After more than 11 hours of research and testing, one of the best toys and games goes to the ThinkFun Laser Maze toy. It offers a highly engaging experience, moving a laser through a maze and redirecting it using mirrors, beam splitters, and other contraptions. Along with a quick learning curve, focus on child development, and numerous awards, this one really impressed us with its fun factor.
Choosing the best toys and games could mean the difference between a boring afternoon with the kids and an active time learning and bonding. Our evaluation focused on fun factor, safety, educational ability, and the number of accolades and awards from trade and parenting organizations. Keep reading to learn more about the ThinkFun Laser Maze Toys Games and six others that made the grade.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is one of the best toys for kids, thanks to 60 different beginner-to advanced-level challenges using mirrors and splitters to direct a laser to a target.
This game asks players to direct a laser on a game board, hitting a certain number of targets. Double sized maze cards clearly spell out the instructions, with a written challenge on one side and difficulty level on the opposite side. An easy to follow instruction guide takes no more than five minutes to process.
We appreciate this game winning numerous awards that vouch for its design and strategy, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Good Housekeeping Best Toys Award, and the NAPPA National Parenting Publications Awards. These awards are given to one out of hundreds of games based on child development and educational criteria. Quite a change of pace from your typical action figure. This makes it a winner in our book. If your kid prefers to play with trucks, check out the best RC truck for kids.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This ring toss game is one of the best toys for kindergarten, consisting of tossing rope rings at a group of numbered wooden pegs, with the winner getting the most points.
We like this ring toss game as a family-friendly activity. Numbered wooden pegs and a scoreboard assign points to winners. By launching the rope into each wooden peg, kids can work on hand and eye coordination and learn addition (adding points). After 20 minutes of straight play, our attention levels did not dip and we continued enjoying the game.
This outdoor toy for kids uses wooden bases and targets that hold up well. It is also easy to assemble with a series of upright targets that screw together to a base. It is even simple enough for kindergarteners to assemble themselves without adult supervision. If you want to add some more toys to your outdoor arsenal, take a look at the best RC toys on the market to find what’s right for you.
Award: BEST FOR MUSIC LEARNING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is one of the best trending toys, allowing kids to control 12 “virtual pets” with a series of games and challenges.
This best learning toy is really well thought out, using a D-pad, dials, spinner, and slider remote control to play one of 12 pre-loaded games. Games are educational in nature, exploring simple math, reading, and science concepts. Each game lights up the controls needed to play, making it very intuitive. Bonus points for a built-in MP3 player which allows kids of all ages to listen to their own tracks.
Aside from the Leapfrog name, we are impressed with this learning toy’s Toy of the Year Finalist 2020 award, given by the Toy Association, an organization that advocates trade issues for toy businesses. This is a very big deal, with more than 500 nominees from more than 200 companies being considered every year. This gives us great confidence children will learn and grow after a few rounds of playing. If you want to entice your kids to get outside more, take them down to the lake with your best RC boat too.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Disney themed party game allows children to create their own cupcakes using a series of fun recipe cards and ingredients, helping them compete and grow creatively through imaginative play.
This best toy game uses 40 different interchangeable pieces, consisting of toppings, icing, cake, and liners to make a unique cupcake. Included are 10 recipe cards and 15 game tiles which provide instructions for children to make their own. Many of the cupcakes are derived from actual popular Disney characters such as Cinderella and Snow White.
We like the fact this toy game has colorful easy to read instructions. Simply collect all of the ingredients from the recipe cards and build a lasting cupcake. It is great for 2 to 4 players. If you’re looking for something for the truck lover in your family, take a look at the best RC trucks too.
Award: BEST FOR PRESCHOOLERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: These learning toys help promote math learning for preschoolers using an assortment of different colored cups and gummy bears to match, sort, count, and learn color names.
This counting toy is a great way to master colors and develop fine motor skills for babies and toddlers. Simply ask your toddler to “place the yellow bear in the blue cup” and “place two red bears in the green cup” to gauge their comprehension and reaction time. This game also allows for sequencing exercises by asking children to line up gummies in a particular order (by color).
We like the fact these learning toys come with food-grade cups, which are entirely safe to pour and drink out of. All counting bases also come with CPSIA regulations, a distinction by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission that regulates product safety. It is also BPA-free, a chemical commonly found in plastics known to cause health defects.
Award: BEST FOR ACTIVE CHILDREN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This toy game helps kids stay active indoors or outdoors and develop gross motor skills using a soccer net, hover soccer ball with foam bumper, and an inflatable ball.
Two soccer goals help create an impromptu soccer field, with a 5-inch hovering ball “floats” on smooth floors for kids to kick and move with. Foam bumpers help protect against any furniture and works great on hardwood, tile floors, and short carpet.
The inflatable ball includes built-in LED lights that flash as it glides across the floor. While testing, it floated across really well with no sudden stops or deviations in speed. Consider this a nice variation of one of the most classic games on the planet. Bonus points for its toxic-free materials, making it safe for kids to use (even occasional teething by a toddler). If your kid is more into cars than sports, take a look at one of the best RC cars for kids instead.
Award: BEST SCIENCE, TECH, MATH GAME
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best brain toy, helping kids develop critical thinking skills using a track system that propels a marble to a finishing point.
Thanks to 122 pieces, the number of ways the track can be built is limitless. Intersecting tiles help ‘lock’ tracks into place, creating pathways for a marble ball to move from a central launchpad. Depending on what construction element is used, kids can control the speed and trajectory of the ball. Kudos for nine pre-built designs, which allows kids to start playing from the start.
On average, it takes up to 10 minutes to build the starter set, making it great for children with shorter attention spans. This toy game also received a shoutout from ‘Live With Kelly and Ryan’, a popular talk show for its participation in the 2018 New York Toy Fair.
In determining the best toys games to buy for kids and adults, we explored fun factor, safety, educational ability, and accolades and awards from toy trade organizations.
Our preferred toys have enough features and drawing power to last for hours and hours without creating boredom. For example, our #3 pick LeapFrog RockIt Twist Handheld Learning Toys Games System comes with 12 pre-loaded games and a built-in MP3 player that engages children in different ways.
Safety is key. Kudos to any toys with food-grade, BPA-free, and non-toxic materials that have proven to be hazardous to children. This is equally important for the best toys for 1 year olds and the best toys for 10-year-olds.
Educational ability also introduces children to various concepts, reinforcing what they may already be learning in school with math, reading, and science subjects. STEM-focused best toys games like the Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set Marble Run & STEM Toys Games are great examples.
Lastly, we are very impressed when the best toys games receive numerous industry awards that vouch for its safety, product design, and developmental abilities.