Just in time for Christmas: Engineering Gift Guide features 2019's best educational toys

The toys are great ways to introduce different engineering exercises including problem solving, spatial reasoning and coding.

Posted: Dec 4, 2019 6:31 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2019 6:32 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— As shoppers are in full force this holiday season, the Purdue Engineering Gift Guide is showing the best educational toys of 2019.

This year's guide features over 100 toys appropriate for boys and girls ages 3 to 18.

The toys are great ways to introduce different engineering exercises including problem solving, spatial reasoning and coding.

Elizabeth Gajdzik, Assistant Director of INSPIRE, said children who practice these skills early on in life tend to do a lot better in school.

Gajdzik explained the toys can be so hands-on and fun for children, so they don't even realize they are learning. 

She recommends pairing a toy with a book, so the activity has a story line to follow. She used the example of an amusement park.

"They're talking about loops, like a merry-go-round, so those coding terms are being introduced through a fun story that they can relate to," Gajdzik explained. "And then they're playing with a toy that's coding and they make those connections and it's really fun."

Each year the nominated toys are tested by kids, parents and engineers in our community. That's why Gajdzik said this guide shows only the best toys, and parents can trust everything is of the highest quality.

"If it broke, it's not in here. If it didn't work, it's not in here. We're not getting paid to do this, so we just review them because we really care about kids learning through play. We know that's the best way for kids to learn," she said. 

Gajdzik said these toys can be fun for adults as well. She explained many of the toys can be used for years, becoming more challenging and growing with your child. 

"A lot of my undergrads, for some of the toys that we get, will ask me, 'Is it weird that I am asking my parents for this for Christmas?' And I say no, that's not weird!"

The guide features all different kinds of toys for all different skill levels. Some are what's called 'unplugged,' meaning a traditional toy with little to no electronic features. Other toys offered in the guide need to be paired with a tablet or computer.

There are toys and books of all different price points available. 

This is the Purdue Inspire Gift Guide's sixth year. To view the 2019 Purdue Engineering Gift Guide, click here. 

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