

Tinkerer (T)

  • Likes to use his hands to build things, tweaks them to improve performance.  Can spend lots of time (hours, days) on a project.  Might like advanced rocket and balsa airplane kits that require precision cutting, glueing and painting.  Might like 3D puzzles or puzzles that require a lot of patience.

Here are 6 types of gifts for 10-15 year old boys who are Creators, Sprinters & Tinkerers

1.  Brainteaser Puzzles  (S)

The most jaded tween or teen likes brainteasers.  This is great for kids who want to fiddle with something for a short while and come back to it later – or fiddle with it all day. Here are four popular puzzles:

 

 

  • Mini Eni Puzzle – a great hand-held one-piece puzzle that kids can take with them, attach it to their backpacks.  Great for fidget toy.
  • Logiq Tower    – this wooden puzzle has more than 22,000 possible solutions.
  • Soma Cube –  wooden cube puzzle with only 1 solution

2. Rockets  (C) (S) (T)

I can’t tell you how many dads we meet who practically get misty-eyed when they see that we carry Estes rockets.  Their love of rocketry started when they were kids.  If your family hasn’t tried rockets, maybe this is the time – a father-son activity?

Estes 1403 Riptide Model Rocket

Riptide RTF Rocket

Sprinters (or novices) need a ready-to-fly, or RTF, rocket that requires almost no assembly with a launch set like the Riptide. (S)

Estes High Flier Model Rocket

Estes High Flier High Altitude Model Rocket

Creators and Tinkerers will like anything E2X & beyond (though start with the easier levels if your child is a novice).  The High Flier Model Rocket Kit  is a Level 1 skill level and flies up to 1500 feet.  It needs some assembly and painting and a launch set if you don’t have it. (C) (T)

For more information about rockets, please see my earlier posts:  Unplug your kids! and Model Rockets.  Feel free to call or email us if you’d like specific guidance.

3.  Building Toys (C)

The creator will take the basic units of these sets, add in stunts and then create all kinds of amazing contraptions or layouts that would make Rube Goldberg proud. Check out the videos!

Crazy Wall Coaster

I talked about this in my Kid Inventor post.  The Wall Coaster is basically a marble run that you attach to a wall and reposition as you experiment.  Also comes with stunt sets that make it that much more fun:

Q-Ba-Maze Big Box Set

Interlocking plastic cubes make this a 3D maze and marble run – physics & art in one set.  There are three types of cubes: hole in the center, one to the side, or two to the side.  Experiment with how the marbles run through the maze.  Use multiple marbles at once.  Only made more fun with stunt add-ons like vortexes, tubes, pivot trampoline & more:

4.  Flying toys  (C) (S) (T)

Is the boy is into planes and flight?  There are all kinds of planes and kits that will appeal to Creators, Sprinters and Tinkerers.

 

 

  • The Guillows Airplane Design Studio lets you design and build your own airplanes, biplanes, gliders. Comes with enough supplies to build 4 motorplanes and 4 gliders. (C) (T)

There are lots of other ready-to-fly planes that will appeal to both Sprinters & Tinkerers.  These are all rubber-powered (not radio-controlled) and many require little assembly but can be tweaked for enhanced performance.  (S) (T)

 

 

  • The P-51 Mustang requires minimal assembly and is rubber-launched. It loops, dives and flies great.  Can be tweaked for different flight patterns. (S)
  • The G36 Catapult Glider has 12″ wingspan and piggy-backed “Space Shuttle”. Great for learning basics of catapault launched gliding. Wing and stabilizer position can be adjusted so you can experiment with different settings. Assembly and flying requires careful reading of instructions, some dexterity & skill. (T)

Balsa airplane kits will appeal to Tinkerers. They require patience and dexterity, to.o

  • The Cadet Model Airplane Kit  Recommended age 10+. Build-time: 4 hours. Requires use of simple tools such as Exacto knife, pliers and artist’s brush. One of the first teaching designs when created in the 1940’s, this is the simplest model using stick-and-tissue construction. (T)
  • The Balsa Model Spitfire is recommended for ages 12+  Wingspan: 27″.  Rubber powered but can be converted to gas power. Requires a lot of attention to detail & patience! (T)

I’m partial to Ornithopters because I think they’re really cool.  They’re mechanical devices that fly by flapping their wings.

