Five fun toys that’ll encourage kids to use their brains

The end-of-week dispatch from PopSci's commerce editor. Vol. 15.

My job is to find cool stuff. Throughout the week, I spend hours scouring the web for things that are useful or fun or ridiculously cheap. Often times, these choices coalesce into a guide of like items—for example, items to shield you from the sun, things to get your dad this Father’s Day, or essential tools for your home bar. But I often stumble across some pretty awesome stuff that doesn’t really fit into a list. So I made a list for those.

Today’s group is all about creation and building. Find below five finds that’ll make children use their brains.

ScienceWiz DNA Experiment Kit
ScienceWiz DNA Experiment Kit Amazon

This DNA science kit includes eight projects. Ever wanted to extract DNA from fruit, build a double helix, or solve chromosome puzzles? The kit comes with a 40-page instructional book to help you do all of it. $17.

MindWare KEVA Brain Builders Game
KEVA Brain Builders Game Amazon

The KEVA Brain Builders kit by Mindware teaches you to turn two-dimensional objects depicted on cards into real 3-dimensional models using wooden planks. The kit includes 30 double-sided cards. By looking at 2-D images from various angles on one side of the cards, you must build and balance the planks to successfully build the depicted shapes. Once the figure is built, flip over the card to see if you correctly built the structure. $15.

Magformers Magnetic Building Construction Set
Magformers Building Construction Set Amazon

This Magformers kit comes with 62 magnetic shapes. Create your own shapes or use the idea booklet for suggestions. $64.

Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Game
Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Game Amazon

Who hasn’t dreamt of building their own videogame? The Bloxels builder lets you do just that. Place the 320 different colored blocks on the 13-by-13-inch board to design obstacles, characters, and locations. The different colored blocks can represent different types of terrain, such as water, forests, or hazards. Use the free Bloxels Builder app and your device’s camera to capture the elements of your game. The app even lets you animate your characters! $22.

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit Amazon

The LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit feels a lot like Mouse Trap. The kit includes items like 33 LEGO pieces, six balls, and string—all to help you create domino-like chain reactions. You are able to make ten different moving machines of varying in difficulty levels. The setup comes with an 80-page instruction booklet to guide you along the way. $17.

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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.