Oh, guys! This is it! It is such a super fun list of open-ended games and toys for children of all ages! I decided to make a gift guide of open-ended games because of my children. See, my children love step-by-step strategy games and games that have a beginning and end.
The good thing about them is that they are structured and have a set pattern to follow. The problem with those is that they are structured and have a set pattern to follow. Both can be a good and a bad thing. As awesome as some of these games can be, once they reach the goal and they are done, then what?
One example that comes to mind is one of the lego kits that builds a tank or vehicle of sorts. Once you build it and play with it a bit, then what? My son has never gotten into legos of that kind because of this issue. It is not an open-ended toy, in my personal opinion; the classic lego box is. ;D
I love open-ended toys for many reasons. One of the reasons is that open-ended toys spark and feed imagination in children. The games and toys can be used and reused time and time again, but in infinite different ways. Open-ended toys and games are more likely to grow with children and last longer than structured games.
Here is a great list for ages 0-2.
Stackable Bean Bags: Your little one will employ so many skills trying to stack these bean bags. They are fun and colorful. They will entertain your baby and the possibilities are endless!
Stackable Cups: Oh man! My children loved playing with these when they were little! Not only did they stack them up, but they realized (strategy) that they can stack them in order from small to big, in random order, sideways, etc.
Shape Sorter: You think it is pretty straight forward, right? Not necessarily. Think that this toy will teach your baby the concept of object permanence, the skill of putting an object into another and taking it out, stacking, etc.
Recording Keyboard: My children have this one in orange. Yes, they are almost 4 and 6 and they still have theirs. It was a present for my son when he turned one year old. Best present ever! Imagine your little one’s drooly mouth on the microphone recording his or her own song and playing it back to see a big smile because he or she recognizes his/her own voice. 🙂 The songs are awesome and you can slow down the music or speed it up, for a twist. It is definitely a favorite in our home (it has been for half a decade now).
Vegetable Cutting Set: This set is pretty awesome. We had a similar one and loved it. This isn’t just a toy that looks cute; it helps your baby practice coordination and strengthen his or her grip. It is awesome for fine motor skills, to sort by color, size, etc, to match both halves that belong together, to learn to place on the tray and to remove from the tray, etc.
Open-ended toys and games can have multiple applications and ways to use. Take a look at the list I have provided and see how all of the toys have so many possibilities. Your children will love them and these toys and games will hold their attention for a longer period of time in the long run.
This is the list for ages 3-5.
Felt Shapes: This is most definitely an open-ended toy. Your children will spend so much time creating different shapes, stories, scenarios and all things beautiful. I love it that it is portable, lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of room. And another tip: this toy is quiet. 😉
Robot Transporter: This toy contains several options and ideas on different things that can be built, but following that is optional. Your child’s imagination will soar as he or she practices fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, dexterity and strategy. Love it!
Wooden Nesting Wave Blocks: These are beautiful and so much fun. My children have the colorful wooden rainbow and love it, too. I am sure they would find this one just as appealing. You can see in the picture just a few ways to play with this toy, but since it is an open-ended toy, wouldn’t it be awesome to see what your child comes up with?
Creative Building Box: Ah! The classic lego box. It is truly a box full of surprises! I love that we can build so many things and recount so many stories using our creations! My children love these! Get this one for an open-ended option.
Magna Tiles: Well, these are pretty amazing. They are magnetic blocks. They are translucent. They are colorful. They are sturdy and fun. I love to sit back and observe how children work with these. The things they can create with these are beyond fantastic.
I find that my children come back to open-ended toys much more often than the strict and structured ones. Don’t get me wrong, balance between the to kinds is key, and that is why it is important for them to have access to both.
Here is the list for ages 6-9:
Modeling Materials: This will be working both the right and left sides of your child’s brain. They can cut, smooth, remodel or anything they ant to do to create anything that comes to mind. All you do is moisten the peanuts to activate their malleability. All colors included. So fun!
Building Toy: This toy has connecting links that make it possible to build all kinds of contraptions, real like rocks or invented.
Mosaics: This toy has both the structured part of it by following the patterns they suggest or by children creating their own mosaics. I love this one! I want it for me! 😀
Lincoln Logs: My children have a huge set. It was actually my husband’s childhood toy that has been passed on to the next generation. My husband sits down with my children and they play with these for hours and they always have so much fun. I love it that they are wooden and that they come in their own box to keep them orderly and from getting lost.
Domino Rally: We are getting this one for my oldest. He will have a wonderful time creating all kinds of rallies and making rockets and airplanes lift off with these cool dominoes. Take a look at the video that is in the link. It is so cool! I personally love it that it comes with a contraption that helps place the dominoes standing up and with the correct spacing.
And last, but not least, here are some great open-ended toys and games ages 10-12:
Fluency Game: I can’t wait for my children to be old enough to play this game. It has excellent reviews and it looks like a lot of fun. Roll and Talk. Not only does it offer a fun game, but it actually helps your child practice speech, correct grammar, on-the-spot improvisation and so many other things.
Science Kit: What would you think about your child creating his or her own living fuel cell to power and LED light or a clock? It is fascinating science, disguised as a fun toy. It reminds me of the toy I used to have. It had electrodes that were injected into a piece of fruit and the energy in the fruit powered a clock.
Bookmaking Kit: This is something I would love to have myself. It isn’t just sparking creativity to make different styles, but these can be used as diaries, nature journals or field trip journals.
Micro Building Blocks: These are almost like mini legos. It is definitely for older children (tweens) because the pieces are mini. I love the designs that they show in the picture, but I am more interested in seeing what older children could create with these. ;D
Structures: This toy has such a super fun one. Wooden pieces. Hundreds of them. This is great for any child or for aspiring architects. I love the fact that there are so many things to build with this set.
As you can see, this is a fascinating list of toys and games that your children will love playing with for endless hours of fun and creativity, sparking imagination, teaching them that the sky is the limit and practicing important skills such a fine motor skills, strategy, eye-hand coordination, dexterity and manual and mental strength.
Which ones got you attention? Which ones will your children love? And which ones will you get for them this year? Believe me, you won’t regret it. ;D