 

 

5.  2D & 3D puzzles (T)

 

 

Check out our Gift Guide to Puzzles – it includes puzzles for older kids.  Ravensburger’s 3D series of famous landmarks is fun – and take several hours to build.  Try the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or the Empire State Building.  Or, try a 1500 or 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle or something devilish like the Krypt 654 piece Blank Puzzle. No image – just a uniform slate gray surface which includes a circular design.

6.  Tops & Yo-Yos (S)

Tops and yo-yos are classic toys and are great for kids who want to do something with their hands, master skills and reach for the next skill level.

For beginners, you can’t go wrong with the Wooden Throwing Top or the Trompos Saturn Top.

For more advanced throwers, try the Blizzard.  It spins smoothly on carpet, pavement, palm of the hand, or other rough surface. 

Why not pair a yo-yo with the Yomega Mania DVD?

The Yomega Brain is great for beginners.  The Yomega Raider is for more advanced users.

Hope this helps you think about what your Creator, Sprinter or Tinkerer might like.  You can always email or call us if you’d like help sorting out some of these choices.

 


Today is National Children’s Book Day.    When our children were young, we read lots of classic story books to them and they loved looking at the pictures, over and over.  Very Hungry Caterpillar Block Puzzle

Favorites were:

  • Any Eric Carle picture book, but especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • The Maisy books
  • Goodnight Moon
  • How much Do I Love You? (This much!)

Why Were These Great Books for Toddlers?

Each featured great graphics, eye-appealing colors and fun rhymes.

Children’s Story Book Puzzles

Now, add another dimension to your child’s enjoyment and developmental growth through puzzle play featuring images from classic children’s story book puzzles.  Puzzles are great cognitive and motor skill activities and are even more engaging when they relate to familiar picture books.

Here are some of the story book puzzles that we carry at Turner Toys:

The Very Books 9 piece block puzzle

The Very Books Block Puzzle celebrates Eric Carle’s books which are a staple of most preschoolers’ libraries. Puzzle features images from The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, The Very Busy Spider and a smiley sun.  The puzzle includes 9 2″ cubes that form 6 different puzzle pictures or can be used as stacking block and a sturdy box with sliding drawer for storage. Puzzle backing contains 90% recycled paper and packaging contains 70% recycled paper. Printed with non-toxic soy based inks. Ages 3 and up.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 42-piece puzzle  Very Hungry Catepillar 42 pice puzzle

This 42 Piece Puzzle forms a 16″ square puzzle when completed and comes in a sturdy 5″ cube box with a colorful rope handle. Puzzle backing contains 90% recycled paper and packaging contains 70% recycled paper. Printed with non-toxic soy based inks. Ages 3 and up.

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon 42 piece toddler puzzleThe classic children’s story written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd comes to life in this Goodnight Moon 42 Piece Puzzle. Kids will enjoy locating each of the objects mentioned in the story.

Each  42 Piece Puzzle forms a 16″ square puzzle when completed and comes in a sturdy 5″ cube box with a colorful rope handle. Puzzle backing contains 90% recycled paper and packaging contains 70% recycled paper. Printed with non-toxic soy based inks. Ages 3 and up.

Guess How Much I Love You  Guess How Much I love you toddler puzzle

This 20-piece wooden puzzle depicts an image from the classic book, Guess How Much I Love You. Little Nutbrown Hare loves Big Nutbrown Hare “this much”. Big Nutbrown Hare loves him back “as high as the moon”. Based on the children’s book written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram.  Made in USA Ages 3 & up

The Maisy Puzzles

The Maisy books written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins feature Maisy and Tallulah and other friends in different activities.   We have Maisy HarvMaisy Music Wooden Puzzle for Toddlersest, Maisy Music, Maisy’s Garden, and Maisy’s Presents.  All are  20-pc wooden puzzle. Made in USA Ages 3 & up.  NOTE:  These puzzles are no longer made and we have limited supply.   Please check with us online to see available stock!

 

What were your favorite books when you were a child?



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