The best kits and gadgets that encourage your kids to be more creative

I love Youtube. Your kids love Youtube. But there’s more to life than Youtube.

Creative and artistic kids toys
We’ve all got a little Banksy in us. Aaron Burden via Unsplash

The internet is a wonderful place to learn and grow and communicate. Still, sometimes it’s good to get your kids out from behind the computer and doing something that lets them be creative and really get their hands dirty. Below, cool art kits and gadgets that’ll get their creative juices flowing. This is primo imagination time, people.

Updated classic: Crayola Light-up Tracing Pad

Unlock Their Artist

Sometimes it’s hard to go cold turkey on devices. Amazon

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This Crayola LED Light-up Tracing Pad, which is basically a backlit paper holder made to make tracing even easier, comes with a graphite pencil, 12 colored pencils, blank paper, and tracing paper. Download images from a library of more than 100 pictures.

Build your own machines: Space Racers: Make Your Own Paper Rockets

Up, Up, And Away

This book is … stellar. Amazon

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It has everything you need—including step-by-step instructions—to make 10 types of model rockets. Eight of them are inspired by real-life rockets; the other two are for you to design your own ship.

Dinner time fun: Food Face Kids’ Ceramic Dinner Plates

To Play With Their Food

Everyone’s gotta eat. Amazon

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If you need to squeeze some art time in during dinner, these Fred & Friends Mr. or Mrs. Food Face Kids’ Ceramic Dinner Plates will do the trick. The full-size versions are dishwasher-safe.

Building STEM kit: Arckit Mini – Kids Architectural Model Design Tool

Inspire Their Inner Architect

There are a bunch of structures to choose from. Amazon

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Arckit GO Colors Building Kit teaches design and STEM concepts through modern building techniques. The kit has over 175 pieces and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

Career starter: Crayola Virtual Design Pro-Fashion Set

Help Your Little Fashionista Get A Head Start

When you run out of paper, head online to download and print more. Amazon

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Download the My Virtual Fashion Show App and create your own patterns on the 20 pages of fashion styles. The kit comes with 36 colored pencils, 20 markers, and 4 stencils.

Draw upwards: MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen

Charges Via USB

It can be tricky to master, so it’s best for older kids. Amazon

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The MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen prints your drawings in three dimensions. It has a built-in OLED temperature display with buttons to adjust the temperature. This will help fine-tune your drawings. The nozzle works with most 1.75mm filaments, has a modular design so you can easily swap out the head, and you can even control the printing speed. The pen charges via USB.

Mess-free creations: The Orb Factory Orbmolecules Merkitty

Better Than The Beach

All the fun without any cleanup. Amazon

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The Orb Factory’s Orbmolecules sets consist of tiny round balls in three sizes that stick to each other without making a mess—and don’t dry out. Children can construct the characters on the box or dream up their own creations, over and over again. The sets also come with a storage tray to place the molecules once you are done playing.

Best creations: Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst

Ready, Start, Go

A journey into moving parts. Amazon

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Tinkering Labs’ Electric Motors Catalyst kit includes over 50 wooden pieces and electronic parts for your child to build their own robots. The kit uses 10 challenge cards to push them to use problem-solving skills to assemble robots that can doodle or scramble an egg. Everything you need to complete the challenges and create the electric-powered vehicles can be found in the box, including batteries and markers.

Billy Cadden

Billy CaddenBilly Cadden is the Director of Commerce for the Camden Media tech group. He was part of NYC indie rock band The Postelles, and currently releases solo music under his name. His latest work is available on all streaming platforms. Contact the author here.