Gang, I couldn’t be more thrilled. For Cyber Monday, Amazon has a ton of our favorite games, kits, blocks, art supplies and playscapes. We’re talking open-ended, STEAM-based toys that have all been pretty well-tested over the years (with a few new arrivals…giant Jenga, I’m looking at you). So if you’re looking for something to stimulate some little minds, here are our favorite Cyber Monday recommendations.
Be sure to check out our Black Friday shop and Cyber Monday guide, too.
Cyber Monday Sales: The Best STEAM Toys at Amazon
Learning Resources Science Kits (Small or Large Kits Available) – We had gotten the smaller one for Pax a few years ago, and BOTH boys loved them. Everything is plastic, but they’re surprisingly high quality, and the included science cards are pretty legit. Ultimately, these kits are very open ended, and perfect for discovery.
Big Bag of Science – While the science kits above have much better quality pieces, this one looks like it provides some seriously fun materials. I love when science kits are more about mixing and discovering rather than following a strict recipe.
Makey Makey – A classic STEAM toy. It’s a pretty simple circuts kit, but allows you to use random household objects as part of your circut. (Use bananas to make a functioning keyboard, for example.)
SnapCircuts (Classic or Lights) – There’s no doubt the lights kit is way more fun to use initially. But the classic kit is a little more straight-forward for younger kids (we have both) AND it seems to graduate to more complex projects. Both are pretty fun.
Classroom Pack of Model Magic – This is how I do the craft table at any school party: with a ton of really fun, open-ended art supplies (like this box of modeling clay). In addition to this classroom pack, bring doo-dads (beads, feathers, etc) and tools (plastic butter knives, toothpicks, etc) to fit the theme, and just let the kids create whatever they want.
Light Tablet – Letting kids build in a dark room (even just rainy-day dark) with a light tablet changes everything. The joy of Magna Tiles on a light tablet cannot be overstated. Add some mirrors to really blow their minds. (Even cardboard “art” sculptures with toilet paper rolls go next level on the light tablet.)
Art Easels – We LOVED our easels. It’s a great way to change up the scenery, to create art (and find inspiration) in unexpected places. Either one of these Hape (light) or Melissa & Doug (dark) would be amazing.
Colorforms – OMG YES!!! This is the EXACT Colorforms I bought for my guys years ago. It’s beautiful. These are basically just little plastic shapes that stick either to the attached pages, mirrors or windows. The possibilities are literally endless. Such a great set – makes a good gift, too.
Play-Doh – I keep our house stocked with a giant case of fresh, new playdough at all times. Whenever little kids are over, they go nuts. I’ve found that my guys (ages 11 and 9) will also start playing with the playdough once it’s out. (And get a few of the Play-Doh press machines – they’re especially hard to share and always in very high demand.)
Green Toys Firetruck – Anything Green Toys was always a hit in our house. Not only are they made from recycled material, but they’re just so thoughtfully designed. LOVE.
Little metal buckets – This set of 12 would be so cute for parties & playdates (put snacks in them) or for pretend play. Possibilities are endless.
Learning Resources Cash Register – This is a very satisfying toy to play with. Was such a hit in our house.
Basket of Babies – OMG I love this!!! So freaking cute, and perfect for any kid who loves to play pretend (I would’ve picked this up for Pax in a heartbeat). Also, the entire TME Philly team now thinks we need a basket of babies like this in the office for stressful days. (Stressed out? Have a baby.)
Nerf Fortnight Gun – My boys STILL love their nerf guns (so does Mike, haha). I like the included targets. Gives them something else to shoot at (rather than each other).
Bat Cave – Ugh, I hate this thing. Pax had it at his Nana’s house AND FREAKING LOVED IT. He still wants to play with it. It’s plastic and nonsense but…fine. It’s well made and allowed for a ton of independent play. (it’s no Italian Villa though..)
Doll Houses (Melissa & Doug or All Seasons) – I’m a huge doll house fan – for ALL kids. My boys probably used theirs a little differently than my sister’s daughter does, but it’s all good, open-ended pretend play.
Tinker Toys – get the biggest set you can find. Or get TWO. My boys lived for the Tinker Toy set at their Grandmother’s house. They started out making guns (of course) and then, once they perfected those, they graduated to making full amour. We’re talking HOURS of open-ended, building fun.
Tegu – These blocks are great for learning about how magnets work (and can also be frustrating at times – part of the learning process). My only issue is that these blocks are horribly expensive, so this sale (almost half off) is the way to go. But I would also pick up more than one set – You’ll want around 50 to really build something tall (and test those limits).
Train expansion pack – Train sets go next-level when there’s enough expansion track to really build a huge masterpiece. I love that this set has risers, too. (And get rid of that train table – it’s so limiting for master builders.)
Hape Dominos – These sets are seriously fun to set up. Little kids just build with the pieces, and bigger kids will actually start using them as dominos. Even my oldest is still into trying to make more & more complex setups.
Classic Legos (484 size or 790 size) – I’m not a fan of the follow-these-instructions Lego sets, I’d much rather just BUILD. There are two sizes here that make fun gifts (or really…every grandparent out there should have the big one at their house).
GIANT Jenga -This is AMAZING. You guys…it’s 5 FEET TALL. My kids would go nuts for this set. (Mom, we need one of these sets for the lake….)
Shut Eye Dice Game – We had this exact set growing up. It’s oddly addictive and perfect for those ’30 minutes until dinner’ moments.
Munchkin Deluxe – My brother’s kids (then in high school) taught Raines and Pax (then 9 and 6) how to play Munchkin and they’ve been OBSESSED ever since. It’s a seriously fun (and funny) game, with a little adult humor woven in through the cards. (EX: One of the monster cards that can be drawn is a Lawyer, who cannot attack a thief out of “professional courtesy.”) The whole family loves to play it (although the learning curve is a bit steep at first). This is the original (and best) set, but it’s not quite as fun to play unless you have at least 3 players.
Codenames – AHH we haven’t played this one yet. But I bought it from a neighborhood store for Pax’s birthday, and they were VERY enthusiastic. It’s basically a logic game, which is right up our alley.
Rummikub – Linzi got us turned onto Rubbmikub and may have created a monster (me). I had bought us our own version, but something happened (the box tore and then it’s all over) so I adore this old-school tin.
Munchkin Introductory Set – I’m getting this for the boys. It’s basically Munchkin, but in a format that’s perfect for two players. Since they both insist on bringing the big set to restaurants (and then wanting us to play with them)….this one should be great.
Stratego – This is one of Raines’ very favorite games. Tons of strategy and trickery and so much freaking fun. He’s been playing it for 3-4 years now…soo…age 8 and up?
Go play, mama!