Best for Creativity: Cuddly Adventures Sponge Painting Workshop, $39.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
Armed with a sponge paint roller and templates, your little artist can paint over the characters with confidence, popping them out of their template and creating a fun picture-book scene.
Best for Memory: Fish Memo, $19.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
One or more players can test their memory skills with the help of 30 cartoon fish. The game starts with a player turning over two fish and then flipping them back to the plain side. The players have to remember where the matching fish lie and find as many pairs as possible to win. Simple, but effective.
Best for Experimenting: Stunt Team collection, $39 to $199, Tegu at Playhao
Unlike traditional blocks, Tegu has magnets embedded inside. This means that kids can build gravity-defying structures and learn about the science of magnetism through play. They can start by choosing to build the jet rockets, race cars and helicopter models illustrated on the containers, or put together any creation their imagination can dream up.
Best for Musical Ability: Key-Boom-Board, $159, Early Learning Centre
Great for stimulating the senses, the “follow me” light-up keys on the drum pad and keyboard teach children how
to play along to the pre-recorded tunes, while the recording feature allows them to sing into the microphone and save their favourite tracks.
Best for Confidence: Brain Storm Vehicle, $38.90, Klikko at Connect 11
Tiny engineers can build rockets, ships or trucks with these geometric shapes that can be clipped together. They can follow the guide or, as they gain more confidence, create their own vehicles.
Best for Problem-Solving: Mice & Dice, $150, Doron Layeled at Learn Well International
Developed by early learning expert Dr Gila Egozi, this fun group game can be played at three different levels. With a roll of the dice, mice are able to chase the cheese. Spatial recognition, strategy and problem-solving all come into play.
Best for Attention Span: 106-Piece Basic Building Kit, $149.90, Hubelino at The Better Toy Store
Mini master builders can create their own marble luge with this set of chunky blocks. With 106 pieces, children can stretch their creativity and fine motor skills, changing the route of the race and the design of the marble run.
Best for Spatial Relationships: Topologix, $29.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
Based on scenes on a picture card, children have to use their tokens to indicate where a character is standing. They can check their answers by flicking over the card to see if their tokens are in the same position on the board.
Best for Gross Motor Skills: C100 Cruz Kids Scooter, $128, Zycom at Pupsik Studio
This scooter features an ultra-lightweight frame, non-slip grips, a quick-stop brake and self-righting steering. Children can build balance, coordination, confidence and spatial awareness, while having fun.
Best for Writing: I-Woody My First Smartphone, $22.80, Donkey Creative Lab at The Children’s Showcase
While tots are pretending to be tiny execs, they can practise writing their “texts” on the blackboard screen of this wooden smartphone. If they need to correct any mistakes or write another text, they can wipe the board clean with the sponge earphones.
Best for Teamwork: Obstacles, $34.90, Eeboo at The Children’s Showcase
It’s never too early to learn about overcoming obstacles in life. Players are given a set of tool cards and need to use their problem-solving skills to creatively get through the challenges set on the obstacle cards.
Best For Listening Skills: Pakbo, $25.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
Young captains need to guess where the passengers are sitting on the other player’s boat. By asking questions and listening attentively, they can then work out the exact position of the characters.
Best for Maths: Magnetic Tangram, $24.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
Recreate the shapes on the cards using the wooden Tangram pieces provided. It’s a great test of geometry skills, creativity and reasoning. The entire set can be stored in a fabric pouch to keep the little ones occupied no matter where you are.
Best for Cause and Effect: Glow in the Dark Magnatab, $49.90, Kid O at Playhao
Turn off the lights and have fun drawing on this jumbo glow-in-the-dark board using a magnetic stylus that brings an array of silver beads to the surface. Kids can use it for art or to practise letters.
Best for Fine Motor Skills: Balancing Cactus Game, $39.90, Plan Toys at The Better Toy Store
A fun game for the entire
family, the aim is to add more bulbs without the plant falling over. It involves concentration, logic, strategy and, above all, fine motor skills.
Best for Social Skills: Lucien & Peggy’s BBQ Grill Set, $59.90, Djeco at The Better Toy Store
Budding foodies can host a garden barbecue with the help of this fun kit. The sturdy cardboard box is topped with a mini wooden grill that kids can “cook” their kebabs upon, based on the menu cards or their customers’ orders.
Best for Imagination/Pretend Play: Ice Cream Cart, $89.90, Krooom at Bloom & Grow
Who needs a lemonade stand when you can have an ice cream cart? Tots will love constructing this kitchen with the help of mum, before serving up mouthwatering “ice creams” to the family.
Best for Self-Esteem: Automoblox 2016 C9-R Sportscar, $64.90 to $79.90, Playhao
Speed racers and future engineers alike will love the chance to show off their imagination with this car. Children can mix and match the components with other Automoblox models to create their own designer vehicle, and even register their car on the Automoblox website after that.