If you have (or know) a child with an upcoming birthday, today I’m going to help you out with a number of great birthday gift ideas for kids of any age—mostly from the realm of Toys and Games. There’s a whooole lot to cover here, so I’ll just jump right in. Read on!
Games room games
First I want to discuss a couple of different games room games, as in big arcade style machines that one might place in a dedicated games room. I’ll start with the Arcade1Up Marvel vs Capcom Arcade Machine with Riser & Stool, which I actually reviewed for the blog not so long ago and really enjoyed having around. What it is is a full sized arcade gaming cabinet with 5 different games built in. There’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and X-Men vs. Street Fighter. This particular machine can accommodate 1 or 2 players at a time and is basically a one-on-one style fighting game. Intended for users 14 and up, this cabinet makes a great gift for Marvel and/or Capcom fans, video game enthusiasts, and anyone nostalgic for the days they spent hanging out in arcades.
Another cool birthday gift idea along the same lines of arcade style gaming machines is the Arcade1Up Attack From Mars Digital Pinball Machine. This one is also suitable for users 14 and up, and it comes with a whopping 10 different pinball games built in (because it’s digital). Those games are Attack from Mars, No Good Gofers, The Getaway, Medieval Madness, Junk Yard, Fish Tales, White Water, Funhouse, Red & Ted, and Tales of the Arabian Nights.
This digital pinball machine is 3/4 scale, meaning it’s perfect for a home games room. It also has a real-feel flipper, real-feel tilt and nudge, ball feedback, an actual working plunger, a 7.5″ LCD score screen, and the field of play is a 23.8″ LCD screen, making for a truly authentic pinball experience. Dual speakers with metal grilles round out a complete arcade experience, and the table’s legs are even height adjustable—so you’ll always play in comfort!
LEGO build sets
I don’t know about you, but I have never met a kid that didn’t love LEGO—at least on some level. For this reason, I’ll suggest 2 LEGO build sets with entirely different themes. First, there’s the LEGO Friends: Heartlake City Shopping Mall, which is a 1032 piece set for kids 8 and up that turns into a cool shopping mall.
In this mall you will find all kinds of stores, a fun food court, and even a grand court escalator. Other bits and bobs include 6 LEGO characters (that’s 4 LEGO Friends mini-doll adult shoppers, one micro-doll shopper, and even a baby in carriage), as well as a number of other mall-appropriate accessories.
The other LEGO set I have for you is the 790 piece LEGO City: Town Center, which is intended for kids 6 and up. This set allows kids to build some of the things that one typically finds in a city, like a car wash, a pizzeria, a recycling station, and a park. It also includes buildable vehicles like a bicycle, a motorcycle, and a truck.
To populate the city are several LEGO mini-figure citizens, including adults going about their jobs, a guide dog, and a baby. As most people are plenty familiar with the fun and educational benefits of LEGO, I probably don’t need to explain to you the appeal of this cool set. Suffice to say, it’s LEGO and it’s awesome!
Smartwatches for kids
A fun birthday gift idea for smaller kids (those ages 4 and up) is the Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smartwatch, which comes in both pink and blue colour options. And this little watch has almost as much going for it as a smart watch for adults has, including a built-in interactive AI robot called Tobi that’s designed to be cute and keep kids entertained.
Other features and functions include an alarm, a pedometer, a stopwatch, AR games, and, naturally, a clock. Its touch screen display lets kids interact with it and make various adjustments, and built-in Bluetooth means it can connect wirelessly to other (compatible) devices. It even has 2 cameras built-in so that kids can take their own selfies.
If a child in your sphere of acquaintance is interested in technology and is always wanting to play with your smart phone or watch, this could be a great way to give them some high tech of their own.
A birthday gift idea for those artistic types
If the kids in your life are the artistic types, you could always get them a 3Doodler Create+ (Plus) Essentials 3D Printing Pen Set.
These kits allow users ages 14 and up to create three-dimensional art by melting plastic rods of various colours inside the pen and then dispensing the ink through the press of a button. Users can control the speed that the melty plastic is comes out (at least somewhat, as there are a couple of speeds) and thereby create all kinds of cool 3-D art.
Though it can be frustrating, it can also be a ton of fun for the right kind of person (one with some good patience). If you’ve got some talent and patience, you can really have a lot of fun with one of these, though I would certainly advise abiding by the minimum age recommendation on this one.
Something for young board-game enthusiasts
If the kids in your family enjoy playing board games, perhaps their next round of birthday gifts should include something like the Shifu Tacto Combo Classics and Laser Board Game.
Basically how this one works is that it turns your existing tablet into a classic board game like checkers or snakes and ladders by converting the display screen into an interactive gaming board. Or, they can play one of the “Tacto Laser” games to explore and learn about the mysteries and science of light. In other words, this kit has games for kids (in the 4-10 age range) with a variety of different interests.
So, if the kids in your life enjoy board games, this might just be a fun and educational way to go. It even helps kids to learn useful skills like math, problem solving, and planning!
STEM toys as birthday gifts
In the world of STEM learning toys (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), no brand quite matches up to the folks over at Osmo. For this reason, today I have 2 different Osmo add-on sets to show you. Both are designed to teach kids math, and both are intended for those ages 6-8 years old. You also don’t need to be connected to the Internet to play either one of them.
First up is the Osmo Math Wizard and the Magical Workshop Add-On, which requires both the Osmo base and either a Fire Tablet or Apple iPad to use (both of these games do). It comes with a double-sided mixing mat, a spell book, a pair of sticker sheets, 6 counting rods, 28 counting cubes, and the Math Wizard “Magical Workshop” game app.
Being entirely unfamiliar with these 2 relatively new Osmo games myself, it’s difficult for me to effectively explain them to you. However, what I can tell you is that they’re both designed to improve kids’ math and critical thinking skills in ways that are fun, interactive, and challenging.
The second of these games is the Osmo Math Wizard and the Secrets of the Dragons Add-On. This one comes with a dragon guide book, a pair of standard rulers (in centimetres and inches), 62 food tokens, and the Math Wizard “Secrets of the Dragons” game app.
The game features dragons that grow (the kids measure and take care of them) and teaches kids things like motivation, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, information retention, and more.
If your child is into magic and/or dragons and either loves doing math or requires improvement in it, they’re bound to enjoy one of these games or the other. Just remember that you will need the Osmo base and one of the listed tablets to partake.
Well, that’s it, that’s all! Hopefully something that I discussed here today will appeal to the kids in your life. Of course, if nothing on today’s list quite strikes your fancy, you can always find a lot of other great Toys and Games over at Best Buy Canada. There’s sure to be something there for every age and interest!