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    Dec 18, 2014

    35 Holiday Gifts That Will Secretly Challenge Kids' Minds

    Toys and games to make them think and learn stuff.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    1. Big Ball of Whacks

    creativewhack.com

    Bend your kiddo's brain and give their creativity a work out with this three dimensional puzzle for all ages.

    2. Plywood Playing Cards

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    They can master solitaire or take their house of cards design to a new level with these wooden build-able playing cards.

    3. Tummple

    thegrommet.com

    This building game requires balance and strategy to emerge victorious. It's like Jenga on mental steroids.

    4. Fidget Widget

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    The fidget widget is great for kiddos still working on dexterity and fine motor skills. Also cool for grown-ups looking for something to do with restless texting fingers.

    5. DaVinci's Catapult

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Help your kiddos harness their inner DaVinci with this working model of his 15th century catapult. The kit even comes with the perfect ammunition — remarkable brainbows — scientific spitballs that won't leave a mark.

    6. Inside3

    insidezecube.com

    These cubed mazes for the mind will keep brains stimulated for hours. Discontinue use when smoke starts coming out their ears.

    7. Kyro 5

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Kyro 5 is a strategy game of five-in-a-row that hones spatial reasoning skills.

    8. Staxis

    mindware.com

    OK, this looks insanely fun. Plus it encourages calculated risk-taking.

    9. DIY Board Games

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Kiddos (or families) get to create the game boards before diving into a good old-fashioned game night.

    10. Stormy Seas

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    For your littlest brainiacs, Stormy Seas looks like a toy but is actually an exercise in basic physics concepts.

    11. Free Play Magnatab

    store.metmuseum.org

    Magnatab improves fine motor skills and encourages creativity. It also makes a satisfying sound.

    12. Touchy Feely

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Strengthen your sense of touch with this blind grab-bag game. Pick a card, and then attempt to find the item pictured while discovering how difficult it really is to rely on tactile perception alone.

    13. Suspend

    amazon.com

    Hand/eye coordination is forced into overdrive when you take the balance challenge of Suspend.

    14. Iota

    gamewright.com

    Iota gets harder as the game goes on, requiring critical thinking and challenging spatial relations skills.

    15. Squigz

    fatbraintoys.com

    Squigz defy gravity and allow kiddos to build anything anywhere, setting imaginations free.

    16. Colorfall

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Colorfall combines dominoes and design — pick a card, set up the dominoes, and watch the colors fall to reveal a pattern or image.

    17. Magformers

    magformers.com

    These magnetic construction pieces "always connect, never reject" making the building possibilities literally endless.

    18. Tegu Blocks

    tegu.com

    Also making use of magnets, Tegu blocks come in a variety of colors, and inspire little minds and fingers to build new worlds.

    19. Puzzlebox Modern Art

    20. Perplexus

    fatbraintoys.com

    You will want to steal this addictive game from your kids. Comes ready to challenge focus, concentration, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reasoning, and spatial thinking.

    21. The Geek Box

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Let your older kiddos try their hand at building these mini mind benders.

    22. Spirograph (The Original)

    store.metmuseum.org

    You had a spirograph. You loved your spirograph. You didn't even know you were working with mathematical concepts.

    23. The complete children should know series.

    store.metmuseum.org

    Introduce your children to art concepts of all kinds with the Children Should Know series.

    24. Shell Game

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Take their memory and reasoning skills for a ride with the timeless Shell Game.

    25. Amaze

    11main.com

    Got a maze lover on your hands? Keep them guessing with this maze that changes as you play!

    26. The Book of Impossible Objects

    amazon.com

    These twenty-five magical activities (that are really science) will blow your kid's mind.

    27. Gravity Maze

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Sixty challenges to give your frontal cortex a work out. Grow your skills from beginning to advanced as you master this maze/marble run mash up.

    28. Marbleworks

    amazon.com

    This one's just a straight up marble run, with endless hours of nostalgic fun included.

    29. On The Dot

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills are invited to join the party when kids play On The Dot.

    30. X-Cube

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    Boasting over 2 quadrillion times more permutations than the original Rubix Cube, the X-Cube will put even the best puzzler in their place.

    31. Mental Blox

    amazon.com

    An awesome tactile brain-booster for little ones, Mental Blox combines 3D blocks and patterned cards to create a game of strategic thinking and skill.

    32. Whoa-Bots Ninjas

    raspberrykids.com

    Kiddos can create complex stacked formations with these innovative little figures.

    33. Kanoodle Genius

    amazon.com

    Over two hundred entertaining 2D and 3D puzzles are packed into this portable box. Great for solo play.

    34. Osmo

    35. smArt Puzzles

    marblesthebrainstore.com

    This ain't their mama's jigsaw puzzle. smArt Puzzles are made up of square cards that need to be twisted and shifted to create familiar works for art.

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